Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: Yashwant Varma, J., held that once a document comes to be duly registered, it becomes a fait accompli.

In the present matter, the petitioner challenged the validity of a show-cause notice issued by the District Magistrate, the second respondent.

The said notice calls upon the petitioner to show cause why sale deeds executed and duly registered be not cancelled on the allegation that the instruments came to be registered by concealment of material facts.

The principal question which falls for determination would be:

 Whether jurisdiction can be recognized to have the jurisdiction or authority to issue the notice impugned?

The allegation of concealment of facts rested upon the competence of M/s G.D Rathi Steels to have conveyed the property in favour of the present petitioners. Petitioners referred to the litigation which ensued between their vendor and DDA and to certain orders passed by the Supreme Court in M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (1996) 4 SCC 351 and more particularly the order of 10 May 1996 passed in I.A. No. 22.

Petitioners submitted that their vendor derived title to the property pursuant to the orders passed in execution proceedings and the order passed therein. The sale deed in favour of the petitioner came to be executed by M/s G.D. Rathi Steels Ltd. and was duly recorded by the sub-registrar concerned and accorded Registration number. It was only after the above-said instrument had been duly registered that the impugned show cause notice came to be issued.

Analysis, Law and Decision

High Court noted that the Registration Act, 1908 conferred no authority or power upon the District Magistrate to initiate proceedings for cancellation of an instrument which had come to be duly registered.

Further, it was significantly noted that the show cause notice impugned here had not even been shown to have been penned by the District Magistrate. The notice was also not expressed to have been issued pursuant to an order made by the District Magistrate or for and on behalf of the competent authority.

The notice was merely endorsed by a Reader stated to be attached to his office.

Bench stated that the respondents miserably failed to establish any jurisdiction or authority vesting in the District Magistrate to seek cancellation of a document that came to be registered in terms of the provisions of Registration Act, 1908.

The provisions of the Registration Act do not contemplate the registering authority delving into questions of the capacity or entitlement of parties to effect a transaction in relation to the subject matter of the instrument. Also, the Act does not empower the registering authority to undertake an enquiry with respect to the legal validity of the contract which may form the subject matter of the instrument presented for registration.

Function of the registering authority is clearly administrative. The said aspect was duly explained by the Supreme Court in the Satya Pal Anand v. State of Madhya Pradesh, (2016) 10 SCC 767.

The above-cited decision clearly answered the questions raised in favour of the petitioner. The said decision also makes it clear that the appellate power conferred by virtue of Section 72 of the Act also cannot be invoked for the purposes of cancelling a document that had come to be registered.

“…once a document comes to be duly registered, it becomes a fait accompli.”

 What can be done, if one wants to cancel the registration of a document?

The only remedy available to an aggrieved person is to institute appropriate proceedings before a competent curt for cancellation or annulment of the instrument. The Bench also expressed that no provision is made in the Act that can be recognized as conferring authority upon the respondents to cancel a registered instrument.

In view of the above discussion, no writ petition was allowed and the impugned show cause notice shall stand quashed. [Gunmala Jain v. GNCT of Delhi, 2021 SCC OnLine Del 5484, decided on 15-12-2021]


Advocates before the Court:

For the Petitioner: Abhinav Kaushik, Advocate

For the Respondents: Santosh Kumar Tripathi, SC (C), GNCTD with Arun Panwar and Vrinda Singh, Advocates.