Registration of a document ensures its proper preservation and record. The Registration Act of 1908 is the statute that governs the registration of a document not of a transaction.
In this law note, you’ll study about the document whose registration is compulsory and certain other documents that can be used even without registration.
Documents Whose Registration Is Compulsory
According to section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908, documents whose registration is compulsory are the following:
1. Instruments of the Gift of Immovable Property
In case a donor dies before registration of the gift, the document may be presented for registration after his death, and after registration, it will have the same effect as it would have been registered in his lifetime. The deed of gift becomes effective as on the date of registration.
2. Other Non-Testamentary Instruments (Other Than Instruments of the Gift of Immovable Property)
Non-testamentary document is a document:
- That is intended to be operative immediately,
- Which operate to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish and will provide any right, title, or interest whether in present or future,
- Has a minimum value of one hundred rupees.
3. Non-Testamentary Instruments That Recognise the Receipt or Payment
This clause demands the registration of an acknowledgement in the form of a receipt, but not an acknowledgement of the fact that a transaction has occurred.
- it must be a consideration receipt.
- it must appear to be an acknowledgement of payment or other compensation for the creation, declaration, transfer, limitation, or extinction of an interest in immovable property worth Rs. 100 or more.
For example, the receipt must be linked to the creation of a right. The mere acknowledgement of payment is not required to be recorded.
4. Leases of Immovable Property
The lease which requires registration are mentioned below:-
- if it is yearly.
- if it is for a term exceeding one year.
- if it reserves a yearly rent.
Any other lease apart from these does not require any registration irrespective of its price or value.
5. Decree or Order of Court
A transfer of a court decree or order, or any award, when such decree, order, or award creates, declares, or otherwise affects any interest in immovable property worth Rs. 100 or more must be registered.
Documents of Which Registration Is Optional
Although section 17 of the Registration Act has made registration of certain documents compulsory, section 18 specifies certain documents, registration for which is optional. They are:
- Instruments worth less than one hundred rupees.
- Instruments that acknowledge the receipt or payment of any consideration on account of the creation, declaration, or assignment.
- Leases of immovable property for less than one year and leases exempted under section 17.
- Instruments transferring or assigning a court’s decree or order, or an award, when the decree, order, or award functions to create, declare, or establish something.
- Grant, limit or extinguish any right, title or interest to or in immovable property, whether vested or contingent, of a value less than one hundred rupees, whether now or in the future.
- Instruments (other than wills) that create, declare, assign, limit, or terminate any right, title, or interest in the movable property.
- Other documents not required by section 17 to be registered.
Limitation Period for Registration
A document other than a will must be presented within four months of its execution. In cases of urgent necessity, etc., the period can be extended up to eight months but will be payable (sections 23-26 of the Registration Act). These limits are mandatory. Delay caused by the action of the court will be disregarded (Raj Kumar vs Tarapa, AIR 1987 SC). A copy of a decree or order must be presented within four months, according to the provision of section 23. It begins with the date of the decree.
Documents Executed Outside India
According to section 26 of the Registration Act, if the registering officer is satisfied that the document was executed outside India and that it was presented for registration within four months of its arrival in India, he may accept it for registration upon payment of the proper registration fee. If a document is signed outside of India, it must be registered in India to be valid (Nainsukhdas vs Gowardhandas, AIR 1948 Nag. 110). Section 26 of the Act, by the way, states that it applies to ex-India documentation related to property in India.
Place of Registration
Section 28 of the Registration Act provides that documents affecting immovable property are mentioned under sections 17(1) and (2) and sections 17(1)(a)(b)(c) and (cc)(d) and (e), section 17(2).
Such documents shall be brought for registration within the office of a Sub-Registrar in whose sub-district the whole or some of the relevant property is located.
Even any additional documentation may be presented for registration in the office of the Sub-Registrar in whose sub-district the document was executed or in the office of any other Sub-Registrar under the State Government.
Registration in Certain Cities
In any city comprising a presidency town (Bombay, Madras, Calcutta) or in Delhi, a document relating to property situated anywhere in India may be registered (section 30 of the Registration Act). Delhi was added by Amendment Act 45 of 1969. Section 31 allows for registration at the executors’ domicile if it is necessary due to extraordinary circumstances.
Effects of Non-Registration of Required Documents
Section 49 of the Registration Act states that no document is required to be registered by section 17 of the Registration Act or any provision of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 shall:
- Have an impact on any immovable property; or
- Provide any authority to adopt; or
- Until it has been registered, be accepted as evidence of any transaction affecting such property or providing such power.
A document that is required to be registered cannot be received in evidence as affecting immovable property under section 49 of the Registration Act. Unregistered documents that fall under section 17 of the Registration Act cannot be utilised in any legal procedure to imply the impact that they would have if they were registered.
However, such documents can be evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance or as evidence of the part performance of a contract for section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 or as proof of any unregistered collateral transaction.