Orissa HC gives govt two weeks to file counter affidavit on ORERA rules amendment
CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has allowed two weeks’ time to the state government to file a counter affidavit to the petition that has challenged the enhancement of fees for registration of real estate projects by amendment of Odisha Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Rules, 2017.
Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (ORERA) had brought in the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Regulations, 2022 and increased the application fees for the commercial projects from Rs 10 per sq metre to Rs 200 per sq metres through a notification on July 28, 2022.
Confederation of Real Estate Developers Associations of India - Odisha (CREDAI-Odisha) filed the petition along with builder Anil Kumar Agarwal. Senior Advocate Pitambar Acharya represented the petitioners.
Initially, the court had directed ORERA to file a counter affidavit on April 4, 2023. ORERA filed before the court a letter on January 4, 2024 and sought some time to file counter affidavit. The letter said state government had on December 7, 2023 “made a request to the advocate general for his opinion with regard to the amendment of Odisha Real Estate (Regulation & Development) Rules, 2017.” The court then adjourned the matter to after one week.
The petition was taken up next on January 24. But government advocate JP Pattanaik sought time to file counter affidavit. Granting more time, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice BR Sarangi and Justice MS Raman said, “Call this matter after two weeks. Counter affidavit shall be filed in the meantime.”
The dispute raised by the petitioners hinges on the contention that ORERA had no powers to make Rules in relation to fees paid for registration of real estate projects when it brought in the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Regulations, 2022.
Such power was taken away from ORERA and vested in the ‘appropriate government’ (which in this case would be the government of Odisha) with the amendment to Section 84 of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 which was notified by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Alleviation, government of India on October 28, 2016. Hence, the impugned notification July 28, 2022 is beyond the competence of the ORERA and, therefore, bad on that score, the petition contended.