Guide to Purchasing Land in Uttarakhand for Non-Residents

Uttarakhand Land Law for Outsider

Update 1st Jan 2024: The Uttarakhand government, led by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, has implemented a temporary ban preventing “outsiders” from acquiring land for agriculture and horticulture in the state. This decision, made during a high-level meeting, aims to safeguard the interests of the public and the state. The prohibition will remain in effect until the completion of a thorough examination by a five-member drafting committee, appointed by the Uttarakhand government, to assess the report submitted by the committee on land laws. During this period, district magistrates are instructed not to grant permission for land acquisition by outsiders for agricultural and horticultural purposes. The move aligns with the state’s adherence to an amendment made in 2004 (Section 154 of the Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950), requiring individuals without immovable property in the state before September 12, 2003, to obtain permission from the district magistrate for such land transactions.

This recent decision underscores the government’s commitment to carefully evaluating and regulating land acquisitions, emphasizing the need for a comprehensive review before allowing outsiders to purchase land for agricultural and horticultural activities. The interim ban serves as a precautionary measure until the drafting committee completes its examination and provides further directives.


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Uttarakhand, the land of the gods, is a beautiful state in northern India, known for its snow-capped mountains, scenic valleys, and serene lakes. It is also a popular destination for real estate investments, particularly among outsiders. However, to ensure that the investments are made within the legal framework, it is essential to understand the land laws applicable to outsiders in Uttarakhand.

Many outsiders are interested in investing in land in Uttarakhand, but certain laws and regulations must be followed.

Uttarakhand Land Law for NRIs

Firstly, it is important to note that non-residents of India, including foreigners and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), are not allowed to purchase agricultural land in Uttarakhand. However, they are allowed to purchase non-agricultural land for residential or commercial purposes.

To purchase non-agricultural land in Uttarakhand, outsiders must obtain permission from the Uttarakhand state government through the District Magistrate (DM) or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM). This permission is known as the Non-Agricultural Land Certificate (NALC), which is issued by the Revenue Department.

Before applying for the NALC, outsiders must ensure that the land they wish to purchase is not classified as agricultural land. This can be done by obtaining a Land Use Certificate (LUC) from the Revenue Department. The LUC verifies that the land is not used for agriculture and is eligible for non-agricultural use.

After obtaining the LUC, outsiders can apply for the NALC by submitting the necessary documents, such as proof of identity and address, proof of land ownership, and the LUC. The application is then processed by the Revenue Department, and if approved, the NALC is issued to the applicant.

In summary, outsiders can purchase non-agricultural land in Uttarakhand for residential or commercial purposes but must obtain the necessary permissions from the state government through the NALC process. It is important to ensure that the land being purchased is not classified as agricultural land and to follow all the necessary legal procedures to avoid any legal issues in the future.

Uttarakhand Land Laws for Outsiders:

  1. The Uttarakhand Land Revenue Act, 2012: This act regulates the ownership and transfer of land in Uttarakhand. According to this act, any person, including an outsider, can purchase land in Uttarakhand, subject to certain conditions. The land can be purchased for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes, but agricultural land can only be purchased by locals.
  2. The Uttarakhand Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1950: This act was introduced to abolish the zamindari system in the state and to provide rights to the tenants. It regulates the sale, purchase, and transfer of land in the state. According to this act, any outsider can purchase non-agricultural land in Uttarakhand, subject to the approval of the competent authority.
  3. Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA): FEMA is a central act that governs foreign exchange transactions in India. It regulates the acquisition and transfer of immovable property by non-residents in India. According to this act, non-resident Indians (NRIs) and persons of Indian origin (PIOs) are permitted to purchase property in India, including Uttarakhand, without any restriction.
  4. The Forest Conservation Act, 1980: Uttarakhand is famous for its dense forests, and therefore, this act is of utmost importance. According to this act, any land that is classified as forest land cannot be purchased or transferred, except with the permission of the central government.
  5. The Town and Country Planning Act, 1973: This act regulates the development and planning of urban areas in the state. According to this act, any outsider who wishes to construct a building or develop land in Uttarakhand needs to obtain permission from the competent authority.

How much land an outsider can buy in Uttarakhand?

As per the Uttarakhand Land Reform Act of 1973, an outsider can purchase up to 250 square meters of land in Uttarakhand for residential purposes. However, this limit may vary for different categories of land such as agricultural land or commercial land.

If an outsider wants to purchase agricultural land in Uttarakhand, they would need to obtain clearance from the Uttarakhand government. This is because agricultural land can only be sold to people who are involved in agriculture, and there are restrictions on selling it to outsiders.

Similarly, if an outsider wants to purchase commercial land in Uttarakhand, they would need to obtain clearance from the Uttarakhand government as well. This is because commercial land is typically meant for business purposes, and the government may want to ensure that the land is being used in a manner that benefits the local economy.

It’s important to note that the rules and regulations regarding land ownership in Uttarakhand are subject to change. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult a local lawyer or real estate agent before making any land purchase decisions in Uttarakhand.

Conclusion:

In conclusion, Uttarakhand is a beautiful state with immense potential for real estate investments. However, outsiders who wish to invest in the state need to be aware of the land laws applicable to them. These laws are in place to ensure that investments are made within the legal framework and do not cause any harm to the state’s environment or the locals. Therefore, it is advisable to seek the guidance of a legal expert before making any real estate investment in Uttarakhand.

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