Amid a public outcry over the partial collapse of a residential building in Gurugram, a top central advisory body on Tuesday pitched for making it mandatory to obtain structural safety certificates from the promoter of the project and the site engineer for seeking the completion certification.

The third meeting of the Central Advisory Council (CAC), constituted under the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, called as RERA, was held on Tuesday under the chairmanship of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.

After detailed discussions, many decisions were taken by the CAC.

“Regarding the issue of structural safety of projects, it was decided that the development authorities may ask for structural safety certificate from site engineer and promoter at the time of applying for a completion certificate,” the statement said.

It was decided to take the matter with state governments in respect of forthcoming projects. During the meeting, measures to ensure structural safety in high-rise buildings and prevent loss of life as well as property, besides considering a proposal to set up a high-level panel to address the issue of stalled projects, were discussed.

On incidents of building collapses, Puri said homebuyers should have a sense of confidence that a building is structurally sound.

The responsibility has to be assumed by the builders themselves. If the builder has gone wrong, or he/she has not been able to check something, full recovery from that person is the minimum, as thousands of people get affected, he said.

Puri also asserted that there should be no dilution of the provisions of RERA law by states, and assured that the Centre will not bring the “whole template down” even if some states decide to dilute the norms.

He said the RERA is a widely accepted legislation and its success is anchored in the spirit of gradual but steady problem-solving.

Meanwhile, it was pointed out that some states have tweaked the provisions of RERA while framing rules under the Act by exempting the registration of ‘ongoing projects.

In February, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to examine whether the rules framed by various states under the RERA are in conformity with the central legislation and subserve the interest of homebuyers.

“The fact of the matter is that you did not have a regulator and then you are bringing in the regulator, so everybody will try to stop it. When they found that we are resolute in our determination and they try to do something else, they tried to tweak it,” Puri said.

The minister said the Centre will place before the Supreme Court all the facts related to the dilution of the RERA Act by the state governments.

“I think we should place the fact squarely before the apex court that if all of us agree and some state do this (the dilution), we have enough persuasive power at our disposal to tell them this is not right. No dilution is a norm. Those who have diluted will have to justify why they have diluted. And we will not bring the whole template down just because you have diluted it,” Puri said.

In the meeting, it was also highlighted that all states/UTs have notified rules under RERA, except Nagaland which is in the process to notify the rules.

As many as 31 states/UTs have set up Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Regular-25, Interim-6). States like Meghalaya, Sikkim, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Ladakh are yet to establish the authority.

“The best thing about RERA is that it has come to be widely accepted in the country. And its success is anchored in the spirit of gradual but steady problem solving,” Puri said.

There are 30 members on the CAC panel which includes Niti Aayog CEO and secretaries of many ministries. President of homebuyers’ body Forum for People’s Collective Efforts Abhay Upadhyay as well as presidents of realtors’ body CREDAI and Naredco are members of the council.

According to an official statement, it was decided that the meeting of the Council shall be held at least once in a year.

A subgroup consisting of concerned stakeholders should meet once in six months.It was decided that action should be taken to ensure the implementation of RERA in letter and spirit by establishing permanent regulatory authorities and appellate tribunals across the country.

There should be a detailed examination of reasons behind the non-implementation of orders passed by regulatory authorities/adjudicating officers regarding refund, penalty, compensation etc.

The CAC decided that a “committee may be constituted to look into various aspects of the legacy stalled projects and propose a future course of action to ensure that homebuyers get their booked home.” The CAC decided in principle that the registration of real estate agents should be on a pan-India basis.

The ministry reiterated the resolve and commitment of the government of India to protect the interest of homebuyers and ensure continued transparency and accountability in the real estate sector through the effective implementation of RERA.

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