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GOAN MUTATIONS: WHAT GOVERNMENT MUST DO




By Valmiki Faleiro


The mess of mutations is rampant. This I gauged from reader response to this

column

on the five preceding Sundays. Most told the same story: of how people are

harassed at

Mamlatdar offices across Goa when they seek a change in the Index of Lands – a

simple process in law, but far from it in practice. A gentleman who heads a

trade body

feels listing the steps will help government mitigate the troubles of the ‘Aam

Aadmi’.

Fingers crossed, here is my list:


1. Enforce Sections 96 (proviso 2) and 102 of the Land Revenue Code, and Rule

15 of

Record of Rights & Register of Cultivators Rules. The onus of initiating and

carrying out

mutations lies squarely with the Taluka Sub-Registrar and Mamlatdar when land

ownership changes occur by documents under the Transfer of Property Act (that

are

registered under the Indian Registration Act.)


Just enforce the existing law! Ninety percent of the scourge Goans now face

will vanish.

When people acquire rights by way of a registered deed, the process of mutation

must

follow automatically – no question of them even applying for mutation, much less

repeatedly visiting, begging and bribing all and sundry at Mamlatdar offices.

That is what

the law stipulates. No government has enforced the law, resulting in the

mutation mess

across Goa.


What the law provides is simple. When a Sub-Registrar registers a deed – sale,

gift,

partition, relinquishment, etc. – he must, during the first week of the

following month,

intimate the Talathi/Mamlatdar in Form XIII. Upon receipt of such intimation,

the latter

must carry out the mutation, ‘mutatis mutandis’, as per procedure laid down in

detail.

Where, then, would be the scope for harassment and extortion? Of people having

to

apply, meet, beg and bribe revenue officials?


2. As regards the balance ten percent cases, where land ownership changes occur

by

other means, viz.- a Court decree, judicial partition, ‘Inventario,’

Will/bequest, etc., once

again, follow the law and established conventions. These are listed, briefly,

below.

The mutation applicant’s duty must end, as envisaged under the law, with

reporting of

the acquisition of rights (with evidence) to the Mamlatdar. Thereafter, as per

present law,

the onus of completing the mutation, must lie squarely with the Mamlatdar and

his staff.

A private citizen must not be turned into a public clerk and peon, as now

happens.


3. When a person applies to add his name to a survey number where mutations have

previously been carried out, s/he must not be asked to furnish addresses of

persons so

added. Because these addresses are already with the concerned Talathi/Mamlatdar

who

themselves carried out the previous mutations.


4. The stupid idea of asking the applicant to furnish the latest Form I & XIV

must stop.

The concerned Talathi/Mamlatdar are themselves the custodians of this document!


5. The law provides for oral mutation applications. It would be injudicious to

retain this

provision. But, for heaven’s sake, when someone applies in writing, don’t ask

him/her to

provide a file. The government has crores to splurge on needless bridges and

dubious

garbage handling purchases – but not a few lakhs for essential stationery?


6. Across the board, every entry clerk in every government office must

acknowledge an

inward letter with the office rubber stamp.


7. Upon receipt of intimation from the Sub-Registrar (in case of registered

documents)

and report from acquirer of rights (in case of other documents), fix a time

limit for issue

of Notice/s in Form X. Notice/s should be sent only to people whose names

appear in

Form I & XIV, not to consenting parties, etc. whose names appear in the Sale

Deed.


8. No applicant must be asked to make copies of Form X on behalf of the state.


9. Form X, as done before, should be served by hand through the office bailiff

or the

concerned village Talathi. If logistics do not permit hand delivery, service

may be done

by Registered AD Post. But not by the applicants who are currently told to do

the mailing!

This will also eliminate the ‘vanishing trick’ of AD cards and the ensuing

rigmarole.


10. In exceptional cases where service by hand or by Registered AD Post is

impossible,

substituted service should be effected by the Government – at its own cost. It

is a

government notice and the government must serve it. The applicant should NOT be

made to pay for a duty of the government.


11. Substituted service by way of Public Notice should be released to one

English and

one vernacular daily for better reach and avoidance of mischief.


12. Let the dead lie in peace. Stop this nonsense of ‘serving’ notices upon the

departed.

If a respondent is deceased, notify the heirs by substituted service. Officials

who fight

shy to carry out mutation involving a dead person – even when a Court

‘Inventario’ order

is furnished, need to be disciplined. As do Talathis, Circle Inspectors and

Mamlatdars

who, despite being unqualified, raise specious “objections” on legalities of

Sale Deeds.


13. Village Panchayats, Municipalities – and even Mamlatdars! – need to be

educated

on the legal value of Form I & XIV. That it is not a proof of title and that

its entire value is

merely presumptive. When an applicant files a Sale/Gift (or such title) deed,

local bodies

must not insist on Form I & XIV featuring the applicant’s name. In a different

context, but

relevant to the issue, was a recent statement by the Salcete Mamlatdar, as

reported in

‘Herald’ (Pg.3 anchor, Nov 22, 2008.)


The Mamlatdar is quoted having said, “These [old Matriz records] are not much

in use,

since the present survey and revenue plan also constitute revenue documents.”

Revenue records alright, but of what legal value? A quasi-judicial order of a

District

Collector spelt out the almost NIL legal value of Form I & XIV.


People like the Salcete Mamlatdar also need to know that a Sub-Registrar cannot

register a deed unless the mention of ‘Matriz’ is made in the description of

the property.

The Salcete Mamlatdar alone cannot be blamed. All Mamlatdars without law studies

must be put through a crash-course on Goa’s basic laws.


14. Modify the software used for maintaining revenue records, to rid it of

shortcomings.

For instance, the software must be changed to accept a common Mutation Case No.

in a

joint application involving a common survey number. This will avoid

multiplicity of cases

and save immense amounts of time, paper and money.


15. In cases involving sub-division of land, the Director of Settlement & Land

Records

and his Taluka-level Inspectors must be directed to exercise their powers under

Section

59(c) of the LRC. When a survey number is sub-divided with final approvals

under the

Town & Country Planning Act, it must be partitioned as per the approved

sub-division.

This will save a multiplicity of future individual partitions, its attendant

ills, and human

errors while transcribing plots at different points of time on the survey

sheets. Such

partitions must be carried out not only on the PT sheets at the taluka level

but also on

the originals at Panjim headquarters.


16. And finally, appoint an Ombudsman/disciplinary authority specifically for

complaints

under the Land Revenue Code, with jurisdiction over the Director of Settlement

& Land

Records and Deputy Collector downwards.


Such measures will provide the beleaguered Goan some relief.

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