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Flat-buyers can’t be left at mercy of builders: Supreme Court notice to Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice on a plea seeking direction to the Centre to frame a “model builder agreement” and agent-buyer agreement in the real estate sector to infuse transparency and fairness, restraining builders and agents from indulging into unfair and restrictive trade practices.

A bench comprising justices DY Chandrachud and B.V. Nagarathna said, “This is an important issue on the protection of buyers”. It further added, “often (this issue) is put on backfoot by clauses in agreements made by builders”.

The bench noted that a uniform builder-buyer agreement is required to be framed by the Centre to protect the interests of lakhs of home buyers. It observed the plea raises the grievance that in the absence of a model agreement, flat purchasers are left at the mercy of developers regarding the terms and conditions.

The bench pointed out once the model buyer-builder agreement is framed by the Centre, then it may direct the state governments to follow it. It further emphasized that it is an important issue of consumer protection and often builders get away by putting any clause. “This purpose has to be achieved in the country”, it observed.

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, who was represented by senior advocate Vikas Singh. During the hearing, Singh submitted that the Centre should give guidance at least, and emphasized on the importance of a model builder-buyer agreement.