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All about the MahaRERA Conciliation forum

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Recently, MahaRERA announced the formation of a conciliation forum, which an aggrieved person can approach to file an application or complaint instead of directly going to the authority. Advocate Tanmay Ketkar examines the pros and cons of the forum

Among many ways of dispute resolution, the mutual and amicable conciliation of dispute is the best way. It is a matter of fact that since inception of Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), many complaints have been mutually and amicable settled.

As per the section 32(g) of the RERA Act, the real estate regulatory authority is expected to take measures to facilitate the amicable conciliation of disputes through dispute settlement forum set up by the consumer or promoter associations. Accordingly, the MahaRERA has set up the conciliation forum. The conciliation forum will be headed by the secretary of MahaRERA. The forum will constitute 18 members of CREDAI and NAREDCO (associations of developer), 15 members of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.

How the forum works
The MahaRERA by its a circular dated 30th January 2018 laid down the procedure for working of the conciliation forum. Currently, the forum will operate from10 locations in Mumbai and 5 locations in Pune. In Mumbai, the forum will operate from MahaRERA office at Bandra, Grahak Bhavan at Ville Parle, MCHI and NARDECO office at Churchgate, Powai and thane. In Pune, the forum will operate from the MahaRERA office situated at Aundh. According to the procedure laid down, an aggrieved person may file an application or complaint with the forum. On receipt of the complaint the forum will intimate the opponent about the complaint/grievance. If the opponent shows willingness to amicably resolve the dispute, the complainant will have to pay fees of Rs 1,000/-.

On receipt of fees, the complaint will be forwarded to appropriate forum. If the dispute is amicably resolved, well and good. If either party to dispute contravens terms of amicable settlement, aggrieved party can file complaint in MahaRERA against such contravention. If there is no amicable resolution or settlement of dispute, the complainant will have liberty to approach MahaRERA. Currently, this forum is restricted to the disputes between allottees or customers and promoters only.

Currently, whenever an aggrieved person files complaint in MahaRERA, there is also an attempt made to mutually and amicably resolve the dispute. If there is possibility of amicable settlement, some time is granted to litigants to workout possible settlement. If dispute is settled, the complaint is disposed off in terms of settlement, and if there is no settlement, the complaint in tried and decided on basis of merits of the case.

How beneficial is the option?
Now, when we compare the current working of MahaRERA and working of this new conciliation forum, except availability of multiple locations, there is no visible benefit of the forum. If the dispute is amicably resolved, it will be beneficial, otherwise it will result in waste of time, money, efforts of litigants. If the dispute is not settled, the aggrieved person will have to approach MahaRERA. The same dispute or complaint will be instituted, tried and decided afresh, which will unnecessarily delay the proceedings.

Another crucial point to be noted is confidentiality. In any judicial fight, framing and drafting of the case plays decisive role. If a complaint is filed in MahaRERA, the opponent will get the information, after filing of the complaint. However, if a forum is approached it will reveal the dispute and other material information to the opponent, which enables the promoter to foresee the nature and scope of the complaint that would be filed in MahaRERA. In this circumstance, for opponent it would be easier to prepare for legal battle.

Considering all these points, if aggrieved person is confident about the amicable resolution of dispute then only he shall approach the conciliation forum, otherwise it is better to approach MahaRERA directly. Reason being, the MahaRERA can facilitate disposal of case either on amicable resolution or merits of the case. Legally speaking, currently there is no impediment in directly approaching MahaRERA. In nutshell, if the amicable resolution of dispute is doubtful, it is not advisable to approach conciliation forum, instead it would be better to approach MahaRERA directly.

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