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This article is written by Ayush Verma, 2nd year student at RMLNLU, Lucknow. The article discusses the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Act, 2019 which provides for registration of unauthorized colonies in NCT, and the procedure for such registration.


The parliament had passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) Bill, 2019 on 4th December 2019. The Bill received the assent of the President on 11th December and has taken the form of an Act. It seeks to provide property rights to the residents living in unauthorized colonies spread over 175 sq km in the National Capital Territory (hereinafter referred to as NCT) by securing the rights of ownership or transfer or mortgage in favour of the residents of such colonies. The rights of ownership or transfer or mortgage to the people living in these colonies shall be granted on the basis of Power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Will, possession letter or any other documents including Payment documents. Any resident of an unauthorised colony in possession of the above mentioned documents will be eligible for getting ownership rights through conveyance deed or authorization slip.

These provisions are applicable to colonies whose residents belong to low income groups and excludes affluent colonies. 69 affluent colonies have been identified by DDA which are excluded from the applicability of the provision. There are certain other areas of land like land falling in Yamuna plain, in way of high-tension lines etc where the Act is not applicable.

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The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) submitted a proposal to the Union Cabinet; based on the report of the Committee headed by the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi for conferring of ownership rights or transfer or mortgage of property in unauthorized colonies of Delhi. The Cabinet approved the proposal on 23rd October 2019; and accordingly, the Regulations for granting such rights to the people living in unauthorized colonies were notified on 29th October 2019.

Need for such Regularisation

In 1962, some 2 lakhs people were living in 110 unauthorized colonies that were built in contravention to the zoning regulations, but owing to migration and other factors, the number of such colonies have increased to 1797 at present. Many of these colonies lack basic necessities like waste management, proper roads, parks, water supply, sewerage lines and parking lots. People who buy properties in these colonies do not pay taxes which results in a lack of developmental facilities for these people.

There is a lack of development in these colonies due to the non-availability of loans. To construct a house or for a mortgage, residents have to rely on loans from non-banking financial institutions or loan mafias. These institutions charge a high rate of interest which cannot be afforded by a large number of people. Nationalised banks do not forward loans to people residing in these colonies for construction or mortgage as the property is considered illegal due to unauthorization.

Ownership of such properties has been transferred several times through registered or non-registered or notarised power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Will, Possession letter and other payment documents and, stamp duty on these multiple transactions has neither been assessed nor paid.

Owing to the judgment of the Supreme Court in the case of Suraj Lamp & Industries (P) Ltd. v. State of Haryana & others where it was held that Agreement to Sale, Power of Attorney or Will transactions are not “transfers” or “sales”, such transactions cannot be treated as valid or complete transfers or conveyances and they can continue to be treated as existing agreement of sale. It lastly held that such types of transactions do not convey any title nor create any interest in any immovable property. It iterated that immovable property can legally or lawfully transferred through a deed of conveyance.

Keeping in view the above specified problems that are being faced by the people living in unauthorized colonies, it was necessary to grant rights of ownership or mortgage or transfer to the residents of such colonies.

Regularisation of such colonies will open doors for development and planned urbanisation.


The Act is going to benefit around 40 lakh people (nearly 30 percent of the population of Delhi) who are residing in 1731 unauthorized colonies in NCT as mentioned in the Regulations of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorised Colonies) 2019 notified on 29.10.2019. Generally, properties in the form of land or buildings are held through Power of Attorney, Will, Agreement to Sale, Payment and Possession documents. These properties have not been registered by Registration Authorities; therefore, residents living in such lands or buildings do not have proper title documents for claiming their ownership over such properties; as a result, banks and other financial institutions do not provide credit facilities for said properties.

Excluded Categories

There are certain areas of land that are excluded from the applicability of the Act. These are:

  1. Land falling in reserved or notified forests, 
  2. Land identified as protected or prohibited area by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 (24 of 1958), 
  3. Land falling in Zone-O of MPD-2021, 
  4. Land falling in Yamuna Flood Plain, 
  5. Land falling in right of way of existing roads,
  6. Land falling in Master Plan Roads, 
  7. Land under the right of way of high tension lines, 
  8. Land falling in ridge area of Delhi,
  9. Land reserved or protected under any other law for the time being in force, and 
  10. Affluent unauthorized colonies; decided on the basis of plot sizes, location of unauthorized colonies, level of development and other social, economic & physical infrastructure in such colonies. There are 69 affluent colonies that have been identified and notified by DDA which are given here.
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Important Terms related to the Act

Resident: For the purposes of the Act, ‘resident’ means any person with the physical possession of a property on the basis of a registered Sale Deed or Power of Attorney, Agreement to Sale, Possession letter or any other documents providing evidence of payment in respect of a property in unauthorized colonies. It also includes their legal heirs but not a tenant, licensee or permissive user.

Unauthorized Colonies: It means a colony or development comprising of an adjoining area, where permission for approval of layout or building plans has not been obtained; and further, has been identified for regularisation in pursuance to the notification number S.O. 683(E), dated the 24-03-2008 of the Delhi Development Authority, published in the Gazette of India, Extraordinary, Part II, Section 3, Sub-section (ii), dated the 24-03- 2008. 

Centre for Policy Research in a research study, defined, unauthorised colony as a settlement built in contravention of zoning regulations, made either in violation of Delhi’s master plans or on ‘illegally’ subdivided agricultural land. It gave two distinguishing features for a land to be called as unauthorized: these areas have been subdivided into plots illegally, and; the buyers of plots in these colonies possess documents that prove some form of tenure, which may be characterised as ‘semi-legal’.

Key Highlights of the Act

The cost to be paid for getting ownership is based on the two types of land: gram sabha and private land, which ranges from Rs. 14.55 per sq mtr to a maximum of Rs. 4837 per sq mtr. The charges are to be conferred based on the plot size; 0.5 percent charges for area less than 100 sq mtr, 1 percent for 100 to 250 sq mtr and 2.5 percent for area more than 250 sq mtr, of the circle rate of the highest category of locality of the residential area surrounding the unauthorized colony.

The registration of property in these colonies shall be done either in the name of woman head of the family or co-jointly with the male member.

The Income tax department has also asked to exempt these residents from any tax liability under Section 56(2)(x) of the Income Tax Act that may arise in such a regularization process. The legislation allows levy of stamp duty and registration charges on the amount given in the conveyance deed or authorization slip issued by DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and payment of stamp duty and registration charges on any transactions of sale made prior to the last transaction.

Charges in the case of colonies situated on private land will be half of the charges for government land.

The residents shall have the option to pay the charges in three installments. Those who are paying the charges in one installment shall immediately be granted the rights of ownership or mortgage or transfer of the property. Whereas, in the case of residents opting for paying in installments, the ownership, transfer or mortgage rights shall be conferred when the two-third of the total payable charge has been deposited, and such rights shall become permanent on the full and final payment of the entire amount.

In case of separate floors, the stamp duty shall be calculated on the basis of plot size and then shared among the claimants of such land equally.

Procedure for Online Application

  • Delhi Development Authority has opened a portal on 16th December where residents need to apply for citizenship rights. It has also enrolled agencies for fixing geo-coordinates and help desks for assisting the applicants.
  • Applicants have to register and apply on the portal by providing basic information and uploading necessary documents.
  • On the request of the applicant, enrolled agencies will visit, prepare and upload the geo-coordinates and key-plan on the DDA portal.
  • Basic information of the applicant and the property applied will appear on the DDA portal for filing objections, if any.
  • DDA team will make a visit for physical verification of the property.
  • If any deficiency is found during inspection or in the application, a deficiency memo acknowledging such problems will be communicated to the applicant who may reply to such deficiencies point-wise on the portal.
  • The approving authority shall examine the application, inspection memos, and objection if made, and reply to District Magistrates, who may approve or reject the application. Where a person has filed objections, he shall be heard before deciding the matter as summary proceedings.
  • The applicant shall have to pay the charges that are shown on the portal through online payment or online challan. Charges are different for built-up property and vacant land.
  • The conveyance deed or authorization slip will be issued by DDA after verification of all the original documents.
  • Where the application has been rejected or a dispute has arisen, the applicant may submit a representation to the DDA, which has to be decided within 90 days of receipt of the representation.

Information to be provided in the Application Form

  • Details of the property;
  • Details of the land on which property is situated;
  • Details of the Owners of Property (If there is Joint Ownership, Applicant may add owner);
  • The applicant will automatically be picked as an Owner;
  • Floor(s) for which the application is made (Application will be saved as a draft at every step).

Required Documents

  • Latest GPA / Latest Ownership Document;
  • Agreement to Sale;
  • Will;
  • Document evidencing Payment;
  • Possession Document;
  • Previous Chain of Documents in Serial order;
  • Documentary Proof of Construction before 01.01.2015 (In case of Built-Up properties);
  • Property Tax Mutation Document, if any;
  • Electricity Bill;
  • Other Ownership Documents.

All the instructions related to the filing of application form can be accessed here.

Challenges faced by the Act

  • There are chances where multiple people would be claiming for ownership of a single land, because, in some plots, multiple people have built their properties.
  • Another challenge is Resident Welfare Associations demanding DDA to include areas outside the built up area in its boundary map areas because vacant lands inside built up area being is authorised but not otherwise.
  • No information is available for dealing with houses that have been constructed violating structural safety.


People residing in unauthorised colonies of Delhi have suffered a lot from decades due to their low socio-economic status, and the unauthorization of their colonies has added to their misery. So there was a need to bring an Act for regularisation of these colonies and granting ownership rights to such people. The recent Act has been brought to achieve the same. Now, the things that need to be assured is tackling the challenges that the Act faces and proper utilisation of the provision.


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