The provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963, shall not apply to RERA.

Haryana Real Estate Regulatory Authority (power) consist of Justice Vijay Kumar Goyal (Member) has held that the provisions under Section 54 of the Limitation Act, 1963, which prescribes a limitation of 3 years for a suit for specific performance, are not applicable to complaints under RERA. Consequently, the Authority said that a complaint filed by a home buyer would be maintainable before the Authority after three years from the date the cause of action arose.

Background fact

In 2011, the builder advertised his upcoming real estate project. Independent floor in Alba EssenciaLocated in Sector-67, Gurugram. Relying on the advertisement, the home buyer booked a flat in the builder's project by paying a booking amount of Rs 9,02,660.

On 14.5.2011, the builder issued an allotment letter to the home buyer, allotting a flat on the ground floor. Further, a Flat Buyers Agreement (FBA) was signed between the builder and the home buyer on 23.08.2011.

As per clause 5.1 of FBA, the builder promised to provide possession within a period of 30 months with a grace period of 6 months from the date of obtaining approval of the building plans from the local authorities. Thus, the due date of possession was 31.12.15.

Despite paying a total amount of Rs.1,07,69,1,40 for the flat, the builder failed to give possession of the flat on time. However, on 05.06.2016, the home buyer received a possession offer from the builder. At that time, the builder had not obtained the occupancy certificate for the project, thus, the home buyer rejected the builder's offer of ownership. Aggrieved by the late possession, the home buyer filed a complaint with the Haryana RERA demanding interest from the builder.

Builder dispute

The builder argued that the homebuyer filed the complaint more than 6 years and 6 months after the date of offer of possession, thus the homebuyer cannot benefit by ignoring due process of law. Further, there is a delay of more than 3 years and 6 months in filing a complaint under the Limitation Act, 1963.

RERA order

The authority said that the provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 do not apply to RERA and directed the builder to pay interest at the rate of 10.85% on the amount paid by the home buyer every month from the due date of delay. Till receipt of possession certificate, plus two months as per Section 18(1) of RERA, 2016.

The authority relied on the order of the Maharashtra Real Estate Appellate Tribunal. M/s Siddhitech Homes Pvt. Ltd. vs. Kiranveer Singh Sachdev and othersIt was stated that RERA nowhere provides any timeline for obtaining relief. A developer cannot be relieved of his obligations merely on the ground that the complaint was not filed within the specified period prescribed under some other law. Even if such provisions are contained in other laws, they are subject to the provisions of RERA by virtue of the non-derogatory clause in Section 89 of RERA, which has effect over any other law inconsistent with the provisions of RERA. In view of this, Article 54 of the Limitation Act will not bar the time of complaint.

Finally, the Haryana RERA stated that the provisions of the Limitation Act, 1963 did not apply to the RERA.

Case : Babu Lal Gupta and another V/S New Look Builders & Developers Pvt. Limited

Reference: Complaint No. 5768 of 2022

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