Most Indian-origin people living abroad must divide their jointly inherited estates in India. Since the properties in India are passed down the generations, there may be multiple co-owners of inherited assets throughout time. Varying owners may seek to exercise different levels of control over their properties and pursue different goals. If an NRI gets into a legal disagreement with the person who currently holds control of the joint property, things get tricky. Most likely, the person in possession would desire to get authority to govern, manage, or even sell the relevant share of the property, which could be harmful to the interests of the shareholder who lives abroad.
Partition, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, is the division of lands held by joint tenants, coparceners, or tenants in common into separate pieces so that they can hold them in severalty. A Partition Deed is a legal document that is created by a court order or by negotiations between the parties. In essence, it symbolizes each party’s claim to a portion of the property. However, in order for a partition deed to be legally enforceable, it must be registered with the Sub – Registrar’s office.
In the case of a joint property, all of the owners have equal ownership rights in the property on paper, but their individual shares are not physically separated. The most common cause of family/relative feuds and conflicts is joint property. Individual shares should be divided to avoid such disputes and to provide good management and control of one’s own portion in a joint property. It could be ancestral land, a home, or a business that was co-inherited with siblings or relatives. Joint ownership of property puts an individual in a vulnerable position in all circumstances, especially for non-resident Indians who are unable to preserve and protect their own interests due to their lack of physical presence in India. Furthermore, due to the complexities of the legislation and procedures relating to property split, they frequently become engrossed in boring legalities, and their inability to return to India to monitor and handle their cases adds to their woes while dealing with such situations.
There are no clear criteria in India that defines who is eligible to bring a partition suit; however, it can be assumed that any or all co-owners of a property can submit a partition suit. Furthermore, participation of all heirs in the process is not required if they are unwilling to do so. Property can only be divided among those who own a share or have an interest in it. A person who does not own a portion or have an interest in the property is not allowed to participate in the partition.
Sending a legal notice is the initial step before launching a partition suit. If the notice is ignored, the Plaintiff has the option to file a lawsuit. Following that, an individual must take the following steps:
- Preparing a Plaint/Application. The parties’ names, postal addresses, the subject of the complaint, and an affidavit verifying that the content of the plaint is true to their knowledge should all be carefully mentioned in the petition.
- Payment of court fee, which varies based on the case and from state to state.
- Once the court fee is paid, the Court will schedule a hearing and make a decision on the case’s merits. A notice would be issued to the Defendant, demanding their appearance on the day of the next hearing, at the Court’s discretion.
- Following receipt of the notice, the opposing party must file a written statement in response to the plaintiff’s plaint within 30 days of receiving the notice. If the Court agrees, the time limit can be extended up to 90 days.
- The Plaintiff must either confirm or dispute the defendant’s statements after obtaining the written statement. Replication is the response in the form of a written document.
- Once the replication is filed with the Court, the pleadings are complete. Following that, the parties are requested to produce supporting papers to back up their claims. The Court, however, retains the authority to reject or accept the documents.
- The parties must also produce witnesses on the issue framing date in order to establish their claims.
- The Court issues the final order after considering the parties’ list of papers filed as well as the documents they provided in the Court of Law. A certified copy of the final order can be obtained from the Court by the parties.
Agricultural land division/Partition cases are filed with the relevant Tehsildar. In the absence of a family agreement, the land is divided equally between excellent, good, and poor land. Site visits, land measuring, and map preparation are crucial for the effective implementation of a strategy to address the situation wisely. Cases affecting developed property are brought in a civil court. The court usually assigns a local commissioner to inspect the property. If the property cannot be separated into saleable units for each co-owner, the court may order its sale and distribution based on his findings. Cases involving built-up property are filed in the appropriate civil court. The court appoints a local commissioner to inspect the property. If the property cannot be divided in metes and bounds, i.e. into individual saleable units for each co-owner, the court may order its sale and division of proceeds.
At Legal Help NRI, we provide one of the most comprehensive platforms for thorough counsel and representation in partition proceedings. Our experience both in terms of years and number of client’s puts us in an indisputably beneficial position to offer credible services to all our patrons for any kind of partition i.e., contested or uncontested. Meticulous review of the information and documents provided by the client to determine the share of each co – owner, procuring latest and old records to authenticate the shares, effective legal representation in the case in most effective manner ensures best services exclusively to Non – Resident Indians in such matters.