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Registering a property could soon become easier

The government is planning to replace the Indian Stamp Act 1899 with a simpler law that will do away with a large number of provisions and fees.The finance ministry has already initiated a preliminary exercise to draft the new law and is hopeful of finalizing it by the end of the year. The draft will need to be discussed with State governments to elicit their views as well.

Under the Indian Registration Act, the purchase of a house should be registered with the office of the registrar or sub-registrar of the district within whose jurisdiction the property is situated. Registration of property helps trace the history of ownership of a property.At present, the documents are physically verified by different departments, making the process of registration a time-consuming one. The new legislation is expected to address the problems being faced in registration of properties. The proposed legislation is likely to recognize electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties. At present electronic stamping and electronic payment of stamp duties facility is available as part of the e-governance initiative for companies that wish to file their papers online with the Registrar of Companies.

The government is also planning to rework the current structure of stamp duty fees and penalties. Duties charged in the smaller denominations could be replaced with specific amounts or be calculated as a percentage. It is to be noted that the Law Commission had taken up the issue of amending the Indian Stamp Act last year. It had suggested in its report that the required fee for any transaction or court fee should be paid by demand draft, cash, or postal order rather than through non-judicial stamp papers or special stamps.

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