The Registration Act, unlike the Transfer of Property Act, strikes only at the documents and not at transactions. In the same way, the Act does not require that a transaction affecting immovable property should be carried out by a registered document. All that it enacts is that when a document is employed to effectuate any of the transactions specified in Section 17 of the Act, such documents must be registered. If the transaction has validly effected without a document, there is no foundation for applying the provisions of the Act.
The real purpose of registration is to secure that every person dealing with property, where such dealings require registration, may rely with confidence upon the statements contained in registration as a full and complete account of all transactions.
In some cases the unregistered document is inoperative and inadmissible in evidence of the transaction. Section 49 and 50 of the Registration Act secures that registered document shall take effect against every unregistered document relating to the same property.
In either case, the object of the registration is : to protect against prior transactions or frauds.
It is important to note that the registration can not confer validity upon an intrument which is ultra vires or illegal , or fraudulent. The Law of Registration is intended to prevent and not to aid fraud.
Further , an unregistered document can be confirmed by a subsequent registered document. For example , A executes a deed of conveyancing to B , but did not get it registered. Subsequently , A executed a document to B confirming the first deed, and got registered this document.
The strictest construction should be placed on the prohibitory and penal sanctions of the Registration act which imposes serious disqualification for non-observance of registration. Section 17 being a disabling act, must be construed strictly.
Section 17: It provides for compulsory registration of certain documents.
Section 18: It provides for optional registration of certain documents.
Section 19: If any document for registration is in a language not understood by registering officer and which is not commonly used in the district, he shall refuse to register the document, unless it be accompanied by a true translation into a language commonly used in the district.
Section 20: Documents containing interlineations , blanks , erasures or alterations may be refused to be accepted by the registering officer unless the persons executing the document attest with their signatures such errors.
Time of Presentation
Section 23 : Subject to the provisions contained in Sections 24, 25 , and 26 , no documents other than a Will shall be accepted for registration unless presented for that purpose to the proper officer within four months from the date of its execution.
Section 23-A : It deals with re-registration of certain documents.
The section assumes that where a document is presented for registration by a person not duly empowered to present the same , and the document is accepted and registered, the registration invalid. In such a case the Section 23-A provides that the document may again be presented for registration by any person claiming under it within four months from his first becoming aware that the registration of such document is invalid, and it may be re-registered. This Section was inserted by the Indian Registration Amendment Act 15 of 1917.
Section 24 says about the documents executed by several persons at different times. Section 25 describes the provisions where delay in presentation is unavoidable. Section 26 is relating to documents executed out of India. Section 24, 25 & 26 are exceptions to Section 23.
Further , Section 27 provides that a Will may at any time be presented for registration or deposition.
Place of Registration
Sections 28 – 31 of Indian Registration Act 1908 deals with place for registering documents in the office of a Sub-Registrar, Registrar, etc.
Section 28 provides that the documents mentioned in it , all of which relate to immovable property, shall be presented for registration in the office of the Sub-Registrar within whose sub-district the whole or some portion of the property to which the document relates is situate. In Harendra Lal Roy Vs. Hari Das Debi (1914) Calcutta , Court held that “If no part of the property is situate within the sub-district where it is registered, the registration is void. The burden of proving that the property is situated within the jurisdiction in which a document relating thereto is registered, is on the person relying on such document.”
Section 29 provides for the place of registering other documents. Section 30 provides that in certain case, the Registrar may register the document. Section 31 provides for the registration or acceptance for deposit at private residence if special cause exists.