I am an Indian resident and own some agricultural land. I included my son’s name in the deed for my agricultural land. He is a non-resident Indian (NRI) and holds a green card in the US. This ownership would mean that he will be classified as a farmer. But now that he is a US citizen, is he allowed to buy more agricultural land in India?
The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (Fema), is the statute to consolidate the law for foreign exchange with the objective to facilitate external trade and payments and to promote the orderly development and maintenance of foreign exchange market in India.
Under Fema and the Foreign Exchange Management (Acquisition and Transfer of Immovable Property in India) Regulations, 2018, NRIs are not permitted to purchase an agricultural land or plantation property or farmhouse in India.
However, one may seek special permission from the Reserve Bank of India, which may be granted only after the consideration of various factors. Therefore, to answer your query, your son, now being a US citizen, may not be able to acquire or purchase agricultural land in India under the automatic route.
I was allotted a plot of land under the Yamuna Expressway Scheme in 2009. I was the sole holder of the plot. In 2010, I included my daughter as a co-owner for the registration of the agreement at a nominal fee. My daughter’s surname changed after her marriage and she acquired British citizenship. Now we want to get her name removed as a co-owner, but according to Yamuna Expressway Authority, I have to pay stamp duty once again for the registration of the “agreement to sell" to delete the name of my daughter. Is a release deed applicable in this case? How should we proceed?
—Name withheld on request
For the removal of your daughter as a co-owner of the land allotted under the Yamuna Expressway Scheme in 2009, either a gift deed or a release deed can be executed by your daughter instead of an “agreement to sell".
Under a gift or release deed, your daughter may gift or relinquish her interest in the land, as the case may be, to you or any other relative, subject to complying with the terms of the allotment of the land.
After paying the applicable stamp duty in the relevant state, Uttar Pradesh in your case, the gift or release deed will require to be executed and registered by your daughter at the office of the sub-registrar of assurances, having territorial jurisdiction of the land.
You need to inform about the execution and registration of such a gift or release deed to the Yamuna Authority, the developer land owner in your case.
Aradhana Bhansali is partner, Rajani Associates. You can send in your queries and views at firstname.lastname@example.org