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Importance Of Technology For Lawyers in the Coming Times

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Technology has become an integral part of our society. It plays a vital role in human lives now transforming every section and strata of society. From children to the oldest people, all are using technology and it has made things simple and easier for people. From education to the corporate world, technology has proved useful and supportive providing numerous benefits than drawbacks.

Technology is not limited to Business sectors only, but it has paved its way into the legal industry as well. Corporate law firms have adapted and embraced the technology as it has made their work process much easier and simpler. Technology is proving best friend to lawyers in various areas of work and many litigation lawyers have already started embracing technology in their daily routine.

 

 

Why Embracing Technology is Crucial Now More than Before?

COVID-19 has proved the need and vitality of certain changes in the legal industry. Whether law firms or litigation practitioners, usage of technology is growing daily. From e-filing to hearing via video conferencing, Courts have gone virtual although certain difficulties are being faced by the judges and the advocates. However, coping with the change and need has left not much space.

 

Time is unpredictable and Coronavirus outbreak has proved and forced people and every small and big business to a standstill for an unknown time period. In such a situation, it turned out to be extremely essential to embrace technology as it will make the process of work much smoother and easier. It will also save the cost of time and avoid other unnecessary stuff.

 

The present situation has taught people to find an alternative and long-lasting solutions over the available resources. Amid this crisis technology adoption has become the key to survival and success.

 

 

Software Available for Lawyers and Law Firms

 

Time and Billing Software

This software tracks time spent on working on a project accurately and creates invoices accordingly. Time and Billing software is helpful in creating accurate time deadlines and crucial for the firms or companies in the professional field. Some of the law firms are benefiting from this software already now.

 

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management or CRM software is essential for business companies and law firms are no exception in my opinion. CRM is very critical to businesses as it helps to consolidate company data in one space. Law firms can access customer data, send bulk emails to their clients and newsletters, invitations, etc.

 

Document Management Solution

This software is used for the collection of secure data. It helps to organize, store, access, and share documents including confidential files. Through this application, Documents can be stored on the cloud and can be accessed from smartphones or tablets.

 

Finance and Accounting Software

This software can make work much easier and simpler by providing financial tools and features that can help lawyers and law firms in tracking and managing their book of accounts, profit, and loss, monitoring all financial performance, etc.

 

Proofread and Review

Proofread and review helps read and review large files that can take hours to read and review by a man. This is less time consuming and more reliable in terms of errors.

 

Knowledge Management Software

Knowledge management software can help lawyers and law firms organizing, publishing, and sharing important documents including opinions, transaction files, judgments, etc. This software also helps to lessen the cost while maintaining the quality of work.

 

Case Management

It helps to manage your cases and it works as a reminder keeping the details of all your cases. This is proved to be less hectic for lawyers and law firms.

 

In addition to the above list of software, other digital tools which are helpful to lawyers for a better experience for their clients are Live Chat, Artificial Intelligence enabled document scanners for scanning large and heavy documents and other data; this is already being used by most of the law firms and lawyers in their offices. This software is commonly used in countries like the USA and UK.

 

 

Benefits of Technology

  1. Technology takes less time in comparison to humans
  2. Fewer chances of error as technology will increase accuracy and transparency.
  3. More reliability unless the software gets corrupt and hacked.
  4. Large data files storage.
  5. Easy Access, Time management, and fast process
  6. Reduces large stack of papers into a device that is also environment friendly.

 

 

Drawbacks of Technology

Every coin has two facets so it is with technology usage. Drawbacks are as follows: -

  1. Cyber-attack risk
  2. Lack of fully trained users can cause the risk of data loss.
  3. A mistakenly given command can corrupt the device.

Cyber-attacks are emerging rapidly since the lockdown started as various big organizations and companies have allowed their employees to work from home and home internet networks and systems are not fully cyber secure. Security can be breached easily, and the organization’s confidential data can be stolen. Therefore, the risk is high using the unsecured system.

 

 

Limitation of Technology for Lawyers in the Present Scenario

 

Necessity is the mother of all invention. Definitely, lawyers are trying to learn and adapt to present scenario, however, subordinate courts lack basic IT facilities including lawyers practicing there and Bar Council of India in its letter addressed to Chief Justice of India has shown emphatic concerned towards advocates and judges as well mentioning “I can emphatically say that 90% of Advocates and hon’ble judges though out the length and breadth of the county are themselves unaware about the technology and about its nuances,..” (Source: LiveLaw).

 

19 lakhs advocates practice in India and the majority of lawyers lack the basic IT infrastructure so it is not hard predicting that 90% of advocates and judges lack technical knowledge and find it hard to learn and adapt technology.

 

 

Future Scenario

The present situation is enough to teach the lawyers and law firms that their staff and they shall be well versed with technology and changing aspects of society. Only survival is not enough but co-existence with the unseen situations has become crucial.

 

 

What Can Be Done to be Future-Ready?

To avoid such chaos in the future, lawyers can facilitate themselves with technology advancement and provide proper training to their staff. So that they don't find themselves in the pool of unknown. Some suggestions are as below that lawyers can avoid the present crisis in the future by: -

  1. Update and upgrade with technology.
  2. Bringing technology to practice in their daily routine of work.
  3. Research and exploring Artificial Intelligence including other aspects of technology.
  4. Encouraging more virtual meetings and usage in their work style.
  5. Not restraining themselves to a particular software or application.

 

 

Conclusion

Technology can help lawyers and law firms in various positive ways. It improves communication and efficiency. It also helps to keep employees engaged, increases the quality of their work, provides an unlimited supply of knowledge. Lawyers and law firms can get maximum benefit by training their staff and themselves. Technology has revolutionized the legal industry with its advancement. It can help law firms and law offices to achieve higher milestones driving their work capacity and sorting their small work issues for instance case updates, client management, etc. However, considering the available IT infrastructure of our country, technology adoption amongst lawyers, law firms and law offices will take some time. So, for progress, growth, and success in the future, every lawyer should prepare themselves and learn to adopt technology and become future-ready.

“Technology can become the wings that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before-if we will allow it.” – Jenny Arledges

 

Authored By: Asha Singh, Advocate

Practicing in High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh

 

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is solely the author’s personal analysis and interpretation. In case you wish to act upon on the basis of the content of this article, please seek legal advice. The author shall not be responsible for any loss you may incur as a result of your actions relying upon this content. The content herein is the copyrighted material of the author and is informational and shall not be used for commercial purposes other than for personal reading.

 

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Suggested Articles

Importance Of Technology For Lawyers in the Coming Times
Legal Technology

Importance Of Technology For Lawyers in the Coming Times

Technology has become an integral part of our society. It plays a vital role in human lives now transforming every section and strata of society. From children to the oldest people, all are using technology and it has made things simple and easier for people. From education to the corporate world, technology has proved useful and supportive providing numerous benefits than drawbacks.

Technology is not limited to Business sectors only, but it has paved its way into the legal industry as well. Corporate law firms have adapted and embraced the technology as it has made their work process much easier and simpler. Technology is proving best friend to lawyers in various areas of work and many litigation lawyers have already started embracing technology in their daily routine.

 

 

Why Embracing Technology is Crucial Now More than Before?

COVID-19 has proved the need and vitality of certain changes in the legal industry. Whether law firms or litigation practitioners, usage of technology is growing daily. From e-filing to hearing via video conferencing, Courts have gone virtual although certain difficulties are being faced by the judges and the advocates. However, coping with the change and need has left not much space.

 

Time is unpredictable and Coronavirus outbreak has proved and forced people and every small and big business to a standstill for an unknown time period. In such a situation, it turned out to be extremely essential to embrace technology as it will make the process of work much smoother and easier. It will also save the cost of time and avoid other unnecessary stuff.

 

The present situation has taught people to find an alternative and long-lasting solutions over the available resources. Amid this crisis technology adoption has become the key to survival and success.

 

 

Software Available for Lawyers and Law Firms

 

Time and Billing Software

This software tracks time spent on working on a project accurately and creates invoices accordingly. Time and Billing software is helpful in creating accurate time deadlines and crucial for the firms or companies in the professional field. Some of the law firms are benefiting from this software already now.

 

Customer Relationship Management

Customer Relationship Management or CRM software is essential for business companies and law firms are no exception in my opinion. CRM is very critical to businesses as it helps to consolidate company data in one space. Law firms can access customer data, send bulk emails to their clients and newsletters, invitations, etc.

 

Document Management Solution

This software is used for the collection of secure data. It helps to organize, store, access, and share documents including confidential files. Through this application, Documents can be stored on the cloud and can be accessed from smartphones or tablets.

 

Finance and Accounting Software

This software can make work much easier and simpler by providing financial tools and features that can help lawyers and law firms in tracking and managing their book of accounts, profit, and loss, monitoring all financial performance, etc.

 

Proofread and Review

Proofread and review helps read and review large files that can take hours to read and review by a man. This is less time consuming and more reliable in terms of errors.

 

Knowledge Management Software

Knowledge management software can help lawyers and law firms organizing, publishing, and sharing important documents including opinions, transaction files, judgments, etc. This software also helps to lessen the cost while maintaining the quality of work.

 

Case Management

It helps to manage your cases and it works as a reminder keeping the details of all your cases. This is proved to be less hectic for lawyers and law firms.

 

In addition to the above list of software, other digital tools which are helpful to lawyers for a better experience for their clients are Live Chat, Artificial Intelligence enabled document scanners for scanning large and heavy documents and other data; this is already being used by most of the law firms and lawyers in their offices. This software is commonly used in countries like the USA and UK.

 

 

Benefits of Technology

  1. Technology takes less time in comparison to humans
  2. Fewer chances of error as technology will increase accuracy and transparency.
  3. More reliability unless the software gets corrupt and hacked.
  4. Large data files storage.
  5. Easy Access, Time management, and fast process
  6. Reduces large stack of papers into a device that is also environment friendly.

 

 

Drawbacks of Technology

Every coin has two facets so it is with technology usage. Drawbacks are as follows: -

  1. Cyber-attack risk
  2. Lack of fully trained users can cause the risk of data loss.
  3. A mistakenly given command can corrupt the device.

Cyber-attacks are emerging rapidly since the lockdown started as various big organizations and companies have allowed their employees to work from home and home internet networks and systems are not fully cyber secure. Security can be breached easily, and the organization’s confidential data can be stolen. Therefore, the risk is high using the unsecured system.

 

 

Limitation of Technology for Lawyers in the Present Scenario

 

Necessity is the mother of all invention. Definitely, lawyers are trying to learn and adapt to present scenario, however, subordinate courts lack basic IT facilities including lawyers practicing there and Bar Council of India in its letter addressed to Chief Justice of India has shown emphatic concerned towards advocates and judges as well mentioning “I can emphatically say that 90% of Advocates and hon’ble judges though out the length and breadth of the county are themselves unaware about the technology and about its nuances,..” (Source: LiveLaw).

 

19 lakhs advocates practice in India and the majority of lawyers lack the basic IT infrastructure so it is not hard predicting that 90% of advocates and judges lack technical knowledge and find it hard to learn and adapt technology.

 

 

Future Scenario

The present situation is enough to teach the lawyers and law firms that their staff and they shall be well versed with technology and changing aspects of society. Only survival is not enough but co-existence with the unseen situations has become crucial.

 

 

What Can Be Done to be Future-Ready?

To avoid such chaos in the future, lawyers can facilitate themselves with technology advancement and provide proper training to their staff. So that they don't find themselves in the pool of unknown. Some suggestions are as below that lawyers can avoid the present crisis in the future by: -

  1. Update and upgrade with technology.
  2. Bringing technology to practice in their daily routine of work.
  3. Research and exploring Artificial Intelligence including other aspects of technology.
  4. Encouraging more virtual meetings and usage in their work style.
  5. Not restraining themselves to a particular software or application.

 

 

Conclusion

Technology can help lawyers and law firms in various positive ways. It improves communication and efficiency. It also helps to keep employees engaged, increases the quality of their work, provides an unlimited supply of knowledge. Lawyers and law firms can get maximum benefit by training their staff and themselves. Technology has revolutionized the legal industry with its advancement. It can help law firms and law offices to achieve higher milestones driving their work capacity and sorting their small work issues for instance case updates, client management, etc. However, considering the available IT infrastructure of our country, technology adoption amongst lawyers, law firms and law offices will take some time. So, for progress, growth, and success in the future, every lawyer should prepare themselves and learn to adopt technology and become future-ready.

“Technology can become the wings that will allow the educational world to fly farther and faster than ever before-if we will allow it.” – Jenny Arledges

 

Authored By: Asha Singh, Advocate

Practicing in High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh

 

 

Disclaimer: The content of this article is solely the author’s personal analysis and interpretation. In case you wish to act upon on the basis of the content of this article, please seek legal advice. The author shall not be responsible for any loss you may incur as a result of your actions relying upon this content. The content herein is the copyrighted material of the author and is informational and shall not be used for commercial purposes other than for personal reading.

 

Appearing in court hearing through video conferencing?  8 important tips for you
Legal Technology

Appearing in court hearing through video conferencing? 8 important tips for you

During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, videoconferencing is the new normal & Indian courts are adopting videoconferencing as a critical measure to continue the judiciary to work & to ensure the implementation of social distancing as a mandatory safety measure for all.

 

Now, most of the courts don’t have in-person appearances and have started using videoconferencing tools to facilitate and streamline the administration of justice.

 

We have seen a sudden rise in court proceedings via videoconference but lawyers are still to catch up with the new technology and their new normal of pleading in the court. Lawyers are trying to navigate the not so easy screen of video conference software & the attached new etiquette of it. Unfortunately in a country like India where technology penetration among Lawyers is low and not all practicing lawyers have become accustomed yet with the digital techniques of practice. Recently an honourable Judge made an observation and requested that lawyers appearing before him through videoconference should at least wear shirts and dress in a manner that is appropriate to the courtroom.

 

So the key question is WHAT IS THE RIGHT ETIQUETTE FOR COURT APPEARANCES via VIDEOCONFERENCE? What steps can – and should – you as a Lawyer take to ensure that your videoconferences are professional and suitable for the hearing?

 

Court appearances using videoconference are very new methods and there are no well-established rules or accepted practices available as of now. Having said that, I feel common sense along with practical knowledge can be used to make sure that you put your best foot forward when pleading for your clients via videoconference. I have collated a few practical tips for you so that you can follow these tips and stay ahead in the practice of the online representation in courts.

 

 

1. Your Professional Attire

It’s very practical & common sense that you should dress appropriately for the online hearing, at least on the top half of your body, since that’s all that will be visible on the screen. Put on a white shirt and/or a black coat, this is applicable to both the genders. This can make a huge difference. Comb your hair and make yourself presentable. We all are homebound during lockdown, but if you’re appearing in an online video court proceeding, dressing is the key. By doing that, your looks will not distract from the point you’re trying to make. And if your client is also asked to appear in the hearing, make sure to remind your client about the importance of dressing correctly.

 

 

2. Mention your ROLE in your login name

This is very important because Judge is also looking at your name to talk to you hence if your ROLE is also mentioned there, it will help him/her identify you correctly. For example Mahesh Moorthy, Lawyer for the defendant. If your client is also attending via videoconferencing, the client should also use the same nomenclature i.e. Ajay Mishra, Defendant.  By doing this, it becomes immediately clear to everyone attending the hearing who you are and what is your role, thus providing more clarity and ensuring that the proceeding runs smoothly.

 

 

3. Login Early

Like in the real court, we all are present before the Hon’ble judge’s entry in the courtroom, similarly, it is a good idea for both you and your client to log in for the hearing a few minutes early. By doing that if you find any technical issues while logging in, you will have time to correct it.

 

 

4. Watch your body language

As a lawyer, you know that court craft is all about your body language and it is equally important for your clients too even during a videoconference. For new users (in Indian scenario almost all are new) it may be difficult to get used to it i.e. looking directly at the camera when you speak. Also, during the videoconference, don’t do any kind of multitasking. You should keep your hands away from your face and keep your face as neutral as possible. Your facial expressions are more easily identifiable during videoconferences and you don’t want any expression to be misinterpreted by the judge! Make sure that you share these tips with your clients who also might be appearing in the hearings.

 

 

5. Your Background in the Video

Yes! that is the most ignored aspect in a Video Conference and that is the most disturbance causing reason too. Always check your background before logging into the videoconferencing session. If you are sitting in your room then be aware of what’s behind you and how it will appear to the Judges during the hearing. Make sure there are no distractions like reflections of lights or the sunlight coming directly on the background behind you. If there is no option and you are in a room which is not professional; like a bedroom or kitchen, then you can use a background image in the videoconferencing software usually now available in all of them and if you are using a background make sure to choose a professional-looking background for example a bookshelf etc. 

 

 

6.  Do the technical checks of your camera & microphone before the call

Technically check your computer system before you go live on videoconferencing. It is a good idea to conduct a practice session before you appear for your live hearing and more importantly advice your client also to check his computer system thoroughly. If you have never used the videoconferencing software preferred by the court, make sure it’s compatible with your laptop/mobile or desktop and download the software before the scheduled conference. Advice your client to do the same. Better safe than regret!

 

 

7. Use a good quality headset

As a technology company we advise avoiding usage of your computer’s audio. You should use a good quality headset and if it’s Bluetooth make sure that you have paired it with your device much in advance to the video hearing. We also suggest keeping a wire ready in case Bluetooth fails for any reason like not charged enough, pairing issues etc. A headset, allows you to maintain client confidentiality and have better sound quality all around. It is a very important etiquette to mute yourself whenever you’re not speaking i.e. keep your microphone off to avoid any unwanted sound/noise which can create a distraction. This advice applies equally to your clients attending the videoconference hearing.

 

 

8. Discuss with your client ahead of time

If your client will be participating in the virtual court hearing, make sure that your client understands how the videoconference hearing works and that all participants can hear what’s being said if you’re not muted. Explain the importance of confidentiality and how it is critical to avoid sharing confidential information or to have confidential discussions during the appearance.

 

 

Those are my top videoconferencing etiquette tips for Lawyers. Did I miss anything? If so, let me know in the comments.

To know more about how technology can help manage and grow your practice visit us at https://www.legalkart.com/lawyers-practice-management

 

Power of Attorney in India for Selling Property
Property

Power of Attorney in India for Selling Property

NRIs use Power of Attorney (‘POA’) as an instrument to appoint an agent/attorney to help them sell their properties in India. NRIs find it difficult to come to India and sell their property, and hence, the concept of a power of attorney exists. A power of attorney authorizes its holder to enter into transactions and take decisions on behalf of the actual owner of the property. 

Special Power of Attorney for Purchase of Property: India Format

 

You can find the format of a power of attorney here,. You should draft a POA on a green stamp/bond paper or a non-judicial stamp paper of INR 100. The NRI should authorise the power of attorney himself and the Indian Consulate in the country of residence. Once authorised, the NRI should send a power of attorney to the sub-registrar’s office and relevant witnesses, identity proofs, and photograph copies.

 

 

You should include certain clauses in a PoA to ensure that no loopholes could pose a threat to the NRI/owner/principal in case of a dispute. Some of these clauses are:

 

 

  • Full details of the parties, including relevant information such as name, age, address, occupation, etc.

  • The reason for entering into this agreement (sale or purchase of property by the NRI in India)

  • Termination clause to ensure that the power is not misused beyond the fulfillment of the objective of this agreement.

  • The clarity in the specific powers granted to the agent and the attached responsibility.

 

 

Power of Attorney by NRI to Buy Property in India

 

 

NRIs often purchase property in India for investment purposes or to have a visiting home/holiday home. However, most NRIs do not have the time to come to India to execute the Sale Deed/Agreement for Sale transaction. Therefore, a power of attorney for purchase of property by an NRI facilitates sale transactions legally. Moreover, NRIs would require a special power of attorney to execute a transaction. Through a general power of attorney, no NRI would be able to sell or purchase property in India. 

 

 

A special power of attorney gives an agent the power to act on behalf of the principal (NRI) for a specific matter, including but not limited to taking legal or financial decisions. 

 

 

To have an effective POA for the purchase of property, an NRI must sign the POA agreement in the presence of a consulate officer or Notary in the country of residence. Further, such consulate officers must attest to the agreement for it to be valid. The NRI should register the POA under the Indian Registration Act, 1908, to make it valid and enforceable in India.

 

 

People Also Read This: Get Your Power of Attorney Carefully Drafted by Expert Lawyer

 

 

Power of Attorney to Sell Property in India

 

 

Power of attorney to sell property in India also requires authorization from the country of residence. Let us examine a few countries of residence and the procedures related to power of attorney therein.

 

 

Australia:

 

 

An NRI must book an appointment with a Notary in Australia where the NRI and two witnesses and the Notary officer would sign the POAon a green stamped or bond paper. 

 

 

After notarizing the POA, you would send it to the Indian Consulate, who would stamp it with an Apostille by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) and then send it back to India to the appropriate authority duty charges prescribed by the local government.

 

 

Then, you can register the agreement, and the transaction can legally take place.

 

 

UK:

 

 

There is a 3-step process when an NRI from the UK wishes to purchase or sell property in India. 

 

 

Firstly, an attorney from India must draft the POA according to the needs of both parties and according to the applicable laws (ICA, 1872, or RERA, 2016, etc.) in India.

 

 

Secondly, the POA must be sent to the place of residence, i.e., the UK, where you can get it notarized by a Notary Public for a charge between 20 to 100 pounds. The concerned NRI, along with two witnesses and the Notary, will have to sign the document. After notarization, the Indian Consulate, located at the Indian High Commission, London, would attest the same. 

 

 

Thirdly, the document can be sent to the attorney in India where registration happens, and the transaction can legally take place.

 

 

USA:

 

 

There is a 3-step process when an NRI from the US wishes to purchase or sell property in India.

 

 

Firstly, an attorney from India must draft the POA, and the NRI and two witnesses should sign this agreement. The notarization of the document should be done in the presence of a Notary Public. Further, it must be sent to the Indian Consulate for his/her signature. An appropriate fee would be charged for attestation, notarization, etc.

 

 

Secondly, the POA must be sent to the Secretary of State for an apostille from the Department of State, Authentications Office, which will use the Seal of the US Department of State to authorize the document's validity will be sent overseas.

 

 

People Also Read This: Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Selling Your House

 

 

Thirdly, the agreement shall be sent to the attorney in India for the legal execution of the transaction.

 

 

The POA is a powerful document and must be drafted between two parties that trust each other. The agent must be selected with caution as the agreement would transfer significant power to decide the owner/principal to the agent. A poorly drafted agreement that does not consider the risks involved (such as consideration, percentage of share between co-owners, obligations of agents, the role of decision making by an agent, etc.) would cause litigation which would severely affect the parties.

 

Permission for Sale of Minor Property
Property

Permission for Sale of Minor Property

The Indian Majority Act, 1875 specifies the age of majority in India. The Act states that the age of the majority in India is “18 years,” and any individual living in India who is below the age of 18 years is a minor. Minors cannot enter into contracts until and unless their guardians enter into contracts on their behalf. Let us find out how one gets permission to sell a minor’s property. 

 

Can a Guardian Sell Property?

 

 

Section 8 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 identifies the powers of a natural guardian or legal guardian. Clause (1) states that the natural guardian has all the power to do any act necessary, or reasonable, or proper in the eyes of the law for the sole purpose of such an Act is beneficial to the minor that it shall protect the minor or minor’s estate. 

 

 

Therefore, it is clear from the above provision that a natural guardian can sell the minor’s property (the Act) for the sole purpose of benefiting the minor.

 

 

People Also Read This: Property Rights of a Child after their parent's divorce

 

 

Can a Guardian Sell Minor’s Property?

 

 

The Supreme Court in Saroj v. Sunder Singh & Ors. held that a guardian cannot sell a minor’s share in the property without the permission of the appropriate Court. Furthermore, section 8(2) of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 states that minors’ immovable property cannot be mortgaged, charged, or transferred by sale, gift, exchange, or in any other mode without the previous permission of the Court.

 

 

Further, Section 8(3) states that if any natural guardian disposes of any immovable property in contravention to clause (2) of Section 8, then such a sale would be voidable at the option of the minor. However, the said minor can challenge such a sale only within the limitation period, which shall begin running against them after they attain the majority.

 

 

Further, suppose a minor, after attaining majority, wishes to set aside the sale deed as such property belonged to the minor. In that case, such a suit must be filed within the limitation period prescribed under Article 60 of the Limitation Act, i.e, 3 years after attaining majority. 

 

 

Can a Minor Purchase Property?

 

 

For a minor to purchase property in India, he or she must enter into a valid contract of purchase and sale of such property. This agreement is known as an ‘Agreement of Sale’. Every agreement shall be a valid contract in India if it fulfils the criteria under Section 10 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872. Further, Section 11 highlights competent to be a valid party in any valid contract in India.

 

 

Section 11 states that every person of the age of majority will be competent to enter into a contract if they are not barred by other conditions mentioned in the section. Therefore, a minor, i.e, anyone who is not of the age of majority (18 years), will not be competent to enter into a contract. Any agreement entered into by a minor will be void ab initio (void from the beginning) the eyes of the law. 

 

 

People Also Read This: Inheritance Rights of Grandchildren in India

 

 

The provisions under the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, especially section 6 and 7 of the Act do not bar a minor from contracting. However, from the conjoint reading of the above two Acts, it can be deduced that a minor can be a valid transferee and receive property. 

 

 

A minor can acquire property through the hands of either his/her natural guardian (mother or father) or through a guardian appointed by the appropriate Court in the absence of such natural guardian. In such a case of acquisition, the purchase of property would be valid. 

 

 

After valid purchase, the natural guardian can register the property in the name of the minor under Section 35 of the Registration Act, 1908. However, the execution of such registration shall take place before the appropriate Court’s permission after satisfaction that the property acquired was legal and valid.

 

 

A minor can acquire a property by way of gift also. Here, there is no need for the intervention of the law, Court, or guardians of the minor. The reason for the same being that in case of a gift, acceptance by the donee is the only required to make it effective.

 

 

Lastly, a minor can acquire property using inheritance, be it intestate or by way of a will. In case of ancestral property of a Joint Hindu Family, the minor (both son and daughter, since 2005) will receive an equal share in the capacity of a coparcener after the death of the last holder of the property.

 

 

Hence, a minor, though not competent to enter into a contract can sell property through his guardians. A minor can also receive property through the means listed out above.

 

Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying A House
Property

Things to Keep in Mind Before Buying A House

Buying a house is one of the most crucial decisions for people in India. In India, investments in real estate and property are a luxury. A person buying a house may need to give up their entire life savings. Or, they end up being burdened with hefty home loans.

 

An investment in buying a house is not something you can easily alter or rectify. Therefore, you must keep in mind a few essentials. This way, you can avoid getting deceived and losing your hard-earned money. Also, what would happen if you did not desire such a house in the first place?

 

Your Budget

 

The first thing you should focus on is your budget. The easy availability of home loans has made people push their budgets. Instead, you should be mindful of setting up a budget to have no unwanted financial crisis in the future.

 

After setting up your budget, you can move to shortlist the available properties. Shortlisting the best possible property will be perhaps the most important task for you. Many key factors lead you to your ideal property. Factors such as availability and supply of key amenities like power and water supply, the infrastructure of the area, and the seller's goodwill are of prime importance.

 

Home Loan Eligibility

 

Secondly, look into your eligibility for a home loan. There are various factors that reduce your eligibility for a home loan. Before financing the loan, the financing agencies will look into your credit score. This determines your repayment capacity, existing loans, income, and age.

 

Many financing agencies provide a home loan calculator on their websites. You can use them to check your eligibility. Banks and financing institutions are also concerned with the reputation and goodwill of the builders. If they are not satisfied with the builder, they will not process the loan.

 

People Also Read This: Property Registration Online Procedure and New Rules in India

 

Verification of Documents

 

People usually rely on their brokers to verify the documents related to the property. This is a bad practice because you can be misled by your broker (either intentionally or unintentionally). Therefore, verifying the property document yourself is important.

 

You should conduct the necessary due diligence in verifying the title documents of the property. Documents such as any government order for grant, gift or sale deed, succession certificate, etc. will form the evidence for transfer of the property over the years. Therefore, understanding the nature of the title is also important.

 

Background Check of the Seller

 

While buying a property, you cannot overlook the identity of the seller. While buying a property, people are often interested in just the property. So, verifying the credentials of the seller is not a top priority. But, you must look into the authenticity of the seller. E.g., Check whether the seller has government authorization to sell the property.

 

In the case of joint property, identify all the owners involved. Identifying whether the seller is a company, firm, partnership firm, etc., is essential to confirm their authority to own and transfer the property. Verify all the documents that ascertain the seller's identity (Aadhar Card, PAN details, Income Tax returns, etc.).

 

Awareness about the type of Land

 

Be aware of the land use pattern. Many state laws in the country prohibit the purchase of agricultural property by non-agriculturists. However, with increasing urbanisation in the country, non-agricultural land use is at an all-time high. As a buyer, be aware about the master plan of the project and ensure that the property is being developed per the zoning plan.

 

RERA compliance

 

Don't overlook RERA compliance while buying any property. You should only engage with those projects which are registered under RERA. Make sure that all the essential provisions under RERA are adhered to.

 

Moreover, try to find dig-up any cases or complaints filed against the developer on the official web portal of RERA (each state has its website). Along with the developers, real estate brokers should also be registered with their respective state RERA. Therefore, only appoint a broker after verifying their RERA registration number.

 

People Also Read This: Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind Before Selling Your House

 

Property Insurance

 

Property insurance or home insurance is indispensable. Insurance will cover your expenses in case of any damage or loss. Moreover, it will also protect you from any third-party liability arising from any sort of injury faced by such a third-party on your property. Home insurance minimizes the financial burden in such cases.

 

Ideal home insurance will also be applicable on the contents of your property, which includes: electronic appliances, furniture, and even jewellery. You can claim such insurance even if there is any theft or robbery. Therefore, you should insure your property as it provides economical protection and covers potential risks.

 

Physical Survey

 

A physical survey of the project site is of equal necessity. In today's era, you can be fascinated and influenced by the advertisements surrounding you. However, more often than not, these advertisements lead to misconceptions about the project.

 

Therefore, make it a point to mandatorily visit the project site before proceeding with the purchase. You should verify the basics, like the exact extent and measurement of the property. In the case of the Land on which the property is built, you should identify and demarcate the boundaries.

 

Conclusion

 

Those mentioned above are just a few basic due diligence methods. You must understand that the points mentioned in this article are by no means an exhaustive list. You, as a buyer, should conduct an elaborate due diligence process to ensure that your investment is viable.

Ways To Resolve Property Disputes In India
Property

Ways To Resolve Property Disputes In India

Ways To Resolve Property Disputes In India

One of the most common legal disputes in India is property disputes. Property disputes related to property division, property ownership, sale and purchase of property, and other similar concerns. Property disputes among family members, especially brothers, are a common sight in India. In the absence of awareness about the settlement of disputes, most property disputes end up in courts. Lack of proper title documents and court delays often prolong property disputes. Through this article, we shall explore the various aspects of property disputes in India.

 

Property Disputes in India

India has a large number of pending property disputes. Property disputes can arise among family members and sellers/purchasers of land, and even landlords and tenants. Laws that govern inheritance are applied when property disputes occur among family members. The Act that governs property disputes in India is the Transfer of Property Act. This Act governs the transfer of property in India and forms the legal basis for determining and resolving disputes. While the moveable property is also subject to contention, most of the property disputes in India are related to immovable property such as land or a house.

 

Many case laws have been passed deciding the contours of property law in India. The holding of such case laws is often important in determining and resolving property disputes in India. One such landmark decision was Vineet Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, where the daughters were given the right to property as a coparcener for the first time. This clear laying down of the law became the basis for many pending disputes wherein sisters claimed a right in the property and the brothers did not agree to the same.

 

Similarly, in Poona Ram v. Moti Ram, the Supreme Court was of the view that settled and established possession of land is required for possession to qualify as ownership.

The courts, through numerous decisions, have laid down the defining features of property law in India.

 

People Also Read This: In the middle of land dispute, a land acquisition lawyer can be your saviour

 

How to Resolve Property Disputes in India

In India, there are two ways through which you can resolve property disputes:

  1. Settlement
  2. Litigation

 

Settlement:

You can choose to resolve your property dispute through settlement if family members are involved in the property dispute. The settlement involves all the stakeholders sitting across the table and mutually deciding how the assets/property would be divided. This involves the division of not only immovable property but also moveable property such as jewellery. Sometimes, families bring in a neutral third party to maintain discipline during the process. Such a neutral third party can help the parties arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome. Once a mutual division is agreed upon by the family members, you should draw up a settlement agreement. All family members should sign this settlement agreement.

Settlement saves the costs of hiring a lawyer and court expenses. If possible, in the first instance, it is always preferable to resolve through a settlement. If a settlement is not possible or if settlement fails, then you can approach the courts.

 

Litigation:

Litigation is nothing but approaching the courts to resolve property disputes. This involves lawyers, court costs, and, more often than not substantial amount of delay. Typically unrelated parties resort to litigation in the first instance. Litigation involves court processes and procedures and may take a long time to resolve the dispute. Go for litigation only if you have all the documents, including the title deed, and your lawyer advises you that you have a strong chance to win. Sometimes courts order the parties to settle outside court. This is a court-monitored settlement.

 

Property Disputes Among Brothers

Property disputes among brothers are one of the most common property disputes in India. In India, the conception exists that it is the male child that inherits the property. But the problem arises when there are two or more two male children. Brothers often squabble among themselves regarding property division, especially if the parents have not left a will. Such disputes are resolved by applying the applicable inheritance and succession laws.

Property disputes in India account for more than half of the pending caseload. Property laws and case laws around them govern property disputes. Despite having clear-cut laws, such disputes go on for years. Land being a valuable asset in India, the scope of disputes arising is more. Hence, you should always have drafted agreements before you enter into any property transaction. Write and register wills in your life so that your children do not engage in property disputes. Paperwork always reduces ambiguity and hence the chances of disputes.

People Also Read This: Find Property Dispute Lawyer In India Near You

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