The Delhi government on Thursday submitted before the Delhi High Court that it does not want online registration of properties to be made available in order to curb false registrations and obviate unnecessary litigation in the society related to the same.
The submission was made in an affidavit filed on a petition seeking the formulation of policy and bring in line the e-registration of documents, in a bid to avoid the unnecessary crowding at the Sub-Registrar's Office and ease the registration process in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The government does not want the registration of properties to be made available online in order to curb false registrations and to obviate unnecessary litigation in the society related to registration of property," the affidavit said.
It also said that the rationale of e-registration for documents due to COVID-19 pandemic is not substantial, as Sub-Registrar's Offices are functioning and no work in the office of Registrar is hindered or stopped in the present circumstances.
A division bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan, after taking note of the submissions made by the Delhi government, disposed of the matter and observed that the petition may be treated as representation.
The Delhi government, in its affidavit, also said that COVID-19 related restrictions are temporary arrangements with the objective of curbing its spread.
"Normal functioning of all government departments including public dealings are operational subject to certain requisite pre-cautions as mandated for COVID-19 disease in order to curb its spread," the affidavit said.
It said that home visit option is also available for old age, medical unfit and disabled person and the same can be accessed through DORIS, an additional facility extended to the vulnerable group of society and in order to curb any false registration of property and to avoid unwanted litigation, certain checks and balances are essential.
"This includes the presentation of parties, photographs of the parties and witnesses, examining them by sub-registrar at the time of execution to ascertain the conduct of the parties and verify the details," the affidavit said.
"It is also pertinent to mention that buying and selling of properties are generally once in a lifetime opportunity for many people. So, it is necessary to have certain checks in the public interest," it added.
The petition, filed by one DC Tuteja through advocate Gaurav Bahl, said that the registration of the documents is one of the very basic issues touching upon the lives of the society and due to the present restrictions arising from the pandemic COVID-19.
"The entire process of registration of documents has come to a standstill and various rights of the parties have been affected equally being unable to meet their obligations under the agreements or for creating any rights in the favour of their loved ones," the plea had said.
It said that the gathering of a large number of people at these offices is highly risk-oriented and is likely to cause the spread of the virus.
The plea had also submitted that the secret documents, such as will, etc can still continue to be registered with personal presence, but added that a mechanism may also be made for ensuring that the registration of the will may also be done virtually.
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