Citizens to pay for a govt lapse

Department fleecing property buyers taking advantage of printing error

For, the Government failed to get the Karnataka Stamp Act amended in the recently-concluded Legislature session and correct the printing error in its notification dated April 1, 2010 pertaining to the stamp duty on sale agreement: The duty was wrongly printed as one per cent of total value of the property instead of 0.1 per cent announced in the 2010-11 budget.

As a result, property buyers are forced to pay an exorbitant one per cent stamp duty or a maximum of Rs 20,000 while entering into a sale agreement. One could even end up losing money paid towards the duty if one fails to execute the sale deed.

For instance, a buyer planning to buy a property worth Rs 20 lakh has to pay Rs 20,000 towards stamp duty (at one per cent of the property value), while entering into a sale agreement with the owner. In the event of the owner backtracking or the buyer failing to execute the sale deed, the latter loses Rs 20,000. There is no provision in the law to refund the duty paid towards sale agreement, official sources said.

The Stamps and Registration Department will, however, adjust the duty paid at the time of executing the sale deed.

“If the Government had not committed the printing error, or had it rectified the error immediately, the duty for sale agreement would have been just Rs 2,000 (for a Rs 20 lakh property). The Government intended to give a relief to property buyers by bringing down the duty (from 0.25 per cent to 0.1 per cent), but the error in the notification has burdened them,” officials pointed out.

Draft bill not tabled

Though the Government pushed through nearly two dozen bills, including the controversial Cow Slaughter Bill, despite Opposition staging a dharna in the recently-concluded Legislature session, it did not bother to even table the bill to correct the error.
The Law and Parliamentary Affairs had prepared the draft bill in this regard in April 2010 and had handed it over to the Revenue Department (under which the Stamps and Registration falls).

As per the procedure, the concerned department has to propose the amendment whenever necessary. The Revenue Department sent the proposal to the Chief Minister’s office so that it can be listed among the bills to be tabled during the session. But the Chief Minister’s office chose to ignore the bill, official sources said.

Sources also said the only option left with the Government was to promulgate an ordinance. Or the property buyers have to wait till the State Legislature meets again for the winter session.

- Govt fails to amend the Stamp Act to correct a printing error on stamp duty for sale agreement.
-  Property buyers will have to continue paying 1 per cent stamp duty instead of 0.1 per cent.
-  Money paid towards stamp duty for sale agreement will not be refunded if the sale deed is not executed.

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