In Part I, I explained the history of property-related confusion in Whitefield area in Bengaluru, and why Khata confusions arise. Here are some more questions answered on Khata:
What is Khata?
The term ‘Khata’ literally means an account. This term has a long history. Kingdoms levied land revenue on citizens to raise the bulk of their resources. For this purpose, they developed systems for measuring of land and appointed collectors to estimate and collect the taxes. Each land owner was assigned a ‘Khata’ in the records of the tax collectors, in which details of the estimated tax payable and the collections made from year to year was recorded. This system is still in vogue in the country, both in urban and rural areas.
In cities, the ‘Khata’ still means the ‘account’ of the house owner in the records of the Corporation/ Municipality. Obviously, the Khata register of the Corporation becomes an important document that contains brief details of the property, the estimated property tax and other cesses payable on the property and the property tax and cesses collected every year.
Khata is therefore an account of a person who has property in the city, as also an account of assessment of property owners within the Corporation’s jurisdiction. It contains important details of properties concerned, such as the name of owner, the size of buildings etc., its location and the tax to which it is assessed.
Why is Khata important?
One has to step back and understand the larger picture here. We use the term land title very loosely in India. In many countries, there is actually a system of a ‘Title deed’ for every property. This is a single document, which is considered as conclusive proof of ownership of property (and therefore, Title).
In fact, in many countries, the title deed is also guaranteed by the Government. In other words, if it is found that the title is wrong, then the government is liable to compensate people who suffered loss on account of dealing with such lands.
In India, we do not have any such title document. So we have to assemble together the proof of ownership through a set of documents, which can establish to a high degree, that we own a particular property. These documents are
(a) a sale deed, in case you bought a property
(b) an inheritance deed or will, in case you inherited it
(c) a Property tax receipt, to show that you have been paying property tax. And
(d) a Khata extract and Khata certificate, which shows that your name exists in the Municipal records as the ‘owner’ of the property, who pays tax to the Municipality.
Thus, a Khata is an important document because it is an important evidence of who owns and possesses the property concerned. However, it is not the sole or conclusive evidence. And its accuracy is not guaranteed by the government.
In the absence of a single title deed, in India, whenever you are involved in a transaction that relates to property, say, for example, you apply for a building license or a license for trade, or if you apply for a loan from a bank or financial institution, you are asked to produce a Khata document, because that is one way of establishing that you own property. So the importance of a Khata has grown, (a) because of long-established practice and (b) because there is a legal vacuum – we do not have a guaranteed land titling system in India.
What is the legal right given through Khata?
Strictly speaking, a Khata certificate or Khata extract is only evidence that property tax has been paid on the said property. It does not confer any ownership of property on the person in whose name it stands.
There are several judgments of the High Court of Karnataka on the issue of the Khata. The latest one, and therefore the most contemporary pronouncement of the law, is in Writ Petition No. 16738 of 2005; Jayamma vs. Assistant Revenue Officer, Hombegowda Nagar Range and others
Citation: ILR2009KAR458, 2009(3)KarLJ630 (and on the net in MANU/KA/0450/2008)
Decided on: 25.09.2008, by Justice Ram Mohan Reddy
Relevant extract of the judgment:
Para 6: The word ‘katha’ is not found in the Act, but in common parlance, over the years, is synonymous with the certificate issued by the Corporation in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 114 of the (Karnataka Municipalities) Act, recording the name of the owner/occupier of the immovable property, primarily responsible to pay the Corporation taxes. It is also true that this ‘katha’, is important on account of its relevancy for variety of purposes, be it securing a gas connection, telephone line, driving licence, ration card, mortgage by deposit of title deeds , conveyance of immovable property, licence to erect a building, so on and so forth, though does not confer right title or interest in the immovable property.
What is the physical form of the Khata that we are entitled to?
There are two ‘Khata’ related documents from the BBMP. These are (a) the Khata Certificate and (b) the Khata Extract. All property owners/holders who hold property within the jurisdiction of the BBMP are eligible to obtain a Khata document from the BBMP.
What is a Khata certificate?
The ‘Khata’ certificate states that a particular property No ‘XYZ’ stands in the name of a particular person A. The Khata certificate is given only to the owner of the property or to his family members. No one else can take it on his behalf.
Why is a BBMP Khata certificate important?
A BBMP Khata certificate is required for three major purposes:
1) For registration of a new property
2) For transfer of any property
3) To apply for water connection, electricity connection, trade license and building license.
What is a Khata extract?
A Khata Extract is an extract taken from the assessment register of the BBMP giving details of the property concerned, such as the name of the property, its size, the use to which it is put (commercial purpose, residential), and its annual value, fixed when it was last assessed.
For what is the Khata extract required?
A Khata extract is required to
a. apply for obtaining a trade license, or
b. to buy a property.
In next part will explain how to get Khata. Post your queries, if any, below this article.
This post was originally shared by T R Raghunandan on Whitefield Rising Facebook group, and has been republished here with permission.