In Tamil Nadu, Surveillance Cameras To Record Property Registration
Early this year, more than 500 land documents that came to the sub-registrar’s offices in Chennai were rejected as most of these were cases of fraudulent parent documents or incomplete documents.
According to the registration department, between 2011-17, sub-registrar offices across Chennai, Madurai and Tirunelveli zones recorded highest instances of property-related scams. About 2,700 complaints were registered in the state and besides the above-mentioned zones, Salem, Trichy, Vellore, Coimbatore and Cuddalore, in that order were other areas where fraudulent transactions were reported. It was reported that the highest number of fraudulent parent document cases were flagged in the suburbs and in the sub-registrar’s office in Chennai. There were similar cases against fake Power of Attorney (PoA) as well. The registration department thereafter suggested that sub-registrars should ensure the genuinely of documents at their end and they would be answerable in case of discrepancies.
In order to fight this menace, various plans are being put into place.
Surveillance starts now
Around 1,700 cameras would be installed across 575 sub-registrar offices in Tamil Nadu ensuring a second layer of protection and transparency. According to the new plan, after registration in the state, a third-party will edit the surveillance footage and also provide a video recording of the registration in a CD to both the buyer and the seller for a fee of Rs 50 each. Tenders have already been floated through the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited to select a vendor and the project execution has been allotted a budget of Rs 10 crore. Every year about 25 lakh documents are registered in the state.
Understanding the efficacy
How efficient would these surveillance cameras be? There is every effort to ensure transparency. There would be three cameras per office out of which, one would be installed over the sub-registrar’s desk to record the proceedings.
This is not the first time that the department is offering the video-recording the registration. The plan has actually been revived after a long time post-2013 when technical glitches and lack of infrastructure limited its feasibility.
Aadhar to the rescue
Through a change in the law, the Tamil Nadu government has allowed the use of property buyers’ Aadhaar Card for verification purposes. Now, the sub-registrar will ask for your Aadhaar card to validate your details and match it with the central servers maintained by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).
However, this process is optional. The Tamil Nadu Registration (Identity Verification for the Registration of Documents) Rules, 2018, says that a registering officer could examine the identity through “a consent-based Aadhaar authentication service.”
Also, the registration department so far did not crosscheck with the UIDAI the Aadhaar details of those buyers who chose to provide this document for verification. The department would now have to do that in order to curb frauds in property deals.
Earlier, the state registration department had made it mandatory that the parent document ─ which establishes the new ownership and the change in ownership overtime through sale, gift, inheritance or partition ─ be provided at the time of registration.
Under revised rules, the sub-registrar’s signature on the first page of the mother deed is mandatory. This would be scanned and maintained by the department. In case this document is mortgaged with the bank, a statement should be released by the bank, establishing the fact.