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NCLAT scraps homebuyers' plea for insolvency against Ansal Hi-tech Township

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on Monday set aside a plea seeking insolvency proceedings against Ansal Hi-tech Township Ltd filed by its homebuyers of a project in Greater Noida.

The appellate tribunal has upheld the order passed by the Delhi-based bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), which had in January 2023 set aside the plea of homebuyers, observing that the allottees belong to different projects and does not fulfil the required criteria to file an insolvency case.

The project is located in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

The NCLT's order was challenged before the NCLAT. The homebuyers argued that the agreement with the developer terms 'Sushant Megapolis' as one complete 'Project' and was signed much before RERA (Real Estate Regulation and Development Act) came into force.

They further submitted that 1,500-acre project 'Sushant Megapolis' comprises plots, built-up plots, raw houses/flats/floors, high-rise apartments, under various allocated sites within the project.

However, NCLAT said that the RERA Act points out the requirement of a prior registration of a realty project with the Real Estate Regulatory Authority. And where the real estate project is to be developed in phases, every such phase shall be considered a standalone real estate project, and the promoter shall obtain registration, under this Act, for each phase, separately.

Ansal Hi-tech Township has registered three agreements with the petitioners--Plot Allottee Agreement, Builtup Unit Allottee Agreement, and Apartment Allottee Agreement.

It further said that under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, flat allottees, which are financial creditors, seeking insolvency against a real estate project, need to file a plea jointly with not less than one hundred of such allottees under the same project or with not less than ten per cent of the total number of such allottees, whichever is less.

Moreover, the Township comprises 'real estate projects' of different character, with different Building Sanctioned Plans, having independent terms.3

"In fact, for the said sanctioned plans, being the subject matter of RERA Registrations, secured for the said ongoing projects, under the 'Township', different approval letters, for separate real estate projects, under this Township were issued," NCLAT observed.

It has 25 projects with separate RERA registrations and in regard to the different categories of the project, the break-up of the number of applicants and "in none of the project categories, the petitioners fulfil the requirement of 'threshold limit' of '10 per cent or 100 persons', whichever is less."

"This Tribunal, on a careful consideration of divergent contentions, advanced on either side, considering the facts and circumstances of the instant case, comes to an irresistible and consequent conclusion that filed by the appellant/petitioner and other petitioners, before the NCLT, Principal Bench, New Delhi, is prima facie not maintainable in the eye of law," the NCLAT said. dt. 02.04.2024

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