Telangana government plans land titling for less disputes

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had outlined the conclusive land titling system he wanted to introduce and explained its advantages.

Hyderabad: The Telangana state government is working towards removing the kinks in the land titling system after observing the difficulties that Maharashtra and Rajasthan have faced in attempting to introduce the system.

The demand is for a workable, inclusive and evolving system of land titling and land records which will allow land markets to function effectively, reduce judicial burden and improve the targeting of welfare schemes.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had outlined the conclusive land titling system he wanted to introduce and explained its advantages.

According to the CM, the main advantage of the system is that it guarantees title to the owner. Civil disputes in courts are likely to reduce drastically and ownership of various properties will be guaranteed. The officers of record keeping offices will issue online certificates of property title that will certify the ownership rights to the extent of share percentage.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao explained that after issuing the conclusive title if any dispute arises and the title proves to be wrong, then the state government will compensate the concerned title owner.

During the UPA II regime, the Centre had drafted the Model Land Titling Bill, 2011, but it did not become law and the then Union minister for rural development in discussions on the Bill had said that “the process will be painful and there are vested interests preventing this”.

The attempts of the Rajasthan government to introduce the Rajasthan Urban Land (Certification of Titles) Bill, 2016, have not been successful because the Bill is riddled with inadequacies and falls short of requirements to address the real issues.

Though Maharashtra has done better in addressing the problem of conclusive titling by bringing an amendment to the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, in 2015, it also has not materialised so far.

The attempt of the administration of Chandigarh Union Territory in the year 2016 also is still on the cards.

Given this backdrop, legal experts say that the state government has to be very cautious in bringing in conclusive land titling as it requires initial surveying of the entire lands in the state, identifying the owners, and making entries in the revenue records of land parcels.

Former special government pleader N. Sridhar Reddy, who dealt with revenue matters in the High Court, says: “If the government introduces a foolproof system after completing the required initial exercise, it will certainly reduce litigation and lessen the burden on the judiciary and also will be helpful in reaching welfare benefits to the people.”

He added that “we cannot rule out possibilities of litigation arising at every stage, right from the survey to making entries into records to introduce the land titling system. If the government is not cautious at every stage, it will give scope for the land mafia”.

He said without making foolproof arrangements for the introduction of the system, it would only be a burden on the state exchequer.

Ms B. Rachna Reddy, a High Court lawyer. felt that the conclusive titling system would create a parallel revenue system.

She pointed out that as of now, the civil court is the competent authority to declare the actual title owner of the land parcel which is in subject and revenue authorities are to assist the court whenever a dispute arises by providing the relevant documents of both parties which are disputing the piece of land.

According to her, what is needed is streamlining of the existing revenue system instead of doing away with it. Introducing other agencies into land matters would lead to further litigation, she held.

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