Any immovable property viz, land and building are transferred to other in India with the help of principally two prevalent laws:
- Transfer of Property Act
- Registration Act
As per Section 5 of TPA: “transfer of property” means an act by which a living person conveys property, in present or in future, to one or more other living persons, or to himself and one or more other living persons; and “to transfer property” is to perform such act.
In this section “living person includes a company or association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, but nothing herein contained shall affect any law for the time being in force relating to transfer of property to or by companies, associations or bodies of individuals.
Who can transfer: One who is himself the rightful owner of the property or duly authorized to do the same.
Correct mode of authorization: Power of attorney: a general or specific power of attorney need not be registered. The question of registration arises only if a power is given for the sale of immovable properties. The Indian Registration Act does not make a power of attorney compulsorily registered. However, the Supreme court has recently ruled that a power of attorney given to sell immovable properties should be registered. It should be done at the office of the sub registrar within whose jurisdiction the person giving the power resides. If the person resides abroad, the power should be attested by the Indian consulate in that country. Such power of attorney should be used within 3 months from the date of its execution. if given to the father, mother, brother, sister, wife, husband, daughter, son, grandson, grand-daughter or father, mother, brother or sister of the spouse.
In a landmark judgment, Supreme Court of India in Suraj Lamps & Industries Pvt Ltd Vs State of Haryana decided:
“We make it clear that our observations are not intended to in any way affect the validity of sale agreements and powers of attorney executed in genuine transactions. For example, a person may give a power of attorney to his spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister or a relative to manage his affairs or to execute a deed of conveyance. A person may enter into a development agreement with a land developer or builder for developing the land either by forming plots or by constructing apartment buildings and in that behalf execute an agreement of sale and grant a Power of Attorney empowering the developer to execute agreements of sale or conveyances in regard to individual plots of land or undivided shares in the land relating to apartments in favour of prospective purchasers. In several States, the execution of such development agreements and powers of attorney are already regulated by law and subjected to specific stamp duty. Our observations regarding `SA/GPA/WILL transactions’ are not intended to apply to such bonafide/genuine transactions.” Be very cautious while trying to buy a property through a GPA holder.
Further, by virtue of Registration Act every transfer of immovable property should be done with a written and registered document known as Sale deed or Conveyance Deed.
Never buy a property from anybody else than the owner, even if someone is brother, father or son of the owner, he has got no right to sell the property or negotiate for the same. You should be sure that the proposed seller has all the legal title over the property which is undisputed and has actual and physical possession of the same too.
Before paying any advance, get a Title search report of the property from an advocate. A Land Title Search Report traces the history of a property. It describes in detail about the situations like- who was the original owner of the property, how it has moved hands over a period of time before reaching the present seller. If the property that you intend to buy has defective title or it doesn’t stand legally in the name of seller, forget buying it.
Never buy any property that doesn’t have all the original papers intact for at least past 30 years showing clear ownership. Ask for original papers before paying any considerable amount. These days, people are mortgaging a property for a loan which remains unpaid and try to sell the same to somebody else too. Beware.
Do ask for sanctioned map of the property if it is a built place or proposed to be built soon.
Do not pay anything in cash above 2 lakhs. It is punishable offence with heavy fine. For whatever cash you pay, get a receipt on a blank paper with revenue stamp of Rs. 2 affixed and signed across by the recipient.
Always have two witnesses with proper identification documents to depose for you from agreement to sell, receipt to Sale deed registration who are young, local and having good health.
Photocopies of the Sale deed can not be misused easily except for creating a forged document of the same.
From the above discussions, it should be clear to you that merely signing on a blank piece of paper, your property can not be transferred but as a matter of discipline avoid signing on blank papers ever.
If necessary, private detectives could also be hired to get the property investigated from all angles. If there is any sort of hindrance through any court order (stay etc)or it is under any dispute, it is very tough to find yourself.
If you are buying an empty plot, be extra cautious. There are thousands of cases of fake documents of ownership and cheating on empty plots belonging to government or anybody else.
I have tried to include all essential aspects of buying a property and hazards and caution. Will add more gradually too. Feel free asking for any query in comments.
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