CHENNAI: The State government is mulling a significant reform in the land titling system being practised here, to minimize property disputes and provide guaranteed ownership document. Last week, an expert committee submitted a report to NITI Aayog on conclusive land titling system, which is different from the presumptive titling system that is currently being followed in Tamil Nadu.
Sources in the State Revenue Department say that Tamil Nadu is currently studying various aspects of the new system before deciding on its implementation. In the current system, ownership is granted based on a registered sale deed – which is a record of the property transaction between the buyer and the seller. That apart, other documents – such as the record of rights, property tax receipts, and survey documents – are also mandatory for such transactions.
However, none of these are government guaranteed title to the property. These are only a record of the transfer of property. The buyer, as such, is not privy to the previous ownership records of the property.
Hence, this system is called a presumptive one, and is subject to being challenged in court. On the other hand, in a conclusive titling system, the government provides guaranteed titles and compensation in case of any ownership dispute. This will require shifting to a system of registered property titles (as opposed to sale deeds) as the primary evidence of ownership, and having clear and updated land records.
Since land is a State subject, States can choose if they want to implement the new system. The Centre does want a uniform system across the country, so that it’s easy to acquire lands for infrastructure projects among other things, say sources. It is learnt that the State took part in three video conferences to discuss the conclusive land titling with the Centre.
Once the final draft is submitted to the State, a final call will be taken. Currently, land records systems in the country represent the Zamindari and Ryotwari models in India. In Tamil Nadu, the Revenue Department follows the Ryotwari system and it is easy to migrate to conclusive land titling. Sources said the move by the Centre is a welcome step as it would bring clarity in cases of property disputes, even within families.