Odisha’s real estate tribunal yet to function

Odisha’s real estate tribunal yet to function

homebuyers, real estate, realty

BHUBANESWAR:  The Odisha Real Estate Appellate Tribunal, set up on February 2 to address the issues of builders and homebuyers in the state, is yet to function due to government apathy.

Against the sanctioned strength of 13 members and staff, the tribunal, which takes up cases of builders and buyers unsatisfied with the judgement of the State Real Estate Regulatory Authority, has only three members including its chairman. Even the tribunal does not have any office, neither permanent nor temporary, to function.

The state government had notified the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (ORERA) three years back. Later, acting on the direction of Orissa High Court, the Housing and Urban Development department (H&UD) formed the tribunal on February 2, 2019 and subsequently, appointed former High Court Justice SC Parija as its chairman in line with the provision of the RERA Act, 2016.

After a gap of five months, it designated the charge of Tribunal Secretary to ORERA Secretary in July and then appointed two more members on September 11 and 12.

Though the department in May this year had sought one month’s time from the High Court to fill up the vacancies, no appointments have been made to the remaining posts so far. Similarly, the Idco had given an estimate of Rs six crore to the department for setting up the tribunal office at Toshali Plaza here. But it is still unknown as to when the office space will be readied, sources said.

The temporary office of the tribunal which has been planned to be made functional at Fortune Tower here has also not been made ready yet.  In the absence of functioning of the tribunal, cases are piling up causing distress to both real estate builders and home buyers. So far, 28 cases are pending with the tribunal for hearing.

RERA activist Bimalendu Pradhan, who had previously moved the High Court over non-formation of the tribunal, said, “The delay in making the panel functional is a contempt of court. The Supreme Court had asked all States and Union Territories to make the tribunal functional by November 8.”

He said a temporary tribunal, which was functioning in Cuttack from September 2017, was stopped operating after notification of the permanent bench was issued in February this year.

Secretary of H&UD G Mathivathanan said all formalities have been completed and the tribunal will start functioning very soon. The chairperson and two members have been appointed and the supporting staff will be appointed soon, he added.