NITI Aayog's draft model Act on land titling impracticable, contentious
Do you think the system of conclusive land titling or the Torrens Title system can be implemented in our states? NITI Aayog has released a draft model Act on land titling in October last year and the Centre is insisting on the State governments (since land is in the State list) to implement it. With the present system of land records, which already suffers from several knots, how challenging it will be for the State government to shift from the present system?
— P Sona Alagesh, via email
The draft model Act proposed by NITI Aayog, requesting the states to adopt the law for conferring conclusive conferring titles on land to the owners is highly impracticable and contentious. The land tenure in India and the various property-related legislation — so diverse and evolved over several centuries — are so complicated and may not be amenable to a uniform law on conferring titles. Apart from the law coming into conflict with several land reform legislations evolved by states, it is also likely to strengthen absentee landlordism and promoting fake and undesirable title on unscrupulous elements. I do not think that many state governments will agree to go by the law thereby increasing litigation than what it attempts to reduce.
Avoid personal settlement in quasi-criminal matters
Several months ago, I was returning home late at night and trying to park my car in front of my house. There is an under-construction site next to my house and one of the workers was sleeping. My car hit the person’s leg. I immediately took him to the hospital and after he was screened for a hairline fracture, got it attended to and also paid for the treatment (Rs 23,000 for x-rays and treatment) and gave him Rs 10,000. After a few months, the work in the neighbourhood got over and workers too left. Three weeks later, the man suddenly returned and said he was unable to find work during lockdown due to his injury and asked for money. I gave him Rs 5,000. A few days ago he came again and asked for money again. I feel very guilty, but I have already got him cured and paid him some money. If he goes to the police station to file a complaint, what is the legal recourse for me? What is the right way for me to compensate him and put an end to this? Please guide me.
-- Name withheld on request
In these quasi-criminal matters, no one should enter into any personal settlement without the intervention of the law. You should have approached the local legal aid service committee and with its help gone before a permanent Lok Adalat organised by the District Court or High Court. Any settlement before the Lok Adalat has the sanctity of a civil court decree and it is unimpeachable. Even now you can go before the legal aid committee and have a legal agreement with the person injured. Otherwise, you can ask that frequent visitor to move the court for relief and you will settle the matter before the court. Giving piecemeal dole-outs is always risky and unending.
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed here are of Justice K Chandru, who is providing guidance and direction based on his rich experience and knowledge of the law. This is not a substitute for legal recourse which must be taken as a follow-up if so recommended in these columns