The stay order by the Calcutta High Court, which restricted residents from transferring their leasehold rights, was lifted a few months ago, paving the way for easy transfer of leasehold rights. The High Court, on April 16 last, had imposed an interim stay on the state government’s decision to charge Rs 5 lakh per cottah, from the leaseholders, who were applying to transfer their leasehold rights in properties.
The stay was the result of a petition filed by Sushila Drolia, a BC Block resident of Salt Lake, claiming it would be illegal if the government charged Rs 5 lakh per cottah to get a property, which had been willed to her.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee subsequently imposed an interim stay. “But recently, the stay was lifted a,” said Debashis Sen, state Urban Development secretary.
There are two kinds of resident living in Salt Lake. Some residents, only 88 in number, were allotted plots under the Clause 17. The rest were allotted under Clause 20.
The state Urban Development officers found that the state government in the 1970s had given the transfer of leasehold rights to the 88 people, who were among the first residents of the township.
“The reasons for giving the transfer of leasehold rights, on behalf of the erstwhile state government to those initial buyers, were several. Most of the people then could not get the idea of this satellite township adjacent to the metropolis. Buyers had several fears about building property here. To encourage them, the government gave them permission to transfer the leasehold rights, so that a buyer could sell the plot anytime,” an officer of the Urban Development said.
Later, the government changed its stand and stopped the Clause 17 owners to sell their properties. In 2010, these owners moved the Court. The Court ruled in favour of the 88 plot owners. After this judgment, the state issued a notification on June 25, 2012, that they would have to pay Rs 5 lakh per cottah if they wished to apply for transfer of leasehold rights. The 88 plot owners once again moved the Court, which again ruled in their favour, and let them off from paying the fees.
Now, the rest of the Salt Lake residents, classified under Clause 20, can also transfer their leasehold rights, but only after paying the state government Rs 5 lakh per cottah. Drolia, the petitioner of Salt Lake’s BC Block, is classified under Clause 20. In her petition, she claimed the government could not demand the charged during the transfer. The Court imposed a stay on payment of the charges, but now the stay has been lifted.
“The residents under Clause 20 can transfer their leasehold rights of property to the other party, after paying Rs 5 lakh per cottah to the state government. We are getting a good response. However, there are different rules for the non-residential plots and properties in the township,” said the officer, refusing to divulge the number of applications that the department received.
In 2012, the state government had decided to charge money to transfer the leasehold of rights for the Salt Lake residents. The owners were allotted plots in the township for the leasehold rights of 999 years.
Residents in Salt Lake, who wish to transfer the leasehold rights of their property are now coming to the state Urban Development department’s office to learn the procedure, after a gap of one year.
“Many residents are now coming to us to know the details of the transfer process of leasehold rights,” Sen added.