By Legal Cell
The Bombay High Court on August 8 while giving a landmark judgment it said cases of a long-term lease agreement and compensation complaints can be heard by Maha RERA. An appeal was filed by the Lavasa Corporation, which is constructing a township project around Pune.
The single bench of Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing the case and passed the ruling. The project is also registered with the authority.
The authority had the power to hear the case and law was applicable to the 3 apartments which were booked on an agreement of lease for 999 years and also 80% of the purchase price was paid, the bench said.
The Lavasa Corporation challenged the order passed by Maha RERA and in its appeal claimed that cases of agreement of lease would not apply under the authority. It further requested High Court tat this case is of lessor and lessee which doesn’t consist of any sale or transfer agreement.
The project is registered with RERA however, provisions would apply to it, a court said. It further said, it can never be the intention of the Legislature to exclude long-term leases as act would be defeating the very object of the Act, the developer in such cases by executing the ‘Agreement’ with the nomenclature as the ‘Agreement of Lease’, can very conveniently escape from the clutches of the provisions of this Act.
Merely because the Legislature has excluded the allotment, when it is given on rent, it does not exclude the long-term lease. That will be defeating and be frustrating the object of the Act and hence, it has to be held that the Appellate Tribunal has rightly held that, so far as the present case is concerned, considering the long-term lease of ‘999 years’, it would definitely amount to a sale, the court judgement said.
The mechanical interpretation given by the ‘Adjudicating Officer’ to the provisions of the Act, merely focusing on the nomenclature of the ‘Agreement’, was clearly defeating the object of the Act and hence, it was rightly set aside by the Appellate Tribunal, it said.
The interplay of all the provisions contained in the Act, coupled with the real purport of the ‘Agreement of Lease’, leads to no other inference, but to hold that, the complaints filed by the Respondents before the ‘Adjudicating Officer’, under Section 18 of the Act, are definitely maintainable and the ‘Adjudicating Officer’ is having the jurisdiction to entertain and decide those complaints.
In view thereof, the Civil Applications pending therein do not survive and the same is disposed of as infructuous.