NRI Real Estate and Property Investment in India
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NRI Organisation Demands Fast Track Courts
Friday, February 15, 2008

A US-based NRI organization has demanded fast track courts, specially to settle property disputes in India. Gulf-based NRIs too have raised this issue in the past to no avail.

If India truly wants its Diaspora to develop a sense of belonging and invest not just with their hearts, but also with their heads then the authorities here need to pay heed to such requests. Getting embroiled in litigation is one of the biggest threats for NRIs- be it a family or a property matter. Courts generally require the litigant to be physically present for hearings which, for many NRIs, is an almost impossible proposition. Add to that all the mental harassment caused by lawyers - even your own - and many overseas Indians might think it better not to put their heads out or their hands up when it comes to investing in property.

The Indian authorities have made some attempts in this direction. A year or two back, the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgement allowing an NRI landlord to eject a tenant even though he does not intend to use it directly for himself and resides permanently in another country.

The apex court said to eject a tenant, an NRI landlord is required to prove his NRI status and the fact that he has made the claim for the premises for his use or for the use of any dependent ordinarily living with him. "An NRI can claim ejectment of the tenant from the premises for the purposes of any other person who is dependent on him and is ordinarily living with him which makes it clear that although the NRI resides permanently in another country, he could get the accommodation vacated for the need of his dependent, who ordinarily lives with him and intends to come to India," a Bench comprising Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P.P. Naolekar said.

There is no requirement that he (NRI) has permanently settled in India on his return or he has returned to India with an intention to permanently settle. An NRI may require the accommodation for expansion of his business that he is carrying in another country or requires it for temporary stay. On its part, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that non-resident Indians and persons of Indian origin can take abroad their share of family property in received by way of settlement during the lifetime of the family head.

The new norms by the Reserve Bank allow NRIs to remit overseas funds they receive in India as a result of a family head dividing his estates among family members.

All said and done, not much can be expected in the near future. It is ultimately for the NRIs themselves to be extremely cautious while buying property, particularly from slick dealers.



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