WHEN STATES EXPLOIT BUYERS’ VULNERABILITY
The Campa Cola society row is a case in point of how states are earning huge revenues by registering illegal properties
When a homebuyer pays a certain percentage of the cost of his apartment as stamp duty and gets his flat/ land registered with the revenue department of the state government, he believes his property has got all legal/requisite approvals. This i s the misconception that the residents of 106 flats in the Campa Cola society in Mumbai had harboured when t hey got sale deeds executed in their favour from the builder during the late ’80s by paying stamp duty of ` 1 lakh to ` 4 lakh each to the state revenue department. Today they stand to lose everything as the Supreme Court has ordered the demolition of their flats as these were built in violation of sanctioned plans.
This case, after t he SC declined t o regularise t he apartments, might be headed for closure, but the apartment owners are raising pertinent questions. Why did the sale deeds, executed in their favour by the builder, not help their cause in establishing their title over the properties, especially when the government earned a hefty revenue from stamp duty?
“Vinodbhai Kothari, who died on Sunday (June 14, 2014), was the first person to get his apartment registered in 1985 by paying ` 1.5 lakh as stamp duty and registration fee to the revenue department of the state government. Since then, he and his family have been regularly paying property taxes which were revised and raised from time to time by the government. Had the revenue department refused to register the sale deed in favour of Kothari way back in 1985, holding that the flat was illegal, more than 800 residents would not have fallen prey to the greed of the developer,” says Vidya Srinivas, a homebuyer in the Campa Cola society.
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Jail Road Janak Puri Mansarovar Garden
Patel Nagar Paschim Vihar Punjabi Bagh
Residents protest outside the Campa Cola society in Mumbai