You wouldn’t want to buy a disputed property. There are laws to help you steer clear of such properties by allowing you to check the status of a property. You are allowed to do so through an amendment brought by the government of India in 1998 in section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, and in section 18 of the Registration Act, 1908.
WHERE CAN YOU CHECK?
The registrar office, where sale deeds are registered has to mention details of any court proceedings under a separate sub-head in its respective file. Each property has its own diary number or a file number. While at the time of registration, property owners get the file number, if you are a prospective buyer, you can enquire from the registrar’s office about any court proceedings by filing an application under the Right to Information Act.
The registrar office has to enter these details within three months of the initiation of the court hearing. It is the duty of the registrar office to update the details of the court proceedings from time to time. In case there has been a judgement, the office has to mention the final judgement and the name of the person in whose favour the court has given its verdict.
WHY THE AMENDMENT?
The number of property disputes is high in India and thousands of cases are pending before Indian courts. In several cases, owners stuck in title disputes sold their property without revealing the fact that the matter was subjudice, even though people involved in disputes were prohibited from selling the property.
In the absence of any mechanism to find out if there was a court hearing pending on a property, keeping a check on such deals was very difficult.
WHAT WAS THE AMENDMENT?
As per the amendment, within three months of the initiation of a court hearing over matters pertaining to a disputed property, the registrar of properties has to mention the nature of the case and note down the names and addresses of the persons involved in the case under a new clause.
The fact that the government has empowered you not to get into a bad deal, the onus is on you to make the most if it.
—Devesh Chandra Srivastava