Mumbai: Andheri residents made to stamp duty twice

Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 13:50 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Lakhs of residents made to pay stamp duty a second time to register individual agreements on redeveloped houses plan agitation

Gurupreet Singh Anand with his petition outside the office of IG, Registrations, in Pune
Gurupreet Singh Anand with his petition outside the office of IG, Registrations, in Pune

The Financial Frauds Victims Welfare Association (FFVWA) has filed a petition with the Inspector General Registration, in Pune, against a circular dated March 30, 2017, which states that individuals who have gone in for redevelopment with their housing societies have to pay stamp duty (5-6 percent  of current value of flat) individually, too, to register their agreements.

A large number of affected residents from Andheri West, who are unable to move into their homes because of this, are set to protest before the family court in BKC, today. The circular states that payment made by Housing Societies through representatives on the committee at the time of the Development Agreement is unacceptable. It says that without paying stamp duty on cost of construction, they will not get their individual agreements registered.

"Many Development Agreements were done with before this March 2017 circular. The stamp duty was already paid at the time of the Agreement so why should we pay again for registration of individual agreements?" ask the aggrieved.

Protest power

Leading this fight are residents of D N Nagar in Andheri West. The huge residential area, which has seen tremendous redevelopment of MHADA properties, says this same department had not insisted that all members of the society sign the Development Agreements at the time, "so why are we now being deprived of registration of our individual agreements?" they asked.

Mumbai's Gurupreet Singh Anand, joint secretary FFVWA, said there were "hundreds of such pockets where redevelopment is on in Mumbai. This is an issue that affects a huge number of people. We are going to hold a protest on Thursday in front of the Family Court at the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) office in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) to highlight the issue. How can we pay stamp duty twice over?"

Court calling

Gurupreet points to hundreds of families who have moved into their new homes in D N Nagar, without individual agreements because they cannot pay stamp duty again. Gurupreet said they are at a disadvantage because there are several problems that stem from not having an individual agreement.

He cited, "They cannot mortgage or take loans on such property easily. It is tough to sell property at current market rates. It is difficult to rent out such properties to corporates." In the end, residents say, "can you put a price on the insecurity and trauma that we go through without a clear title to our name?" Anil Mahadeo Kawade, inspector general of Registration, refused to comment on Gurupreet's petition, simply saying, "I am in a meeting."

Expert view

Advocate Vinod Sampat, president of Registration Fee and Stamp Duty Payers Association, said, "A Development Agreement is entered into by a builder and the Housing Society. Stamp duty of approximately 5 per cent has already been paid. At the time of moving in, individuals are told to pay stamp duty again, which would be about 5 to 6 per cent of the current cost of the flat excluding original area for which negligible duty on construction cost has to be paid. Legally, stamp duty should only be paid once.

Stamp authorities are given unrealistic targets. They then move on to technicalities. They claim that the society representatives have signed the agreement but not individual flat purchasers. These residents need to approach the appellant authority and if the verdict is not in their favour then the High Court, I am sure, in its wisdom will resolve such matters fairly. "

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