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Indian Real Estate News : Delhi NCR
100 years on, government reworks property registration rules
Source: Surabhi, The Economic Times Mar 20, 2010
Registering a property could soon be painless affair with the government planning to replace the century-old Indian Stamp Act, 1899 with a simpler law that will do away with a large number of antiquated provisions and fees.

The finance ministry has already kicked off a preliminary exercise for drafting the new law and is hopeful of finalising it by the end of the year. The draft will also be discussed with state governments to elicit their views before a final decision is taken, government officials familiar with the development said.

"The current law was written more than 100 years ago. Since then the form of business and transactions have completely changed and we feel that there is a need to replace the Act," said a senior government official.

Stamp duty is levied on a number of financial and legal transactions. At present, the documents are physically verified by different departments, making the process of registration a time-consuming activity. The new legislation is expected to address some of these issues.

The proposed legislation is likely to recognize electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties. At present, the facility is available as part of the MAC 21 e-governance initiative for companies that wish to file their papers online with the Registrar of Companies.

The legislation could also allow payment of duty on instruments and court fees through modes like demand drafts and bankers' cheques, which are not permitted under the existing law.

"The emphasis has now shifted to e-governance and such a provision will make it easier for citizens to adhere to laws and be much more convenient than the physical act of buying and pasting stamps," the official said, requesting anonymity.

The provision could also help reduce the leakage of revenue because of stamp duty frauds, he said. The government is also planning to rework the current structure of stamp duty fees and penalties. Duties charged in the smaller denomination and often, obsolete paisa would be replaced with rupees or be calculated as a percentage.

Significantly, the Law Commission, led by Justice AR Lakshmanan, had suo moto taken up the issue of amending the Indian Stamp Act last year. It had suggested in its report that the required fee for any transaction or court fee should be paid by demand draft, cash, postal order, banker's cheque rather than through non-judicial stamp papers or special stamps.

Tag: India Real Estate, Real Estate Rules
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