Ramakanta Biswas

The Odisha government on Tuesday informed the Orissa High Court that it will soon enact a new Apartment Ownership Act during the hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the validity of the Odisha Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Rules 2021. 

The State government presented a format of the revised flat booking agreement in apartments before the High Court. The court, however, said the Chief Registration Officer (IGR) will examine the format and take a decision on its implementation. 

During the hearing, the secretary of Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) appeared in person before the court and tendered an unconditional apology. The apology was made for registering a particular flat owners' association despite an interim order from the High Court.

On May 12, the HC had passed an interim order banning the registration of sale deeds related to apartments and flats. It can be mentioned here that after the central government enacted the new RERA Act, the State government sought three months to bring a law on the same pattern.

The Chief Registration Officer (IGR) has stopped all registrations after the High Court expressed displeasure over the sale of flats without registration by the Flat Owners Association under the RERA Act.

As a result, no flats have been registered in the state since May 12.

"Our contention was that the Odisha Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Rules 2021 was contrary to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) - RERA Act, 2016. The Odisha government has presented an undertaking that a new Odisha Apartment Ownership Act will come into force soon, said Mohit Agarwal, counsel for the petitioner. 

"The court said the sooner the act comes, the better it will be. It will enable the resumption of sale deed registration process, which is stopped now," Agarwal added.