Bablesh Kumar Garg had put all his hard-earned savings into buying an independent plot in Northeast Delhi’s Shahdara. When he went to register it on Tuesday, however, he was in for a shock as the sub-registrar office refused to carry out the process. The reason? The Real Estate Regulatory Authority had issued an order in September directing all sub-registrars in Delhi to not register any new property that does not conform to the Unified Building Bye Laws, 2016.
“The area where I bought the plot, entirely for residential purposes, is authorised… it has electricity, sewer, water connections, and other facilities. There are other houses here too. I’ve paid the previous owner… but without registration, they can claim the land is theirs,” said Garg.
He added, “At the SR office, I was told there was some confusion over the (RERA) order but registration of my plot will take place once a new order is issued.”
Another resident who bought land in Southwest Delhi, requesting anonymity, said, “I work as a peon… for us, buying land measuring more than 250 sqm in Delhi is a distant dream. But somehow, we used our life’s savings and bought a 35 gaj plot. Now, we’ve been told the registration process is stalled. We are poor people… what if the owner claims the land is his and moves court? What if the government demolishes our houses in the future?”
Officials, too, are stumped.
At present, revenue districts are only registering DDA flats and plots, wills (wasiyat nama), and rent agreements. They said registration of land and sale deeds has been on hold for the last five-six days. “Registration of land and sale deeds is one of the main sources of revenue collection for the government. This is not only creating problems for the public, especially the middle- and lower-income groups, but for the government exchequer as well,” said an official.
Ashok Sharma, president of the Deed Writers Association, said, “This order was passed in 2008. Was RERA sleeping all these years? There is no clarity over which plot, which flat having what size, will be registered.”
Revenue Secretary and Divisional Commissioner Ashwini Kumar did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
An officer in the revenue department said, “We are following RERA orders till clear directions are issued. If we go against it, we will have to face action.”
In its order, RERA said it has come to its notice that civic authorities are sanctioning building plans with dwelling units that show a kitchen, pantry or an extra room as a store room constructed above the terrace in circumvention of Supreme Court orders. Some houses also constructed a studio apartment on a terrace (barsaati) and rented it out. “To ensure the SC order is followed…, not more than the number of dwelling units specified are allowed to be constructed on various plot sizes…,” it said.
It also said all building plans sanctioned after September 15, 2023, will indicate clearly the total number of dwelling units that can be constructed on the plot; marking each dwelling unit separately on the plan; and the total number of dwelling units that can be constructed on each floor.
A Delhi government official, earlier posted as an SDM, said, “The order is confusing. The question is also that RERA can’t issue the order directly… the revenue department will issue an order following RERA’s order, if something is to be implemented. We’re doing our research to get clarity.”
Meanwhile, Delhi BJP president Virendra Sachdeva hit out at the AAP government: “The RERA Delhi government notification will destroy the real estate residential and commercial trade in Delhi and hurt interests of individual property owners too.”
The AAP government hit back, saying: “RERA falls under the Centre, so the Delhi BJP should ask the Modi government instead of the Delhi government. It should stop misleading the public.”