A new bill seeks to make land titles fool proof and transactions less stressful
Most property disputes are centered on defects in the title of ownership of a property. Fraudulent transfers and misrepresentation of facts related to the nature of ownership of the property made to naïve buyers are not uncommon. To deal with this problem, the Government has proposed a draft `Land Titling Bill, 2010', currently pending approval of the legislature.

The objective is to promote good governance and bring about transparency in the maintenance and updation of property records for immovable property. The current system of maintenance of property records is riddled with flaws -such as duplication of property records being maintained by different government bodies, inaccuracies in property records, time-consuming process of updating property records, to name just a few. Moreover, the prevalent system of transferring immovable property through registration of deeds/documents suffers from many irregularities.

This bill seeks to introduce a conclusive property titling system of immoveable properties, in addition to title guarantee and indemnification against losses caused due to inaccuracies in property titles. Some features of this bill are as below: Establishment of a land titling authority having certain powers and responsibilities such as maintaining and updating the register of titles, register of disputes, index of maps, etc. for immovable properties in notified areas.

This authority, while discharging its functions under the bill, shall have the same powers as are vested in a civil court.

The authority shall have four divisions -title registry; survey, settlement and land information system; property valuation; and legal services and title guarantee.
Assigning of a unique property identification number to each immovable property in the notified area.

The title shall be required to be obtained for the land on which the property is situated, irrespective of the fact whether or not construction of the property is complete. Maintaining records of total area, built-up area, charges (such as equitable mortgages), details of previous transfers of a particular property and pending disputes with respect to the property, etc.

Undertaking of objective valuation of immovable properties in the notified area. Conducting inquiries for any purpose under the bill, such as probing irregularities in provisional titles that come to its notice.

Maintaining a register of disputes containing details of the nature of pending litigation for immovable properties in notified areas such as details of parties involved, details of court/ tribunal where dispute is pending, details of courts decrees/ orders, details of appeals by parties, final order/decree of the court, etc.

Establishment of a special body to facilitate speedy redressal of disputes, namely the land titling tribunal to adjudicate on matters related to the Act.

Under this bill, property records are sought to be maintained in both paper and electronic form with additional checks in place such as records of biometric identification, photographs, etc. All such information will be available in the public domain and furnished upon request.
Any title recorded in accordance with the provisions of this bill, when enacted, shall be considered as evidence of the marketable title of the titleholder, subject to other provisions of the Bill.

Undoubtedly, this promises to be a welcome development for citizens as it shall greatly contribute to increasing the efficiency of the due diligence process, property transactions and security of one's ownership rights.



Transparency in land titles
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