Even though the physical possession of a property proves a certain level of ownership, it is not the absolute proof of ownership in case of immovable property. To prove their ownership over assets such as land or property, the owner might be asked to produce a property card or land ownership certificate, a government-authorised document.
What is a property card or land ownership certificate?
An ownership certificate, issued by a competent authority, acts as a proof that the holder or holders are the sole owner/s of the said property and enjoy the rights of an absolute owner/s.
Property cards or ownership certificates provide information about the ownership of a property and history of holdings of land.
Difference between sale deed and property card or ownership certificate
Note here that property documents like sale deed, conveyance deed, gift deed, etc., do act as the proof of your ownership over a property. However, these are not the same as the ownership certificate.
Ownership certificates issued by competent authorities for specific purposes and property title documents like sale deeds, are used for different purposes.
Purpose of ownership certificate/ property card
In many cases, the property owner might not be in possession of any document that proves his legal right over a property or land parcel. This is especially true in the rural and semi-urban parts of India. The same is also true for a large number of households residing in various illegal settlements within the city limits. In all these scenarios, the owner of the property may have to obtain a property card or an ownership certificate that would act as a legal proof of his property holding and by virtue of this, provide him with the legal rights that an absolute property holder enjoys.
It is with this objective that the central government in India has launched the SVAMITVA Scheme, in April 2020. The objective of the scheme is to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India. The SVAMITVA Scheme aims to provide the ‘record of rights’ to village household owners possessing houses in inhabited rural areas in villages which, in turn, would enable them to use their property as a financial asset for taking loans and other financial benefits from banks. Under the scheme, the state issues property cards to rural households in India.
Rights of the holder of ownership certificate
The holder of the ownership certificate has:
- The right to use it as he deems fit.
- The right to dispose of the property as he deems fit. This includes the legal right to sell a property, gift a property, rent or lease a property, etc.
- The right to destroy the property as he deems fit.
- The right to exclude others from unreasonable interference, as he deems fit.
Since land is a state subject in India, the responsibility for issuing the land ownership certificate or property ownership certificate lies with the state authorities. For the sake of convenience, states divide this responsibility among the district revenue officials. So, in order to apply for a land ownership certificate, you will have to contact the additional district magistrate (ADM) in the collectorate of your district to apply for an ownership certificate. In most cases, the application to get an ownership certificate has to be made in person.
Details mentioned in a land ownership certificate
- Name of the land owner
- Name of the land owner’s father or husband
- Address of the land owner
- Plot number of the land parcel
- Total area
- Details related to loans taken by the land owner from government agencies
- Details of pending litigations
- Details of paid and unpaid taxes levied on the land
- Place where the land parcel exists
- Signature of the land owner
- Details of the registration fee or stamp duty paid by the land owner
- Signature of the district revenue officer or the tehsildar
- Full name of the district revenue officer or the tehsildar
- Official stamp of the competent government office or authority
- Date of issuance of ownership certificate
Documents needed to get ownership certificate
To apply for an ownership certificate, the applicant will have to submit the following documents:
- Duly filled application form in the prescribed format.
- Identity proof documents like Voter ID card, passport, or driving licence.
- Residence proof like Voter ID card, passport, or driving license
- Aadhaar card
- Property title documents
- Encumbrance certificate
- Application processing fee or stamps
What is the format of property card/land ownership certificate?
Given below is the sample format of an ownership certificate:
Land Ownership Certificate Format
Office of the Mandal Revenue Officer
This is to certify that Mr/Ms ________________ S/o, D/o, W/o, ____________________ Aged __ years is the Pattadar of land having extent ___________ acres in S No __________ located in village ____________.
He/She is the sole owner of the aforesaid land. The land is in his/her possession and enjoyment and there exists no dispute regarding its ownership. Moreover, the land is not government land or assigned land belonging to the government.
Hence, this is to certify that the above mentioned land and its owner Mr/Ms _________________ are free from any legal disputes.
Mandal Revenue Office Seal:
Fee for ownership certificate
No fee is charged from the owner to apply for a land ownership certificate. However, they have to pay for the stamp worth Rs 25 that would be submitted along with the ownership certificate application.
What is SVAMITVA property card?
With an aim to provide clear property ownership to landowners in rural India, prime minister Narendra Modi, on October 11, 2020, launched the physical distribution of the Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas (abbreviated as SVAMITVA) cards. The scheme was launched on April 24, 2020, on the occasion of the National Panchayat Day, to provide physical proof of record of rights to land owners in India and to modernise land records in India’s villages.
Recall here that there is no record for vast tracks of rural land in India. Records that are available are also found erroneous, as updates fail to keep pace with the changes in land holding patterns. Even though 60% of India’s population still lives in villages, land owners often do not have any documentary proof of their land ownership, a fact that leads to a lot of litigation on a yearly basis. The absence of land records is also a reason behind the poor revenue collection in India’s gram panchayats. The Economic Survey of 2018 had indicated that gram panchayats are unable to collect 81% of their potential property tax, in the absence of clear property titles.
How the SVAMITVA scheme will impact property ownership titles
The mammoth scheme, said Modi, would enable land owners in rural India to use their immovable asset as a financial tool, to have access to credit. By way of providing clear property titles in a country like India where agriculture happens to be the biggest employer, the SVAMITVA scheme will also substantially reduce property disputes. The scheme will also enable gram panchayats in India’s villages, to manage land in the same systematic manner as municipal corporations in cities.
Under the SVAMITVA scheme, a lakh property holders across the country will be able to download their property ownership documents through an SMS link delivered on their mobile phones in the first phase. This will be followed by the physical delivery of these cards to these household. The first phase of the scheme will cover residents of 346 villages in Uttar Pradesh, 221 in Haryana, 100 in Maharashtra, 44 in Madhya Pradesh, 50 in Uttarakhand and two in Karnataka. These six states had signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with Survey of India, for the implementation of the scheme, which involved land surveys of the village areas using drones.
As it is the responsibility of the states to physically distribute the cards, it is up to them to decide whether they would distribute a digital card like Aadhaar or a chip-based card with embedded data. The government plans to issue these cards to every household in rural India, over the course of the next two to three years, Modi said, while launching the scheme via video conference. Eventually, the centre, through its agency the Survey of India, plans to map all 6.62 lakh villages in the country.
“With the help of property cards, a lot of disputes in villages can get resolved. No one needs to be worried about issues like encroachment anymore. Experts across the world have stressed that property ownership rights play a big role in a country’s development,” the PM said, calling the scheme a historic move that would transform rural India.
The scheme also aims to bring financial stability to the citizens in rural India by enabling villagers to use their property as a financial asset, for taking loans and other financial benefits.
See also: Common land record terms in India
Key objectives of SVAMITVA scheme
What is SVAMITVA scheme?
The SVAMITVA scheme has been launched to provide property cards to land owners in rural India.
When was the SVAMITVA scheme launched?
The SVAMITVA scheme was launched on April 24, 2020.
Which authority issues land ownership certificate?
The additional district magistrate issues the land ownership certificate/ property ownership certificate.
Is ownership certificate the same as title deed?
While a sale deed proves the ownership of an owner over a land parcel or property, it is not the same as an ownership certificate.