In absence of express provision under Registration Act, 1908, it is not open to assume that Sub-Registrar would be competent to cancel the registration

Supreme Court: In the matter where the moot question before the Court was that whether the Sub-Registrar (Registration) has authority to cancel the registration of any document including an Extinguishment Deed after it is registered? Similarly, whether the Inspector General (Registration) can cancel the registration of Extinguishment Deed in exercise of powers under Section 69 of the Registration Act, 1908, the Court said that in absence of any express provision regarding cancellation of registration, it is not open to assume that the Sub-Registrar (Registration) would be competent to cancel the registration of the documents in question. Similarly, the power of the Inspector General is limited to do superintendence of registration offices and make rules in that behalf. Even the Inspector General has no power to cancel the registration of any document which has already been registered.

In the present matter that was placed before the 3-Judge Bench of Ranjan Gogoi, P.C. Pant and A.M. Khanwilkar, JJ owing to the difference of opinion between Dipak Misra and V. Gopala Gowda, JJ while deciding the question as to authority of the sub-registrar to register the Extinguishment deed, the Court explained that the fact whether the document was properly presented for registration cannot be reopened by the Registrar after its registration. The power to cancel the registration is a substantive matter. Section 35 of the Act does not confer a quasi-judicial power on the Registering Authority. The Registering Officer is expected to reassure that the document to be registered is accompanied by supporting documents. He is not expected to evaluate the title or irregularity in the document as such. The examination to be done by him is incidental, to ascertain that there is no violation of provisions of the Act of 1908. He cannot decide as to whether a document presented for registration is executed by person having title, as mentioned in the instrument. The validity of such registered document can, indeed, be put in issue before a Court of competent jurisdiction.

Another question that was placed before bench was whether in absence of any specific Rule in the State of Madhya Pradesh with regard to the registration of an Extinguishment Deed, the general principle laid down in the case of Thota Ganga Laxmi v. Government of Andhra Pradesh, (2010)15 SCC 207 would be applicable where it was held that a unilateral cancellation deed cannot be registered with reference to Rule 2(k)(i) of the Rules framed by the State of Andhra Pradesh under Section 69 of the Act of 1908. The Court held that the said judgment was dealing with the express provision as applicable in the State of Andhra Pradesh and the dictum in that decision cannot have universal application to all the States and hence, in absence of such an express provision, in other State legislations, the Registering Officer would be governed by the provisions in the Act of 1908. [Satya Pal Anand v. State of M.P., 2016 SCC OnLine SC 1202, decided on 26.10.2016]

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