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Amendment to water down urban area law modified by Haryana assembly

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh
UPDATED ON AUG 27, 2020 12:11 AM IST

The Haryana assembly on Wednesday passed a bill to undo a 2017 amendment in the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas Act which had watered down section 7-A of the Act.

The stipulations under section 7-A pertained to grant of a no objection certificate (NOC) by the town and country planning department before registration of land in notified urban areas to prevent ill planned and haphazard construction.

The move to undo the amendment comes in the wake of massive violations in registrations of sale deeds without obtaining the NOCs in notified urban areas in Gurugram district. The state government had in July booked six serving and one retired Gurugram revenue official for executing registration of sale deeds of properties in notified urban areas without obtaining NOCs.

Later, the ambit of inquiry into the malpractices in registration of sale deeds was widened and registrations carried out from April 3, 2017 to December 31, 2019 were also probed for section 7-A violation. The fresh inquiry started from April 3, 2017, the day an amendment in section 7-A was notified by the Manohar Lal Khattar-led BJP government to water down the law.

The 2017 amendment

The 2017 amendment in section 7-A, steered by previous BJP government, led to two modifications in the provision. First, it decreased the size of notified urban area land holding for which NCC is required from less than one hectare (2.5 acres) to less than two kanals. Secondly, the definition of land for which the NOC was required was changed from vacant land to agricultural land. The agricultural land was defined was nehri (canal irrigated), chahi (irrigated from well), barani (dependent on rainfall) or any other term in revenue records.

“The 2017 amendment ensured that real-estate developers were able to circumvent the requirement of NOC by converting an agricultural land into uncultivable (gair mumkin) in revenue records. The reduction in land size from less than hectares to two kanals also worked to the advantage of realtors,” officials said.

The new amendment bill

The amendment bill passed by the state assembly on Wednesday will change the definition of notified urban area land and size of the holding for which the NOC was required. Now, the land holding for which NOC is required is proposed to be less than one acre instead of less than two kanals and the notified urban area land definition has been changed from agricultural to vacant again.

Vacant land has been defined as land wherein either no construction of any nature exists or such construction is in existence which is either uninhabited or not fit for human habitation and stands constructed without following the due course of law. Also, now NOC will be required for transfer of land through gift deed

Congress MLA from Rohtak Bharat Bhushan Batra said that new stipulations brought in by this amendment bill pertaining to Section 7-A needed a re-look. “Please review the definition of vacant land under Section 7-A before you pass the amendment bill. It should be referred to an assembly committee for deliberations before it is passed by the assembly,” Batra said. Leader of the opposition, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, also supported Batra. JJP MLA from Narnaund MLA Ram Kumar Gautam said that there should be no ban on the registration of sale deeds.

Some Congress MLAs walked out over the tabling the Haryana Development and Regulation of Urban Areas (Amendment) Bill as well.

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