Tamil Nadu Sets Up A Comprehensive Land Information Portal

Tamil Nadu has launched a Comprehensive Land Information Portal (CLIP) with the aim of developing a modern, comprehensive and transparent land records management system which presents near real-time data to the applicants. Through this portal, investors can get access to relevant information about the land, such as land ownership details, property encumbrances, tax, water and electricity dues along with data on commercial and legal disputes.

The Policy Note of Industries, Investment Promotion and Commerce Department (Major Industries) 2023-24 published in April 2023, highlighted that the state of Tamil Nadu has approximately 48,198 acres of industrial land bank, the second-largest in the country. In light of this, it is sought to help investors in getting the requisite information for the land acquisition process.

The single integrated portal is user-friendly, does not require one to log in and displays the result once the necessary details are entered by the applicant. It allows investors to access the following data: –

  1. Land transaction deeds registered at any sub-registrar office
  2. Record of rights at all revenue department offices
  3. Property and water tax payment details
  4. Data on revenue court cases
  5. Civil court case data
  6. Securitization (CERSAI database)
  7. Electricity bill payment details
  8. Cadastral map (Field Measurement Book)


Fox Mandal Advises US-based SAAS Firm Sagent in the leasing of its non-US Headquarters in Chennai

Our Real Estate team recently advised Sagent, a mortgage servicing fintech company, in establishing its non-US headquarters in Chennai. The team comprising Partner, Jayaprakash Padmanaban, Practice Head, Aruna Singh, Senior Associate, Kannadasan C and Associate, Vincent P conducted the necessary legal due diligence and advised in leasing the office premises from the real estate developer, DLF Limited.

The Warburg Pincus-backed fintech leader acquired the mortgage servicing fintech team of Mr. Cooper Group Inc. pursuant to their 2022 partnership deal. This Chennai headquarters opened its doors on May 8, 2023, to support the said team since most of its members are based in India. It is said to host more than 120 Sagent team members.

The Chief Technology Officer of Sagent, Uday Devalla who insists on onboarding team members with experience in both, fintech and mortgage servicing, expressed that this move will help attain the company’s “high talent bar”.


Consumer Affairs Dept Suggests Incorporating Exit Clause in Builder-Buyer Agreement

A round table conference was organized on April 18, 2023, by the Department of Consumer Affairs, wherein it was suggested that the builder-buyer agreements incorporate an exit clause for homebuyers which would be valid until the builder obtains the Occupancy Certificate (OC) or Completion Certificate (CC) and offers possession of the property.

The conference was held to discuss the ways in which issues existing in the real estate sector could be dealt with. It was highlighted that more than 54,000 real estate cases were pending in consumer commissions. In light of the same, the consumer commissions and RERA have been urged to ensure that mediation and conciliation are adopted for the speedy disposal of cases.

Several important issues were identified at the conference, such as delays in handing over possession of the property, failure to adopt the RERA model builder-buyer agreement, etc. To address these issues and promote the consumers’ welfare, a committee is proposed to be set up which will be comprised of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commissions, Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), Department of Consumer Affairs, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI), Voluntary Consumer Organisations (VCOs) and Builders as members.

Considering the challenges faced by homebuyers, it has been proposed to enforce a model builder-buyer agreement which could be drafted in such a manner as to avoid the occurrence of disputes between builders and homebuyers. Certain changes to the builder-buyer agreement have been put forward, such as disclosing additional charges in the schedule, specifying grievance redressal mechanisms, including the permissions required to be taken from the concerned authority on the agreement’s first page, etc.


There Cannot Be Any School Without Playground: Apex Court

In an order dated March 3, 2023, the Supreme Court quashed the judgment dated May 12, 2016, pronounced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and directed the respondents encroaching upon the land earmarked for school premises and playground to vacate said land within 12 months. Observing that the school doesn’t have a playground and is surrounded by residential houses constructed without authorisation, the court remarked that there “cannot be any school without playground” and that students are “entitled to a good environment”.

In the year 2011, an ejectment order was issued by the Assistant Collector against the respondents for the unauthorised occupation and possession of certain Gram Panchayat land. After the Collector dismissed their plea, the respondents preferred an appeal before the Commissioner which was also rejected.

Aggrieved, the respondents filed a writ petition before the Punjab and Haryana High Court challenging the decisions of the Assistant Collector, Collector and Commissioner. On May 12, 2016, the court issued an order accepting the respondents’ contentions. With respect to the encroached land wherein residential houses have been constructed and occupied by the respondents, the court directed the authorities to either acquire land equivalent to double the size of the encroached land or to recover the market value of the encroached land from the respondents.

While hearing the appeals filed against the said judgment of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Supreme Court directed that a fresh demarcation be conducted, and a report be filed. Upon perusal of the said report along with the sketch and site plan, the encroachment of Gram Panchayat land was confirmed to the extent of 5 kanal and 4 marla (out of the total 11 kanals and 15 marla of land earmarked for school purposes). 

It was held that the directions given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court were not capable of being carried out. Firstly, the vacant land could not be segregated from the constructed area as certain parts of the encroached land were used for vegetation purposes. Secondly, the owners of the land adjacent to the school premises were not willing to sell their land and hence, could not be purchased by the respondents to offer to the Panchayat. Thus, the court quashed the judgment dated May 12, 2016, pronounced by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, holding that the unauthorized occupation and possession of the land earmarked for school premises and playground cannot be legalized.


SEBI Amends Guidelines for Preferential Issue and Institutional Placement of Units by listed REIT/InvIT

On 28 September 2022, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued guidelines for modifying the provisions pertaining to preferential issue and institutional placement of units by listed InvITs/ REITs which were previously notified vide Circular dated 27 November, 2019.

Key Takeaways:

The amendment to Clause 2.2 provides that units of the same class, proposed to be allotted shall now be required to be listed for a period of 6 months.

As per the amended Clause 4.2, the unsubscribed portion of the units can be made to the sponsor in the institutional placement subject to the following conditions:

  1. Atleast 90% of the issue size has been subscribed.
  2. The object of the issue should be acquisition of assets from that sponsor.
  3. The allotted units should be locked in for a period of three years from the date of trading approval granted for the units. (As per Clause 3 Annexure I of Circulars dated 27-11-2019).
  4. Approval of unitholders should be taken before the allotting the unsubscribed portion of the units to sponsors.


GST Relief for the Real Estate

In Munjaal Manishbhai Bhatt vs. UOI, the Appellant had entered into an agreement for the purchase of land from a developer and the construction of a building on the same land. Separate consideration was agreed upon for both the elements of the transaction. The Appellant filed a writ application before the Gujarat High Court on the grounds that Paragraph 2 of Notification No.11/2017 – Central Tax dated 28th June 2017 was ultra vires the provisions of the Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. Paragraph 2 of Notification No.11/2017 states that the value of supply, in case of transfer of property in land or an undivided share in the land, would be the total amount charged for such supply reduced by the value of the land. The value of land is deemed to be one-third of the total amount of supply. 
The Appellant contended that the deeming provision of the value of land to be calculated as one-third of the total amount of supply was ultra vires the statutory provisions of the law when the actual value of land was ascertainable. The High Court held that the application of such a mandatory uniform rate of deduction was discriminatory, arbitrary, and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India which stated that all of the rights and freedoms set out in the Act must be protected and applied without discrimination.  Where the value of land was clearly ascertainable or where the value of construction can be derived with the prescribed valuation rules, such deduction can be permitted at the option of a taxable person. The High Court held that the deeming fiction prescribed under the said notification was ultra vires and not mandatory.


Let’s assume that the value of land is Rs.5,00,000/- and after construction, the apartment constructed on top of the land is Rs.10,00,000/-. Applying the provisions of Notification No.11/2017, the value of supply for the transfer of the apartment would be Rs.6,66,667/- (Rs.10,00,000 – 1/3rd of 10,00,00).
However, if the said notification was not applied and the value of land which was ascertainable was used for the calculation of the value of supply then the value of supply would be Rs. 5,00,000 /-(Rs.10,00,000 – Rs.5,00,000).
The aforesaid judgement by the High Court has held that deeming fiction of reducing 1/3rd of the value of land was unnecessary and arbitrary. The High Court held that “when the value of land was ascertainable then the same could be used for calculating the value of supply.


Sushant Shetty- One of ALB India’s Rising Stars of 2022

Sushant Shetty, our Practice Head, Real Estate & Infrastructure, Fox Mandal, Mumbai & Pune has been featured by Asian Legal Business as one of ALB India’s Rising Stars of 2022.

The List comprises of young lawyers in the Indian legal industry, who have set high professional standards and achieved goals at a very young age. Hence, the publication has spotlighted Indian lawyers under the age of 40 who have made an impact in the country’s legal scene. 


Indian Law Firm Awards, 2021-Real Estate

Fox Mandal has been recognized as an award winning law firm in the Indian Law Firm Awards, 2021 for Real Estate Practice by Indian Business Law Journal.

The Bangkok, Thailand-based conglomerate Mahaphant Group also engaged the firm for advice on the setup of its first manufacturing facility for environment-friendly fibre-cement products in Pune. On the policy front, Fox Mandal has provided recommendations on draft bye laws for the redevelopment of apartments in Karnataka and land reforms. Sundar Rajan, general counsel at Vaishnavi Developers, endorses Prashantha Kumar for leading a “highly mature, experienced and result-oriented team”. Nicholas Griffin, managing director at Principle Global MEAI & APAC, appreciates Shuva Mandal’s “humility and passion” and his “delightful way of getting from A to Z with minimal challenges”. He calls Malvika Bakshi “a true asset to the Fox Mandal team”.

Organization: India Business Law Journal (IBLJ)


Aruna Singh – Top Property Case Lawyer in Chennai – Three Best Rated

Our Group Head, Aruna Singh has been ranked as one of the three Best Property Case lawyers in Chennai ,Tamil Nadu by @threebestrated. The ranking is the result of a rigorous 50-Point Inspection, which includes customer reviews, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and their general excellence.

What TBR experts say?

Aruna Singh has been associated with fox Mandal since 2007. a senior associate in the real estate practice, Aruna has, in her 12 + years of experience, conducted due diligence on behalf of Indian developers and multinational companies for their commercial, residential and infrastructure projects. Fox Mandal is one of India’s oldest and most respected full-service law firms. With over ten full-fledged offices and various representative offices across India each practising all facets of law, Fox Mandal is regarded as a genuinely Indian law firm. They can advise a wide range of clients, including Fortune 500 companies, large and medium multinationals, Indian business groups, emerging companies, public sector organizations, government, and educational institutions.


Drafting of Deeds Like Agreements for Sale, Sale Deeds, Lease Deeds, Settlement Deeds, Partition Deeds, Will, Lease, Licence Agreement, Assistance in The Registration Process, Infrastructure Projects, Expression of Interest, Joint Venture Development, Title Investigation & Verification of Original Documen