The Orissa High Court last week pulled up the State Government for inordinate delay in making the Real Estate Appellate Tribunal functional in the state.
Taking stock of the "immense difficulties" being faced by the litigants due to non-functioning of the appellate forum for resolution of real estate disputes, the bench of Dr. Justice BR Sarangi said,
"the apathetic attitude of the State Government in not allowing the statutory Appellate Tribunal to function in accordance with law, which itself amounts to causing obstruction in course of administration of justice."
The observation was made while disposing of three writ petitions, filed by builders/ homebuyers who were aggrieved due to non-adjudication of their appeals from the RERA.
The bench observed that three months had lapsed since filing of the said batch of petitions however, the appellate Tribunal had not been made functional.
The court was informed that a high level committee meeting was held on March 6 with regard to various requirements to be fulfilled to make the Appellate Tribunal functional and for creation of different posts in the appellate tribunal on restructure and with regard to delay in taking steps for absorption of staff in the appellate tribunal from the erstwhile Odisha Administrative Tribunal.
Nevertheless, request for (i) engaging outsourced housekeeping/ maintenance/ security agency; (ii) grant of advance money for purchase of office stationary, law books and other logistic support; (iii) giving financial autonomy to the Appellate Tribunal; had been pending with the Government for months.
In view of the above, the High Court has directed that until the Appellate Tribunal is made fully functional, the State Government shall give financial autonomy to the "Odisha Real Estate Appellate Tribunal" by allocating funds from the Real Estate Regulatory Fund on every year by making suitable budgetary provision along with separate heads of account for smooth management of the said forum, so that it will not cause prejudice to any authority.
The bench has further ordered:
The above directions have to be complied with within fifteen days, failing which it will be construed as contempt of Court and suo motu contempt proceedings will be initiated against the opposite parties.
Case Title: Bimalendu Pradhan v. State of Odisha & Anr. (and other connected petitions)
Case No.: WP (C) No. 8158/2019
Quorum: Dr. Justice BR Sarangi
Appearance: Advocates Mohit Agarwal, Debashis Nanda, M. Dash, S. Mohapatra, PK Chand, P. Behera and BP Das (for Petitioners); Addl. Government Advocate PK Muduli (for State); Advocates Ajit Kumar Ray, RN Das and Mohit Agarwal (for Private Respondents)
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