It is a well-established fact that Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) have been investing heavily in the real estate sector in India. Despite contributing significantly to this booming industry, NRIs are frequently embroiled in property disputes, which can often lead to long-drawn legal battles.
Property disputes faced by NRIs in India are aplenty and can range from title defects, fraudulent transactions, illegal possession of property, non-payment of dues or taxes to boundary disputes. Such matters require astute legal representation coupled with an understanding of the laws governing real estate ownership and transactional practices specific to India.
One area where NRIs commonly face issues is regarding their ability to sell or transfer properties that they own within India. This arises mainly due to a lack of awareness about relevant provisions under Indian law governing such transactions. The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999 regulates foreign investment into India and outlines rules pertaining to repatriation, acquisition, and disposal of immovable properties by NRIs.
Another common challenge that NRIs face relates to land grab or unauthorized occupation. In such situations, aggrieved parties must file suits for eviction under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act 1963 along with other relevant provisions under local state laws dealing with trespassing on private property.
Boundary disputes are another thorny issue faced by NRI’s who may not be present locally during the construction phase when it becomes critical for ensuring accuracy in laying boundaries as per approved plans sanctioned by local authorities while obtaining necessary permissions before erecting any structures on them.
To ensure proper resolution of disputes concerning immovable properties involving NRIs like above stated cases one should always consult an expert lawyer specializing in Real Estate Laws who has experience handling Property Dispute Lawsuits involving Non-Resident Indians.
One notable case law worth mentioning concerns Jayantilal Investments v Madhvani Bros Pvt Ltd & Anr ((2005) SCC 49), where the Supreme Court held that while interpreting agreements pertaining to immovable properties, it is essential to consider the intention of the parties involved in forming such contracts.
Another case law is Om Prakash Gupta v Parveen Kumar (AIR 2013 Del 54), where the Delhi High Court ruled that a suit for declaration of ownership could not be initiated based solely on oral evidence without additional documentary proof supporting any transaction under consideration.
Further, in Raghunath Singh v Sham Singh & Ors [(2006) 11 SCC 1], the Apex court reiterated its stand that if a party buying an immovable property has reasonable grounds to believe about good title and equity supported by proper diligence before entering into any agreement or sale deed, then later disputes regarding rights over such property cannot arise.
In conclusion, NRIs investing in real estate must exercise caution when dealing with Indian properties as they are often confronted with legal challenges ranging from simple document verification issues to more complicated cases like partition suits and trespassing claims. The onus lies upon them to seek sound legal advice from experts specializing in relevant fields within India’s dynamic regulatory environment governing real estate transactions.