By Dr Sanjay Chaturvedi, LLB, PhD
Joint Development Agreement by landlords and with builder are not transfer says ITAT Mumbai. It is generally seen that there may be several stages or events arising in a joint development arrangement made between owner of the land and the developer. For the purpose of determining the actual date of transfer of the land by the land owner, all these stages / events needs to be collectively analsysed and after evaluating overall effect of the same we can determine the actual date of transfer. These stages / events may be described as date of entering into JDA, date of executing power of attorney authorising the developer for taking various approvals / permissions etc., handing over the possession of the land to the developer for various purposes, receipt of part / full sale consideration from the developer, date of execution of power of attorney in favour of developer authorising him for the sale of developed units to the customers at his absolute discretion; and transfer of developed units to the customers etc. There may be few more stages / events to complete the transaction. Though, one single event may trigger the process of transfer but may not necessarily complete it also. Whether the transfer has, in substance, taken place, can be determined by analysing the inter-play and effect of all these stages / events combined and put together. For example, possession may be given for various purposes, viz. possession given to a contractor, or to a tenant also, but such an event in itself cannot be regarded as “transfer” of land. Possession of land may also be handed over as licensee only for the purpose of development of real estate on land. Here again, it shall not give rise to “transfer”. Thus, when the possession is given along with other legal rights to the developer resulting into entitlement of the developer for full use and enjoyment of the property as well as its further sale after converting it into developed units at its full, own and sole discretion, then it may result into ‘transfer’ provided other conditions also suggest so. Thus, handing over of the possession has to be necessarily coupled with the intention of transferring the rights of ownership and enjoyment of the property to the developer. Handing over of the possession for the limited purpose of developing the land while still retaining the ownership and control of various legal rights upon the property by the land owner would not fall in clause (v) of section 2(47).