NEW DELHI: The Trinamool Congress government’s attempt to run a parallel regime on regulating the real estate sector came unstuck on Tuesday as the Supreme Court quashed the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act (WB-HIRA), 2017, as unconstitutional for copying from a central legislation, Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, and also because many provisions were in conflict with the central law.
Slamming the Bengal government’s attempt, a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said, “The state law fits, virtually on all fours, with the footprints of the law enacted by Parliament. This is constitutionally impermissible. What the West Bengal legislature has attempted to achieve is to set up its parallel legislation involving a parallel regime.”
After carrying out a clause-by-clause comparison between the two laws, the bench said not only was the state legislature barred from copying a central legislation to attempt a parallel regime but an additional reason why there was “repugnancy” between WB-HIRA and RERA was that many provisions of the state law were directly in conflict with the central enactment.
Writing the judgment, Justice Chandrachud said, “WB-HIRA has failed to incorporate valuable institutional safeguards and provisions intended to protect the interest of homebuyers. The silence of the state legislature in critical areas indicates that important safeguards which have been enacted by Parliament in the public interest have been omitted in the state enactment.”