A Comprehensive Guide to Selling Land or Property in Punjab

Sell land or Property in Punjab

Story of Property Inheritance

The story of property inheritance follows a common path: father is given a small farm holding through an extended family member. The sons of the father farm the land and ultimately inherited what is theirs as an equal split. The sons have families, and historically, the land would go to the sons. As the inheritance of that one piece of land became diluted, so did the family ties – and this may happen over many generations – with many making claims on inherited land and property.

Indians who left with their parents a few decades ago learned the laws and what could and couldn’t be done. They were taught the virtue of owning land and property. In many cases, their younger siblings became much more anglicized, while the older sibling kept a ‘foot in India.’

Fast forward 20 to 30 years; it is these siblings and cousins that are often the culprits of many land disputes. Many contested sales and acquisitions in the Indian Law Courts involve brothers, cousins, uncles, and aunts who have sold the land under the noses of their family members – usually a PIO!

India land and property have risen to significant values over the last few decades, but many have died thinking they were clear of any disputes, but in reality, it may have not even been theirs. Sadly, many families do not have clear conversations about what is theirs and what is not, and the history of inherited property – this in main due to the lack of apathy by first or second-generation Indians of countries their parents emigrated to – or perhaps NRI’s or PIO’s dying leaving without sorting out their affairs

PIOs (Persons of Indian Origin) or NRIs with inherited land and property in Punjab, set a trend in India a couple decades ago, resulting in an overflow of court disputes and conflicts. Many PIOs who have inherited land and property in Punjab find themselves entangled in legal battles over ownership and inheritance rights, with family members, locals and even companies that provide utilities, making claims on land. It is the Wild-Wild-West for the PIO. Land values have yo-yo-ed in the last 14 years due to the political climate in the Punjab, but still the sale of residential plots, agricultural land and property disputes have become increasingly common and intense.

Understanding PIOs and Related Terms

Person of Indian Origin is an individual who is not a citizen of India but of another country or has ancestors from India, typically many First Generation in American, Canada, and UK fall into this category and are not NRI’s. The Indian government recognizes anyone as a PIO up to four generations. Other terms related to citizenship, where individuals do not reside in India, include Non-Resident Indian (NRI) used for income taxation purposes (NRI’s live outside of India, in another country). They are of Indian origin, but they do not live in India permanently. NRI’s typically emigrate to new countries and maintain their national ties through dual nationality.

Challenges Faced by PIOs and NRIs

Many PIOs and NRI’s living abroad, inheriting residential land in Punjab have to come to the stark reality that: It is a struggle to navigate the complex legal system. As with foreign laws they often find themselves at a disadvantage compared to local citizens who are more familiar with the laws and ‘ways’ of property ownership Punjab offers. Together with the way real estate in Punjab is dealt with – meaning a certain ‘slowness’ and inefficiency to get matters completed.

The Legal Landscape in Punjab

The district courts in India are inundated with NRI’s and PIO’s seeking restrictions of agriculture land for sale, plots for sale or property for sale by non-owners! The fact is that many owners have forgotten what they own, and family members, local agents and solicitors sell what is not theirs.

The legal system in India is complex and diverse, as it draws it’s law from a system that relies both colonial era laws as well as traditional Hindu and Islamic laws. The corner stones of the law in India are the constitution, legislation passed by Parliament and state legislatures, and judicial decisions.

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial body and governed by a federal system. Power is divided between the central government and the states and districts in India the Punjab alone has the districts of:

  • Jalandhar
  • Chandigarh
  • Ludhiana
  • Amritsar
  • Patiala
  • Bhatinda
  • Mohali
  • Hoshiarpur
  • Pathankot
  • Moga
  • Phagwara
  • Ferozepur
  • Kapurthala
  • Tarn Taran
  • Ropar (Rupnagar)
  • Sangrur

India has a common law legal system, where law is primarily based on judicial decisions and precedents set by higher courts. However, the country also has a system of statutory laws enacted by Parliament and state legislatures.

Legal Requirements for Selling Land or Property in Punjab

The key requirement is the Title Deed or Fard Jamabandi. This typically is using an agent or a solicitor to carry this out and can be obtained online, however we are discussing the Punjab and things are taking to have all documents digitised.

The Fard Jamabandi

Fard Jamabandi is a crucial document in Punjab for land-ownership verification and property rights entailment.

Jamabandi (Fard Jamabandi or land record) is required to confirm ownership of the land: such as the owner’s name, land size, and what kind of land it is or property.

Where to go to get Fard Jamabandi:

  1. Find the local District Revenue Office or Patwarkhana.
  2. Complete details of the required Fard Jamabandi.
  3. You will need to have a Khasra number, Khata number, and the owner’s name
  4. There is a fee payable for this.
  5. The details are validated by the department.
  6. After verification, the certified copy of Fard Jamabandi is issued.

Online Access: At time if the information has been updated online the Fard Jamabandi can be accessed online through the land record portals, this is similar to many western online portals.

Title Search: This process verifies that the property is free from legal disabilities like mortgages, encumbrances, and disputes. It involves:

  • Verifying current ownership.
  • Checking prior ownership history.
  • Ensuring the property is free of any third party charges or mortgages.

Do I Need a Lawyer?

This is wholly dependent on your situation. If you’re looking to sell real estate in Punjab and have all your paperwork in place – then you’ll need an agent to sell and a lawyer to ensure the transaction goes through to completion.

But where do you start? A family member in the Punjab? A ‘mate of a mate’ who knows someone who knows a lawyer in India? A Google Search?

Starting to navigate through legal complexities in Punjab, NRI’s or PIO’s is a probably THE most important decision you will make. lawyers are needed that understand the ‘high-ways and by-ways’ to navigate through the legal ‘noise’. Having a bad lawyer or one that is only interested in financial gain will seriously ruin your wealth.

So where do you start?

Start with someone who has successfully bought, sold or rented land, Afterall it makes sense to follow success. There will be people who know, a local businessman who has interests in Punjab, many of the older NRI’s have businesses that operate in India and the UK, Canada, or America. They will know how residential, agricultural land and commercial real estate works. These individuals will have used lawyers that you can ask.

If not, then you need to start with an online search – use the following terms to identify firms:

  • Property Lawyer in Punjab
  • Land Sale Lawyer Punjab
  • Real Estate Lawyer Punjab
  • Legal Assistance for Selling Land in Punjab
  • Best Lawyer for Property Sale in Punjab
  • Land Dispute Lawyer Punjab
  • NRI Property Lawyer Punjab
  • Sell Property Legal Help Punjab
  • Punjab Property Solicitor
  • Real Estate Attorney Punjab
  • Title Deed Lawyer Punjab
  • Property Transfer Lawyer Punjab
  • Fard Jamabandi Lawyer Punjab
  • Land Ownership Verification Punjab Lawyer
  • Punjab Land Registry Lawyer
  • Property Sale Legal Consultation Punjab
  • Land Transaction Lawyer Punjab
  • Punjab Real Estate Law Firm
  • Property Legal Services Punjab
  • Agricultural Land Sale Lawyer Punjab

Once you have a list if numbers call and see their response times, to get an indication of how responsive they are. Then ask them the question:

‘Who have you recently helped to sell land that are from (your country – American, United Kingdom, Canada)?’

Then follow up with:

‘May I have their name and telephone number?’

You NEED to then ask:

‘Who else?’

I would even ask for a third!

Call the references and ask them of their experiences or pitfalls.

If the lawyer search fails to yield any results, then try a search for land and property agents based in the Punjab:

  • Agricultural Land Agent Punjab
  • Residential Land Agent Punjab
  • Real Estate Services Punjab
  • Land Sales Consultant Punjab
  • Punjab Property Brokerage
  • Punjab Real Estate Services
  • Land Selling Consultant Punjab
  • Punjab Land Sales Expert

You may yield results that are meaningful. The key process here is to ensure that they have references you can call based in your country or could be wasting your time or money!

Pricing Your Land or Property in Punjab

Pricing your land or property can mean property that remains on the market for decades or one that is snapped – but it is priced too low.

The key here is ‘Researching the Data’, and there a few factors to be considered:

  • Here’s some simple steps to take:
  • Search for similar properties or land sold or for sale
  • Look for locations within a mile
  • Draw up a list of properties
  • See if you can determine the length of time a property has been on the market
  • Chat with the agents

Armed with this you should get a good idea of value.

Determining the price of your land or property in Punjab, it’s essential to factor in both intrinsic and extrinsic factors: location, accessibility, amenities, infrastructure, and development potential significantly affect the value of your property. Then there is knowing the market trends, buyers, and economic indicators, but these can be advised by an agent. The after impact of your research should result in a property priced competitively to attract genuine buyers and secure a sale.

Challenges of an Older NRI Generation

Many if us based in the western world have witnessed or experienced a generational issue of land being handed to their kith and kin. As the older PIO’s or NRI’s become frail and unable to manage their estates in India, trouble begins to brew regarding these lands and properties they hold. The laws in India regarding inheritance are archaic and the legal system has seen many thousands of contentions and precedents set in Indian law.

Disputes are rife. Property and land among extended families may be owned or even tenanted by a family handshake several decades ago. This may have been an agreement between a father and an uncle or an aunt, a moment of understanding that was never written down but passed down the generations as a ‘given.’

As the older generation become frail due to age and illness, these ‘agreements’ become ‘fragile’ and blurred, leaving the younger generation with legal battles.

It is your responsibility to try and understand what yours is and what is not. Don’t wait for them to pass or become too old to help you understand what you have or don’t have.

Today’s PIOs are not born in India, they know their rights in America, United Kingdom or Canada – but they do not know Indian customs, laws, or, in many cases, even the language. When they go to India to claim their rights, they enter a land where those born in India know how the systems work, the way land is bought and sold, and how to deal with a PIO mercilessly, and a fully ready to take advantage of the PIO’s ignorance.

Where to Start

Step One: What do you own?!…


Punjab and Haryana Land Measurement Units

The following are the basic measurements of land used in Punjab and Haryana in ascending order.

  • One ‘karam’ = 5.5 feet
  • One ‘marla’ = 9 square karams (272.25 square feet OR 30.25 square yards)
  • One ‘kanaal’ = 20 marlas (5,445 square feet)
  • One ‘killa’ = 8 kanaals (43,560 square feet = 1 acre)
  • One ‘bigha’ = 2 kanaals (10,890 square feet = 1210 square yards)
  • One ‘murabba’ = 25 killas (1,089,000 square feet = 25 acres)
  • 1 hectare is 2.5 Acres
  • A killa is measured rectangularly, reckoned as an area 36 karams (198 feet) x 40 karams (220 feet) (43,560 square feet).

Measurements of Residential Properties

Kothis and Havelis are measured in marlas and kanaals. Most are two to four kanaals but the big ones can be anything from four to six kanaals.

An acre is a rectangle that measures 198 feet by 220 feet

One ‘killa’ is equivalent to one acre, which is 43,560 square feet.

This wholly dependent on what status the land or property is. See above – Sell Land Punjab

This is really dependent on what it is, where it is and condition if it has a property on the land.

Yes, if you own it or have power of authority to do so.

The documents required are listed in legal section of this article.