KERALA

Land registration reforms hit

N.J.Nair

Dilution of conditions set for preventing under-valuation and corruption



Thrust was on restructuring documents to make it more lucid

The condition that property be classified and represented as such in document withdrawn



THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The reforms initiated by the government with a view to streamlining land registration are said to have suffered a jolt with the dilution in certain conditions set for preventing under-valuation and corruption.

Though almost all major reforms have been implemented without much deviation, the conditions laid down for making the process more transparent and corruption-free have been watered down the line.

The reform process was taken up last year on finding that the existing system was cumbersome and often incomprehensible to the common man. The thrust was on restructuring documents to make it more lucid.

A series of conditions were drawn up by the government for preparing the documents. Initially, it was decided to include the name of the corporation, municipality or panchayat as well as the ward number in which the property is located and the door number in the documents presented for registration. This was seen as a major step for easy identification of any property.

Database

The database of land resources prepared by the Registration Department could have been utilised by other government departments and agencies too. But, later, the government diluted the requirements and said that only the name of the ward need be mentioned in the document.

The condition that each property be classified as commercial, residential and garden land and represented as such in the document too has been withdrawn until such time that the fair value of land is fixed and notified.

The classification of property would have prevented under-valuation and checked revenue loss. Its reversal is seen as a major dilution of the reforms.

But, many other reforms that have been introduced are still in force. For instance, the one requiring that details of the document furnished by the buyer and seller for proving their identity be included in the document. Or, the one relating to filing an affidavit on encumbrance, including loans, and on the nature of the land - whether forest land or ecologically fragile land or excess land.

Property disputes

Contours of a property will have to be specifically mentioned to avoid border disputes. Clear norms have been laid for mentioning the corrections and errors in each document.

Though all positive steps have come in for public approval, the decision to dilute certain major conditions has come in for criticism.

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