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House panel favours three-year jail term for defaulting builder

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buildingA parliamentary committee has recommended a slew of measures favouring property buyers, which include a three-year jail term or a fine for a defaulting builder under a new law which will now cover projects of 500 sq. metres or eight flats.

According to reports in the media, the Select Committee of the RajyaSabha, which examined the Real Estate Bill 2013 and submitted its report in the House on Thursday, also recommended that 50 per cent of payments made by homebuyers for a real estate project should be kept in a separate account and used for that specific purpose only while the rest can be spent on other projects.

The Bill aims at establishing the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for regulation and promotion of the sector and setting up of an adjudicating mechanism for speedy dispute redressal. It also aims at establishing the appellate tribunal to hear appeals against the decisions of the RERA.

Under the proposed new law, a jail term of up to three years or a penalty of up to 10 percent of project cost or both can be imposed on a builder in case of defaulting on commitments made to a buyer. The committee also recommended that the new law should cover projects of 500 sq. metres and more or eight flats, instead of 1000 sq. metres or 12 flats as proposed initially in the bill.

The panel recommended that promoters should get their accounts audited within six months after the close of every financial year by a practising chartered accountant.

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