Properties’ registration stalled for last two months

Published March 5, 2019
Those desiring to transfer bought properties in their names are in great trouble despite making payments to the sellers.— Reuters/File
Those desiring to transfer bought properties in their names are in great trouble despite making payments to the sellers.— Reuters/File

LAHORE: The registration of properties, especially those falling within territorial jurisdiction of urban areas, has been stopped for the last two months after patwaris refused to issue ‘fard jamabandi’ on, what they say, the orders by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

The situation is worsening gradually as those desiring to transfer the recently bought properties in their names and registered by the sub-registrars are in great trouble despite making payments to the sellers.

“You cannot imagine the situation we’ve been facing since January as we are neither allowed to issue ‘fard’, which is mandatory for registration and transfer of any property, nor register ‘intiqal’ in the revenue record,” a revenue official told Dawn on Monday.

“The situation has worsened, as buyers and sellers are pushing us to issue ‘fard’ but we cannot do this due to the court orders. Moreover, tehsildars and assistant commissioners have taken back ‘Roznamchas’ (revenue register etc) from us,” he added.

According to a short order of the apex court for all reasons to be recorded later, “All urban areas to which the Land Revenue Act, 1967 does not apply shall be governed by the transfer of the Property Act, 1882 and the Registration Ac of 1908 for the purposes of transfer of property or devolution of any property. No oral mutation for the purposes of the transfer of property shall be valid in law in such urban areas (which have become part of settled areas including municipalities, towns etc). The patwar khanas or revenue records can only be maintained for record keeping and not for the transfer of property under any of the modes recognised by the transfer of property act or any other law prevalent at time,” the apex court said in its short order of January 8 while disposing of a human rights case in the matter regarding functioning of patwaris, qanugos and tehsildars in urban areas.

Officials says since the order particularly relates to urban areas, property / revenue all urban areas in Punjab and other provinces could not be made online, forcing the public at large to contact parwaris for getting ‘fard’ available in the manually maintained record.

“Actually, all rural areas’ record of Punjab is available online, diminishing role of patwaris. Urban areas’ record is still being maintained manually by the patwaris. So, whenever anyone wants registration and transfer of their property to any one, he/she needs a Fard (paper having detail of owner, his/ her possession, land etc) from patwaris as they, in the light of the court orders, are not issuing fards to the people. That is why everything related to registration and transfer of property in urban areas has come to a halt,” explained another revenue official, who preferred anonymity.

“Registration and transfer of our own properties, which are to be distributed to the legal heirs, are also not possible due to this order,” he added. He said the senior officials of the Board of Revenue (BoR) were also worried of the situation, as the same was not only depriving it of huge revenue, but also affecting the public at large adversely.

“There are also reports that patwaris in some urban areas issued ‘fard jamabandis’ to the people in backdates, enabling them to get their properties registered and transferred,” he said.

Lahore Additional Deputy Commissioner (general) Syed Tauqeer Haidar Kazmi said the BoR was reportedly going to file a review petition in the apex court in this regard. “About 10./12 days ago, we had also given a presentation to the BoR’s senior officials. However, a policy is being devised by BoR to resolve the issue,” he added.

Viewing the situation, the Lahore district administration (revenue wing) has sought clarification from the BoR over the apex court’s orders.

“It is submitted that as per para 20 of the judgement, the revenue authorities have been directed to refrain from all functions in the urban areas wherein urban immovable property tax act, 1958 is applicable, particularly, with regard to entering of mutations. Whereas, para 21 bars the jurisdiction of revenue authorities to the extent of oral mutations only in the urban areas where the ibid act applies,” reads a letter sent to the BoR’s secretary.

It says that in view of the foregoing, it is not clear that revenue authorities should stop doing all types of mutations or the oral mutations only within urban areas (which is already not permissible and is done through registered sale deeds). In the preceding paras of the same judgment, jurisdiction of revenue authorities in the urban areas for the purpose of maintenance of record has been recognized yet barring them from entering mutations. As periodical record of rights are prepared on the basis of of mutations done during the last four years, no such records can be prepared / updated without sanction of mutations.

“Clear instructions are needed whether the attestation of mutations and preparation of periodical record of rights should continue or stop within the urban areas. It may also be noted that the function of issuance of copies (fard) is also not possible in the prevailing scenario and requires appropriate orders in this regard as well,” reads the letter by Lahore’s additional deputy commissioner (revenue) Muhammad Awais Malik.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2019

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