NEW DELHI: The government is in the process of preparing a fresh cabinet note outlining the contours of a real estate regulator, a top government law officer told the Supreme Court on Monday.
The government had been asked as far back as 2007 to respond to a court notice on a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding the creation of such a regulator in the interest of consumers.
The previous UPA government did introduce a bill that was later referred to a parliamentary standing committee, but there has been progress since then.
When the PIL came up for hearing on Monday, a bench comprising chief justice HL Dattu and justice AK Sikri wondered how long the government would take to firm up its stand on the regulator.
Additional solicitor general Neeraj Kishan Kaul asked for six weeks on the ground that a fresh note was being prepared and would be placed before the cabinet soon, indicating that it may come up for consideration by parliament in the forthcoming budget session. The bench said that this would be the government's "final" chance to act.
The PIL, filed by Anil Karnwal on behalf of NGO Sanrakshak, had sought a regulator to oversee allegedly misleading ads placed by real estate companies to cheat consumers. The court had issued notices seeking the views of the centre and states on such a regulator.
The UPA Bill had proposed a real estate regulator and tighter norms for advertising and selling housing projects. It made registration mandatory for all projects on plots of more than 4,000 sq metres and stipulated jail terms and penalties for builders to deter them from hoodwinking buyers.
Lakhs of unorganised property agents and brokers were also proposed to be brought under its purview. Developers, however, were opposed to the bill as it carried punitive provisions including de-registration of projects and penalties. It also provided for fast-track mechanisms to resolve consumer disputes.