The State Assembly on Thursday referred to its Subject Committee ‘The Registration (Kerala Amendment) Bill, 2009,' seeking to introduce provisions to restrict the amassment of landed property by unscrupulous elements in the State, resulting in the gradual alienation of the poor from land resources.

Introducing the Bill in the Assembly on Thursday, Minister for Registration S. Sarma said real estate had become an important area of speculative business and there was a growing tendency in society to grab lands owned by the government, non-resident Indians (who could not be alert to the operations of unscrupulous elements back home) and the poor and illiterate sections using bogus documents.

The intention of this Bill was to plug certain loopholes in the law that allowed this tendency to flourish. It sought to introduce, in the original Registration Act of 1908, a provision making registration of an agreement mandatory before selling immovable property. There was also, surprisingly, no provision in the original Act for registration officials to refuse an application for registration of documents that was prima facie unsustainable, like, for instance, those which involved the transfer of government land to private owners. Such instances now would have to be proved in the court. The Bill sought to plug this gap in the law also, Mr. Sarma said.

The law, as it existed now, also gave no powers to the government to cancel documents found registered through fraudulent means. The new Bill would bring in a provision for cancelling documents got registered through fraudulent means such as impersonation.

There was also a provision enabling the aggrieved to prefer appeals against any such cancellation.