Assist in land related matters
Land is unique as it is immovable and its value depends on location, utility, classification etc. Its demand keeps increasing with growing population, while its supply is limited. Kerala, comparing with the other states of India, is densely populated one and the land as a whole deemed to be scare even to provide ample accommodations to its people. The scarcity of affordable housing in urban areas drives the urban poor to live in slums or unauthorised colonies. These slum dwellers do not have clear title or any ownership right over such land.
Land ownership is determined through various records like sale deeds, Record of right (ROR), taxpaying document, survey records etc. However land titles often are unclear due to various reasons such as legacy issues gaps in the legal frame work and poor administration of land records. This has led to several legal disputes related to ownership. Such disputes have highlighted the relevance of having clear land titles and a well organised land records system. Certain study in this field shows that land related disputes account for two-thirds of all pending court cases in the country. These land disputes include those related to the validity of land titles and records, and rightful ownership. The study also shows that land dispute on average take about 10 years to be resolved and it adds to the burden of the courts tie up.
Under the Registration Act 1908, registration of property is not mandatory for all transactions. It includes acquisition of land by Government, Court decrees, heir ship partitions etc. Since heir ship partitions do not require registration, several property divisions are not recorded and hence do not correctly reflect who is in possession of the land. This often leads litigation related to rightful owner among heirs.
Poor maintenance of land records has led to inaccuracy in the ownership of land. In the past, states have neglected updating the records through surveys. Sketches have not been used to establish actual boundaries on the ground. This has resulted in the spatial records not matching with textual records. Discrepancy between spatial and textual records also arises because of transfer and partition of land, either though inheritance or sale not captured through surveys.
The information related to land is usually documented and maintained primary across three departments.
1.Registration Department, is responsible for registrations of transfer documents and collections of stamp duty.
2.Revenue Department is responsible for maintaining the ROR and mutation register. It also maintains tax register for collection or revenue on land.
3.Survey and Land Records Department. maintains spatial data and executes surveys to collect land related data and update the maps or sketch.