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Don’t shirk, create model builder-buyer pact: SC tells Centre

NEW DELHI: Brushing aside the Centre’s “it’s states’ responsibility” stand, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Union government to draft model national builder-buyer and agent-buyer agreements to protect homebuyers from remaining at the mercy of real estate companies and getting fleeced by them.
A clutch of PILs are seeking a direction to the Centre to frame model agreements under provisions of Section 41 and 42 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, under which the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) was set up.
In its affidavit, the Centre had said it had no role to play in this regard and that under the Act, it was the states’ responsibility to frame the model agreements.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant persuaded the Centre not to adopt a hands-off approach and get involved in drafting model agreements to protect the unsuspecting ‘middle class’ homebuyers who often get fleeced of their hard-earned money because of the builder-framed sale agreements that tilt heavily towards the realtors.
“Instead of leaving it to the states, the Centre can frame a national model law. Builders often prepare a bulky sale agreement document with clauses that helps them fleece the flat-buyers. We are concerned by the plight of the middle-class who get caught in the web of such builder-leaning sale agreements,” the bench said.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta agreed to personally look into the issue and respond in two weeks. The bench said, “The model builder-buyer and agent-buyer agreements must have certain clauses (to protect the middle-class flat buyers from getting fleeced) which must be non-negotiable even if the states wanted to tweak the model agreements in accordance with the prevailing situation in the respective states.”
Justice Chandrachud recalled a judgment authored by him relating to the West Bengal Rera.

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