Bikram Chatterji & ors. vs. Union of India & ors

“The inevitable truth is that law is not static and immutable but ever-increasingly dynamic and grows with the ongoing passage of time.”- Justice S. Ratnavel Pandian

The landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in favour of over 42,000 homebuyers in the projects being constructed by the Amrapali group of companies in Noida and Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh was a huge relief for the homebuyers.

The ruling by the SC not only punished the Amrapali Group but will also discourage all the errant stakeholders and developers in future, who are used to of circumventing the law.

Uttar Pradesh government had executed lease deeds to provide a parcel of lands in Noida and Greater Noida to build housing projects with M/s Amrapali Silicon City Private Limited and other related entities (Amrapali Group). 12 housing projects were being developed (7 in Noida & 5 in Greater Noida) by M/s Amrapali Group and was supposed to deliver 42000 housing units to the home buyers.

Homebuyers waited for years to get an allotment of their dream homes but the Amrapali Group failed to deliver the housing units to the aggrieved families. A Writ Petition (Civil) № 940/2017 was filed by homebuyers under the case titled — “Bikram Chatterji & Ors. Vs. Union of India & Ors. in Supreme court of India.

In their Writ Petition, the home buyers pleaded that Amrapali Group failed to deliver the housing units to the respective home buyers within the prescribed time limit, non-compliance of RERA and siphoning of funds. They also pleaded that occupancy of the home is given at the earliest. In addition to this, the pleas of homebuyers were challenged by Noida and Greater Noida authorities with whom the Amrapali group had executed Lease deeds on a parcel of lands over which the projects were being developed.

The Supreme Court, after considering the contentions of both the parties and report of the Financial Auditors, wherein, siphoning off of the funds by Amrapali Group was confirmed, observed that:-

  1. It was the duty of the Authorities to take affirmative action for effective management of Lease deeds grants in favour of Amrapali Group,
  2. Authorities were bound to ensure that builders act per the objective behind the acquisition of land and conditions on which allotment had been made,
  3. The authorities were very negligent in their conduct and did not take any corrective step against Amrapali Group. The authorities not only failed to observe the terms of Lease Deeds and keep track of projects but also permitted the Amrapali Group to execute sub-lease of projects, thereby allowing Amrapali group to earn a huge amount,
  4. The authorities have colluded with Banks and Amrapali Group for diversion of funds of homebuyers. The banks were negligent in their conduct and decided to sanction loans to Amrapali Group without verifying the conditions of the NOC’s being issued by the Authorities,
  5. The provisions of RERA Act have been violated by Amrapali Group.

The Supreme Court after stating the aforementioned observations held the judgment that:

  1. The Supreme Court upheld the claims of homebuyers over those of financial creditors and government authorities.
  2. The RERA registration of Amrapali Group under RERA Act shall stand cancelled and various projects shall now henceforth be completed by NBCC (India) Ltd.
  3. The various lease deeds granted in favour of Amrapali Group for projects in question stand cancelled and all rights shall henceforth vest in Court Receiver.

The Authorities and Banks shall have no right to sell the flats of the home buyers or the land leased out for the realization of their dues and all their dues shall have to be recovered from the sale of other properties of Amrapali Group which have been attached.

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has delivered one of its landmark decision/judgment in light of the various difficulties being faced by the homebuyers all over India.

This judgment of the Supreme Court in the case related to aggrieve 42000 Amrapali Homebuyers could be treated as a precedent to streamline incomplete housing projects, a mess created by real estate developers across the country.

The court has played a leading role in sorting out the complex legal hurdles, which barred time-bound completion of the incomplete Amrapali housing projects.

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