A Complaint against New Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Passbook Act

C.Nagaiah, Advocate

10/11/20237 min read

A Complaint against New Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Passbook Act by Nagaiah Cherukumud, Advocate

Through this Article, I want to address some of the main issues, which I thought are most important to be addressed. If I could, I will follow it with another article with some more issues.

The Assembly of state of Telangana has passed the Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Passbook Act (Act 9 of 2020) and the said act came into force on 29-10-2020 by virtue of notification vide G.O.Ms.No.116, dated 28-10-2020. It replaced the earlier ROR Act. As per the preamble of the said act, the intention of the legislature is to consolidate the law related to the records of rights in land in the State of Telangana. As per Subsection 4 of Section.4 the Act shall not apply to non-agricultural lands.

So, the registration of agricultural land is now with Tahsildar, and the registration of non-agricultural land is retained with the Sub-registrar existing system. This also led to a lot of trouble in very peculiar situations where remedy is denied at both the places because there is no coordinate and exchange of records between these to web portals of the Authorities.

As per Section 5 of ROR Act, Any person intent to transfer or obtain the interest of land by way of the sale, mortgage, or exchange under a registered document, shall apply through website prescribed (presently Dharni Web portal) for the purpose to the registration for allotting available date and time to present the document as per the convenience of the persons. The person shall submit the transferred documents in prescribed forms, and pattadar passbooks cum title deeds and date and time allotted before the registrar.

It is further mentioned that in every case, where the pattadar and property particulars in the document are in coincidence with the entries and records of rights and on payment of stamp duty and registration fee prescribed as per the registration Act. and the Indian Stamp Act respectively, and mutation charges prescribed, the Registrar shall registrar the document and carryout consequence the amendment to the relevant entries in the record of rights instantly, duly deleting the land covered by the document from the account of the transferor and adding the same to the account of the transferee in case of sale, gift and exchange. In case of mortgage, the charge created shall be recorded in Dharani consequently, the new pattadar passbook and title deed will issue the transferee. I don't want to mention all the provisions here and make it clumsy. However, I mentioned relevant provisions wherever necessary in non-legal terms in plain English.

As per the preamble the purpose of act issue consolidates law related to the records of rights in land but in reality it has substantially affected the Registration Act and Transfer of property Act. Most of the accepted formats of the documents like Sale Deed, Gift Deed, Mortgage Deed, Exchange Deed and Relinquishment Deed, which have been developed over a period of time have been dispsensed with without making any effective alternative. The said documents have a method of tracing of title and terms of the transfer etc., which included the recording of flow of title (history of title) that served various purposes both for protecting the rights of parties in court of law, if there will be any dispute in future. It makes it easy for the party to documents to trace the title without any delay and effort. Each transaction will have a peculiar/unique nature which needs to be recorded in appropriate terms to record the intention of the parties and, sometimes, write the specific terms to balance the equity and the interests of the parties. No one can contemplate all the situations and events and prepare a standard template for all the documents, all the times.

The new ROR Act has dispensed with the writing of the documents by parties that have been placed from time immemorial, and reduced it to a filled-in application form. There is no scope of writing either the history or title of specific terms. Even applying the encumbrance certificate based on the document or Survey number wise is not resulting in reflection of all the earlier documents as it used to be. To make it more understandable, if there are more than four transfers of the title through sale deed/Gift Deed etc., after Dharnai came into existence for particular land, there is now way to find out the other three transactions unless the documents were given by the seller. Neither the ROR recorded nor E.C disclose all those entries.

Without explicit reference to the Registration Act and the Transfer of Property Act, either amending or inserting new sections or making it redundant, through the new ROR Act, has effectively nullified various rights and options available to those Acts and rights enjoyed by the persons/citizens while registering the document.

To better understand the above statements, let us take up different types of documents and see how the ROR act affected its use and effects.

Sale Deed: As stated earlier, there is no scope for even mentioning the earlier one link document. So writing the historical flow title is too much to ask. This created a gulf for the common meaning and legal person to ascertain the title of the seller. The ROR Act has also diluted the encumbrance certificate by not linking the earlier title documents in its system. It has created a field day for the crooks and land grabbers. Even though many persons purchased the agricultural land have not yet mutated their names in the revenue records and obtained the pattadar passbooks. Instigated by the unlawful elements and opportunistic earlier transferees(sellers) have again mutated their names applying for mutation under the guise of succession and obtained the passbooks under Dharani. As the Revenue Authorities are not obliged to verify the title or the entries in the Registration Department, most of the mutations have been allowed and names of the persons were updated in revenue records, most of the genuine persons in thousands have been put under great distress. Now they have been forced to approach the courts as the revenue authorities have been ripped off all the original and appellate powers to rectify the mistakes in mutation of revenue records. After a couple of years as there is no continuous mention of flow of title in the system, will make it impossible for any landowner/former, who is oblivious to all the records that has been happening in Dharani, to prove his or her title in any court of law, even though, he is in possession of land even prior to the advent of the new ROR Act. To the surprise of many, even certified copies of the registered documents are not provided as it used to be. Neither purpose nor the intention was provided by the ROR Act for not providing a copy of the registered document to the public. Many decisions of the Supreme Courts and High Courts, related to transfer of title that the title in any property is transferred through registered documents only but not through mutation in revenue records is effectively set at naught.

Mortgage Deed: As per the Transfer of Property Act there are six types of mortgage i.e.,1) Simple mortgage 2)Mortgage by conditional sale, 3) Usufructuary Mortgage.4) English Mortgage, 5) Mortgage by deposit of title deeds, 6) Anomalous Mortgage. The present Dharani website allows only two types of mortgages, i.e., Mortgage with possession and without possession

Partition Deed:- As the property which used to stand jointly have not been automatically partitioned between the parties issued pattadar passbooks separately, the present Dharani Portal does not allow registration of joint property.

Exchange Deed :- There is no option for an exchange deed in Dharani Portal. If any two parties want to exchange land now, they have to execute two Sale Deeds separately by paying the full stamp duty to give effect to the exchange. In other words, the benefit of availing the stamp duty benefit which was used to be under the earlier exchange deed is not now available to the parties. So, the option of exchange deed is not available for the land owners in the Telangana, so effectively, the article prescribing stamp duty was effectively removed from the provisions of Stamp Duty Act, But, if you refer to to Clause No.4 of Section-5 of the ROR Act, there is explicit reference to the Exchange Deed but that option is taken away from the citizens/landowners.

Gift Deed:- Generally the elders will always retain the enjoyment rights in his/her or spouse during his/her lifetime and later bequeath the rights in favor of their children or grandchildren. It requires various recitals in the Gift Deed. As I stated earlier, because of the fixed fill-in form model.

Now, I discuss with various transactions that I have come across which demonstrated the lack of remedy under the Dharani portal/New ROR Act,

“A” executed a sale deed in respect of agricultural land for an extent of Ac.1.00gts in a village and later the said land was converted into non agricultural use and later executed a Development Agreement cum GPA. Subsequently, he noticed a clerical error in the Sale Deed and tried to execute a Rectification Deed. The Tahsildar refused to register the Rectification Deed referring to the change of land use to non agricultural purposes, and similarly, the Sub-Registrar is refusing to register the Rectification Deed as the Rectification Deed is rectifying the Sale Deed pertaining to the agricultural land. Both of them expressed their inability citing lack of jurisdiction and the absence of options under their respective web portals.

The systems under Dharani allowed the mutation of the names of pattadars purely based on the reflection of names in revenue records without any reference to the Registered Documents available with the Department of Stamps and Registration Act gave an opportunity to various persons who tend to manipulate the records to illegally grab the property of others. So the land grabbers have inserted their names in Dharani with the help of some unscrupulous revenue offices and have created further documents complicating the title and extracted benefits making loss to the genuine owners who have not mutated their names in revenue records or not vigilant in verifying the Dharani Records In some cases, even in the presence of mutation proceedings and pattadar passbooks have got their names mutated replacing the original pattadars/landowners through undue influence on revenue officials. Now, all of them have been forced to go to civil court to address this.

I sincerely hope the State of Telangana will take steps to address these grievances of citizens. I believe in Democracy So, I positively look forward to see the grievances are addressed in an expeditious manner.