Mumbai: A Mumbai widow has been running from pillar to post to get her original property documents, with her struggle dating back to 1994.
The Gujarati lady, Sadhana Shah, 64, living in Santacruz, owns a bungalow in Lonavala hill-station bought by her late husband Bhupendra C. Shah, and the Agreement for Sale was given to the Sub-Registrar of Assurances, Old Customs House, Mumbai.
Till date, the Sub-Registrar of Assurances, which now comes under the jurisdiction of the Inspector General of Registration (IGR) Pune, has not bothered to return the Agreement for Sale of the property, her son Mehul Shah said, whose father passed away in November 2009.
In the absence of these critical documents, the distraught Shah family is unable to sell, gift, bequeath, or even apply for a bank loan, said the Citizens Vigilance Forum President Kashyap M. Vyas.
Mehul Shah said that despite persistent efforts by the family, and now even through the CVF, the IGP or the Sub-Registrar of Assurance officials have not given any reply or are willing to part with the documents.
"Even the Society where our bungalow is situated is asking us for the registration documents to complete other formalities but everything is stuck for 28 years because of the officialdom," he added.
The property was bought in 1994
The property was bought from one Kantilal V. Shah, who lodged his Agreement for Sale with the Sub-Registrar of Assurances, Mumbai, for registration purposes on April 29, 1994.
"Till date I have not received the said documents. So many times I have approached the Duty Officer (Mumbai) and even emailed to the IGR, Pune, but there is no reply/response, and they have absolutely failed to deliver the required documents," said Sadhana Shah, the victim.
"Their intentions are quite apparent.. Until they get some 'benefit', they sit on the papers for years. This is the sad and shocking state of affairs," Vyas pointed out.
The CVF shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last week, bringing to their notice "corrupt practices/demand of illegal gratification'.
"It is mandatory to deliver documents as per Rule. But it seems all Public Authorities-Public Servants are deliberately abusing their powers to harass and torture innocent citizens with suspected malicious intentions" said the CVF complaint to the PMO and NHRC.
NHRC lodges case
Taking cognizance of the plea, the NHRC has finally registered a case (No. 3666) this week and CVF activist Rajnikant Gandhi is optimistic that the matter may finally move ahead.
Despite attempts by IANS, no officials were available for comments in the matter in the concerned departments in Mumbai and Pune. Gandhi said that there are many other similar cases languishing in these offices, some dating back to even 1960, where the victims are not provided with their relevant documents for generations.
"Many people die waiting for the papers and we are forced to abandon such matters but the officials are not bothered," he added.
A property documentation consultant said that there are 'unofficial fixed rates' for completing all formalities - depending on the property value - and unless the customers 'comply' with them, they are made to dance around for years by the officials.