Finding the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act, 2017 (WBHIRA) unconstitutional due to being in conflict with the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), the Supreme Court (SC) has annulled the former.

The Supreme Court (SC) has stricken down West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act, 2017 (WBHIRA), stating it unconstitutional due to being in conflict with the central legislation Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA). The apex court delivered the judgement on a plea by a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Forum for People’s Collective Efforts (FPCE).

The Court’s judgement reads, “From our examination of WBHIRA and RERA, two significant features that appear are that WBHIRA overlaps with RERA and has been imitated word-to-word. It does not complement RERA in any manner. Both the statutes point to the same entry in the concurrent list. Nevertheless, once the Parliament of India has passed a law on a certain subject, it is not open to a State government to enact a similar law by lifting it word by word.”

The Supreme Court has clarified that all permissions and sanctions granted under WBHIRA before this judgement’s delivery shall be valid. This clarification will be a relief to the promoters of around 1,000 real estate projects which the Authority has approved.

Jitendra Khaitan, Managing Director, Pioneer Property, has shared that the scrapping of WBHIRA will lead to a positive impact in the long term and allow financially stressed projects in West Bengal to avail of funds under Special Window for Affordable and Mid-Income Housing (SWAMIH), a Central Government-supported scheme. SWAMIH primarily comes to the aid of RERA-registered stalled and stressed projects.

Other industry players do not expect a significant impact since both Acts are virtually the same.