In recent years there has been a boom in the real estate sector of our economy. Despite the introduction of the Real Estate Regulation Act, there have been various issues due to the misrepresentation, fraud, cheating, forgery, etc. Cheating can be defined as the dishonest act for a gain or advantage. The offence of cheating is a criminal offense and is provided under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code.

Section 420 defines cheating as the dishonest inducement made to deceive any property to any person or to make, alter or destroy the whole or any part of valuable security, or anything which is signed or sealed, and which is capable of being converted into a valuable security. The Penal Code imposes a punishment of imprisonment for seven years or a fine. The term cheating shall be differentiated from the concept of breach of contract.

Breach of contract is a legal action that could be brought against a legally binding contract on account of non-performance of the conditions of a contract or interference with the other person’s performance. For cases under breach of contract, civil liabilities can only be brought in.

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How Not To Get Cheated While Buying A Home?

Since there are chances of being cheated, it is important on the part of the buyer to ensure that they take necessary precautions and exercise due diligence. It is advised to visit the RERA website which has been launched with the intention of bringing fair practices in the trade of property and also to bring in transparency in the real estate sector. According to the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, it is required to ensure that the real estate projects are registered with the real estate regulators by the builders.

By visiting the website you will be made aware of the various developments in the real estate industry. The main benefit of buying a property through the RERA website is that it helps in getting complete and authentic data about the property as well as the developer. In cases wherein the builder does not deliver your property within the specified period, then the RERA authorities shall take strict action against the builder, and then he will be charged with a penalty.

You may also check through the various documents of the property and verify all the documents. You are also required to verify all these documents. You shall check through various documents such as:

  • The allotment letter in which the details regarding the construction schedule, house plan, date of delivery of the flat, and the agreed purchase price between the buyer and seller are all mentioned.
  • The building completion certificate may also be acquired by the buyer from the builder. It is proof of complete adherence to the municipal and legal requirements that need to be followed in the construction of the property. These conditions or requirements include the height of the building, distance from the road, and suitability for habitation.
  • The original sales deed of the property which is the conclusive proof of ownership should also be acquired and verified.
  • The buyer should also obtain a no due certificate and non-objection certificate from the lenders.
  • A possession certificate may also be acquired to show the transfer of the property’s possession and ownership to the current ownership.

What are the remedies available to the owner in case of illegal transfer?

The remedies available for the owner who has been subjected to the illegal transfer of property includes the following:

  • Filing an appropriate Civil Suit:

A petition can be filed with the court for the annulment or termination of the sales deed. The parties file for the cancellation of the title deed on the grounds that the property has been illegally transferred as any such transfers made is null and void. Going to court should be considered only if the parties cannot reach an amicable out of court settlement. The different case in which the civil court could be approached for the cancellation of the conveyance deed is in cases of failure to honor the agreement, property taken over fraudulently or those transfer through misrepresentation.

The failure to adhere to the terms of the contract is the most common form of illegal transfer. For example, the builder of the property is provided with the advancement for the property however he sells the property to another person. In such a circumstance, he could be held liable and the agreement can be declared as null and void by making filing a civil case in court.

First-time buyers are advised to file a complaint with the local police station in order to initiate a criminal case under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code or to file a civil suit in the court of law for illegal property transfer or breach of contract. In cases similar to the example provided above, the court may impose an injection or stay order. Misrepresentation of ownership or producing fraudulent or forged documents that show ownership of the property are all grounds on which the contract can be declared null and void.

  • An application requesting the registration authority:

If the transfer of the property is not completed then an application can be made to the registering authority to not register the sales deed of the property which is being illegally transferred. The verification of the ownership can be done by verifying land records and in cases of discrepancies, the revenue authority shall also be informed to prevent the illegal transfer. However, they do not have much power and the buyer often refers to the court. If the sales deed has been registered and then canceled later, then it is important that the cancellation deed is also registered.


Summing up, it is necessary to exercise due diligence in the process of purchase of the property. It is important that the person checks through the various documents and the financial liabilities on the property before the purchase of the property in order to avoid any complications that could arise in the future. As stated above cheating is a criminal offense and is made liable under the Indian Penal Code.

A civil suit may also be brought in cases of fraud, misrepresentation or non-performance of the conditions of the contract by either of the parties. However, the litigation process can be a lengthy procedure and it is recommended that the parties try to settle the dispute outside the court for quick and cost-effective remedies.