• Inability to get building plan approval due to missing legal heir certificate of previous land owner

I purchased a residential plot in South Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India in 2020. When I applied for building plan approval in 2023, Corporation and Town Planning authorities rejected my application as the legal heir certificate of one of the previous owners was missing. Apparently the property was sold in 1991, by the original land owner's daughter after the land owner's death through a sale deed, in which the daughter has claimed that she is selling the property as she was the sole surviving legal heir of the land owner. The same property was resold again in 1998, and in 2020 (which was when I bought it).

Details of the property transfer by sale deed and timeline are as follows:
1. 1965 – Original land owner (lady) buys property (Mother title deed document)
2. 1982 – Original land owner dies intestate without a will or succession document
3. 1991 – Original land owner’s daughter gives power to her grandfather to sell the property in her capacity as the sole surviving legal heir of mother and claims in the power of attorney document that she is the only legal heir, as even her father has been missing for more than 20 years and is considered dead. The property is sold to the Owner No. 2 through a registered sale deed.
4. 1998 – Owner No. 2 sells it Owner No. 3
5. 2020 – Owner No. 3 sells it Owner No. 4 (Myself)

While a copy of the death certificate of the original land owner is available, there is no legal heir certificate available for the daughter. The daughter is no longer in India and emigrated out of the country around 1992, and her whereabouts are not known. The grandfather who took power from the original land owner’s daughter is not alive.

In the last 32 years, there have been no encumbrances on the property and every time the Patta (Town survey land record) has been on the name of the owner at that time. I wish to construct an individual house on that property, which would not be possible without the building plan approval. Kindly advise what other legal options are available to take my case forward and obtain a building plan approval.
Asked 2 months ago in Property Law
Religion: Hindu

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6 Answers

1) offer to submit indemnity bond to indemnify corporation in case third party claims are made 


2) engage a detective agency to trace out the daughter 


3) offer to pay the expenses for obtaining legal heir certificate by daughter 

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
91274 Answers
6807 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

The property sold by the daughter by a self declaration that she is the only surviving legal heir is invalid and illegal in the eyes of law.

The property was reportedly sold through her power agent, but she ignored the fact that her father was also one of the legal heirs of her deceased mother, even though he was missing and not heard of for 20 years.

She should have got him declared civil dead and obtained a proper legal heirship certificate declaring that she was the only legal heir to her deceased mother.

The subsequent purchasers either have not obtained a proper legal opinion from any experienced lawyers earlier nor had bothered about any such issue but somehow managed to sell the proeprty which was originally a defective title to the original seller.

In fact you too had done the same mistake of buying the property without obtaining a proper legal opinion from an experienced lawyer, had you obtained one, you would have been advised about this flaw and the purchase  would not have been recommended, but you are struck now owing to your own ignorance too.

Ignorance of law cannot be claimed as an excuse.

You may resort to legal steps by first sending a legal notice to the original seller i.e., the daughter of the deceased owner demanding her to produce the legal heirship certificate which is required for your further constructional purposes.

You can send the notice to her last known address, get the registered post legal notice returned undelivered, then issue a public notice  about this and once you do not get an objection within 15 days from the date of publication, you submit an application to the Corporation and town planning authorities given the details for the steps taken by you to procure the legal heirship certificate and attach the copies of the legal notice as well as the newspaper publication.

Let the authorities reject the same once again, after which you can approach civil court with a suit for permanent injunction and direction to the concerned authorities to approve the plan on the basis of the documentary evidences you possess. 

Though this process would be time consuming, you have no option than to get into action as suggested instead of wasting more time thinking about the subject  matter without any clue.


T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
81456 Answers
1826 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

The power deed was given by the principal,  hence it is the principal who is liable to produce the legal heirship certificate. 

As per the power deed,  she had given her Madras address,  hence we can consider that as her last known address.

It is not necessary that you have to follow her wherever she travelled or went from Madras after selling the property. 

Therefore you can send the legal notice to last known address and additionally you can endorse a copy to her power agent too.

The further course of action may be followed up as suggested earlier. 

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
81456 Answers
1826 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Yes you need to send the legal notice as stated below 

Prashant Nayak
Advocate, Mumbai
29605 Answers
121 Consultations

4.1 on 5.0

You should send legal notice to daughter at madras address and also at address abroad 

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
91274 Answers
6807 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

Since the legal heir certificate of the original landowner's daughter is missing, it may be difficult to obtain building plan approval for the property. However, you can try the following legal options:


Apply for a duplicate legal heir certificate: You can apply to the relevant authority for a duplicate legal heir certificate of the original landowner's daughter. You may have to provide evidence such as the death certificate of the original landowner, the sale deed, and any other relevant documents.


File a suit for declaration of title: If you are unable to obtain the legal heir certificate, you can file a suit for declaration of title in the civil court. This will establish your right to the property and enable you to obtain the necessary approvals for construction.


File a writ petition: You can also file a writ petition in the high court seeking directions to the concerned authorities to grant building plan approval for your property. In the writ petition, you can explain the facts of the case and argue that you are the lawful owner of the property, despite the missing legal heir certificate.


It is advisable to consult a lawyer who specializes in property law for guidance on the best legal option for your situation.




Anik Miu
Advocate, Bangalore
6694 Answers
74 Consultations

4.9 on 5.0

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