‘Super zone’ a fictitious term subject to abuse | Delhi News

The Supreme Court even refused to consider a petition from a group of apartment owners in UP on the contentious issue of whether stamp duty should be charged on the basis of the “super zone” or the “carpet zone” when registering apartments in Uttar Pradesh.
The action of the Supreme Court is legally and logically valid. It is essentially an appellate court and intended to consider matters which may not have been resolved at the high courts, appellate courts, etc. lower levels of the justice system. Homebuyers who have a grievance in this case will have to exhaust other avenues of justice before going to the highest court.
But the critical problem here is perhaps to be missed.
There is no term called “super zone” in any of the laws – municipal laws, planning laws or consumer laws. This term has been mentioned by manufacturers and developers. They’ve created this narrative of a “super zone” over the past four decades and abused its interpretation to include things like boundary walls, porches and entryways, even landscaping elements, in addition to introducing terms such as “charge the area with other constructions” in their agreements and deeds of sale. In many cases, this so-called loadout has been on the order of 40% of the actual “carpet area” a homebuyer was in possession of when purchasing an apartment.
The term ‘carpet area’ only crept into the statute book in 2016 when the Real Estate Regulation Act 2016 (RERA) was passed into law by Parliament after more than a decade of work and maybe another previous decade of advocacy and lobbying from homebuyers and RWAs etc. .
But the RERA law was, quite rightly, not retroactive and therefore only applied to developments that were not yet completed before 2016. The RERA law was effective (in many states) in bringing some order and consistency in the sector.
Given this situation, the purchasers in dispute should perhaps turn to the courts of first instance to be heard. They might also need to explain the following aspects of this inevitable controversy:
First, the term “super zone” is not defined in any collection of laws, not even in the Stamp Act. This Act was notified in 1899 and only deals with the collection of tax/duty revenue based on the declared value of the relevant property. Since this is a tax law, it really has no jurisdiction over how the declared value was calculated. Thus, the terms carpet area, super area, super built-up area, etc. do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Stamp Act.
Secondly, the RERA law of 2016 (which was introduced to bring clarity and transparency in real estate transactions) stipulates in its rules that the developer must declare the carpeted area of ​​the apartment even if he has used a super zone terminology in pre-signed documents. Agreements. However, he goes on to say that the mere disclosure of the carpet surface does not mean that previous agreements should be changed. Both terms would prevail.
Third, municipal building regulations still use the term built-up area (BUA). In some states, common areas like elevators and stairs are not counted in the BUA calculations while in some (like Delhi) these areas are counted. This is again understandable since municipal governance is the third level of our democratic system. The developers claim that when they build these unavoidable common spaces, they have to charge for them. While that may be true, the old “super built-up area” was often an undemonstrable area, and in some cases it was a figment of the developers’ imagination. There is a plethora of ongoing litigation over this issue even after the RERA Act was notified.
The solution to such a mess lies in amending our municipal laws to bring clarity. Our municipalities must come to terms with the fact that there are now few individual developments in our major cities and that apartments are bound to be the way to go when it comes to urban development. Thus, municipal laws and associated building regulations need to be revamped to align with both the RERA Act and other laws like the Indian Stamps Act of 1899.
Sudhir Vohra is an architect and urban planner

Michael J. Chiaramonte