What To Do If Someone Forges Your Property Papers?
Delhi-based Keshav Mondal’s 70-year-old mother has been a victim of property fraud. It recently came to the noticed of the Mondal family that a land parcel registered in the name of Keshav’s mother in 1992 has now been transferred in the name of another person with the help of forged signatures and photograph. Property frauds of this nature are a nation-wide phenomenon.
Recently, Vadodara-based builder Bhupendra Shah, with the help of two accomplices, forged documents to take over one Jaishree Shah’s property. The trio created a fake power of attorney and used it to carry out the transactions, the rightful owner says. In Hyderabad, the Metropolitan Magistrate at Malkajgiri sentenced four members of a family to three years of rigorous imprisonment and fine, for forging a woman’s signature to let out a plot registered in her name.
Since there has been a drastic increase in the number of instances where cheats resort to forgery, what should one do to ensure the safety of one’s property?
Steps you must take when you suspect forgery
Ajay Sethi, who practices property law at the Bombay High Court, says “A victim must file a police complaint for forgery, fabrication of documents and cheating, as soon as they find out about the situation. In the case of Mondal, he must also file a declaratory suit stating that his mother is the absolute owner of the said property and that the fraudulent sale agreement should not be considered.”
It is also important to file the complaint at the police station where the property is situated. If a fraudster tries to establish his rights over a property, it becomes important to lodge a complaint on grounds of impersonation. It would also be appropriate to write to the inspector-general of registration and the sub-registrar and bring the matter to their notice. The victim could also get published in national dailies a warning, stating that the original property owner has learnt about the fraud, and is not in the know of any transactions that might have taken place. According to Kolkata-based lawyer Devajyoti Barman, it is also important to maintain physical possession of such a property, apart from keeping safe the original legal documents that establish your ownership.
IPC Sections under which forgery is punishable
According to Yogendra Singh Rajawat, a practicing lawyer at the Rajasthan High Court, such cases fall under sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of documents), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using a forged document as a genuine one) and also 120B (applicable when there is more than one person party to the act), of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).