Jantri rate is the minimum price of land or building in a particular area. The revenue department of the Gujarat government decides the price (Jantri) of each land depending on its Location. The same is updated in a booklet titled ‘Jantri Ready reckoner” and used to determine the price of land in a particular area while selling the same for the purpose of determining the required Stamp duty payable to the government.
Gujarat’s honest citizens are facing a peculiar and entirely avoidable problem due to the apathy of the government officials in executing the provisions of the act in true letter and spirit. The lack of a people-friendly approach and choosing to ignore the right context of the provisions of law, the government officials, especially the deputy collectors and sub registrars are unjustly compelling the citizens to pay hefty penalties.
During the last updation of jantri, as many as 15000 plots of land did not figure in the list. Due to this omission, whenever a citizen possessing any of such plots sells the plot, in the absence of guidelines in such cases, the value of the plot is incorrectly arrived at.
The innocent citizen who is unaware of the intricacies follows the procedure as directed and often served the notice of penalty for declaring their property “undervalued” in the sale deed after the audit points out the same in registrar’s office. The penalty runs into lakhs of rupees at times.
While updating the jantri reckoner with all the 15000 missing plots would be the best possible option, there exists a remedy to the citizen’s woes that the insensitive government machinery is unable to address.
As per section 31 of the Gujarat Stamp Act, office of the collector is empowered to pre-evaluate the plots which have not been allotted the jantri rates.
As the text goes, ” 1) When any instrument, whether executed or not and whether previously stamped or not, is brought to the Collector, and the person bringing it applies to have the opinion of that officer as to the duty (if any) with which it is chargeable, and pays a fee of such amount (not exceeding five rupees and not less than 1[fifty naye paise]) as the Collector may in each case direct, the Collector shall determine the duty (if any) with which, in his judgment, the instrument is chargeable.”
However, it is learnt that the deputy collectors are usually reluctant to accept the applications. As per the process, the deputy collector’s office is required to adjudicate the jantri rates based on the nearest plots or average jantri rates of the plots in the grid of 1 sq km area surrounding the plot.
It should not be a big task for identifying the plots which do not have been allotted the rates and fix the pre-evaluation as per the law. It will help the citizens a great deal and avoid unpleasant surprises of penalties when they do not have any clue at all.