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Chief Constituents of the Registration of Documents

The Registration Act, 1908 deals with the enactments relating to the registration of documents. The Act was implemented to provide discipline and public notice concerning transactions in relation to immovable property.

The term "immovable property" has been defined in various central acts, but no such act categorically defines the term. The most significant act dealing with immovable property is the Transfer of Property Act, 1882. Under this Act the term "immovable property" is defined as the property that does not include timber, growing crops, or grass.

Section 3(26) of the General Clauses Act, 1897 defines immovable property as the property that shall include land, benefits to arise out of land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth.

Section 2(6) of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 defines it as property that includes land, buildings, hereditary allowances, rights to ways, lights, ferries, fisheries, or any other benefit to arise out of land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth, but not standing timber, growing crops nor grass.

Things that can be extracted or detached from the earth are considered as movable property and not immovable. Therefore, wild crops, plants, trees, grass, etc., are considered as immovable till they are attached to the ground. Once they're removed or detached, they become movable property. Thus, a property that can't be moved from one place to another is immovable property.

The sale of an immovable property for a value exceeding Rs 100 then such property has to be registered.

There are various laws related to property in India such as:
  • The Transfer of Property Act, 1882
  • The Indian Easements Act, 1882
  • The Registration Act, 1908
  • The Indian Stamp Act, 1889
  • The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 (RERA), etc.

Registration is the procedure through which all the documents are recorded by a recognized officer along with other necessary information to ensure its transparency and authenticity.

Registration of documents is important as it acts as a valid proof and aids a person in taking a legal action during any dispute. It's easier to find out if there's any impediment or ongoing litigation with regard to a property if the document is registered. The Act provides for mandatory registration of certain documents to protect them from any type of fraud.

Mandatory Registration of Documents under Section 17 of the Registration Act
Section 17 of the Act provides for mandatory registration of certain documents:
  1. instruments of gift of immovable property;
  2. other non-testamentary instruments which purport or operate to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest, whether vested or contingent, of the value of one hundred rupees and upwards, to or in immovable property;
  3. non-testamentary instruments which acknowledge the receipt or payment of any consideration on account of the creation, declaration, assignment, limitation or extinction of any such right, title or interest; and
  4. leases of immovable property from year to year, or for any term exceeding one year, or reserving a yearly rent;
  5. 1 [(e) non-testamentary instruments transferring or assigning any decree or order of a Court or any award when such decree or order or award purports or operates to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish, whether in present or in future, any right, title or interest, whether vested or contingent, of the value of one hundred rupees and upwards, to or in immovable property:] Provided that the 2 [State Government] may, by order published in the 3 [Official Gazette], exempt from the operation of this sub-section any lease executed in any district, or part of a district, the terms granted by which do not exceed five years and the annual rents reserved by which do not exceed fifty rupees.
Optional Registration of Documents under Section 18 of the Registration Act
Section 18 of this Act deals with optional registration of documents.

The following documents that may be registered under this Act:
  • Adoption Deed
  • Instruments related to share in Joint Stock company
  • Debenture issued by Joint Stock Company
  • Endorsement upon or Transfer of Debenture, which is issued by Joint Stock Company
  • Decree or order of the court involving creation, declaration, assignment and extinguishment of any right, title or interest in an immovable property of value less than one hundred rupees
  • Document of Past transaction
  • Wills
  • Grant of immovable property by the Government
  • Instrument of Collateral Security
  • Power of Attorney
  • Agreement to Sell
  • Agreement of Mortgage
  • Certificate of Sale
  • Counterpart of Lease
  • Promissory Note
  • Leases of immovable property not exceeding one year and leases excluded under section 17 of the Act

When the Documents can be Registered?
As per section 23 of the Act no documents except will shall be allowed for registration unless it's presented within four months from the date of its execution. If the document is executed by several persons at different times, then such document has to be furnished for registration and re-registration within four months from the date of each execution which comes under Section 24 of the Registration Act.

Section 25 of the Act specifies that if any document executed or decree made is not presented for registration within the prescribed time period due to any unavoidable accident or urgent necessity then the registrar may direct to present such document for registration within four months with a payment of fine not exceeding ten times the amount of registration fees. An application must be made to the sub-registrar who shall forward it to the Registrar to whom he is the subordinate.

And Section 26 of the Act states that if a document, has been executed by any of the parties outside India for registration after the expiry of the given time period, then such document must be presented to the Registering Officer for registration within four months after its arrival in India.

Where the Registration of Documents can be Done?
As per Section 28 of the Act all the documents which are related to immovable property must be presented for registration in the Sub registrar's Office within whose sub-district the whole or part of the property is situated. The authorised signatories for the seller and the buyer have to be present along with two witnesses, for registration of the documents. The officer may on special circumstances attend at the residence of any person who desires to deposit a will or present a document for registration under Section 31 of the Act.

Duties of Registering Officers when the Documents are Presented
Section 52 of the Indian Registration Act specifies:
  1. *
    1. The day, hour and place of presentation, 1[the photographs and finger prints affixed under section 32A,] and the signature of every person presenting a document for registration, shall be endorsed on every such document at the time of presenting it;
    2. a receipt for such document shall be given by the registering officer to the person presenting the same; and
    3. subject to the, provisions contained in section 62, every document admitted to registration shall without unnecessary delay be copied in the book appropriated therefore according to the order of its admission.
  2. All such books shall be authenticated at such intervals and in such manner as is from time to time prescribed by the Inspector-General.

Who can Apply for Registration?
As per Section 32 of the Act all documents that are to be registered under this Act must be presented at the proper registration office by:
  • A person executing or claiming under the same or in case of a copy of a decree or order, claiming under the decree or order;
  • Representative of that person;
  • Representative or assignee of such person who's authorized by power of attorney executed and authenticated in manner hereinafter mentioned.
The one presenting a document shall affix his passport size photograph and fingerprints to the document(s) provided that it's in relation to transfer of ownership of immovable property. Photographs and fingerprints of both buyer and seller of the property must be mentioned in the document(s).

A will or authority presented by the testator or the donor for registration shall be registered in the same manner as any other document provided that:
  • The will was executed by the testator or donor,
  • The testator or donor is dead,
  • The person presenting the will or authority under Section 40 of the Act is permitted to present the same.

Stamp Duty and Registration Fees
Section 80 of the Act states that the required amount of fees must be paid while presenting the documents. More than buying a property, registering it can be taxing. If you are planning on buying a property, it's important to remember that the amount quoted to you by the seller is not the final or only price you have to pay. Easily, few lakhs get added to the price quoted to you when you register it on your name. There are charges concerning stamp duty and registration, cess, and surcharges when you pick a property.

Yes, all the charges put together can come up to 7% to 10% of the total market value of the property or more than that. In most states in India, the cost of stamp duty is generally 5% to 7% of the total market value of the property while 1% of the property's market value is charged as registration fee. However, for other states local laws will prevail.

There are Stamp Duty and Registration Charges in Different Cities across India such as in Bangalore the stamp duty charges 2% to 5%, in Delhi 4% to 6%, in Gujarat 4.9%, etc. The fee varies from state to state. Stamp duty charges are determined by certain factors like age of the property, age of the owner, gender of the owner, purpose, location, etc.

Procedure for Payment of Stamp Duty and Registration Charges
Stamp duty charges can be paid in the following ways:
  • Franking
  • Physical stamp paper
  • E-stamping
All states won't have all such methods. In case all such ways are available, you can prefer the method which is suitable for you.

Consequences of Non-Registration of Certain Documents
Section 49 of this act states that:
No document required to be registered under section 17 of this Act shall be valid for creation, operation, declaration, limitation and assignment of any right, title or interest in any immovable property unless it's registered within the specified period of time.

The document shall not confer any power or right to adopt.

The document cannot be received as an evidence of any transaction affecting such property or conferring such power. Therefore, if there's a failure to register the property then there will be no consideration of evidentiary value of such document(s) in court.

Case Laws:
Tek Bahadur Bhujil V. Debi Singh Bhujil
In the case of Tek Bahadur Bhujil V. Debi Singh Bhujil AIR 1966 SC 292, it was held that where a document concerning family arrangement is made in writing with the purpose of using it as a proof then such a document would require mandatory registration as the document would amount to document of title declaring for future the various rights or claims or properties each member of the family would acquire and enjoy.

Hansia V. Bakhtawarmal

In the case of Hansia V. Bakhtawarmal, AIR 1958 Raj 102 the issue that arose in this case was how far a non-registered document that needed mandatory registration under Section 17 of Indian Registration Act can be used in the proceeding. The document in question was a mortgage deed that was not registered. It was observed that a suit for recovery based on an unregistered mortgage deed is bound to fall because the purpose of the mortgage deed is to prove the mortgage. The unregistered mortgage deed can only be used for collateral purposes as per Section 49 of the Registration Act.

Bhoop Singh V. Ram Singh Major

It was decided in this case that if a decree is issued about some immovable property which isn't the subject of the suit, then the decree will be subjected to compulsory registration.

For instance, if a suit is filed in respect of property 'A,' but the decree is in respect of immovable property 'B,' then the decree will require compulsory registration insofar as it relates to immovable property 'B,' as per section 17(2) (vi) of the Registration Act, 1908.

Registration of documents plays a vital role in preventing property disputes. The registration act explains how to register, what documents should be registered, and how to do so. The necessary documents must be properly registered by following the procedure mentioned under the Indian Registration Act otherwise it may become invalid. The act also discusses the consequences for failing to register the required or mandatory documents.

The Act also ensures a good administration system among government departments and the court system, requiring that everything be handled in an orderly manner within a set time range to avoid future misunderstandings.


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