It is part of the reforms to bring about transparency and efficiency in property registration processes
To bring about transparency and efficiency in the registration processes, Minister for Commercial Taxes, Registration and Stamp Law P. Moorthy has called for certain reforms. They include online payment of registration fee by registrants, adherence to guideline value irrespective of the last registered price of property in the same survey number, and the launch of a grievances cell for the public to file complaints on phone, WhatsApp and email.
At review meetings held in the last one month, Mr. Moorthy issued a series of instructions to the Sub-Registrars that should be followed with immediate effect under the direct supervision of senior officials, sources in the Department told The Hindu on Sunday.
Instructions were given to make sure that applicants seeking registration of documents should make payment of fee from their bank accounts. The practice in a majority of the cases now is that the document writers, who have offices close to the sub-registrar offices, allegedly make payments from their accounts on behalf of the registrants and receive cash payments from them later.
Where there was difficulty in making online payments, e-seva counters would assist registrants make the transaction. Efforts were being made to enable members of the public to pay stamp duty and registration fee at nationalised banks, the sources said. “This paves the way for corruption since many document writers bill the applicants over the actual charges in the name of processing fee and service charges. During several raids conducted by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption in recent times, cash disproportionate to the registration fee and the stamp duty was recovered from the offices of the document writers,” a senior official said.
The official said there was a misconception among members of the public that purchase of stamp papers was compulsory for registrations, which was contrary to the fact.
The Registration Department collects a stamp duty of 7% and registration fee of 4% for registration, gift, exchange of properties.
“Registration can be done on a plain paper and there is actually no need for any physical stamp papers. Stamp duty can also be paid partly by bank transfer. For instance, if the stamp duty for registering a document is ₹25,000, the entire money can be paid online or stamp papers worth some part of it can be purchased and the remaining settled online. It is just a sentiment among the people to use stamp papers for registrations,” the official said.
As for the issue of Christian marriage certificate, which has to be obtained from the Registrar-General of Marriages, Chennai, Mr. Moorthy directed the officials to issue copies of such certificates in all districts to avoid unnecessary travel by the applicants to the State capital.
Mr. Moorthy directed officials not to rely on the last registered value of property in a given survey number and instead stick to the guideline value.
“If a land in a particular survey number has been registered for a value that is higher than the guideline value for any reason, it need not be binding on another person buying property in the same survey number to match that…the guideline value should remain the benchmark,” the Minister was quoted as saying at a review meeting.
Asked why would a registrant register a property at a higher price, Mr. Moorthy said some people going for home loans would increase the value for a higher funding component.
“It is not fair to impose the higher registered price as the guideline value for others,” he said.
Among the other suggestions made by the Minister were to minimise pendency in the issue of documents on the same day and creation of a public grievances cell in Chennai with the contact numbers and email address displayed at all sub-registrar offices.
Tamil Nadu Registration Department Officials’ Association president S.E. Vasudhevan welcomed the reforms.
He said these measures would prevent unwarranted allegations of corruption against registration officials and instil confidence in people since the system would become transparent.
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