Of late, people are extremely confused about the registration of transfer of properties. The registration process which was a smooth process hitherto, all of a sudden has become very tedious calling various documents, approvals, orders, which were not insisted upon earlier. A document that is considered as correct in one Sub-registrar's office is rejected as not correct in another Sub-registrar's office. The Revenue department, the Department of the Inspector General of Registration, the Commissioner of Stamps and all the Sub-registrars are confused themselves and seem unable to guide the public.

The Karnataka Government by notification RD/174/MUNOMV/2005 dated April 23, 2005 had declared the transfer of certain properties as opposed to public policy and instructed the registering authorities not to register the properties detailed in the notification. Further, the Government of Karnataka clarifying certain points referred in its notification dated August 23, has only compounded the confusion, adding to the misery of the public and the stubborn registering authorities, leading to the unnecessary harassment of the public.

The two important points, that have affected registration are, the conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural purpose and the approval of layouts. Agricultural land cannot be used for any other purpose, unless it is converted to non-agricultural purpose. Under Section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act, the Government recently introduced a 'Single Window' system for conversion of land.

Apart from conversion of land, the layout should be approved by the concerned authority. Thereafter the building too needs to be approved. Generally, the Urban Development Authority in the district is the approving authority for layouts.

But many layouts are approved by the city municipal councils, town municipal councils (TMCs), and village panchayats, which has led to low quality development works, causing heavy financial burden on the local boards and the resultant in-convenience to the people. The conversion of land for any purpose other than agricultural should not be in violation of the approved master plan, CDP proposals. As far as Bangalore and surrounding areas are concerned, there are various planning authorities which approve layouts. Each planning authority has a specified jurisdiction.

People should understand that the Bangalore City Corporation (BCC), the various city municipal councils, TMCs or the village panchayats do not have any authority to approve layouts which vest with the Jurisdictional Planning Authorities. Many problems have risen because of the unauthorized and indiscriminate approval of layouts by these authorities, exposing the public to hardships.

Approval of plans

Before we discuss planning authorities, we must understand the powers of various local bodies like the city corporations, municipal councils, TMCs and village panchayats, to approve building plans.

Constructions are permitted only on converted lands and approved layouts. Village Panchayats may approve building plans with ground plus one structure within their jurisdictional areas only. Gramathana sites have come under strict scrutiny and many Panchayat boards have mindlessly issued Forms 9 and 10 and any approval of building plans on such gramathana sites require extra precaution. The gramathana sites can be identified by referring to a village map at the Department of Survey and Settlement.

According to a new circular, such sites should be certified by the village accountant enclosing a rough sketch of the gramathana site indicating the exact location in the village map along with its boundaries.

If the gramathana site satisfies all these stipulations, the Government will not insist on conversion, and the village Panchayat may approve a building plan of ground plus one floor on such sites. However, it is very difficult to identify genuine gramathana sites as a lot of bogus documents are in circulation. City municipal councils, TMC and the BCC may approve building plans of ground - plus - three floors only. Any building plan in excess of ground - plus - one in village Panchayat areas and in excess of ground - plus - three floors in the areas under the city corporations and municipal councils needs approval from the town planning authorities.

Deemed conversion

As stated earlier, layouts can be formed only on converted lands. The Karnataka High Court, in its Judgment in BDA V/s Vishwa Bharathi House Building Co-operative Society (1992(1) LJ 523B (DB) ILR 1991 KAR 440 (DB) has held that all agricultural lands within the jurisdiction of a city corporation are deemed to be converted. But the Government has clarified that there is no such deemed conversion, but that the competent authority may grant a conversion order.

It is also clarified that though the betterment charges are paid to the concerned local authority, and the Katha is issued by the local authority, if such property comes under agricultural land earlier to payment of betterment charges, conversion of land to non-agricultural purpose is necessary under the provisions of Section 95 of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act (1964). Under such circumstances payment of betterment charges and the issuance of the Katha is not a conclusive proof of conversion.

Planning authorities

There are numerous planning authorities authorized to approve layouts in and around Bangalore. They are;

 Bangalore Development Authority (BDA)

 Bangalore Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (BMRDA)

 Bangalore International Airport Planning Authority (BIAPA)

 Ramanagarm - Channpatna Urban Development Authority (RCUDA)

 Nelamangala Planning Authority

 Magadi Local Planning Authority

 Kanakapura Local Planning Authority

 Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Planning Authority (BMICPA)

Each planning authority has a specified jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of the BDA comprises the area under the BCC, surrounding city municipal and town municipal councils and village panchayats. All applications may be addressed to the Commissioner, Bangalore Development Authority, Kumarapark, Bangalore -20.

The office of the BMRDA is located at the LRDE building, Ali Askar Road, Bangalore, and has its jurisdiction on Bangalore urban and rural districts and Malur taluk in the Kolar district, except the areas covered under the BDA, BIAPA and other local planning authorities.

BIAPA also has its office at the LRDE building, Ali Askar Road, Opposite to Palace Guttahalli, Bangalore - 52, and has its jurisdiction over the proposed new airport and its environs. BMICPA has a jurisdiction over the small area of about 65 sq.kms comprising the Bangalore-Mysore Inter Corridor Area.

Other Planning areas referred above have a jurisdiction over respective towns and environs. Planning areas under the BMRDA is very vast, but infrastructure available in the BMRDA is not enough for speedy disposal of approvals, causing much delay. In other cases, not referred above, the respective urban development authorities like the Shimoga Urban Development Authority, the Bellary Urban Development Authority etc., have the jurisdiction to approve the formation of layouts, if the lands are situated in their geographical jurisdiction. There are 27 urban development authorities in the State.

Apart from these urban planning authorities, if land is situated in the areas under other planning authorities, the applications have to be referred to the Member Secretary of the concerned planning authority. There are 42 planning authorities in the state.

If properties are located outside the jurisdiction of the BDA, BMRDA, BIAPA, BMICPA, urban development authorities and the Member Secretary Planning Authority, applications have to be submitted to the Assistant Director, Town Planning.

Any development activity has to be approved by these planning authorities as per the provisions of the various laws and the local bodies have no authority to grant such permissions.