The arcana of buying land

All signatories must bring several passport sized photographs in colour and some photo identity for proof of person [copies of passport, voter identity card, driving license, a nationalised bank’s pass book, ration card or in case of minors, school or college ID cards] In addition, the buyer must bring the income tax PAN card. If the parcel of land you are buying is made of many parts [-3 in the case of pointReturn] you are coordinating many people and several details.
At the moment in rural Tamil Nadu at least, the entire registration fee of 9% is required in cash. You ill be given a computerised receipt for it. If the deal is big this can be a big sum to lug around.
After much waiting amidst din and chaos, your ‘deed’ will be done. In the presence of the Registrar left thumbprints will be affixed on the deed, several signatures obtained, witnesses endorsed and much stamping and sealing done. And then money can be handed over and everyone goes home. No, you won’t get the deed document yet. There’s more to happen before we are done. For now let us pause a moment to marvel at and understand the system.
It is difficult to believe that in the chaos that prevails in the registrar’s office, anything makes sense or has a purpose. Can anyone possibly read or scrutinise all the paper work and documents created? The answer is no, but that not the point of the exercise. In a majority of the cases a transfer of ownership takes place and proceeds happily ever after. These records with the registrar come into play only when disputes arise. Instead of people settling matters with blows on the fields, land records provide the basis for settlements. That the legal process can be exasperating and time consuming is another matter. But a dispute will stay ‘civil’ whereas blows will lead disputants to the ‘criminal’ realm of law.
A few days after the date of registration, you return to collect the duly endorsed, stamped document. In the intervening days, it will have been taken on record and entered in various registers, beginning its slow journey to become a computer entry.
The last act is about obtaining a patta in your name. For this you return to the VAO, he prepares a covering letter and forwards it to the Tehsildar’s office, You could expect your patta or certificate of title, in about 15 days.

5 thoughts on “The arcana of buying land

  1. I think it is an interesting information that I have read. Thanks to let me write a comment in your page.


  2. I have gone thru identical issues in buying land near Denkanikottai. I am also stuck at the last stage where it is taking forever to get the Khata transferred. It has been 2 months since I applied for the same, it is being postponed every day with some odd reason or the other. Am wondering how much longer it will take to get the same.

  3. Hello ira…

    I’d like others to come in on your query with more authoritative expansion with relevant citations. I have only the counsel of my lawyer who is also a Chartered Accountant with many NRI and foreign clients.

    He says, only Indian citizens [which includes NRIs, of course] are allowed to buy land – not just agricultural. Foreigners after a certain number of years residence, and with proof of ‘real need’ are allowed to buy a reasonable size of land for residential purposes only. I further know [-by hearsay] that companies with controlling foreign equity cannot own agricultural land [- industrial, residential land, yes]. That is to say, foreigners can own equity in companies that own non-ag. land.

    Laws are constantly changing and the government in search of the Holy Grail of 10%+ growth may well have thrown open the whole country to all comers.

  4. Nice post.

    Am intrigued by your assertion “One major law to consider is that many states stipulate that ‘outsiders’ may not buy agricultural properties …In Tamil Nadu there are no restrictions as long as one is an Indian citizen.In Tamil Nadu there are no restrictions as long as one is an Indian citizen”

    What is the basis (please cite relevant central or Tamil Nadu law) for the assertion above that it is only Indian citizens that are permitted to buy agricultural land in Tamil Nadu?

    I am familiar with the provisions of a central law called FEMA. Per FEMA, a resident of India, even if he or she is a US citizen, is not prohibited from buying agricultural land in India. However, FEMA prohibits even an Indian citizen who is not resident of India, from buying agricultural land in India.

    I would like to know the source (preferably authoritative and not mere hearsay) of your information that only Indian citizens are allowed to buy agricultural land in Tamil Nadu.

    Thank you.

    Please feel free to send a reply to

  5. DV,
    This is really useful , Ramesh and I have been asking around about the modalities of buying land and also restrictions regarding non-agriculturists buying agricultural land etc etc…
    We will wait for the rest of ur article and have many more questions

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