E-Conveyancing in India

This will result in the computerization of land records including the digitization of maps and the integration of textual and spatial data; Computerization of registration details and the setting up of modern record rooms.

Inter-connectivity using IT among revenue offices and among various agencies involved in land records such as Revenue Offices, Survey and Settlement Offices and other offices will also be established. The ultimate goal of the NLRMP is to replace the present system of registration of deeds and documents as provided for in the Registration Act. It is a system in which the titles to property are merely presumptive and for which the State does not give guarantee.

Once progress has been made, India will be ready to implement a system of "Conclusive Titles" as found in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Switzerland, Sweden, etc.,. This system functions on the following four basic principles:

(i)a single agency to handle land records (including the maintenance and updating of the textual records, maps, survey and settlement operations, registration of immovable property mutations, etc.);
(ii) the "mirror" principle, which states that at any given moment, the land records mirror the ground reality;
(iii) the "curtain" principle, which refers to the fact that the record of title is a true depiction of the ownership status and therefore title is a conclusive proof of ownership; and
(iv) title insurance, which refers to the fact that the title is guaranteed for its correctness and the party concerned is indemnified against any loss arising because of inaccuracy in this regard.

Other benefits to citizens are: that the records will be always up-to-date, tamperproof and easily accessible since they will be placed on website with proper security IDs. The time taken for obtaining copies of land records will be drastically reduced. Fraudulent property deals and also litigation will be reduced, and market value information would be available on the website.

In India, the current system is that of presumptive titles only, where the documents of title are not certified by the state, and thus they remain private documents and don't get the status of public records that have evidentiary value under the provisions of the Evidence Act. The right of the owner to the title to land therefore remains presumptive only. The Registration Act, 1908 provides for registration of deeds and documents but not registration of titles, and even though the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 mandates compulsory registration of transfer of immovable property, lack of state guarantee of title to land contributes to the unsatisfactory state of affairs in conveyancing in the country.

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