Generally, BDA and BMRDA sites are having good title and constructing house on such sites would be easy and hassle-free. These sites do have proper water, electricity and other civil amenities. However, in view of the fast growth of the city, these infrastructural facilities lag behind the demand of the citizens.
To get sites allotted from BDA is not an easy task and people have to wait for long time to get a site allotted from them. Therefore, people who intend to have shelter of their own, purchase village Panchayat sites either in the form of revenue site or converted site without approval of the layout. In and around Bangalore more than 5 lakh village panchayat sites are owned by the middle class and lower income group people.
A Revenue site is one that is situated in the layout formed on the agricultural land for a non-agricultural purpose, without proper approval under the relevant law i.e., Karnataka Land Reforms Act, Karnataka Land Revenue Rules and other provisions of law.
All around Bangalore it is common practice for the people to buy sites formed on agricultural lands in unapproved layouts, generally referred to as Revenue Sites, unaware of the hassles involved in buying such sites. Small-time promoters / brokers misguide the buyers and attract them into buying such revenue sites.
As per zonal regulations of the comprehensive development plan, a green belt area is meant only for agricultural activities. Non-converted land continues to be agricultural land and there are various restrictions on sale and purchase of agricultural land. In Bangalore Urban Agglomeration, Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is the competent authority to approve layouts where road width, residential area, civic and other amenities have to be provided as per law. The Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA) is the regulating authority to approve layouts on the outskirts of Bangalore.
Small-time promoters who want to make easy money are forming layouts on agricultural lands and are marketing these revenue sites to the intending purchasers through their agents. The modus-operandi adopted by them involves hatching manoeuvres with panchayat officials and in connivance with sub-registrars officials to create imaginary site documents. These promoters / brokers misguide buyers and attract them to buy sites formed on the agricultural lands.
It is not legal to form layouts and sell sites in the agricultural land falling under green belt or other areas situated around Bangalore. Even after formation of layouts and sale of such sites, RTC (Record of Rights, Tenancy and Crop Inspection) will remain in the name of the original landowner. The numbers assigned to the sites in these layouts would never match with the survey numbers assigned by the Survey Department. The purchaser of the revenue site does not get the title and also cannot exactly locate the site. What is purchased in these layouts is only an imaginary site. After selling such revenue sites the original land owners may sell the same property to someone else at a later date as agricultural land, which is a legally valid transaction that is happening all around Bangalore.
Revenue sites having Khaneshumari number without any link to the old survey number are being registered in the Sub-Registrars office by the owners in alliance with the brokers either by creating or manipulating the documents. Some unscrupulous persons at the entrance of the sub-registrars office make bogus form No: 9 & 10 and 1 & 12 and deceive the innocent purchasers.
Generally, brokers will take GPA from the landowners for the entire land. Most of the revenue sites are registered on the strength of GPA. Only a very few people take care to check up the legality of the GPA executed by the original vendor. Nobody bothers to find out whether the GPA is registered or not, and whether the executor of the GPA is alive or not.
If the executor of the GPA is not alive, any transaction entered into after his death on the basis of such GPA is totally invalid. A joint GPA executed by two or more owners would become invalid if any one of them dies. Property falling under the village panchayat area alone has the genuine site status.
In the recital of a sale deed, it is customary to mention how the seller has acquired his title, interest and rights to the immovable property from origin to the end. In the case of revenue sites, the brokers at the office of various sub-registrars have devised a very ingenious method to hide this fact. They merely mention in the recital that the property is the ancestral property of the seller. In this way, the brokers pass on the defective title of the property to the innocent purchasers.
No layout can be formed on land for which final acquisition notifications are issued and the free grant lands belonging to schedule caste and schedule tribes community. However, there are instances where the small time developers form layouts on these lands as well. Any purchase of site formed on such lands would not provide any good title to the purchaser and such lands would vest back in the original allottee or in the government as the case may be. Therefore, every precaution needs to be taken while making purchase of sites formed on the lands situated in village panchayat limits.
There are several instances where the lands notified for acquisition and the land granted for schedule caste people have been made into sites, where the purchaser of such a sites would not get title of the property upon such purchase.
Denial of bank loan
The burden of proving the validity of title of the property is transferred to the purchaser who purchases such revenue sites after paying the full consideration. He actually purchases headache upon such purchase and in the aftermath he loses his lifetime money, and peace because of various legal wrangles. Purchasers of such sites would be deprived of even the bank loan since no bank would sanction loans for purchase of such sites formed on revenue lands. If the title deeds are not clear and does not establish a marketable title, it is impossible to obtain bank loans for construction by mortgaging these sites.
Deficiencies in revenue layouts
The sites formed on agricultural lands are situated on the outskirts of the city. There will be no proper roads, electricity or water supply. There is no scope for immediate development of the locality. With all this, if the prices of the sites appreciate over a period of years, the original landowner will appear form nowhere and start cultivating the area. He will remove all the boundary stones laid by the broker / small-time promoter making it difficult for the purchaser to identify his property. In certain cases, the GPA holder sells the same sites to several persons and collects money from all of them. Consequently, marathon litigation awaits the purchaser. The laws are so complex that they give rise to multiple interpretations.
Restrictions on village panchayat
Village panchayat cannot issue khata for any new area without proper notification. If village panchayat secretary sanctions building plan it is ultra vires act of such a person. He is not empowered to sanction such building plan as per the provisions of law.
No building can be constructed on agricultural land without obtaining conversion orders and layout plan and building plan should be approved by the concerned authorities. Residential layouts can be formed only in the residentially converted lands. Such lands should be in the residential zone as per zonal regulations. The special Deputy Commissioner is the competent authority to grant permission for conversion of agricultural land for non-agricultural purpose.
Authorities like BDA / BMRDA are the competent authorities to sanction of building plans as per Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961. Gram Panchayats shall grant permission upon payment of requisite fees for erection of the building if the same is in accordance with the provisions of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj (Gram Panchayats Control over Erection of Building) Rules, 1994 and the by-laws made under the Act. Where a planning authority is not constituted under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act, 1961, in any local area, the town improvement board constituted under any law for the time being in force having jurisdiction over such local planning area shall be considered as the planning authority. Where there is no such town improvement board, the local authority having jurisdiction over such local planning area shall be considered as the planning authority. Bangalore Urban District and Bangalore Rural District are declared as the planning authorities under this Act.
A site or site with building situated within the Village Gramathana limits, as per the village map of Department of Survey and Settlement, is exempt from conversion subject to sanction of building plan by the planning authorities. Chapter IV of Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993 deals with functions, duties and powers of gram panchayats, Adhyksha and Upadhyaksha. Even according to this, Village Panchayts are not competent to sanction building plans
It is advisable that the purchasers may not get carried away by the attractive marketing strategies adopted by the small-time promoters and brokers who leave no stone unturned to market the sites formed on the agricultural lands without complying with the requirements of law. Instead, they may purchase a smaller site in an approved layout and have peaceful enjoyment of the property.