A leading organisation of Indians living abroad has urged the government to introduce fast-track courts to facilitate speedy disposal of their real estate disputes back home.
Global Lawyers said NRIs have substantial properties and investments in residential and commercial real estate in India, but Indian laws do not provide enough relief from defaulting tenants and usurpers.
“An NRI or a PIO (person of Indian origin) faces tremendous hardship when it comes to getting property vacated in India or when a tenant defaults in paying rent. Their properties are often grabbed by others, including relatives, and they have almost no redressal. This is a major problem of the community living abroad.
“Since the legal process in India is notoriously slow we think there should have fast-track courts for disposal of cases of NRIs and PIOs. We demand this simply because we cannot be present in India and fight our cases endlessly,”
“In India there are already separate courts and tribunals for some segments. Consumer protection courts for example are faster than usual courts. Can’t we have fast-track courts for NRIs? Else we are simply worried about the security of our property in India,”
The Indian diaspora is around 22 million-strong worldwide.
“News of an NRI’s house sold by his gardener’s son or 1,500 cases filed by defrauded NRIs piling up in one court is not much of an aberration. A house in India for an NRI is not just property but a bond with his roots,” he stressed.
“In many cases the NRIs want to return to their land or homes they left behind 30-40 years back. But courts, surrounded by a maze of legal labyrinths, make it difficult to recover property. Indian laws also make it mandatory for the plaintiff to be present at the hearing which is simply impossible for an NRI,” he said.
According to Maheshwari, the real estate scene in India varies from state to state but developers and promoters dominate everywhere and in many cases buyers are duped with false documents.
“NRIs are particularly vulnerable to such malpractices, because of lack of time, knowledge and proper legal support at their disposal. Can’t we have comprehensive central guidelines for property deals? Illegal grabbers of NRI property can be effectively dealt with then,” he said.