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A Compendium To Registration Act, 1908

The Registration of Documents for several purposes in India attributes paramount significance under the Registration Act, 1908.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Registration of the Document is the only means in law or otherwise, via which one can prove his capacity and claim on any property, premises or person, without registration of a document the claim of the individual on any property or otherwise has no value and status in the eyes of law.

The Registration hereby means bringing any document in the records of government in the prescribed manner as enshrined in Registration Act, 1908 by paying the stamp duty to the State, and making the document and your claim a concrete and admissible under law.

It is important for us to understand that, the Registration of Documents is governed by the Registration Department which is run under the State Government, and is having a defined code and procedure for Registration of Documents, each Registry holder have certain rights and duties which are impliedly attached with his action of Registration.

We need to understand here that, the Registration of the Document provides a legal attestation to it and makes it a material and substantive evidence under law, which facilitates the claimant during the course of litigation to prove his claim.

However, there are certain consequences of Non-registration of documents, which will be discussed below under herein.

Types Of Registration

That the basic object and purpose of Registration Act, 1908 is to provide a legal attestation to the documents, make people aware about their rights or liabilities and also to prevent fraud and mis-representation in certain cases.

Now the Act, provides two types of Registration which are as follows:

Mandatory Registration

  • Instruments of Gift Deed of Immovable Property
  • Any non-testamentary instrument creating any right on any immovable property for an amount of value Rs. 100/- or above
  • Lease Document of any property exceeding term of one year
  • Contracts containing Transfer for consideration of any asset u/s. 53 A (Part Performance of Property) of Transfer of Property Act, 1882
  • Authorities to adopt a son not conferred by will executed after 1 January, 1872

Optional Registration

  • Wills, as they can simply be made on simple paper, and even making of will is not mandatory
  • Instruments which purport to create any right in respect of any movable property, on the condition not violating any law in force
  • Instrument which creates liability of any person on any movable property not exceeding Rs. 100/-
  • Lease Deed of Immovable property not exceeding the lease tenure of one year

When To Register

The Registration Act, 1908 provides the condition and time limit for Registration of Documents under Section 17 of the Act.

According to Section 23 of the Act, all documents coming under the purview of mandatorily registrable documents are to presented for Registration before the office of Sub-registrar of the District within four months from the date of execution of such Document.

It is further provided that if due to any emergency situation or urgency, a document cannot be presented before Sub-Registrar within 4 months, but it is presented after the expiry of the said document so, it can be done and the document will be accepted subject to payment to ten times penalty of the total amount involved in the Registration Fees, and the delay of which must not exceed four months.

The Application which is presented to the Sub-registrar will be sent to Registrar for needful action, as the Sub-registrar work in sub-ordination to the Registrar.

Where To Register

According to Section 28 of the Act, for the registration of documents pertaining to immovable properties, it shall be presented for Registration before the office of Sub-registrar in whose sub-district the document was executed or it can be presented at any other office of Sub-Registrar in the state, where all parties mutually agree's to execute the document.

However, there are special provisions for persons who on showing special cause, can get an officer's visit at their personal residence, who will be especially authorized for this purpose, and shall register the document so presented by the individual.

Who Can Apply For Registration?

According to Section 32 of the Act, the following persons are eligible for applying for Registration of Documents, they are:
  1. The person who is executing the document or claiming any property by virtue of some decree or order of the Court
  2. Any agent of a person, duly authorized for executing the document by power of attorney
  3. Any Representative or legal heir of the person or assignee of the person
However, in case of a Will or an authority to adopt, the testator or after his death any executor may present it to the office of Sub-registrar for registration of documents u/s 17 of the Act. The provision is explicitly mentioned under Section 41 and 42 of the Registration Act, 1908.

The individual registering the document has to pay a prescribed fees to the Registrar on presentation of the document as enunciated under Section 80 of the Act, and also the state government will charge a stamp duty on it, which vary from state to state, on the basis of state legislations, however universally it is governed by the statutory provisions of Stamp Act, 1899.

Consequences Of Non-Registration:

The Registration of Documents is mandatory in the matters falling within the ambit of Section 17 of the Act, however there are several consequences for Non-Registration of Documents, which are as follows:
  • Not able to define Rights or Liabilities: If the documents are not registered which are mandatory in nature, then the rights or liabilities of the parties concerned cannot be ascertained or fixed by law, as a non-registered document has no status in the eyes of law, thus this is one major drawback of non-registration of documents.
  • Chances of Fraud or Mis-representation with parties: If the documents are not registered, then there are acute chances of commission of fraud or mis-representation with the innocent parties, as the non-registered document can be made easily by falsifying the facts or fabricating the material information, ultimately causing wrongful losses to the parties by means of deceit, fraud or mis-representation.
  • Evasion of Stamp Duty: The Stamp Act, 1899 provides penalties and liabilities on the wrongdoer. According to Section 62 of the Act, who evades the stamp duty and executes the document registrable by law without being duly stamped shall be liable for fine of Rs. 500/- and prosecution for recovery of evaded amount with the prior permission of District Collector before the appropriate Court.
For trial of this offence, it will be tried in any district or presidency town where such instrument is found or any other district in which it may be tried having compliance to the procedure enunciated under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

Case Laws:
  1. Narendra Singh Rao v. Air Vice Marshal Mahinder Singh Rao, AIR 2013- The plaintiffs contended that their father wrote the will on the piece of paper with single witness transferring the entire properties to his wife i.e. their mother. The mother after death of the father, transferred the property to only one of her nine children. It was held by Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, that the will was improper and not valid in the eyes of law, firstly it was not registered under Registration Act, 1908 and secondly, it was signed only by single witness rather than two, as required by law, which in itself makes it void-ab-initio. This for the purpose of distribution of property, the Rule of Succession will be applied.
  2. Satya Pal Anand v. State of M.P. & Ors., AIR 2014- The plaintiff in the case applied for cancellation of a registered document before Sub-registrar and after that IG Registration, which refused his claim on the ground that they have no power to cancel any document registered under the Act. Thereafter, a writ petition was filed before Hon'ble High Court who said that the ability of the Registering authority is exhausted on the moment it accepts the Registration of Document. Finally, the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, condemning the contention of High Court, said that the Registering Officer as-per Section 72 can refuse for Registration accompanying any just or reasonable cause, but once a document is registered then the registering authority has no right to cancel it's registration.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Yashraj Bais
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