1.1 Please briefly describe the main laws that govern real
estate in your jurisdiction. Laws relating to leases of
business premises should be listed in response to question
10.1. Those relating to zoning and environmental should be
listed in response to question 11.1.
India is a quasi-federal state and all legislative,
administrative and executive powers are divided between the
government at the centre and each state government, respectively.
The main central laws that govern real estate in India are as
(a) The Indian Contract Act, 1872 [Act No.
IX of 1872]: The Indian Contract Act, 1882 inter alia specifies the
laws governing contracts between parties.
(b) Transfer of Property Act, 1882 [Act
No. IV of 1882]: The Transfer of Property Act, 1882 inter alia
specifies the laws governing the sale, lease, mortgage, etc. of
immovable property, by act of parties.
(c) The Indian Succession Act, 1925 [Act
No. XXXIX of 1925]: The Indian Succession Act, 1925 specifies the
laws relating to testamentary succession to the assets of
individuals. Intestate succession in India depends upon the
religion of the deceased. The Hindu Succession Act, 1925 [Act
No. 30 of Year 1956], has codified the laws relating to intestate
succession amongst Hindus. Mohamedan law on this subject,
however, is un-codified.
(d) The Registration Act, 1908 [Act No.
XVI of 1908]: The Registration Act, 1908 specifies the laws
relating to registration of non-testamentary documents purporting
to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish any right title or
interest in immovable property, with the relevant authorities.
The aforesaid are the main central laws relating to real estate
in India. In addition to the above, the legislature of every
state in India enacts separate laws which operate only in such
state and are to be read with and in addition to the basic central
laws specified above. For instance, in the State of
Maharashtra, the additional laws that govern real estate are as
(i) The Maharashtra Ownership of Flats (Regulation
of the Promotion, Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act,
1963 [Maharashtra Act No. XLV of 1963] ("MOFA
Act"): The MOFA Act governs the construction, sale and
transfer of flats in buildings constructed by real estate
developers. It has been made to protect flat purchasers from
the malpractices committed by the real estate developers. The MOFA
Act is to be read along with the The Maharashtra Co-operative
Societies Act, 1960 [Maharashtra Act No. XXIV of 1961] which inter
alia sets out the laws pertaining to the formation and management
of co-operative housing societies formed by occupants of ownership
premises in buildings.
(ii) The Maharashtra Rent Control Act,
1999 [Maharashtra Act No. XVIII OF 2000]: The Maharashtra
Rent Control Act, 1999 inter alia relates to control of rent in
respect of tenanted premises. The Act also deals with the process
for eviction of tenants and diverse matters connected with tenancy
(iii) The Maharashtra Stamp Act, 1958
[Maharashtra Act No. LX of 1958]: The Maharashtra Stamp Act, 1958
inter alia specifies the laws relating to stamping of instruments
relating to the transfer of immovable property. The said Act
also specifies the rates of stamp duty payable on such
1.2 What is the impact (if any) on real estate of local
common law in your jurisdiction?
As is evident from our response to question 1.1 above, most of
the Acts pertaining to real estate in India are old and outdated.
Although the legislature does amend the said Acts from time
to time, the same is not sufficient to keep up with new challenges
plaguing the real estate sector. Therefore, common law also
plays an important role in regulating the real estate sector in
Though most real estate laws are codified there are some aspects
which are still governed by common law. It is common practice
in India for courts to rely on precedents when the codified law is
not clear and conclusive on a subject. This is the case for
all sectors, including real estate.
1.3 Are international laws relevant to real estate in your
jurisdiction? Please ignore EU legislation enacted locally in
There are no international laws that specifically apply to real
estate in India.
On March 10, 2015, the controversial amendments to the land acquisition law were finally passed by the Lok Sabha after facing severe criticism both from the opposition parties as well as from the government's own allies.
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