New Delhi, May 4 (ILNS): The Supreme Court today struck down the state legislation WB-HIRA, being repugnant to the Centre’s legislation RERA. WB-HIRA has, therefore, been declared unconstitutional.
The Housing Industry Regulatory Authority (HIRA) was established under Section 20 of West Bengal Housing Industry Regulatory Act, 2017 and published in the Official Gazette of October 17, 2017 and came into effect on June 1, 2018.
The bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah maintained that this was becoming a parallel legislation.
On April 20, the Supreme Court had reserved its order on a plea filed by the Forum for Peoples Collective Efforts (FPCE), challenging the constitutional validity of the West Bengal Housing Industry Regulation Act, 2017.
The Bench stated: “Once Parliament has enacted a law, it’s not open to state legislature to enact a similar law and lift it word to word. Test of repugnancy is clearly established.”
Counsel for the petitioner, Advocate Justine George, opposed the HIRA, because there already was a Centre-enacted law in force (RERA).
He said: “The creation of a parallel regime will amount to a state of absurdity.” He also gave an example that electricity being the subject matter of the concurrent list, the Central government has enacted the legislation called “The Electricity Act, 2003”.
“If state governments are also allowed to legislate and make their own electricity statute, then it will lead to a state of absurdity,” added Advocate George.
Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the State of West Bengal, submitted that state government are in the ambit of the concurrent list, where both the Centre and the State can legislate. He said the state law cannot be rendered repugnant to the Centre’s law, until and unless it is in conflict with the same.
While pronouncing the judgement, Justice Chandrachud stated: “HIRA has enacted a parallel mechanism and it is the same enactment as the Centre. Both the statutes refer to the same entry in the concurrent list in Schedule 7. The third test of repugnancy is that subject matter of State enactment is same to the Central enactment.”
The bench further said, “HIRA occupies the same subject Parliament enacted law. West Bengal has attempted to establish a parallel regime, which is not permissible.”
While declaring the Act as unconstitutional, the Court observed, “Provisions of West Bengal HIRA 1993 Act stood repealed after enactment of the HIRA 2016 Act. Our striking down provisions of 2016 Act will not revive the 1993 Act in any way. We conclude that HIRA being repugnant to RERA is unconstitutional.”
The Bench held, “Section 88 cannot override Article 254. RERA itself deals with municipal issues and is enforced by State governments. Section 88 allows a State law, which will complement the RERA.” ILNS\GM\SJ\RJ