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SureshT

RTI to locate original agreement and find out exact stamp duty/penalty amount

Question

SureshT

Hi,

This is with regards to agreement registration and stamp duty for apartment in Mumbai city.

 

My parents purchased an apartment in 1999 from builder. The registration was done, but stamp duty not paid in full (30 percent unpaid). The original document was retained by the registration department itself.

 

Over the years (between 2005 and 2013), several attempts were made to find out how much amount was to be paid (including penalty) in order to obtain the certified original agreement and complete the formalities. However, each time they approached the sub-registrar office (SRO), they were inevitably told to come after a few days (or weeks) because the concerned person was unavailable. When they did manage to get hold of the concerned person, he would state that the document is not in their office (ward/circle/district etc.), but in another office. When they went to that office, they were redirected back to the previous office. This is only with regards to where the original document is currently located.

 

When they inquired about the amount to be paid (remaining stamp duty amount plus penalty), again they were either made to come on different days, or given different figures (usually very large figures). These figures too were provided only as estimates; never in writing.

 

In 2008, when the Maharashtra stamp duty amnesty scheme came out, my parents heard about it too late; the last date had passed by about 2 weeks. Even then, I am not sure it would have helped, as they were not certain where the document was kept.

 

In this regards, I want to file an RTI to:

1. Find out where the original agreement document is located.

2. What is the exact amount (in writing) to be paid in order to obtain the certified original document.

 

In regards to number 2 above, we are aware of the approximate amount, but the officials have quoted different figures each time (even though penalty rate was unchanged).

 

My questions are:

1. Whom to address the RTI to? Since one SRO says the document is at the other SRO, we’re not sure whom to address it to.

2. What documents would I need to include in addition to identity and address proofs?

 

 

Also (unrelated to RTI), if stamp duty is not paid in full, is it calculated based on current market value, or market value when agreement was signed/apartment registered?

 

Thank you

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Prasad GLN

Registration dept., will never be keeping any original sale deeds or agreements.

While Registering the document, before Registration, they can only copy down from original and hence the sale deed given by Registration dept to others is called certified copy as per books.

No documents are needed. You can apply for any certified copy of documents registered by filing prescribed application by Registration dept., and with such fees which may not exceed Rs.500/-. Documents will be delivered within a week. You should have property details, extent, boundaries, survey no, door no, date of registration, registration no. book no, volume no. If they are not available, you have to arrange for search through advocate.

As this procedure is prevailing before enactment of RTI, citizen must follow the laid down practice and directly apply to Registrar.

All Registration dept., has opened help desk for providing such guidance on market value, and any one can obtain a certificate of such stamp duty from the counter within a day.

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SureshT
Registration dept., will never be keeping any original sale deeds or agreements.

While Registering the document, before Registration, they can only copy down from original and hence the sale deed given by Registration dept to others is called certified copy as per books.

 

Thank you for your response, Mr Prasad.

The original document is with them, as one of the officials had once stated that it will be returned after we make full payment of stamp duty (and penalty). We were willing to do so, but as mentioned above, their calculations were vague and always yielded different values. This is the reason we want to seek information about the document whereabouts and amount due via RTI.

 

Is it possible that the office retains the original doc in case full stamp duty amount is not paid?

 

No documents are needed. You can apply for any certified copy of documents registered by filing prescribed application by Registration dept., and with such fees which may not exceed Rs.500/-. Documents will be delivered within a week. You should have property details, extent, boundaries, survey no, door no, date of registration, registration no. book no, volume no. If they are not available, you have to arrange for search through advocate.

 

All the property documents including photocopy of original agreement, receipts of amount paid, registration receipt, etc. are available with us. My question was about the documents that should be sent along with the RTI application. Should these be attached or will they simply be extraneous?

 

Thanks again.

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Prasad GLN

"The original document is with them, as one of the officials had once stated that it will be returned after we make full payment of stamp duty (and penalty). We were willing to do so, but as mentioned above, their calculations were vague and always yielded different values. This is the reason we want to seek information about the document whereabouts and amount due via RTI."

Proposed query1.Please inform the date of returning the original registered document to concerned parties, enclosing copy of such acknowledgment on record for Doc.No....Registered on......................between..........................and..............................

2.Please provide the stamp duty payable (Percentage and amount in total with bifurcations) for handing back to the parties if the document is held with authority, and inform the custodian of the document.

3.Please provide the copy of such rules and regulations in force on calculation of stamp duty on the document.

(Xerox Copies of entire available receipts are enclosed for easy retrieval of information, as pasted on back of this application)

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SureshT
"The original document is with them, as one of the officials had once stated that it will be returned after we make full payment of stamp duty (and penalty). We were willing to do so, but as mentioned above, their calculations were vague and always yielded different values. This is the reason we want to seek information about the document whereabouts and amount due via RTI."

Proposed query1.Please inform the date of returning the original registered document to concerned parties, enclosing copy of such acknowledgment on record for Doc.No....Registered on......................between..........................and..............................

2.Please provide the stamp duty payable (Percentage and amount in total with bifurcations) for handing back to the parties if the document is held with authority, and inform the custodian of the document.

3.Please provide the copy of such rules and regulations in force on calculation of stamp duty on the document.

(Xerox Copies of entire available receipts are enclosed for easy retrieval of information, as pasted on back of this application)

 

Thank you once again, Mr Prasad.

 

I had a couple of question in this regards.

 

I read that according to the Govt. of Maharashtra RTI rules I can only make a single inquiry per RTI application. Also, it should not be more than 150 words in length. Is this true, or has anyone filed an RTI successfully with more than one query?

 

Also, Govt. of Maharashtra has an online RTI submission portal. Can I post my RTI application (“where is my original agreement document and why have I not received it yet”) online? The portal states that:

 

-At present the facility of the online filing of RTI application is available only for the Mantralaya departments and departments outside Mantralaya will be taken up in subsequent phases.

 

The Housing Department is among the list of departments provided therein. Is this the right department to file my RTI to?

 

Thanks

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Prasad GLN

1I read that according to the Govt. of Maharashtra RTI rules I can only make a single inquiry per RTI application. Also, it should not be more than 150 words in length. Is this true, or has anyone filed an RTI successfully with more than one query?

 

Whether it is laid down or not, it is proper to adhere to one issue relevant in RTI. But 150 words is not a standard one, as there is no such stipulation in RTI Act.

 

Your issue is concerned with Stamp duty and Registration, as you are aware of the particular office/organization it is always proper to send to relevant/concerned State Public Information officer, through Traditional post like Regd / Speed post, as you can track the delivery status in on line indiapost portal.

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SureshT
1I read that according to the Govt. of Maharashtra RTI rules I can only make a single inquiry per RTI application. Also, it should not be more than 150 words in length. Is this true, or has anyone filed an RTI successfully with more than one query?

 

Whether it is laid down or not, it is proper to adhere to one issue relevant in RTI. But 150 words is not a standard one, as there is no such stipulation in RTI Act.

 

Your issue is concerned with Stamp duty and Registration, as you are aware of the particular office/organization it is always proper to send to relevant/concerned State Public Information officer, through Traditional post like Regd / Speed post, as you can track the delivery status in on line indiapost portal.

 

Thank you for your prompt response. I will go with the postal method.

 

With regards to one issue, can I inquire two of the above you mentioned earlier? I.e.:

 

1. Please inform me the concerned office where my original agreement document is located, for Doc.No....Registered on......................between..........................and..............................

 

2. Please provide the stamp duty payable (Percentage and amount in total with bifurcations) for handing back to the parties if the document is held with authority, and inform the custodian of the document.

 

Can these two be considered as (clubbed under) a single issue/query?

 

Side note: #1 is a slight modification of what you had proposed. Do let me know if it is appropriate. The reason I have amended it is because I’m not sure if it’s their duty to return it; or ours to collect it, after paying pending amounts. I feel they could easily reject/return the application stating that, “It is not the duty of our department to send you the agreement document, nor to inform you why we didn’t do so.” Right now we only want to know where the document is, and what needs to be done to get it back. If it is still preferable to go with earlier proposed query, please do let me know.

 

Thanks.

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Prasad GLN

The queries should be brief, and for clarity, it is better to keep the queries separate.

For rest of the note for side notes you can even add another query

Please provide me the copy of laid down rules and regulations on returning of the documents after registration to the purchaser and the rules that permit retention of those document for recovering any stamp/duty also

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jj99

file mutilple RTI applications with different identities find out

from this to this provide certified copies of all rules or circulars on accepting orignal records for registration

ask for how and where orignal documents are stored and policy thereon

to my understing somebody is taking you for a ride as you are unaware of practices in sro office

for simple quries in your mind file RTIs and get ready with reply which will be more confusing

 

 

maharashtra has 150 word rule read attached circular

Notified Maharashtra RTI Rules Amendment Jan 2012.pdf

Maha Public Records Act 2005.pdf

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Prasad GLN

The presumption is that the registration was done by compromising with some lower officials and market value was stated less thus reducing the stamp duty. Later, the mistake was found out, and original documents are with held and a demand notice was sent to pay more stamp fee as the market value arrived is less (There may be registrations with many times more higher market value in the same locality on record)

There are hundreds of such documents not returned to purchasers in AP State on grounds as these stated above paragraph.

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SureshT
file mutilple RTI applications with different identities find out

from this to this provide certified copies of all rules or circulars on accepting orignal records for registration

ask for how and where orignal documents are stored and policy thereon

to my understing somebody is taking you for a ride as you are unaware of practices in sro office

for simple quries in your mind file RTIs and get ready with reply which will be more confusing

 

 

maharashtra has 150 word rule read attached circular

 

Thanks for the attachments, jj99. Does the 150-word limit include things like the below:

1. Statement/declaration: "I hereby state that I am seeking the information as a citizen of India. I also state that the information sought is not covered under the categories exempted from disclosure of information under section 8 or section 9 of the RTI Act, 2005, and to the best of my knowledge it pertains to your office."

2. Statement: "I hereby inform that I have deposited the requisite fee of Rs. 10/- by way of Cash/Postal Order favoring ______________ dated ________________."

3. Request: "I request that the above information may please be provided in English and by Speed Post."

 

 

The presumption is that the registration was done by compromising with some lower officials and market value was stated less thus reducing the stamp duty. Later, the mistake was found out, and original documents are with held and a demand notice was sent to pay more stamp fee as the market value arrived is less (There may be registrations with many times more higher market value in the same locality on record)

There are hundreds of such documents not returned to purchasers in AP State on grounds as these stated above paragraph.

 

This could be the reason, Mr Prasad, though I am not sure about it. From what my parents recollect, the initial stamp duty amount paid (after signing the agreement) was the only stamp duty paid. At the time of registration, additional amount towards stamp duty was to be paid, but my parents didn't get around to doing so. Partly on account of negligence and partly on account of misunderstanding. An agent was involved in the process, but they don't remember exactly what happened, and I can't quite figure out now. Nevertheless, if stamp duty is not paid in full, can it be grounds for the department withholding the original document?

 

At present, I have drafted out an application with the following three questions.

 

1. Please inform me the office (branch and contact details) where my original agreement document has been retained.

2. If the original agreement document has been returned to the custodian, please provide acknowledgement of the same on record.

3. Please provide me the copy of laid down rules and regulations for returning of original documents after registration to the purchaser, and the rules that permit retention of such document for recovering any stamp duty.

 

Requesting your comments on the above.

 

Thank you.

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SureshT

Just to add, we filed an RTI a couple weeks back and received a response. The letter we received was actually a copy of a letter forwarded to another department ".... since the information related to thisapplication is related to your office, the original application is sent to youfor the procedure as per section 6 (3) of the Additional Information Act."

 

A footnote was referenced to us stating that since the information we require is earlier than 2002, we should contact the other department.

 

I understand from this that the RTI has been forwarded to the concerned department. However, do we need to contact this other department (send them the same RTI application directly, for example) to receive a response? Or should we just wait, giving 1 month time plus departmental transfer/postal delays?

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Prasad GLN

The proper way is to file fresh copy of such application with a covering letter to SPIO (No.2 with whom one similar application was pending) stating that it was understood that the information solicited prior to 2002 was under custody and control of the PIO, request them to respond within prescribed 30 days from receipt of that RTI Application and also request them to provide FAA of second PIO as expeditiously as possible.

Wait for 30 days from the date of filing this copy of application and then decide on filing first appeal.

Thus, it appears to IC that you have been exploring all alternates to get that information from Public Authority.

 

(I do not know whether the Public Authority of PIO No.1 and PIO No.2 is one and the same. If the public authority is different only, Sec. 6 (3) comes into effect. To me it appears that PIO No.1 and No.2 are same public authority, and the application was just endorsed to relevant PIO and sec.6 (3) shall not apply in your case)

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SureshT

The address of No 2 department provided appears to be in the same area (perhaps even in the same building). So 6(3) may not be applicable, but they have still transferred it under that. IÂ’m not sure whether we really need to take cognizance of the transfer under sec 6(3). Does it affect the application in any way?

 

The proper way is to file fresh copy of such application with a covering letter to SPIO (No.2 with whom one similar application was pending) stating that it was understood that the information solicited prior to 2002 was under custody and control of the PIO, request them to respond within prescribed 30 days from receipt of that RTI Application and also request them to provide FAA of second PIO as expeditiously as possible.

Wait for 30 days from the date of filing this copy of application and then decide on filing first appeal.

Thus, it appears to IC that you have been exploring all alternates to get that information from Public Authority.

I agree that it may be proper to re-send theapplication to PIO No. 2 with a covering letter. Unrelated question for my info - are PIO/FAA designates also officers in the same department? The designation(s) of the sender (and addressee, No. 2) in the letter didn't specifically mention PIO.

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RAVEENA_O

As per the Maharashtra Rules, you can seek information only on one subject, and the request shall not oridinarily exceed 150 workds. If you want information on more than one subject or exceeding 150 workds, you may file separate applications.

 

The Jt Registrar or Collector of Stamps have powers to impound the Original Sale Deed in case proper stamp duty is not paid. In such case, the competent authority issue notice demanding short paid stamp duty + penalty. It is better you pay the both and get the Sale Deed released as soon as possible.

 

I presume you did not receive any demand notice till today. If you have received so, you may either pay the amount + peanlty or file submssions as to why the stamp duty paid is sufficient and there is no short payment.

 

My suggestion is not to file RTI Applciation now. First consult a good lawyer doing title veification /search report etc and apply to the authorities for releasing the document. You may not venture to push the issue through RTI, without complying with the statutory requirement and without pursuing the matter in proper way.

 

Approach through lawyer first. Depending upon the situation, you can file RTI applciation and seek the (1) certified copy of note sheet and decision on your reply against demand-notice / impounding order etc.

 

Remember, RTI is not an alternate to the Statutory procedures.

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SureshT
As per the Maharashtra Rules, you can seek information only on one subject, and the request shall not oridinarily exceed 150 workds. If you want information on more than one subject or exceeding 150 workds, you may file separate applications.

 

The Jt Registrar or Collector of Stamps have powers to impound the Original Sale Deed in case proper stamp duty is not paid. In such case, the competent authority issue notice demanding short paid stamp duty + penalty. It is better you pay the both and get the Sale Deed released as soon as possible.

 

Remember, RTI is not an alternate to the Statutory procedures.

 

Thank you, RAVEENA_O.

 

We were not originally aware of the rules associated with impounding - it was in fact one of my doubts that I queried in the first couple of posts on the forum.

 

I understand that statutory procedures take precedence and that laid down rules and procedures must be followed. We do not want to force the issue through RTI either. At the present moment, we’re trying to find out exactly where the document has been retained, so that we can initiate action towards clearing stamp duty/penalty amounts.

 

We filed an RTI because city SRO asks us to contact area SRO, and area SRO sends us back to city SRO. This has happened multiple times. Basically the authorities are not co-operating in helping us find out where the document is; perhaps because it pertains to a time nearly 18 years ago.

 

We have not yet inquired about the rules associated with impounding, or about payment amount pending, etc.

 

Since the RTI application we filed (seeking information on where the document has been retained) has been re-directed to the concerned department (under Sec. 6 (3)), would it be prudent to pursue the matter by requesting them to do the needful? Is the re-direction to the concerned department also a (veiled) response to our query? Not sure.

Edited by SureshT

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RAVEENA_O

Since the Original Sale Deed is impounded, in all probability, it must be with the higher office than the SRO. If you want to resolve the issue expeditiously, you may consult a Lawyer of that area, doing Title Search Reports / Registration procedures etc and proceed according to his advice.

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