Karnataka HC issues notice to govt on flat owners’ PIL

The Karnataka High Court has issued a notice to the state government over a PIL filed by the Bangalore City Flat Owners Association for its direction to implement the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka directed the respondents, including the Inspector General of Registration and Commissioner of Stamps (IGR), to file a statement of objections on or before February 12.

The petition contended that the offices of the sub registrar in the state are registering Deed of Declaration documents under the provision of the Registration Act without the authority and sanction of law.

There is a misconception among the promoters and homebuyers that a mere registration of the Deed of Declaration, with by-laws, tantamount to the formation of the residents’ welfare association, the petition noted.

It further stated that the associations in fact have to take steps prescribed under Section 10 of the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act, 1972 and Rules of 1975 to be recognised as a co-operative society.

The petitioner claimed that neither the state government nor the IGR issued a public statement regarding the legal sanction to register the Deed of Declaration under the Registration Act.

The PIL said sub-section 3 and 5 of Section 13 of the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act asks every registration office to maintain an index called Register of Declarations and Deeds of Apartments.

It said the state government will have to amend the Registration Act to implement this provision. The petitioner alleged that there is no uniformity in fixing the stamp duty as the Karnataka Stamps Act does not mention the Deed of Declaration.

Since there is no official communication on the aspect, the entry of registration of Deed of Declaration is kept both in Book-1 and Book-4 of the office registrar.

Forming the associations by registering the Deed of Declaration, which is neither a conveyance deed nor a deed to prove a lien on the title of the land, has created chaos and disputes among promoters and homebuyers, the petition noted.

This has led to instances where builders and promoters mortgaged the title of the land to raise loans, it said.

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