HYDERABAD: Serious questions have been raised over the constitutional validity of the Dharani initiative in view of the state government bringing drastic changes in the registration process without the Centre’s approval. Registration being a subject in the concurrent list, approval of the Centre is mandatory for any legislation brought out by the state with regard to it.
Significantly, several provisions in the Telangana Rights in Land and Pattadar Passbook Act, 2020, under which the Dharani portal was launched, not only have direct bearing on the Registration Act 1908 but overriding effect as well.
Official sources told this newspaper that the state government took a conscious decision not to send the Dharani Act for consideration and approval of the Centre apparently in a bid to rush its launch. “The 2020 Act has in it the reference of 1908 Act several times and clearly overrode the provisions of the latter. As per the Constitution the Central law, which in this case is Registration Act 1908, prevails over the state laws in the event of discrepancy between the two laws,” a senior revenue official pointed out. For instance, the state government while transferring the power of registration of agricultural properties from sub registrars to tahsildars, recognised only four modes of property transfer – sale, gift, partition and exchange – while there are several other numerous ways of acquiring property for which provisions are clearly made in Registration Act 1908.
“By completely ignoring the other modes, we have grossly compromised on the Registration Act 1908 which the Centre would have definitely objected to and directed the state to make necessary changes,” sources said. The state government on the other hand sent another legislation to Centre that dealt with changes to Section 47A of Indian Stamps Act removing the powers of the inspector general, stamps and registration, to determine the value of the property in the event of a dispute between the government and the private party which is registering the property.
Way back in 2007, the state government wanted to give legislative backing to inclusion of properties in the prohibited list of 22A. It sent the draft legislation as well as the final Act passed by the state legislature for Centre’s approval before obtaining the Governor’s assent and notifying the new Act. In neighbouring AP, the state government could not implement the much talked about Disha Act till date as the Centre is yet to give its assent to the Act that dealt with Criminal Procedure Code which is in concurrent list.