LG-Delhi govt tus­sle hits in­vestors

Land buy­ers are caught in the tug-of-war be­tween the Delhi govern­ment and the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor over cir­cle rates of agri­cul­tureure land dis­ad­van­tages of high cir­cle rates

HT Estates - - FRONT PAGE - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

Dozens of in­vestors who bought agri­cul­ture land four t o f i ve m o n t h s ago from farm­ers in the land pool­ing zones of north, northwest and south­west Delhi have been un­able to get the ti­tles of their land be­cause the sub-reg­is­trars con­cerned have im­pounded sale deeds in which the land rate de­clared is less than the rate fixed by the Delhi govern­ment on Au­gust 4, 2015.

Ramesh Singh (name changed) had bought seven acres in Delhi’s northwest zone where the cir­cle rate was ₹ 3 crore per acre at the ac­tual mar­ket rate of ₹ 1.5 crore per acre. “I got the land reg­is­tered at ₹ 1.5 crore but the sub-reg­is­trar im­pounded my doc­u­ments af­ter reg­is­tra­tion and sent them to the col­lec­tor of stamps or the sub divi­sional mag­is­trate (SDM) of that area. A num­ber of months have gone by, but he has yet to clear the doc­u­ments,” says Singh.

Ac­cord­ing to rev­enue depart­ment sources, the col­lec­tor of stamps, who is the des­ig­nated au­thor­ity to clear th­ese im­pounded doc­u­ments, has been un­able to deal with the pa­pers be­cause of dif­fer­ences be­tween the Delhi govern­ment and the lieu­tenant gov­er­nor (LG) on fix­ing land rates of agri­cul­tural land in the land pool­ing zones of Delhi. The no­ti­fi­ca­tion re­lated to hike in cir­cle rates of agri­cul­tural land is un­der ju­di­cial scru­tiny in the Delhi High Court.

“Re­cently onee ofof thethe sub-sub­reg­is­trars from thehe north­west­north­west district of Del­hii sentsent 4040 salesale deeds of agri­cul­ture­ture land­land toto the col­lec­tor of stamp­stamps for­for fix­ing the right val­ue­value of the prop­erty,” sayssays source in the rev­enu­enue depart­ment on condi-ndi­tions of anonymity.ty.

I n t h e n o r mm aa ll course of things, when­ev­er­when­ever a buyer un­der­val­ue­ses proper-prop­erty, the sub-reg­is­trarr im­pound­sim­pounds the ti­tle deed af­ter reg­is­ter­ingreg­is­ter­ing itit at the value quoted by the buyer and sends it un­der Sec­tion 47A of the In­dian Stamp Act to the col­lec­tor of stamps. The col­lec­tor then has to de­ter­mine the cor­rect value within 30 days and work out the dif­fer­en­tial sum. The sub-reg­is­trar then charges the buyer the re­main­ing sum to com­plete the reg­is­tra­tion process.

Things went wrong on Au­gust 4, 2015, when the rev­enue depart­ment of the Delhi govern­ment is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion rais­ing the cir­cle rate of agri­cul­ture land of Delhi from ₹ 53 lakh per acre all across Delhi to ₹ 1 crore-to ₹ 3.5 crore per acre de­pend­ing on the dif­fer­ent mar­ket rates in dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the Cap­ti­tal. Just a week af­ter that, on Au­gust 10, 2015 LG Na­jeeb Jung stayed this no­ti­fi­ca­tion for fur­ther e x a m i n at i o n . Du r i n g t h e Delhi govern­ment-LG stand­off Congress leader Naresh Ku­mar filed a pub­lic in­ter­est lit­i­ga­tion de­mand­ing in­terim stay on the no­ti­fi­ca­tion is­sued by the Delhi govern­ment. Re­fus­ing the stay, the Delhi high court agreed to hear the mat­ter.

Now, even though the mat­ter is pend­ing with the high court, sub-reg­is­trars, es­pe­cially those in the land pool­ing zones, are reg­is­ter­ing land at rates over and above ₹ 53 lakh per acre.

“Pur­chasers who are pay­ing stamp duty at the rate fixed by the Delhi govern­ment in its Au­gust 4, 2015, no­ti­fi­ca­tion, are get­ting their sale deeds reg­is­tered with­out prob­lems. How­ever, those want­ing to pay ac­cord­ing to old rate of ₹ 53 lakh per acre find that the sub­reg­is­trar, af­ter reg­is­ter­ing the sale- deed, is con­fis­cat­ing the doc­u­ment and send­ing it to the col­lec­tor of stamps, or SDM. The SDM does not clear the file be­cause he is wait­ing for the fi­nal judg­ment in the Delhi High Court. So de­spite pay­ing for the land, buy­ers are kept wait­ing for the ti­tle for sev­eral months. They are very wor­ried about the stand­off con­tin­u­ing for a long time,” says a source at the Ka­pashera sub-reg­is­trar’ of­fice.

Se­nior of­fi­cials in the rev­enue depart­ment ad­mit to lack of clar­ity on the stamp duty charged from land buy­ers. “What if to­mor­row the Delhi High Court sets aside the Au­gust 4, 2015, no­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Delhi govern­ment? Then the govern­ment can be ac­cused of over­charg­ing land buy­ers. And in case the court up­holds it, then the rev­enue of­fi­cer will have to fol­low the cum­ber­some process of is­su­ing a no­tice and re­cov­er­ing the re­main­ing stamp duty,” in­forms an­other rev­enue of­fi­cial.

Why are cir­cle rates higher in land pool­ing zones? Some prop­erty bro­kers say that the hike in cir­cle rate is highly un­re­al­is­tic in cer­tain ar­eas be­cause over a pe­riod of time the land rates have fallen due to lack of clar­ity on the land pool­ing pol­icy (LPP). They also ask that when the govern­ment was not tak­ing any fi­nal de­ci­sion on LPP, why had it fixed two dif­fer­ent rates for agri­cul­tural land for two ar­eas – non LPP and LPP? Ac­cord­ing to the govern­ment no­ti­fi­ca­tion of Au­gust 4, 2015, in northwest Delhi, the cir­cle rate of agri­cul­ture land in non LPP zone is R1.25 crore per acre while in LPP zone it is R3 crore per acre. “It shows that Delhi govern­ment wants to kill the whole pol­icy. The whole logic be­hind higher cir­cle rate of LPP area was that the de­mand of High stamp duty: If cir­cle rates are un­re­al­is­ti­cally high when com­pared to pre­vail­ing mar­ket rate, buy­ers will have to pay more stamp duty to the state govern­ment ir­re­spec­tive of the ac­tual price of the prop­erty be­cause stamp du­ties are cal­cu­lated on the ba­sis of cir­cle rates In­crease in the over­all price of the prop­erty: Since pay­ment of stamp duty is manda­tory to get own­er­ship of a prop­erty, any hike in cir­cle rate leads to in­crease in amount paid as stamp duty charge and this pushes up the over­all cost of the prop­erty Neg­a­tive im­pact on realty mar­ket: A high cir­cle rate of­ten im­pacts the realty mar­ket neg­a­tively be­cause it be­comes a prom­i­nent fac­tor push­ing up prices. De­mand usu­ally from buy­ers and de­vel­op­ers is that rates be kept low In­crease in ten­dency to un­der­value a prop­erty: High cir­cle rates com­pel buy­ers to un­der­value the prop­erty at the time of registry or drive them to adopt un­re­li­able modes of trans­fer of prop­er­ties like notarised gen­eral power of at­tor­ney etc Un­due ha­rass­ment of prop­erty buy­ers: Sub— reg­is­trars or rev­enue of­fi­cials de­mand bribes to reg­is­ter prop­er­ties which are un­der­val­ued be­cause of high cir­cle rates even if stamp duty is paid at par with the cir­cle rate, al­lege pur­chaser

ISTOCK

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