Residents can now send a builder to jail if he fails to hand over the society’s plot to them within a specified period. A Bill to this effect got President Pratibha Patil’s assent on Friday.
With her assent, lakh of flat owners in Mumbai and the rest of the state would now be able to ensure the real ownership of their prized property.
Besides speedy registration of their Co-operative Housing Society (CHS), flat-owners can also be assured of a smooth handover of the title of the plot on which their building stands — the process is known as the conveyance deed in legal parlance. In case a builder creates hurdles during the handover, he could face a jail term of six months to one year, says the amendment in the Maharashtra Ownership of Flat Act (MOFA).
As the amendment sought to empower the residential deputy collector as the competent authority for smooth registration of a CHS and conveyance deed, officials from the state co-operation department were against any such provision. They said they were the only rightful carriers of the amended law as they are the ones who, at present, monitor the working of CHS.
This was one of the reasons that the amendment, which was approved by the State Assembly in December 2005, was tabled in the State Legislative Council as late as July 2007.
Any CHS, whose registration is being opposed by the builder, can approach the competent authority. The authority, soon to be notified by the government, will be an officer of the rank of district deputy registrar. In the absence of the builder’s approval, the authority will give specific direction to the concerned official for registering the society.
For the conveyance deed, once a CHS approaches the authority for speedy process, he will issue summons to the builder. After hearing both the sides (builder and the residents), the authority will issue deemed conveyance deed until the final process gets complete.
Welcoming the President’s assent, Shirish Deshpande of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (a consumers’ body) said it was a big relief for lakhs of flat-owners who are struggling for the conveyance deed.
In an appeal to the chief minister for offering sufficient infrastructure to the proposed competent authority, Deshpande said the amended provisions should not prove newer pasture for the co-operation department officials some of whom were caught red-handed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau accepting huge sums of money.
How important is CONVEYANCE DEED?
A building without conveyance deed means the residents owning an apartment in air as they have no ownership rights of the land on which their building stands. They cannot claim their right on the plot. Over the years, thousands of CHS have struggled to get the conveyance deed in their favour.
Though amendments to the MOFA were cleared in the monsoon session of the State Legislature last July, the President’s assent was awaited. Governor S M Krishna had forwarded the Bill for Patil’s assent.