General power of attorney has no legal sanctity: SC
October 12 2011
The Supreme Court today ruled that sale transactions carried in the name of general power of attorney will have no legal sanctity and immovable property can be sold or transferred only through registered deeds.
A three-judge bench of justices R V Raveendran, A K Patnaik and H L Gokhale also asked the states to reduce stamp duty rates to prevent undervaluation of property and stashing of black money by vested interests.
The apex court said high stamp rates has led to rampant abuse of the general powr of attorney (GPA), sale agreements (SA) and Wills, resulting in huge loss of money to the exchequer.
“Transactions of the nature of `GPA sales¿ or `SA/GPA/WILL transfers' do not convey title and do not amount to transfer nor can they be recognised or valid mode of transfer of immovable property.
“The courts will not treat such transactions as completed or concluded transfers or as conveyances as they neither convey title nor create any interest in an immovable property.
“Such transactions cannot be relied upon or made the basis for mutations in municipal or revenue records,” Justice Raveendran, writing the judgement, said.
The apex court said the amendments to stamp and registration laws by various states do not address the larger issue of generation of black money and operation of land mafia and hence there was a need to reduce the stamp duty though it may result in loss or revenue.
“When high stamp duty is prevalent, there is a tendency to undervalue documents even where sale deeds are executed.
We therefore reiterate that immovable property can be legally and lawfully transferred/conveyed only by a registered deed of conveyance. Transactions of the nature of `GPA sales' or `SA/GPA/WILL transfers' do not convey title and do not amount to transfer, nor can they be recognized or valid mode of transfer of immoveable property. The courts will not treat such transactions as completed or concluded transfers or as conveyances as they neither convey title nor create any interest in an immovable property. They cannot be recognized as deeds of title, except to the limited extent of section 53A of the TP Act. Such transactions cannot be relied upon or made the basis for mutations in Municipal or Revenue Records. What is stated above will apply not only to deeds of conveyance in regard to freehold property but also to transfer of leasehold property. A lease can be validly transferred only under a registered Assignment of Lease.
It has been submitted that making declaration that GPA sales and SA/GPA/WILL transfers are not legally valid modes of transfer is likely to create hardship to a large number of persons who have entered into such transactions and they should be given sufficient time to regularize the transactions by obtaining deeds of conveyance.
We make it clear that our observations are not intended to in any way affect the validity of sale agreements and powers of attorney executed in genuine transactions. For example, a person may give a power of attorney to his spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister or a relative to manage his affairs or to execute a deed of conveyance. A person may enter into a development agreement with a land developer or builder for developing the land either by forming plots or by constructing apartment buildings and in that behalf execute an agreement of sale and grant a Power of Attorney empowering the developer to execute agreements of sale or conveyances in regard to individual plots of land or undivided shares in the land relating to apartments in favour of prospective purchasers.
For full text judgment here is a pdf file attached ;