Digitization of Land Records & Impact on Disputes
In News: Near completion of digitisation of Land Records in Kerala.
The Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (“DILRMP”) was launched by the Government of India in August 2008 aimed to modernize management of land records, minimize scope of land/property disputes, enhance transparency in the land records maintenance system, and facilitate moving eventually towards guaranteed conclusive titles to immovable properties in the country. The major components of the programme are computerization of all land records including mutations, digitization of maps and integration of textual and spatial data, survey/re-survey and updating of all survey and settlement records including creation of original cadastral records wherever necessary, computerization of registration and its integration with the land records maintenance system, development of core Geospatial Information System (GIS) and capacity building.
Therefore, an integrated Land Information Management System is under implementation, which will serve as a single window database for the various stakeholders such as the land owner(s), and civic agencies and linking this database with the Aadhar number will eventually eliminate benami transactions. Almost 66% court cases in the country are related to land disputes costing a whopping Rs.58,000 crore in litigation, both civil and criminal. Land Records digitization can help accelerate India’s GDP by as much as 1.3%. Latest news is coming from Kerala, which is on verge of completion of land records digitization.
Basic Legal Information on Laws relating to Immovable Property
- Indian Registration Act, 1908: The law of registration of documents is contained in the Indian Registration Act. This legislation provides for the registration of various documents, to ensure conservation of evidence, prevention of fraud and assurance of title. As per Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908, all transactions that involve the sale of an immovable property for a value exceeding Rs 100, should be registered. This effectively means that all the transactions of sale of immovable property have to be registered, as no immovable property can be purchased for merely Rs 100. Additionally, all transactions of gift of an immovable property, as well as lease for a period exceeding 12 months are also mandatorily required to be registered. Stamp duty is compulsory under registration.
- The Transfer of Property Act: It governs the transfer of property by any means in India. Property can be transferred by sale, mortgage, exchange, lease or gift.
- Indian Succession Act and Hindu Succession Act: An act to consolidate law on intestate and testamentary succession.
- Specific Relief Act: A person entitled to the possession of the specific immovable property may recover it in the manner provided by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908) as per section 5 of the Specific Relief Act. Adverse possession means a hostile assertion i.e. a possession, which is expressly or impliedly in denial of title of the true owner. Under Article 65, the burden is on the defendants to prove affirmatively. A person who bases his title on adverse possession must show by clear and unequivocal evidence i.e. possession was hostile to the real owner and amounted to a denial of his title to the property claimed.
- Indian Stamp Act, 1899: Registration of a document with a registering authority involves levy of stamp duty and registration fees. They are levied by the state government by virtue of the power given under entry 63 and 66 of List II of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. The levy of stamp duty is on instrument recording transaction and not on a transaction per se. Value of the stamp duty is based on the value on the date of the instrument. All stamp duties are payable by way of non-judicial stamps payable under section 10 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899.
- The Land Acquisition Act, 2013: The law replaces the Land Acquisition Act of 1894 by establishing new rules for compensation as well as resettlement and rehabilitation. The most important feature of the Act is that the developers will need the consent of up to 80 percent of people whose land is to be acquired for private projects and 70 percent of the landowners in case of public-private partnership.
As per circular dated February 17, 2017, of the Ministry of Rural Development, Department of Resources: DILRMP is responsible for computerization of records of rights and digitization of cadastral maps both in urban and rural areas. The computerization of land records in urban areas will take place mutatis mutandis to computerization and digitization of land records in a rural area as per their availability. In an urban area, the exercise would be limited to land record alone but would not extend to immovable property in the urban area.
(1) Khasra Number: A number assigned to block of land.
(2) Khatouni: A revenue record.
(3) Jamabandi: Land records maintained within each village with Tehsil.
(4) One Acre: Two Bighas
(5) 8 Kanal: One Acre
(6) Girdawari: Record of Land Cultivation
(7) Fard: Ownership of Land record as per Patwari.
Status of Computerisation of Land Record