Purchase of Land: Legal issues
Sir, I alongwith my four friends paid a trusted friend for purchase of of a plot of land in 2011. He was to develop the plot , convert it to Non agricultural land in few months time. But unfortunately its been now nearly six years he has done nothing. When we approach him for the registration with final payment, he is just delaying it without reason. We want to either register the plot or claim our money back. All payments are by cheque. Can we file a criminal case of breach of trust and cheating against him and seek an order for our refund of money. Please advice.
You have the following options for recovery of money-
Civil remedies The most common civil remedy for recovering money is Order 37 of the Civil Procedure Code, which allows a creditor to file a summary suit. Compared to normal suits, summary suits are disposed of faster. Once the suit is instituted and the summons are issued, the defendant has 10 days to make an appearance, failing which the court assumes the plaintiff 's allegations to be true and, accordingly, awards the plaintiff. If the defendant makes an appearance, the court accepts his defence only if it is convinced that it is substantial to the case in question. Where the matter concerns penalties or any other uncertain amount, one cannot file a summary suit. Criminal proceedings You also have the option of initiating criminal proceedings against the defaulter under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. You can either file a case of criminal breach of trust or cheating, or even mischief. These are the following sections you can file a case under-
However, criminal cases are time consuming and economically not viable.
Out-of-court options One of the fastest and most economical ways of recovering money is to opt for an out-of-court settlement, such as arbitration or conciliation, provided that the other party is also willing to settle in this manner. If the matter is referred to an arbitrator, the latter hears both the parties and passes an award binding on both. The award can only be appealed on three grounds. One, if it is invalid, two, if the defendant is not given adequate time to present the case, and three, if he was not given notice about the arbitrator's appointment . In fact, if a proposal by an inter-ministerial group set up last year to look into policy and legislative changes to tackle the large number of pending cases is accepted, then the cases of dishonoured cheques will have to be decided only through arbitration, conciliation or settlement by lok adalats.
As far as recovery of land is concerned
This seems to be a case of adverse possession of property- i.e. when property that belongs to you is taken over by somebody else. You can also recover the land by filing a case under sections 64 and 65 of Indian Limitation Act, 1963 that allows you to claim possession over property upto 12 years and claim fraud from the concerned person under Section 53 of the Indian Property Act, 1872.
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