Land Re-survey Provisions, Solution And What To Do If Land Area Is Incorrect In Gujarat: One of the difficult tasks for a surveyor is the re-surveying of lands, the re-location of the boundary lines between privately-owned lands or the re-location of the boundary between two political entities. The original descriptions of boundary lines found in deeds and grants are often vague or in error.
English kings who made land grants to the original colonists often were vague in describing the boundaries. This often resulted in overlapping boundaries. Some of the original colonies claimed land the Pacific coast. Old descriptions included a reference to landmarks which disappeared many years before re-surveys were made.
Land ownership in India is presumptive
- In India, land ownership is primarily established through a registered sale deed (a record of the property transaction between the buyer and seller). Other documents used to establish ownership include the record of rights (document with details of the property), property tax receipts, and survey documents. However, these documents are not a government guaranteed title to the property, but only a record of the transfer of property. During such transactions, the onus of checking past ownership records of a property is on the buyer. Therefore, land ownership in India, as determined by such sale deeds, is presumptive in nature, and subject to challenge.
Land records are poorly maintained; they do not reflect the on ground position
- Land records consist of various types of information (property maps, sale deeds) and are maintained across different departments at the district or village level. These departments work in silos, and the data across departments is not updated properly. Hence, discrepancies are often noted in land records. In the past, surveys to update land records have not been undertaken or completed, and maps have not been used to establish actual property boundaries on the ground. Therefore, in several records, the property documents do not match the position on the ground.
- Poor land records also affect future property transactions. It becomes difficult and cumbersome to access land records when data is spread across departments and has not been updated. One has to go back several years of documents, including manual records, to find any ownership claims on a piece of property. Such a process is inefficient and causes time delays.
Old surveyors were not equipped with sophisticated instruments, and units of measurements used were not the same as those of today. All these things have presented the surveyor with problems which, in many cases, have solutions only in the Courts. Court decisions, in many boundary disputes over many years, have made a pattern which has established general rules for the location of boundaries.
In locating lost or disputed boundaries, the surveyor’s job is to determine where the boundaries were actually located, not where they should have been located. The primary objective in locating a survey is to “follow the footsteps of the surveyor”. In a suit involving boundary question, the search must be made for the footsteps of the original surveyor, and when found, the case is solved.
After boundaries have once been fixed by monuments, they cannot be changed because of errors of distance or direction unless fraud is involved.
When a new tract of land is established from an old tract of land by subdivision, the boundaries of the subdivision become, in part, old boundaries and new boundaries. New boundaries are dependent on old boundaries. Since property laws are state laws, the rules for locating boundaries may differ from state to state.