Author: Yuvanshi Kulshreshtha, 3rd Year, B.A. LL.B. (Hons.), Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal The article has been written by the author while pursuing the internship programme with us. Introduction The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019 was passed by the Parliament on 4th December 2019. The President gave assent to the said Bill on 11th December, 2019. The purpose of the Act is to grant property rights to the residents living in unauthorized colonies spread over 1750 sq. km in the National Capital Delhi. This is done by conferring rights of ownership or transfer or mortgage in favour of the residents of such colonies which again is to be granted on the basis of power of attorney, agreement to sale, will, possession letter or any other documents including payment documents[1]. The provisions of this Act are applicable to colonies whose residents fall in low income groups. 69 affluent colonies have been identified by Delhi Development Authority (hereinafter referred to as DDA) which is excluded from the applicability of this Act. Background Taking the cognizance of a report submitted by the Committee headed by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) proposed the bill to the Union Cabinet. The Cabinet approved the proposal on 23rd October 2019; and accordingly, the Regulations for granting such rights to the people living in unauthorized colonies were notified on 29th October 2019. Need & Objective The Preamble to the Act specifies that the main purpose of the Act is to provide property rights to people living in unauthorised colonies. It was pointed out that the development of planned housing colonies have not kept pace with the fast increasing population of Delhi due to factors like migration and others resulting in the increase of unauthorised colonies. Such colonies lack basic necessities like waste management, roads, parks, water supply, sewerage lines etc. Further, people who buy properties in these colonies do not pay taxes, the consequence of which is lack of development of these people and colonies. Another problem is banks or other financial institutions do not grant loans to said properties. That is primarily because such property is considered illegal due to unauthorization. Thus they increase their dependence on non-banking institutions of credit facilities and loan mafias. It has also been found that ownership of such properties has been transferred several times through registered or non-registered or notarised power of attorney, will etc, stamp duty on quite a few of these transactions has neither been assessed nor paid. The Supreme Court also in the case of Suraj Lamp & Industries (P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana & others[2] held that agreement to sale, power of attorney or will transactions are not “transfers” or “sales”; such transactions can be used as existing agreement of sale and cannot be used as valid or complete transfers. They simply do not create any title or any interest in any immovable property. Due to all such reasons listed above, this piece of legislation was framed. Applicability of the Act Section 1(2)[3] lays down the territorial applicability of the Act by extending it to the National Capital Territory of Delhi. 1. Targeted Beneficiaries The Act is expected to benefit around 40 lakh people who are residing in 1731 unauthorized colonies in NCT as mentioned in the Regulations of National Capital Territory of Delhi, (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) 2019.[4] 2. Excluded Categories Certain areas of land have been excluded from the applicability of the Act as mentioned in the Regulations of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) 2019[5]. Some of these are listed below: 1. Land falling in reserved or notified forests, 2. Land identified as protected or prohibited area by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958), 3. Land falling in Yamuna Flood Plain, 4. Land falling in ridge area of Delhi, 5. Land reserved or protected under any other law for the time being in force, and 6. There are 69 affluent colonies that have been kept out of ambit of this Act as has been identified by DDA on the basis of sizes, location and other social, economic parameters in such colonies [6]. Operational Definition of Terms related to the Act Section 2 lays down the definition of the terms ‘resident’[7] and ‘unauthorised colony.’[8] Any person who has physical possession of property through a registered sale deed or latest power of attorney, agreement to sale, will, possession letter and any other documents which can be used as a piece of evidence to show that payment of consideration has been made in respect of a property in unauthorised colonies is a ‘resident’. This definition is inclusive of legal heirs but does not include tenant, licensee or permissive user.[9] ‘Unauthorised Colony’ is a colony that comprises of a contiguous area, where no permission has been obtained for carrying out any building plans and has been identified for regularisation by DDA through notification dated 24th March, 2008[10]. Key Provisions of the Act The Act contains three sections. The marginal head to Section 3 reads as ‘Recognition of Property Rights.’ Section 3(1) confers the power on the Central Government to regularise the transactions of immovable properties based on the latest power of attorney, agreement to sale, will, possession letter and other documents which can be used as evidence to show payment of consideration for conferring right of ownership of an immovable property in interest of a resident of an unauthorised colony. The Government can also fix charges on payment of such transactions.[11] According to Section 3(3), the stamp duty and registration charges shall be payable on the amount mentioned in the conveyance deed or authorisation slip. After the payment of these charges, any resident of an unauthorised colony shall be eligible for right of ownership or transfer or mortgage through a conveyance deed or authorisation slip[12]. Sub-section 5 says that no stamp duty and registration charges shall be payable on any previous sale transactions made prior to any transaction referred to in sub-section (4). Aftermath The Act, no doubt, is going to benefit nearly 30 percent of the population of Delhi residing in unauthorised colonies. However, certain shortcomings of the Act have been listed below. 1. The Applicants, in order to get the conveyance deed or authorization slip issued by DDA have to upload certain documents. It may be a possibility that a person does not have certain documents that are required. 2. There are also possibilities that many people may claim ownership of a single land. Conclusion There is no doubt that looking at the misery and the socio-economic conditions of the people living in the unauthorised colonies, such a piece of legislation laying down a proper legal framework for conferring property rights on such people was long needed. Though this legislation is free from any loopholes as such, the real problem lies in the practical application & implementation of the Act. Thus, this brilliant piece of welfare legislation can achieve its purpose only if the challenges are tackled and are implemented properly. REFERENCES: [1] The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019, No. 45 of 2019, Acts of Parliament, 2019. [2]Special Leave Petition (C) No.13917 of 2009. [3] Supra note 1. [4] (May 6, 2020, 09:31 AM), https://Dda.Org.In/Tendernotices_Docs/Sept2019/List_Of_1731_Ucs_06121909122019.Pdf. [5](May 6, 2020, 09:31 AM), [6] Id. [7] Section 2(a), Supra note 1. [8] Section 2(b), Supra note 1. [9] Section 3(6), Supra note 1. [10] Supra note 7. [11] Section 3(2), Supra note 1. [12] Section 3(4), Supra note 1.

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