• I Paid A Bribe
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I wanted to register my will and I was told that it was a very simple…

Reported on December 18, 2014 from Thane , Maharashtra  ι Report #48486

I wanted to register my will and I was told that it was a very simple and straight-forward process at the sub-registrar’s office. Still, considering my past experiences with the registration dept, I decided to check a few days before the actual registration as I was required to bring 2 witnesses during registration and did not want to waste their time. I had also checked the state government’s registration website igrmaharashtra.gov.in to ensure that I had all the documents in place. I had my will drafted through a professional and all the other necessary documents in place.

So I go to the registrar’s office at Talao Pali in Thane on Thursday. It’s on the second floor. At the door itself an agent accosted me and asked me what kind of work I wanted to get done. Note that this agent is standing inside the registrar’s office which is on the second floor. Basically it implies that the agents have a free hand. I told him that I want to register my will and he said it will cost me Rs. 1500. As per the state govt website, the cost is Rs. 20 per page + a fixed registration cost of Rs. 100. Total works out to Rs. 240 as my will had 7 pages. I thought he was asking too much and considering that no monetary transaction was involved since I was just registering a will, I decided to approach the clerk.
The clerk told me that it is a very simple process and that I can just walk-in. I don’t need to take an appointment. I got it clarified again from him and he said that I shouldn’t have any problem. Fine, I thought.

Come Saturday and I take 2 witnesses along with me to the registrar’s office at 11:30 a.m. half expecting that I should be done in a couple of hours. I met the clerk and reminded him that I had met him 2 days ago for the registration of my will. He told me to meet the registrar. I did so but the registrar simply asked me to come on Monday as he was busy. I told him that I just had to register my will but he said he did not have time that day. I told him that it would be difficult to get 2 witnesses on Monday as it is a weekday and they would be working in the office. His response was that I can try my luck at 5 p.m. on Staurday He then gruffly asked me for the ‘data sheet’ which is nowhere mentioned on the state govt website. I was totally unaware of it. He said that I shouldn’t be wasting time without doing all the necessary documentation and that I should check with the clerk. So I go back to the same clerk and he says I can get the ‘data sheet’ filled from the Xerox shop downstairs.

At this point it was pretty obvious where this was going. Since I didn’t have any other choice, I went to the Xerox shop downstairs. They told me that they would fill in the datasheet for Rs. 200 but I would still have to do the registration myself. Another option was to pay Rs. 1500 + Rs. 350 (for which I would get an official receipt) and they would get the job done. I asked them whether it would be done in the next few hours and they confirmed the same. As I didn’t want the witnesses to suffer on my account, I paid the Xerox shop Rs. 1850 after which they did the data entry and told me to report at the registration office after 30 minutes. Guess what, everything went smoothly. The whole registration process was completed within 15 minutes after that, including the thumb imprint of the same registrar who did not have time for me earlier!! It’s not a direct bribe but everyone has their cut. The process is so well-oiled that it’s simply impossible to do things without paying a bribe.

For all the transparency that the state government claims to have brought in the registration process, this once again proves that the ground reality hasn’t changed at all. Governments may come and go but the officers / clerks are the same and they simply can’t be changed.

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