Scams oc­cur as ti­tles not probed

Deccan Chronicle - - CITY -

Reg­is­trars are not man­dated with in­quir­ing into land ti­tles un­der the Stamps and Reg­is­tra­tion Act, thus giv­ing scope for the reg­is­tra­tion depart­ment to in­dulge in ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties. This is the rea­son why prop­er­ties in dis­pute con­tinue to be reg­is­tered and land scams, such as the un­fold­ing `587 crore Miya­pur scam, con­tinue to oc­cur.

The Stamps and Reg­is­tra­tion Act, 1908, em­pow­ered Reg­is­trars to

prima fa­cie ver­ify the mar­ketable ti­tle in the doc­u­ments pro­duced be­fore them as well as to check whether the re­quired stamp duty has been duly paid or not be­fore the reg­is­tra­tion. But the Reg­is­trar’s man­date ends there.

“It is duty of the Reg­is­trar to look into the doc­u­ments pro­duced be­fore him for reg­is­tra­tion whether or not the prop­erty has a mar­ketable value. But the Reg­is­trar has no power or duty en­trusted on him in the Act to ver­ify whether there is any dis­pute with re­gard to the ti­tle of the land,” ex­plained N. Sreed­har Reddy, ad­vo­cate and former spe­cial govern­ment pleader for the Rev­enue depart­ment at the Hy­der­abad High Court.

He said that the Reg­is­trar can only refuse to reg­is­ter the prop­erty in cases where a com­pe­tent court has granted an in­junc­tion against reg­is­ter­ing a par­tic­u­lar prop­erty or if the prop­erty is in a pro­hibitory list.

This lack of a man­date to in­quire into land ti­tles is the main loop­hole al­low­ing scams to oc­cur, he con­tends.

But other lawyers dis­agree. Al­though there is no ex­plicit man­date for the Reg­is­trar to in­quire into land ti­tles un­der the Stamps and Reg­is­tra­tion Act, it does give the Reg­is­trar rea­son­able pow­ers to avoid fraud­u­lent reg­is­tra­tions, says high court lawyer A. San­tosh Ku­mar, charg­ing that it is Regist-rars’con­nivance with land grab­bers that leads to scams.

The Reg­is­trar has the power, for in­stance, to with­hold reg­is­tra­tion and sim­ply pro­vide a ‘pend­ing reg­is­tra­tion’ num­ber if he has doubts over ti­tle deeds and can ask the par­ties in­volved to pro­duce records with re­gard to the ti­tle of the prop­erty.

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