ndia: Requirements and procedures to obtain land records showing ownership and location of private property, including whether these records are available online in Punjab; requirements and procedures to obtain a confirmation of land title or ownership; locations of land registry offices (2013-April 2017) [IND105782.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Overview

According to the website of the Department of Governance Reforms of the government of Punjab,

"Land Records" itself is a generic expression and can include records such as the register of lands, Records of Rights (RoRs), tenancy and crop inspection register, mutation register, disputed cases register, geological information regarding the shape, size, soil-type of the land; and economic information related to irrigation and crops. (Punjab n.d.)

The same website states that a Land Records MMP [Mission Mode Project] initiated by the [Indian] Ministry of Rural Development seeks to digitalize all data related to land records and to provide computerized access to RoRs (Punjab n.d.). The same source further explains that the goals of the MMP includes "[s]etting up computer centres at Tehsils"[administrative divisions] and "[e]nabling Web access and stopping further issue of manual RoRs" (Punjab n.d.).

According to the same website, "[i]n Punjab, the [MMP] has already been implemented partially by [the] Revenue [D]epartment" (Punjab n.d.). According to a 2014 report entitled e-Governance in Punjab published by the Department of Governance Reforms of Punjab, the "Record of Rights of about 12,780 villages has been computerized [and t]he data of all 22 districts has already been put on the website [of the Punjab Land Records Society (PLRS)]" (Punjab Oct. 2014, 35). According to undated information on the Department of Governance Reforms website, there are 12,993 villages in the state (Punjab n.d.).

According to the Punjab Land Records Society Financial Rules found on the PLRS website,

[t]he primary objective of the Punjab Land Records Society (PLRS) is to oversee, monitor the implementation of computerization and digitization of [l]and [r]ecords and related documents in Punjab for the overall benefit of the citizens and to provide land records related services to the public. The [PLRS] is a [s]tate level body and constituted to manage the land records in all its dimensions.

The [o]rganization of PLRS can be divided into four levels. … [T]he fourth level is the Tehsil/Sub-tehsil level, where the services to the public shall be provided. (PLRS n.d.a)

2. Service Delivery Centres for Accessing Land Records (Fard Kendras)

The PLRS provides access to a Fard [land record] online database searchable by village (PLRS N.d.b). However, according to the Department of Governance Reforms, "[c]urrently [a] citizen can view his Fard record online but [a] certified copy can only be taken from Fard Kendras" (Punjab n.d.). The e-Governance in Punjab report explains that a Fard Kendra is a service delivery centre for accessing land records (Punjab Oct. 2014, 3).

The same source adds that the PLRS "has set up 163 Fard Kendras in Public Private Partnership to facilitate citizens to collect their documents across the counter on paying [a] nominal fee" (Punjab Oct. 2014, 35). According to the undated information found on the Department of Governance Reforms website, "[100,000 to 150,000] average citizen service requests of [Fard] [are] processed per month" at 157 Fard Kendras across Punjab (Punjab n.d.). The 2014 e-Governance in Punjab report adds that "PLRS is planning to deliver more land record services th[r]ough these Kendras in [the] near future" (Punjab Oct. 2014, 35).

Further information on these additional services and on the locations of Fard Kendras in Punjab could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

3. Requirements and Procedures to Obtain Land Records

Information on requirements and procedures for an individual to obtain land records, including online, could not be found by the Research Directorate among the sources consulted within the time constraints of this Response. However, a 2009 Fard Kendra Operational Manual published by the PLRS provides the following details on the procedures to be followed by staff for issuing copies of land records at Fard Kendras:

Whenever a Fard is required by any person, he will apply for the same in the prescribed application format already available at Fard Kendra. The specimen copy of the format is attached as Annexure-I. It is clarified that for every type of Nakal [copy] of Revenue Record, separate application form may be filled up. These forms will be available, free of cost, to the public at the Counter of the Fard Kendra. If required, the operator from the Vendor shall assist the applicant in filling up the forms. Once the form is filled up by the applicant, he will handover the same to the operator.

The Operator will write the serial number of the Receipt Register on the application form as well as the same serial No. and date on the Receipt, appended on Annexure-1 to be issued by the Operator to the applicant at the time of receiving the application. The receipt register will be maintained by the operator on the prescribed format (Annexure-1(a)). The serial number of Receipt Register will be continuous from 1st April to 31st March every year.

The Operator shall generate print outs of the Nakals as required by applicant and hand it over to duty Patwari [land record officer] along with the application Form. During the formative period and to ensure that error-free Nakals are issued to the applicants, the duty Patwari will send the printout of the Nakals to the Halqa Patwari for correction, if any the same day or the next day by making its entry in the Despatch Register Annexure-1(b).

The Halqa Patwari on receipt of the printout shall compare it with the manual record and return the same to the Fard Kendra on the following day. In the event of any correction in the printout, received from the Halqa Patwari, the duty Patwari at the Fard Kendra will get a revised printout of the Nakal after corrections and attest the same by affixing his signatures and the stamp (Annexure-II) after giving a remark on the Nakal that “Fard-Computer, Record Computer Mutabik Thik hai” and will hand over the Nakal to the applicant against proper receipt, given on the application form, after receiving the requisite Govt. fee as well as facilitation fee of PLRS, for which two separate receipts- one for Govt. fee and the other for facilitation charges of PLRS shall be issued to the applicant by the Duty Patwari in Annexure-IV(a) & IV(b) respectively.

The receipts in duplicate should be got printed and serial number assigned using the numbering machine. The serial number may be commenced at the beginning of the financial year. It should be started for every Fard Kendra from Serial No.1. The duty Patwari after issuing the Nakal shall make an entry in the prescribed register, the specimen of which is attached as Annexure-III. (PLRS 2009, 2-3)

The complete manual, including the annexures referred to above, is attached to this Response.

Information on whether these land records also serve as confirmations of land title or ownership could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Punjab Land Records Society (PLRS). 2009. Fard Kendra Operational Manual – 2009 Ver 1.3. [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017]

Punjab Land Records Society (PLRS). N.d.a. Punjab Land Records Society Financial Rules. [Accessed 12 Apr. 2017]

Punjab Land Records Society (PLRS). N.d.b. "Fard." [Accessed 12 Apr. 2017]

Punjab. October 2014. Department of Governance Reforms. e-Governance in Punjab. [Accessed 12 Apr. 2017]

Punjab. N.d. Department of Governance Reforms. "Land Records." [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: 5 lawyers in Punjab, India; Mississauga-based company offering legal and business services in Punjab; Punjab – Department of Governance Reforms, Department of Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management.

Internet sites, including: AssetYogi; Dawn.com; ecoi.net; Firstpost.com; HG.org; India – Department of Land Resources, National Portal of India; Indianexpress.com; Indianreaders.com; Punjab – Government of Punjab, NRI Affairs Department, Punjab State Centre; The Tribune (Punjab); UK – Home Office; UN – Refworld; US – Department of State.

Attachment

Punjab Land Records Society (PLRS). 2009. Fard Kendra Operational Manual – 2009 Ver 1.3. [Accessed 18 Apr. 2017]