Investment in land is generally believed to fetch higher returns as compared to other forms of investment, however, one has to be very careful in land dealings.
Here’s a legal check list to follow, prior to the purchase of land, in India:
∙ Check preceding parental documents for last 30 years to ascertain the correct flow of title.
∙ Verify original title deed documents in the name of the present owner.
∙ Check latest patta/pahani/property card (whichever land revenue record applicable in the respective state) issued in the name of the present owner along with the land area extent so as to cross verify the mutation made in the revenue records in the name of the present owner of the land.
∙ Study the Field Map Sketch (FMB Sketch) of the land intended to be purchased.
∙ You must check whether the land conversion order had been obtained (if applicable in that particular state and whether the land had been converted to non-agricultural/residential land).
∙ Take a look at the land use maps to know the land use pattern fixed by the concerned authorities (for example, if the land intended to be purchased has been mapped as residential use site, then it can’t be used for any commercial purposes)
∙ Checkout the layout approval. Get a copy of the layout proceedings issued by the appropriate authority along with layout plan copy with a seal of the appropriate local body, and permit issued by the appropriate authority (for layout or scheme). If possible check the details of layout approval online (if available in that respective state). Also, ensure whether the concerned authority granting the permission for layout of land actually has the real authority. In Tamil Nadu, the president of the village panchayat does not have the authority to sanction layout of land but many lands are styled and sold as panchayat approved lands in many parts of the State.
∙ Check whether all the conditions (if any) imposed at the time of granting layout permit by the concerned authorities have been complied with.
∙ Ensure that the land is within the prescribed land ceiling limits applicable in that respective state.
∙ Ascertain that no high voltage transmission lines passes above the land intended to be purchased.
∙ Check whether there is no restriction in purchase of land in that respective state (In certain states in India, land belonging to people in the SC/ST category can’t be purchased by those in the general category without obtaining the previous permission of the district collector. Likewise, if the land had been assigned by the Government, then it must be ensured that all the conditions imposed for assignment of land should be complied with.
∙ Check the copy of the Gift Deed executed in favour of the local body (for gift of land for open space reservation and roads) in case if the layout or scheme land exceeds certain specific area prescribed by the respective state
∙ Crosscheck the genuineness of present owner land revenue record online (if available in that respective State)
∙ Check whether any land tax has been assessed in the name of the present owner and paid to the concerned authorities (if applicable)
∙ In case if the present owner had executed a power of attorney in favor of the power agent, check whether the said power of attorney document is still in force and also ensure that the principal (present owner) is alive before registration of the sale deed for the land.
∙ Obtain a certified copy of the latest title deed by which the owner had acquired the title to the property from the records of the concerned sub- registrar office having jurisdiction over the property to be purchased (genuineness of any document can be ascertained only when certified copy of the same is obtained from the records of the sub registrar and compared with the original)
∙ Physically measure the land and ensure that its dimensions tallies with the dimensions mentioned in the sanctioned layout/scheme/FMB Sketch.
∙ Check the value of the land intended to be purchased from the respective website of the State Government (this facility is not available in Assam) so as to know the value fixed by the respective state government for payment of stamp duty.
∙ Obtain a non-encumbrance certificate (computerised or manual – whichever applicable) for last 30 years so as to ascertain the correct title flow and also to ascertain that there is no subsisting mortgages or court attachments over the property intended to be purchased. Also cross verify the encumbrance details online (this facility is available only in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand)
Ensure that you have all these documents. After all, the risk of purchasing a land or plot is for more returns.
Note : Article extracted from The Hindu Newspaper, Property Plus Edition.