ASSET RECONSTRUCTION COMPANY (INDIA) LIMITED VS S.P. VELAYUTHAM & ORS.

ASSET RECONSTRUCTION COMPANY (INDIA) LIMITED VS S.P. VELAYUTHAM & ORS. - Supreme Court Case Decision / Judgment 2022

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले


REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS.2752­2753 OF 2022
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition(C) NOS.19662­19663 OF 2021)
ASSET RECONSTRUCTION COMPANY
(INDIA) LIMITED       …APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
S.P. VELAYUTHAM & ORS.               ...RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
V. Ramasubramanian, J.
1. Asset   Reconstruction   Company   (India)   Limited,   to   whom   the
Indian   Bank  assigned  the   loans   and   the   underlying  security   of  a
particular borrower, has come up with the above appeals challenging
the judgment of the Division Bench of the High Court of Judicature at
Madras,   reversing   the   judgment   of   a   learned   Single   Judge   of   the
Court, by which the learned Single Judge held the registration of a
sale­deed by the Registering Authority to be null and void.
2. We have heard Mr. Guru Krishna Kumar and Mr. Nakul Devan,
learned   senior   counsel   for   the   appellant,   and   Mr.   Shyam   Divan,
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Mr.   Atul   Nanda   and   Mr.   Mukul   Rohatgi,   learned   senior   counsel
appearing for the contesting respondents.
3. The brief facts necessary for the disposal of the appeals can be
summarised as follows:­
(i) In   the   year   1992,   the   Indian   Bank   sanctioned   financial
facilities to M.V.R. Group of Industries. According to the Indian Bank,
the borrower offered the immovable property covered by the document
now in dispute, as collateral security and a mortgage by deposit of title
deeds is said to have been created way back in the year 1995­96;
(ii) Alleging that the borrower defaulted in repayment of the
loan,   Indian   Bank   filed   an   application   before   the   Debts   Recovery
Tribunal in the year 1996 under Section 19 of the Recovery of Debts
Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993;
(iii) However, after the advent of the Securitisation Act, 2002,
the Bank issued a demand notice dated 15.12.2004 under Section
13(2) of the Securitisation Act. It was followed by a possession notice
dated 30.03.2005 under Section 13(4);
(iv) Thereafter, the respondent nos. 4 and 5 herein executed a
deed of Power of Attorney (‘PoA’ for short) on 23.08.2006 in favour of
Mr. S.P. Velayutham, the 1st respondent in one of these appeals and
the 6th respondent in the other appeal. This deed of Power of Attorney
contained   an   express   prohibition   for   the   agent   to   encumber   the
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properties. This deed of PoA was registered in the Office of the SubRegistrar, Alandur;
(v) By another deed of PoA dated 07.06.2007, the power of sale
is said to have been conferred upon the agent, but this deed of power
was un­registered;
(vi) On the basis of the original registered deed of PoA dated
23.08.2006 which did not confer a power of sale, Mr. S.P. Velayutham
sold the property to his son Amar (the 6th respondent in one of these
appeals and the 1st respondent in the other appeal) under a deed of
sale dated 05.07.2007;
(vii) In   the   meantime,   Indian   Bank   which   already   initiated
proceedings under the Securitisation Act, assigned the debt and the
collateral security in favour of the appellant herein, which is an asset
reconstruction   company.   On   the   basis   of   such   assignment,   the
appellant issued a sale notice dated 05.08.2008;
(viii) However, Mr. Amar, executed a deed of settlement dated
13.10.2008 in favour of his father Mr. S.P. Velayutham, from whom he
had purchased the property;
(ix) While   so,   during   the   period   2009­2015,   some
encroachments took place which led to the initiation of proceedings
under Section 145 Cr.P.C. The original borrowers also filed civil suits
and the appellant got themselves impleaded in those suits;
(x) Eventually, the appellant filed a writ petition in W.P.No.
33462 of 2014 seeking a declaration that the act of the Sub­Registrar
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in registering the sale deed executed by S.P. Velayutham in favour of
his son Amar, was null and void. The said writ petition was allowed by
a learned Judge on the ground that there was utter failure on the part
of the Registering Authority to follow the mandate of law as prescribed
in   Sections   32   to   35   of   the   Registration   Act,   1908   and   that   the
Registrar failed to verify the deed of PoA dated 23.08.2006, before
allowing registration of the sale deed executed on the basis of the said
power;
(xi) However,  two  intra­court  appeals  filed by  the  father­son
duo, were allowed by the Division Bench primarily on the ground,
(1) that the appellant ought to have taken recourse to a civil suit; and
(2)  that the appellant is guilty of violating the order passed by this
Court in the proceedings arising out of the order of the Sub­Divisional
Magistrate under Section 145 of the Cr.P.C., directing the parties to
approach the civil court. Aggrieved by this order of the Division Bench,
the appellant has come up with the above appeals.
4. Assailing the impugned order of the Division Bench of the High
Court, it is contended by the learned senior counsel for the appellants,
(i)  that   the   High   Court   failed   completely   to   appreciate   that   the
Registration   Act,   1908,   enjoins   upon   the   Registering   Authority   to
verify  “the person executing”  the document sought to be registered;
(ii)  that in cases where the statutory authorities fail to perform the
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duties enjoined upon them, under specific provisions of the statute,
the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution
does not stand ousted; (iii) that what was challenged before the High
Court in a petition under Article 226 was not the acts of individuals,
but the acts of omission and commission on the part of the Registering
Authority   and   hence   the   writ   petition   cannot   be   said   to   be   not
maintainable; and (iv) that by an over­simplified process of reasoning,
the Division Bench of the High Court threw the appellant out of the
Court   and   also   added   insult   to   injury by   commenting   upon   the
conduct of the appellant and imposing costs.
5. Supporting the impugned order, it is contended by Mr. Shyam
Divan,   learned   senior   counsel   appearing   for   Mr.   S.P.   Velayutham
(respondent no.6 in one of these appeals and respondent no.1 in the
other appeal), (i) that when admittedly title suits are pending and the
very appellant herein has got themselves impleaded therein, it was not
open to the appellant to resort to a short­cut method of invoking the
jurisdiction   of   the   writ   court;  (ii)  that   when   there   are   seriously
disputed questions of fact, with the contesting respondents (father and
son)   tracing   their   title   to   an   un­broken,   un­impeachable   chain   of
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registered documents dating back to 1929, the appellant could not
have invoked the writ jurisdiction of the High Court, after having got
an assignment deed from the Indian Bank just a few years ago in
2007; (iii)  that the very right of the Indian Bank to claim the creation
of a mortgage in their favour, has come under cloud after the officials
of the Indian Bank and the borrowers got convicted by the Special
Court for the CBI cases in Calendar Case No. 36 of 1998 for various
offences punishable under Section 120B read with Sections 420, 467,
471 etc., and Section 13(2) read with Section 13(1)(c) and 13(1)(d) of
the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988;  (iv)  that the attempt of the
appellant to invoke the writ jurisdiction of the High Court was in the
teeth of the judgment of this Court in SLP(Crl.)No.838 of 2015 dated
27.02.2015, which arose out of proceedings under Section 145 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; (v) that despite this Court affirming
the judgment of the High Court relegating the appellant to a civil
court, the appellant took a chance by invoking the writ jurisdiction of
the High Court suppressing material facts; and (vi) that the appellant,
whose very locus to stake a claim on the properties is disputed, was
rightly non suited by the High Court.
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6. Mr. Atul Nanda, learned senior counsel appearing for one of the
parties, while adopting the contentions of Mr. Shyam Divan, added
that when the Special Court for CBI cases has found the very creation
of the mortgage in favour of Indian Bank to be a product of fraud and
forgery, an institution claiming to be the assignee of the mortgagee
could   not   have   invoked   the   writ   jurisdiction   of   the   High   Court,
especially after having got impleaded in the civil suits.
7. Mr. Mukul Rohatgi, learned senior counsel appearing for one of
the   contesting   respondents   invited   our   attention   to   the   statutory
provisions and the decision of this Court in  Rajni Tandon  vs. Dulal
Ranjan   Ghosh   Dastidar   &   Anr1
,  and   contended   that   the
requirement of authentication of PoA by the Registrar under Section
33(1), was mandatory only in cases where the person executing the
document is different from the person presenting it for registration
and that wherever the agent himself has signed the deed which is
presented for registration, he becomes the executant of the document,
leaving no role for the Registrar to probe.
8. We have carefully considered the above submissions.
1 (2009) 14 SCC 782
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9. The limited question that arises for our consideration is as to
whether the invocation of the writ jurisdiction of the High Court by the
appellant was right, especially when civil suits at the instance of third
parties are pending and when the appellant had already been directed
by this Court, in proceedings arising under section 145 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure, to move the civil court?  
10. To   enable   (or   disable?)   us   to   find   an   answer   to   the   above
question, the learned counsel on both sides took us through some
provisions of the Registration Act, 1908 and a few decisions of this
Court. We shall now take a look at them. 
11. There is and there can be no dispute about the fact that while
the Registering Officer under the Registration Act, 1908, may not be
competent to examine whether the executant of a document has any
right, title or interest over the property which is the subject matter of
the   document   presented   for   registration,   he   is   obliged   to   strictly
comply with the mandate of law contained in the various provisions of
the Act. Therefore let us take a look at the scheme of the Act.
12. The   Registration   Act,   1908   is   divided   into   XV   parts.   Part   III
comprising   of   Sections   17   to   22   contains   provisions   relating   to
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registerable   documents;   Part­IV   of   the   Act   contains   prescriptions
regarding the time of presentation of documents for registration; PartV   contains   provisions   prescribing   and   regulating   the   place   of
registration   of   documents;   Part­VI   contains   provisions   relating   to
presentation   of   documents   for   registration   and   the   procedure   on
admission and denial of execution; Part­VII contains provisions for
enforcing appearance of executants and witnesses; Part­XI contains
provisions relating to the duties and powers of Registering Officers and
Part­XII contains provisions relating to refusal to register and the
remedies available against such refusal.
13. Before we look at the relevant provisions of the Registration Act,
1908,   it   is   necessary   to   note   that  “Registration   of   deeds   and
documents”  falls   in   Entry   6   of   List   III   (Concurrent   List)   of   the
SEVENTH SCHEDULE of the Constitution. Therefore, the Registration
Act, 1908, which is a Central Act, can be seen as something which
provides only a template upon which the States are entitled to make
amendments.   This   is   why   amendments   by   States   galore   in   the
Registration Act, 1908. Therefore, any interpretation of the provisions
of the Act, should be in consonance with the scheme of the Act as
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applicable   to   the   State   involved   in   the   litigation.   For   instance,
registration of certain documents may be optional in some States but
mandatory in some other States. Therefore, the interpretation made by
this Court, of a provision as amended in its application to a particular
State, cannot be applied blindly while interpreting the same provision
as applicable to another State. Keeping this aspect in mind, let us now
peep into the statutory provisions.
14. Section   32   of   the   Act   mandates   that   every   document   to   be
registered under the Act, irrespective of whether such a registration is
compulsory or optional, shall be presented by any of the persons
mentioned therein. Section 32 reads as follows:­
“32. Persons to present documents for registration.—Except
in   the   cases   mentioned   in   sections   31,   88   and   89,   every
document,   to   be   registered   under   this   Act,   whether   such
registration be compulsory or optional, shall be presented at the
proper registration­office,—
(a) by some person executing or claiming under the
same, or, in the case of a copy of a decree or
order, claiming under the decree or order, or
(b) by the representative or assign of such a person,
or
(c) by the agent of such a person, representative or
assign,   duly   authorised   by   power­of­attorney
executed  and   authenticated   in   manner
hereinafter mentioned.”
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15. The   words   “such   person”   appearing   in   clauses   (b)   and   (c) of
Section 32, correlate to the words “person executing or claiming under
the same”, appearing in clause (a) of Section 32. In other words,
clause (a) covers both the executant as well as the claimant of the
document. Therefore, clauses (b) and (c) cover several persons who
may represent the executant or the claimant. Since the controversy in
several   decisions   of   this  Court   has  revolved  around   clause  (c)   of
Section 32, it would be useful, for the purpose of easy appreciation, to
break clause (c) into its several components as follows:­
(i) by the agent of the person executing the document;
(ii) by the agent of the person claiming under the document;
(iii) by the agent of the representative of the person executing
the document;
(iv) by the agent of the representative of the person claiming
under the document;
(v) by   the   agent   of   the   assign   of   the   person   executing   the
document;
(vi) by the agent of the assign claiming under the document.
It must be noted that the word “agent” appearing in clause (c) of
section 32 goes not only with the words “such a person”, but also
with the words “representative” and “assign”. This is for the reason
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that ‘representative’ and ‘assign’ are independently covered by clause
(b) and hence if these words do not go with the word ‘agent’ then their
appearance in clause (c) would be redundant. 
16. By virtue of the 2nd part of clause (c) of Section 32, it is necessary
that if a document for registration is presented by any of the aforementioned   six   categories   of   persons,   he   should   have   been   “duly
authorized   by   a   PoA   executed   and   authenticated   in   the   manner
mentioned in the other provisions of the Act”. In other words, in cases
where a document is presented for registration by the agent, (i) of the
executant; or  (ii)  of the claimant; or  (iii)  of the representative or
assign of the executant or claimant, the same cannot be accepted for
registration unless the agent is duly authorized by a PoA executed
and authenticated in the manner provided in the Act.
17. Section 33 contains prescriptions regarding the types of PoA,
which  alone   shall  be  recognized,  for  the   purposes   of  Section   32.
Section 33 reads as follows:­
33.  Power­of­attorney  recognizable  for  purposes  of  section
32.—(l) For the purposes of section 32, the following powers­ofattorney shall alone be recognized, namely:—
(a) if  the  principal at  the  time of  executing the  
power­of­attorney resides in any part of India  
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in  which this Act is for the time being in  
force, a power­of­attorney executed before  and  
authenticated   by   the   Registrar   or   SubRegistrar  within   whose   district   or   subdistrict the  principal resides;
(b) if the principal at the time aforesaid resides in 
any part of India in which this Act is not in  
force, a power­of­attorney executed before  and  
authenticated by any Magistrate;
(c) if the principal at the time aforesaid does not  
reside   in India,   a   power­of­attorney   executed  
before and authenticated by a Notary Public,  
or   any   Court,   Judge,   Magistrate, Indian  
Consul or  Vice­Consul,   or   representative   of  
the Central  Government: 
Provided that the following persons shall not be required to
attend at any registration­office or Court for the purpose of
executing   any   such   power­of­attorney   as   is   mentioned   in
clauses (a) and (b) of this section, namely:—
(i) persons who by reason of bodily infirmity are
unable without risk or serious inconvenience so
to  attend;
(ii) persons who are in jail under civil or criminal
process; and
(iii) persons   exempt     by    law    from  personal
appearance in Court.
(2) In   the   case   of   every   such   person   the   Registrar   or   SubRegistrar or Magistrate, as the case may be, if satisfied that the
power­of­attorney has been voluntarily executed by the person
purporting to be the principal, may attest the same without
requiring   his   personal   attendance   at   the   office   or   Court
aforesaid.
(3) To   obtain   evidence   as   to   the   voluntary   nature   of   the
execution,  the  Registrar or Sub­Registrar  or Magistrate  may
either himself go to the house of the person purporting to be the
principal, or to the jail in which he is confined, and examine
him, or issue a commission for his examination.
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(4) Any   power­of­attorney   mentioned   in   this   section   may   be
proved by the production of it without further proof when it
purports on the face of it to have been executed before and
authenticated by the person or Court hereinbefore mentioned in
that behalf.”
18. A   careful   look   at   Sections   32   and   33   will   show   that   while
speaking   about   PoA,  these   provisions   do   not   use   the   word
“registration”. While Section 32(c) uses the words “executed and
authenticated”,   Section   33(1)   uses   the   words   “recognised”   and
“authenticated”. Therefore it is clear that the word “authenticated”
is   not   to   be   understood   to   be   the   same   as   “registered”. The
reason   why   we   say   so   is   that   Section   33(1)   speaks   only   about
authentication and not registration and clauses (a), (b) and (c) of
Section 33(1) provides the list of persons competent to authenticate a
PoA. Persons who are empowered by clauses (a), (b) and (c) of subsection (1) of Section 33 to authenticate a PoA are as follows:­
(i) The Registrar or the Sub­Registrar within whose district or
sub­district the principal resides, if such principal resides, at the time
of execution of the PoA, in any part of India to which this Act applies;
(ii)   Any Magistrate, if the principal resides in any part of India
where this Act is not in force;
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(iii) A   Notary   Public,   any   Court,   Judge,   Magistrate,   Indian
Consul, Vice Consul or Representative of the Central Government, if
the principal does not reside in India.
19. It may be seen from the list of persons indicated above, that not
all of them are Registrars and Sub­Registrars appointed in terms of
Section 6 of the Registration Act, 1908. Under the Act, the power of
registration   is   conferred   only   upon   the   Registrars   and   SubRegistrars   appointed   under   the   Act.   But   clauses   (b)   &   (c)   of
Section  33(1)   speaks  about  persons  other  than  Registrars  and
Sub­Registrars. This is why, Section 32(c) as well as Section 33
use   only   the   expression   “authenticated”   and   not   the   word
“registered”. But unfortunately several Courts have mixed­up these
two words, resulting in applying the test in terms of Sections 17 and
18 for determining the validity of a PoA.
20. In fact the distinction between “authentication” and “registration”
is spelt out very clearly in the Tamilnadu Registration Rules. It may be
noted here that section 69(1) of the Registration Act, 1908, empowers
the   Inspector   General   of   Registration  (i)  to   exercise   general
superintendence   over   all   the   registration   offices   in   the   territories
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under the State Government; and  (ii)  to make rules consistent with
the Act, in respect of matters provided in clauses (a) to (j) therein.
These rules, by virtue of sub­section (2) of section 69, are required to
be   submitted   to   the   State   Government   for   approval   and   to   be
published in the official gazette after such approval.  The   rules   so
made in terms of section 69, in the State of Tamil Nadu, provide
clarity   on   the   distinction   between   authentication   and
registration.
21. Rules 48 and 49 of the Tamilnadu Registration Rules read as
follows:
48. A  power  of  attorney  may  be  brought  to  a  registering
officer (1) for authentication, or (2) for registration, or (3)
for both authentication and registration. In the first case, he
shall merely make the entry prescribed for authentication; in the
second case, he shall register the power in the same manner as
any   other   document;   and   in   the   third   case,   he   shall   first
authenticate the power and then admit it to registration in the
usual manner. 
49. Although a power of attorney may be registered like any
other instrument, it is not valid for registration purposes unless
authenticated.  When  a   power   of  attorney   is   brought   to  a
registering  officer  by  a  person  who  does  not  understand
the  distinction   between  authentication   and   registration,
the registering officer should explain the difference to him
and give him such information as may be necessary.  
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22. After pointing out the distinction between authentication and
registration of a PoA, Rule 52 indicates the duty to be performed by
the Registering Officer, at 2 points of time, namely (i) at the time of
authentication; and (ii) when the power is revoked. Rule 52 reads as
follows:
52. (i) An abstract in the form printed in Appendix III shall be
retained   of   each   power   of   attorney   authenticated   by   a
registering   officer  whether  such   power   is   general   or   special,
registered or not registered. The abstract shall be signed by the
registering officer; and shall be filed in a separate file with a
serial number along with other powers retained under rule 46.
The notes of interlineations, blanks, erasures and alterations
made by the registering officer on the original power shall be
copied verbatim in the abstract. 
(i) (a) Each registration office shall maintain a register of all
revocations of powers of attorney registered in, or communicated
to it. 
(b) When notice of a revocation is given to a registering officer, he
shall send an intimation of the same to such other offices as
may be specified by the person revoking the power.
23. In   fact,   there   is   a   separate   chapter   in   Chapter   X   of   the
Registration Rules of Tamilnadu, devoted to deeds of PoA. Rules 48,
49 and 52 which we have extracted above, are part of the said chapter.
Rule 46 spells out the procedure to be followed by the Registering
Officer when a document is presented for registration under a general
PoA and the procedure to be followed when the document is presented
under a Special PoA. It reads as follows:
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46.   (i)  If   a   document   is   presented   for   registration   under
special   power   of   attorney,   the   power   shall   be   retained  an
filed   in   the   office  with   the   following   endorsement
……………………. No…………….. of 19 ……….. 
Presented in connection with document No……………. of
19……….. of Book………., Vol……….. 
Date:  Signature of Registering Officer.
(ii) If a document is presented for registration under general power
of   attorney,   the   power   shall   be   returned   with   the   following
endorsement: 
Presented in connection with document No……………. of
19……….. of Book………., Vol……….. 
Date:  Signature of Registering Officer.
  (iii)  When   a   document   is   presented   for   registration   by   a
person entitled to present it and execution is admitted by an
agent   under   a   power   of   attorney,  the   following  endorsement
shall be made on the power, which shall be retained and filed, or
returned, according as it is a special or a general power 
*No…………….   of   19……   Presented   in   connection   with
document   No…………….   of   19………..   of   Book……….,
Vol……….. 
Date:  Signature of Registering Officer.
24. Having   seen  (i)  the   distinction   between   authentication   and
registration of a PoA;  (ii)  the obligation imposed by the Act and the
Rules,   upon   the   Registering   Officer   while   authenticating   and/or
registering   a   PoA;  (iii)  the   necessity   for   the   Registering   Officer   to
maintain a track of revocation of deeds of PoA; and (iv) the different
requirements of Rule 46, relating to a document presented under a
18
general PoA and a document presented under a special PoA, let us
now turn to the other provisions. 
25. Section 34 of the Act contains provisions regarding the enquiry to
be undertaken by the Registering Officer before registration. Section
34,   in   its   application   in   the   State   of   Tamilnadu,   as   amended   by
Tamilnadu Amendment Act 28 of 2000, reads as follows:­
34.   Enquiry   before   registration   by   registering   officer.—(l)
Subject to the provisions contained in this Part and in sections
41,   43,   45,   69,   75,   77,   88   and   89,   no   document   shall   be
registered under this Act, unless the persons executing such
document (and in the case of document for sale of property, the
persons claiming under that document)
2
, or their representatives,
assigns or agents authorized as aforesaid, appear before the
registering   officer   within   the   time   allowed   for   presentation
under sections 23, 24, 25 and 26: 
Provided that, if owing to urgent necessity or unavoidable
accident all such persons do not so appear, the Registrar, in
cases   where   the   delay   in   appearing   does   not   exceed   four
months, may direct that on payment of a fine not exceeding ten
times the amount of the proper registration fee, in addition to
the fine, if any, payable under section 25, the document may be
registered.
(2) Appearances under sub­section (1) may be simultaneous or
at different times.
(3) The registering officer shall thereupon—
(a) enquire   whether   or   not   such   document   was  
executed by the persons by whom it purports to  have  
been executed;
2 Vide Tamil Nadu Act 28 of 2000, sec.3
19
(b) satisfy   himself   as   to   the   identity   of   the   persons  
appearing   before   him   and   alleging   that   they   have  
executed the document (or they are claiming under  
the document)
3
; and
(c) in   the   case   of   any   person   appearing   as   a  
representative,   assign   or   agent,   satisfy   himself   of  
the right of such person so to appear.
(4) Any application for a direction under the proviso to subsection   (1)   may   be   lodged   with   a   Sub­Registrar,   who   shall
forthwith forward it to the Registrar to whom he is subordinate.
(5) Nothing in this section applies to copies of decrees or orders.
26. Sub­section (3) of Section 34 imposes three obligations upon the
Registering Officer. These obligations are:­
(i) To enquire whether or not such document was executed by
the person by whom it is claimed to have been executed;
(ii) To satisfy himself as to the identity of the person appearing
before him and claiming to have executed the document;
(iii) To satisfy himself about the right of any person appearing as
a representative, assign or agent, to so appear;
27. We  may   note   that   Sections   32(c),   34(1)   and  34(3)(c)   use   the
expressions ‘agent’, ‘representative’  and  ‘assign’. Though in common
parlance, we understand the power of attorney agent of a person to be
the   representative   of   the   principal,   the   words   “agent”   and
“representative”   are   used   in   Sections   32(c)   and   34(3)(c)   to   mean
3 Vide Tamil Nadu Act 28 of 2000, sec.3
20
different persons. The word “representative” is defined in Section 2(10)
of the Registration Act “to include the guardian of a minor and the
committee or other legal curator of a lunatic or idiot”. The words “agent”
and “assign” are not defined in the Act. Therefore, we may justifiably
borrow the definition of the expression “agent” from Section 182 of the
Indian Contract Act, 1872, which defines an “agent” “to mean a person
employed to do any act for another or to represent another in dealings
with third person”.
28. Keeping the above definitions in mind, if we go back to Section
32(c) it could be seen that whenever the agent of,  (i)  the executant;
(ii)  the claimant;  (iii)  a representative; or  (iv)  an assign, presents a
document for registration,
(1)  he should have been authorised by PoA and 
(2) such PoA should have been executed and authenticated in
the manner provided in clauses (a), (b) or (c) of sub­section (1) of
Section 33. The requirement of registration depends upon the
State amendments.
29. What is covered by Section 32 (c) read with Section 33(1) is
something   different   from   what   is   covered   by   Section   34(3).   While
Section 32(c) read with Section 33(1) speaks about the entitlement of
the   person   to   present   a   document   for   registration,   Section   34(3)
21
speaks about the enquiry to be conducted and the satisfaction to be
arrived   at   by   the   Registering   Officer.   Section   34(3)(c)   imposes   an
obligation on the Registering Officer to satisfy himself about the right
of   a   person   appearing   as   a   representative,   assign   or   agent.   This
prescription has to be read with rule 46 of the Tamilnadu Rules.
30. Before we complete our discussion on the statutory scheme, it is
necessary to take note of few more provisions, applicable in the State
of Tamilnadu, which are of relevance. By Tamilnadu Act No.29 of
2012, Section 17(1) of the Registration Act, 1908 was amended so as
to insert clauses (f), (g), (h) and (i). Clause (h) so inserted, reads as
follows:­
“Instruments   of   power   of   attorney   relating   to   immovable
property other than those executed outside India”
31. Simultaneously, Section 28 was also amended by the State of
Tamilnadu   to   incorporate   a   proviso   to   the   effect   that   a   document
mentioned in Section 17(1)(h) may also be presented for registration in
the office of the Sub­Registrar within whose jurisdiction the principal
ordinarily resides.
32. By the very same Tamilnadu Amendment Act 29 of 2012, two
more provisions were also inserted in the Registration Act, 1908. One
22
was Section 34­B and another was Section 64A.  Section 34B reads as
follows:­
"34­B. Procedure for Registration of document of Power of
Attorney   relating   to   immovable   property.­Subject   to   the
provisions of this Act, no document of Power of Attorney relating
to immovable property shall be registered unless passport size
photographs and finger prints of the principal, the agent and of
the identifying witnesses are affixed to the document and the
agent has also signed such document.".
Section 64­A reads as follows:­
“64­A.  Procedure   where   instrument   of   Power   of   Attorney
presented   in  office  of  Sub­Registrar   relates   to   immovable
property not situate in sub­district. ­ Every Sub­Registrar on
registering   an   instrument   of   Power   of   Attorney   including
instrument   of   revocation   or   cancellation   of   such   Power   of
Attorney relating to immovable property not situate in his own
sub­district, shall make a copy and send the same together with
a copy of the map or plan (if any) mentioned in section 21, to
every other Sub­Registrar in whose sub­district the whole or
any part of such property is situate and such Sub­Registrar
shall file the same in his Book No.1:
Provided   that   where   such   instrument   relates   to   immovable
property in several districts, shall forward the same to the SubRegistrars concerned, under intimation to the Registrar of every
district in which any part of such property is situate."   
33. At this stage we should record that the dispute on hand relates
to a document executed and registered much before the Tamilnadu
Amendment Act 29 of 2012. But still we have taken note of it, not for
the purpose of applying it to this case, but for the purpose of flagging
certain concerns. Now that we have noticed various provisions of the
23
Act,   let   us   see   some   factual   aspects   and   then   deal   with   the
contentions on both sides. 
34. In the case on hand, the sale deed dated 05.07.2007 executed by
the father S.P. Velayutham, in favour of his son Amar, contained a
specific   recital   to   the   effect   that   the   owners   of   the   property   had
appointed S.P. Velayutham, as their Power of Attorney, by a deed
dated 23.08.2006 to sell the property. But far from authorising the
power agent to sell the property, clause 7 of the registered deed of PoA
dated 23.08.2006, on the basis of which the sale deed was executed,
actually   contained   an   express   prohibition   from   creating   any
encumbrance on the property. Clause 7 of the registered PoA dated
23.08.2006 reads as follows :­
“(7) To negotiate with any third party/s claimant/s including
broker/s   take   the   Banks   and   other   financial   institutions
claimant/s if any in the schedule mentioned properties and to
settle   such   claims   and   on,   this   behalf   our   attorney   is
empowered to do all acts, deeds and things. To enter upon the
schedule mentioned properties for the survey of, the same. The
power agent herein appointed shall have no power to encumber
the schedule mentioned properties for the survey of the same.
The  power  agent herein  appointed shall  have  no  power  to
encumber  the   schedule  mentioned  properties  without   the
written consent of us.”
35. Apart   from   the   fact   that   clause   7   extracted   above   expressly
prohibited   the   power   to   encumber,   there   was   also   no   stipulation
24
authorising S.P. Velayutham to appear before any Registering Officer
for the purpose of sale, as an agent. Though clause 5 authorised the
agent to appear before the Registrar and to admit execution, the same
was specifically in relation to the execution of gift deeds in favour of
municipalities, corporations or other authorities, for the purpose of
development   of   the   layout,   formation   of   the   roads   etc.   Similarly,
clause 6 of the deed of PoA also contained a limited power to appear
before the Sub­Registrar, but the same was also restricted to certain
things mentioned in clause 6 itself.
36. Interestingly, the contesting respondents relied upon another unregistered deed of PoA dated 07.06.2007, which contained a power to
sell. Despite this document being dated 07.06.2007 and despite the
date of execution of the sale deed being 05.07.2007, there was no
reference to this PoA in the sale deed. This deed of PoA has surfaced
much later and the fraudulent nature of this deed of PoA is patently
visible,   in   view   of   certain   recitals   contained   therein.   The   relevant
recitals contained in the un­registered PoA dated 07.06.2007 reads as
follows:­
“…AND WHEREAS, under the said General Power of Attorney
Deed though we have intended to confer power including to
25
sell  the Schedule mentioned properties under clauses of the
said General Power of Attorney Deed,  by   inadvertence   and
over   sight   the   said   clause   relating   to   power   to   sell   the
schedule  mentioned  properties  was  omitted  to be included
therein;
AND WHEREAS, now our Agent Mr. S.P. Velayutham has found
the said mistake and requested for execution of additional and
supplemental General Power of Attorney Deed 'empowering him
to sell the schedule mentioned properties' and to receive the
sale   consideration   therefor.   In   continuation   of   the   earlier
General Power of Attorney Deed dated 23.08.2006 referred to
above;:
AND WHEREAS, we as the Principals under the General Power
of   Attorney   Deed   dated   23.08.2006   are   satisfied   with,   the
mistake   pointed   out   by   our  Agent   and   'accordingly   we  also
agreed' to execute this General Power of Attorney Deed and as
such we are appointing Mr. S.P. Velayutham, son of Sabapathy,
Hindu; aged about 50 years, residing at No. 5, Sabarj, Street,
Madlpakkam,   Chennai­600091   as   out   General   Power   of
Attorney to do the following acts; deeds and things relating to
the properties detailed in the Schedule hereunder…”
The above recitals contain a totally false statement to the effect, (i) that
a power of sale was intended to be conferred under the original PoA,
but it was omitted due to inadvertence and oversight; and  (ii)  that
after the mistake was pointed out, the Principals decided to execute
the additional document. These recitals are manifestly false and are
contrary to clause 7 of the registered PoA dated 23.08.2006. In any
case, this PoA dated 07.06.2007 was not what was produced or relied
upon at the time of registration of the sale deed dated 05.07.2007.
26
37. Therefore,   if   the   Registering   Officer   had   verified   the   recitals
contained in the registered deed of PoA dated 23.08.2006, to see if the
power agent had the power to do what he did, he would have refused
the   registration   of   the   document.   Rule   46   of   the   Tamilnadu
Registration Rules ordains what the Registering Officer is obliged to
do, (i) when a document is presented for registration under a special
PoA; and  (ii) when a document is presented for registration under a
general PoA. It was the failure on the part of the Registering Officer to
do what he is required to do, that convinced the learned Single Judge
to invoke the writ jurisdiction. But the Division Bench overturned the
decision of the learned Judge on the ground that the writ court ought
to have relegated the parties to the civil court.
38. Two  main  contentions  are  raised on behalf  of the contesting
respondents, namely  (i)  the restraint that is expected of the High
Court,   in   a   writ   petition   arising   under   Article   226,   in   respect   of
matters   which   require   detailed   factual   investigation;   and  (ii)  the
limited   scope   of   the   enquiry   that   could   be   conducted   by   the
Registering Authority under Sections 32 to 34 of the Registration Act,
1908.
27
39. In   support   of   the   1st  contention,   the   learned   senior   counsel
appearing for the respondents relied upon the following decisions, (i)
Thansingh Nathmal vs. Superintendent of Taxes4
, (ii) Sarvepalli
Ramaiah  vs.  District Collector5
; (iii) Latif Estate Line India Ltd.
vs.  Hadeeja Ammal6
.
40. Out of the aforesaid decisions, the decision in Thansingh (supra)
arose out of the orders of assessment passed under the Assam Sales
Tax   Act,   1947.   The   order   passed   by   the   original   authority   was
challenged   before   the   appellate   authority   and   then   the   revisional
authority and thereafter in a writ petition under Article 226. It was in
such circumstances that this Court held that the High Court had no
power to decide questions of fact which are exclusively within the
competence   of   the   taxing   authorities.   Similarly,   the   decision   in
Sarvepalli Ramaiah (supra), arose out of proceedings for the grant of
Ryotwari   Patta.  The   dispute   travelled   to   the   High   Court   after   an
elaborate enquiry by the District Collector. It was in that context that
4 (1964) 6 SCR 654
5 (2019) 4 SCC 500
6 2011 (2) CTC 1
28
this Court examined the scope of the power of judicial review under
Article 226.
41. The   Full   Bench   decision   of   the   Madras   High   Court   in  Latif
Estate   Line   India   Ltd. (supra), arose out  of a controversy as to
whether a deed of cancellation of sale can or cannot be accepted for
registration. The Full Bench explained the circumstances under which
a   deed   of   cancellation,   presented   by   both   the   vendor   and   the
purchaser, can be accepted. But the Full Bench categorically held that
a   deed   of   unilateral   cancellation   cannot   even   be   accepted   for
registration.   This   proposition   actually   goes   in   support   of   the
contention of the appellant that the Registering Officer has a duty to
see   whether   the   document   presented   for   registration   has   been
presented in accordance with law or not. In fact the decision of the
Full Bench itself arose out of a writ petition challenging the act of the
Registering   Authority   in   allowing   the   registration   of   the   deeds   of
unilateral cancellation of sale deeds.
42. The reliance placed by the respondents on the decision in Satya
Pal Anand vs. State of Madhya Pradesh7
, is misplaced. The decision
7 (2016) 10 SCC 767
29
in Satya Pal Anand  (supra) arose out a case where the allotment of a
plot made by a cooperative society was cancelled unilaterally by a deed
of extinguishment, by the society. The allottee raised a dispute which
ended   in   a   compromise   but   notwithstanding   the   compromise   the
allottee raised a dispute under the relevant provisions of the Madhya
Pradesh   Cooperative   Societies   Act,   1960.     When   the   dispute   was
pending, the allottee moved the Registering Officer for the cancellation
of   the   deed   of   transfer   executed   in   favour   of   the   subsequent
purchasers. When the Registering Authority refused to comply with
the demand, a writ petition was moved seeking a declaration that the
deed of extinguishment and the subsequent sales were null and void.
The High Court dismissed the writ petition on the ground that a
dispute was already pending before the competent authority under the
Cooperative Societies Act. When the order of dismissal passed by the
High Court was challenged before this Court, there was a difference of
opinion as to whether the issue was directly covered by the decision of
this Court in Thota Ganga Laxmi and Another vs. Government of
Andhra   Pradesh   and   Others8
.    Therefore, the matter was placed
8  (2010) 15 SCC 206
30
before a three Judge Bench. While upholding the decision of the High
Court, the three member Bench held in Satya Pal Anand (supra) that
there was no rule in the State of Madhya Pradesh similar to Rule 26(k)
(i) of the Rules issued by the State of Andhra Pradesh under Section
69 of the Registration Act, 1908 and that therefore the decision in
Thota Ganga Laxmi (supra) cannot be invoked.
43. The   decision   in  Satya   Pal   Anand  (supra)   cannot   go   to   the
rescue of the contesting respondents, for the simple reason that the
writ petitioner in that case, first accepted a compromise and then
raised a dispute under the Cooperative Societies Act (which is akin to
a civil suit) and thereafter approached the High Court under Article
226 for a declaration, which he could have sought only in the already
instituted proceedings. The very fact that Thota Ganga Laxmi   was
sought   to   be   distinguished   on   the   basis   of   the   express   provision
contained in the Rules of the State of A.P., would indicate that there is
no absolute bar for the  High  Court to  exercise jurisdiction  under
Article 226.
44. Both   sides   relied   upon   the   decision   of   this   Court   in  Rajni
Tandon  (supra). The question that arose in  Rajni  Tandon  (supra)
31
was as to whether the PoA required authentication by the Registering
Authority, when a sale deed executed by the power agent himself is
presented   for   registration   by   the   power   agent.   This   question   was
couched in a different language by this Court in paragraph 19 of the
Report in Rajni Tandon (supra) as follows:­
“19.   In view of the aforesaid situation, the issue that falls for
our   consideration   is   whether   a   person   who   executes   a
document under the terms of the power of attorney, is, insofar
as the registration office is concerned, the actual executant of
the document and is entitled under Section 32(a) to present it
for registration and get it registered.”
45. After analysing Sections 32 and 33 of the Registration Act, 1908
this   Court   came   to   the   conclusion   that   whenever   an   agent   is
authorised   to   execute   a   document   and   present   the   same   for
registration and he accordingly executes the document in terms of
PoA, he becomes the actual executant in so far as the Registering
Authority is concerned and that therefore he becomes entitled under
Section 33(a) to present it for registration. This Court further held that
the authentication in terms of Section 33(1)(a) is required only in
cases where Section 32(c) is invoked. Paragraph 33 of the Report in
Rajni Tandon is reproduced for easy appreciation as follows:­
“33.  Where a deed is executed by an agent for a principal and
the same agent signs, appears and presents the deed or admits
execution before the registering officer, that is not a case of
32
presentation  under  Section  32(c)  of   the  Act.     As  mentioned
earlier the provisions of Section 33 will come into play only in
cases where presentation is in terms of Section 32(c) of the Act.
In other words, only in cases where the person(s) signing the
document cannot present the document before the registering
officer and gives a power of attorney to another to present the
document that the provisions of Section 33 get attracted.  It is
only in such a case, that the said power of attorney has to be
necessarily executed and authenticated in the manner provided
under Section 33(1)(a) of the Act.”
46. But we are not concerned in this case with the question whether
the PoA relied upon by the power agent S.P. Velayutham in the sale
deed   executed   by   him,   required   authentication   and   whether   the
Registering Authority committed a blunder in accepting the sale deed
presented by him for registration, without verifying the authentication
of   the   PoA  or   not.   We  are  concerned   in  this  case  with   the   most
fundamental question whether the Registering Authority could have
turned a blind eye to the fact that the deed of PoA on the basis of
which the sale deed was executed as well as presented for registration
by S.P. Velayutham contained an express prohibition for the power
agent to create an encumbrance on the property, especially in the light
of the Rules framed under section 69 of the Act. The decision in
Thota Ganga Laxmi, was in a way approved by a 3­member Bench in
Satya Pal Anand,  on the basis of the rules in the State of Andhra
33
Pradesh, showing thereby that statutory rules also play a crucial role.
Rajni   Tandon  is not an authority for holding that the registering
Authority has no duty even to verify the presence or absence of a
power of sale in the deed of PoA, especially in the light of the rules.
47. In Amarnath  vs.  Gian Chand 9
, this Court was concerned with
a case arising out of peculiar circumstances.  The said case arose out
of a civil suit for a declaration of title and for permanent injunction.
The plaintiff in that case entered into an oral agreement for the sale of
his property and gave a special PoA in favour of the second defendant.
But the agreement fell through and hence the plaintiff took back the
original deed of PoA from the second defendant. However, the second
defendant   applied   for   a   copy   of   the   PoA   and   thereafter   sold   the
property in collusion with the first defendant. Upon coming to know of
the same, the original owner filed the suit as aforesaid, contending
that the second defendant had no valid power and that the Registering
Authority ought to have verified this aspect from the second defendant
under Sections 32, 33 and 34 of the Registration Act, 1908. After trial,
the trial court dismissed the suit on the ground that the cancellation
9  (2022)  SCC Online SC­102
34
of the PoA also required registration and that the mere writing of the
word “cancelled” on the original PoA cannot be taken to mean that the
power was validly cancelled. The First Appellate Court confirmed the
judgment and decree of the trial court. While reversing the judgments
of the trial court and the Appellate Court, the High Court opined that
under Section 18A of the Registration Act as applicable to the State of
Himachal Pradesh, by way of an amendment under Himachal Pradesh
Act 2 of 1969, the PoA ought to have accompanied the sale deed
presented for registration and that if the Sub­Registrar had ensured
this, he would have found that in view of the cancellation of the power,
the agent ceased to have any power of sale. This decision of the High
Court was reversed by this Court in  Amar   Nath  (supra), after an
exhaustive analysis of the provisions of the Registration Act, 1908.
While doing so, this Court held in paragraph 26 as follows:­
“26. For reasons, which we have indicated, Section 32(c) read
with Section 33 and Section 34(2)(c) are inter­ related and they
would have no application in regard to the document presented
for registration by a power of attorney holder who is also the
executant of the document. In other words, there is really no
need for the production of the original power of attorney, when
the document is presented for registration by the person standing
in the shoes of the second defendant in this case as he would be
covered by the provisions of Section 32(a) as he has executed the
document though on the strength of the power of attorney. To
make   it   even   further   clear,   the   inquiry   contemplated   under
35
the Registration Act, cannot extend to question as to whether the
person who executed the document in his capacity of the power
of attorney holder of the principal, was indeed having a valid
power of attorney or not to execute the document or not..”
48. Though   the   passage   extracted   above,   lends   credence   to   the
contention   of   the   learned   senior   counsel   for   the   contesting
respondents,   there   is   some   difficulty   in   accepting   the   same   as   a
proposition of law of universal application. There are two reasons why
we say so. They are: (i) as we have stated elsewhere, the interpretation
of the provisions of the Registration Act, would depend upon the State
amendments and the Rules framed in each State under Section 69;
and (ii) in Amar Nath, the challenge to the sale was before the civil
court, not merely on the ground that the Registering Authority failed
to perform his duties, but also on the ground that the defendant
conveyed what he could not have. Unfortunately, the parties in Amar
Nath, appear to have gone on a wild goose chase. Instead of focussing
their attack on the agent (who was the defendant in the suit), for
executing the document without any power, the parties focussed their
attack on the registering officer for permitting the registration of the
document. This resulted in their failure. If a civil court finds that the
sale by a power agent was unauthorised, then the question whether
36
the Registering Officer performed his duties properly or not, would lose
its  significance.  An  attack  on   the  authority  of  the  executant   of  a
document, is not to be mixed with the attack on the authority of the
Registering Officer to register the document. The distinction between
the execution of a document and the registration of the document is to
be borne in mind while dealing with these questions. 
49.   Actually, the registration of a document comprises of three
essential   steps   among   others.   They   are,  (i)  execution   of   the
document,   by   the   executant   signing   or   affixing   his   left   hand
thumb impression;  (ii)  presenting the document for registration
and admitting to the Registering Authority the execution of such
document; and (iii) the act of registration of the document.
50. In cases where a suit for title is filed, with or without the relief of
declaration that the registered document is null and void, what gets
challenged, is a combination of all the aforesaid three steps in the
process of execution and registration. The first of the aforesaid three
steps may be challenged in a suit for declaration that the registered
document is null and void, either on the ground that the executant did
not have a valid title to pass on or on the ground that what was found
37
in the document was not the signature of the executant or on the
ground that the signature of the executant was obtained by fraud,
coercion etc. The second step of presentation of the document and
admitting the execution of the same, may also be challenged on the
very same grounds hereinabove stated. Such objections to the first
and second of the aforesaid three steps are substantial and they strike
at the very root of creation of the document. A challenge to the very
execution of a document, is a challenge to its very DNA and any
defect   or   illegality   on   the   execution,   is   congenital   in   nature.
Therefore, such a challenge, by its very nature, has to be made only
before the civil court and certainly not before the writ court.
51. The third step namely the act of registration, is something that
the Registering Authority is called upon to do statutorily. While the
executant   of   the   document   and   the   person   claiming   under   the
document (claimant) are the only actors involved in the first two steps,
the Registering Officer is the actor in the third step. Apart from the
third step which is wholly in the domain of the Registering Authority,
he may also have a role to play in the second step when a document is
presented for registration and the execution thereof is admitted. The
38
role that is assigned to the Registrar in the second step is that of
verification of the identity of the person presenting the document for
registration.
52. Thus,   the   first   two   steps   in   the   process   of   registration   are
substantial in nature, with the parties to the document playing the
role of the lead actors and the Registering Authority playing a guest
role in the second step. The third step is procedural in nature where
the Registering Authority is the lead actor.
53. In suits for declaration of title and/or suits for declaration that a
registered document is null and void, all the aforesaid three steps
which comprise the entire process of execution and registration come
under challenge. If a party questions the very execution of a document
or the right and title of a person to execute a document and present it
for registration, his remedy will only be to go to the civil court. But
where a party questions only the failure of the Registering Authority to
perform his statutory duties in the course of the third step, it cannot
be said that the jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226
stands   completely   ousted.   This   is   for   the   reason   that   the   writ
jurisdiction of the High Court is to ensure that statutory authorities
39
perform their duties within the bounds of law. It must be noted that
when a High Court, in exercise of its jurisdiction under Article 226
finds   that   there   was   utter   failure   on   the   part   of   the   Registering
Authority to stick to the mandate of law, the Court merely cancels the
act of registration, but does not declare the very execution of the
document to be null and void. A declaration that a document is null
and void, is exclusively within the domain of the civil court, but it does
not mean that the High Court cannot examine the question whether or
not the Registering Authority performed his statutory duties in the
manner   prescribed   by   law.   It   is   well   settled   that   if   something   is
required by law to be done in a particular manner, it shall be done
only   in   that   manner   and   not   otherwise.   Examining   whether   the
Registering Authority did something in the manner required by law or
otherwise, is certainly within the jurisdiction of the High Court under
Article 226. However, it is needless to say that the High Courts may
refuse   to   exercise   jurisdiction   in   cases   where   the   violations   of
procedure on the part of the Registering Authority are not gross or the
violations   do   not   shock   the   conscience   of   the   Court.   Lack   of
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jurisdiction   is   completely   different   from   a   refusal   to   exercise
jurisdiction.
54. In the case on hand, the appellant has not sought a declaration
from the High Court that the execution of the document in question
was null and void or that there was no title for the executant to
transfer the property. The appellant assailed before the High Court,
only the act of omission on the part of the Registering Authority to
check up whether the person who claimed to be the power agent, had
the power of conveyance and the power of presenting the document for
registration, especially in the light to the statutory rules. Therefore,
the learned Single Judge rightly applied the law and allowed the writ
petition filed by the appellant, but the Division Bench got carried away
by the sound and fury created by the contesting respondents on the
basis of  (i)  pendency of the civil suits;  (ii)  findings recorded by the
Special Court for CBI cases; and (iii) the order passed by this Court in
the SLP arising out of proceedings under Section 145 Cr.P.C.
55.  Arguments   were   advanced   on   the   question   whether   the
Registering Authority is carrying out an administrative act or a quasijudicial act in the performance of his statutory duties. But we think it
41
is not relevant for determining the availability of writ jurisdiction. If
the Registering Authority is found to be exercising a quasi­judicial
power, the exercise of such a power will still be amenable to judicial
review under Article 226, subject to the exhaustion of the remedies
statutorily available. On the contrary if the Registering Authority is
found to be performing only an administrative act, even then the High
Court is empowered to see whether he performed the duties statutorily
ordained upon him in the manner prescribed by law.  
56. Much   ado   was   sought   to   be   made   by   contending   that   the
appellant approached the High Court without disclosing the previous
orders of the High Court and this Court, relegating them to civil court
for the adjudication of their claim. Reliance was also placed in this
regard on the decision of this Court in Raj Kumar Soni vs. State of
U.P.10
.
57. But we do not agree. The previous orders directing the appellant
to go to the civil court arose out of the proceedings under Section 145
of the Cr.P.C. But it does not mean that the recourse to civil court was
seen as the only panacea for all ills.
10 (2007) 10 SCC 635
42
58. Therefore, in the light of  (i)  the Tamilnadu Registration Rules
discussed above; (ii) the statutory scheme of Sections 32 to 35 of the
Act as well as other provisions as amended by the State of Tamilnadu;
and (iii) the distinction between a challenge to the first 2 steps in the
process of execution of a document and the third step concerning
registration, we are of the considered view that the Division bench of
the High Court was not right in setting aside the order of the learned
single Judge. If the Registering Officer under the Act is construed as
performing only a mechanical role without any independent mind of
his   own,   then   even   Government   properties   may   be   sold   and   the
documents registered by unscrupulous persons driving the parties to
go to civil court. Such an interpretation may not advance the cause of
justice.
59. Therefore, in fine, the appeals are allowed, the impugned order of
the Division Bench is set aside and the order of the learned single
Judge is restored. There will be no order as to costs.
………………………………….J.
(Hemant Gupta)
43
………………………………….J.
(V. Ramasubramanian)
New Delhi
May  04, 2022
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