Veena Singh (Dead) Through LR VS The District Registrar/Additional Collector (F/R)

Veena Singh (Dead) Through LR VS The District Registrar/Additional Collector (F/R)

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal No. 2929 of 2022
Veena Singh (Dead) Through LR ...Appellant
Versus
The District Registrar/Additional Collector (F/R) ...Respondents
And Another
2
J U D G M E N T
Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, J
This judgment has been divided into sections to facilitate analysis. They are:
A Introduction...................................................................................................... 3
B Submissions of Counsel................................................................................ 13
C Analysis ......................................................................................................... 18
C.1 Statutory Framework of the Registration Act .......................................... 18
C.2 Validity of the recourse by the Second Respondent ............................... 27
C.3 Meaning of ―execution‖............................................................................ 33
D Conclusion..................................................................................................... 61
PART A
3
A Introduction
1 This appeal has arisen from a judgment dated 31 May 2018 of a Single Judge
of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad. By the impugned judgment, the High
Court dismissed a petition under Article 226 filed by the appellant, seeking a writ in
the nature of certiorari for quashing an order dated 31 March 2012 of the District
Registrar/Additional Collector (Finance and Revenue), Bareilly1
, who is the first
respondent in the present appeal. During the pendency of this appeal, the appellant
has passed away and has been substituted by her legal heir, by an order of this
Court dated 9 December 2021.
2 At the heart of this dispute is a certain piece of land admeasuring 3,793
square yards, situated at 110-B, Civil Lines, Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, which was
owned by one C P Singh. During his life time, he had alienated approximately 415
square yards of the land to four distinct persons. After his death, the appellant, who
is his spouse, together with her two daughters, namely Nita Singh and Neelam
Singh, and son, Pradeep Singh, became joint owners of the property. A power of
attorney was executed on 17 April 2010 in favour of the appellant by her daughters
and son, which is stated to have been cancelled on 27 September 2011.
3 The appellant is alleged to have entered into two agreements with a
developer – Gujral Associates, who is the second respondent in the present appeal:
(i) the first was allegedly a development agreement in respect of an area
admeasuring 1000 square meters in the front portion of the land. It is important to

1
―District Registrar‖
PART A
4
note that the nature of this agreement is disputed by the second respondent (who
alleges that it was instead an agreement to sell), but that dispute is not before this
Court in the present appeal; and (ii) the second was an agreement to sell for an area
admeasuring 839.4 square meters in the rear portion of the land for a sale
consideration of Rs 1.6 crores, which was executed on 22 October 2010. On the
other hand, the second respondent contends that this agreement to sell was for an
area admeasuring 1839.4 square meters. It is also important to note that the stamp
duty in the amount of Rs 39,61,000 (according to counsel for the second
respondent) was paid on the agreement on the basis of the circle rate of the land,
i.e., Rs 6,11,53,000.
4 Between October 2010 and 3 January 2011, the second respondent allegedly
paid the appellant a sum of Rs 93 lakhs in twelve instalments. A cheque for the
remaining sum of Rs 67 lakhs was handed over to the appellant by the second
respondent on 20 June 2011. The appellant has stated that she did not encash this
cheque upon realising that a fraud had been committed upon her. On the same
date, a sale deed was purported to have been executed by the appellant in favour of
the second respondent based upon the agreement to sell and upon the payment of
the remaining sale consideration. The execution and registration of this sale deed
forms the bedrock of the dispute in the present appeal.
5 On 5 December 2011, the second respondent filed an application seeking
permission to execute the sale deed. Thereafter, on 15 December 2011, they
presented the sale deed for registration before the Sub-Registrar-I, Bareilly. In
PART A
5
response to a notice from the Sub-Registrar, the appellant appeared before the SubRegistrar on 17 February 2012 and submitted an objection in writing, with a request
not to execute the incomplete and forged sale deed in favour of the second
respondent. The appellant stated that she was 78 years of age, ―a chronic patient of
depression, heart ailment and hypertension‖ under medical treatment and that her
son was an alcoholic who was incapable of taking any decision on his own. The
appellant stated that the second respondent had been harassing her into forcibly
signing the sale deed in respect of her property. The appellant further stated that the
second respondent furnished her with misleading and false information in order to
ger her to sign the papers, all the while even forcing her to hide the transaction from
the members of her own family. Specifically in relation to the two transactions in
regards the front and rear portion of the land, the appellant alleged as follows:
―(A) Details of 100 sq. meter agreement with m/S Gujral
Associates having a market value of not less than Rs.5
Crore showing a meagre sale consideration of
Rs.1,30,00,000/- on 22.10.2010 forming part of 110-B Civil
Lines, Bareilly, stipulating to have paid a sum of
Rs.18,00,000/- to me including a sum of Rs.90,00,000/- in
cash and a sum of Rs.3,00,000/- through cheque No.111681
dated 03.06.2009 Bank of Baroda, which in fact was never
paid to me and the cheque referred to above stands credited
in someone else account and not in my account. According to
me and the Law the agreement becomes NULL and VOID as
the intention of the party is to do a fraud by illegal measures.
(B) Details of 1839.48 Sq. meter agreement with M/s Gujral
Associates having a market value of not less than Rs.7
Crore showing a meagre sale consideration of
Rs.1,60,00,000/- on 22.10.2010 forming part of 11-B Civil
Lines, Bareilly, stipulating to have paid a sum of
Rs.83,00,000/- including a sum of Rs.8,00,000/- shown to
have been paid in cash, which in fact has never been paid to
me (Mrs. Veena Singh). According to me and the Law the
PART A
6
agreement becomes NULL and VOID as the intention of the
party is to do a fraud by illegal measures.‖
The appellant further stated:
―That the time within which sale deed was allegedly agreed to
be executed was period of eight months which too has
expired on 22.06.2011 and to avoid legal consequences they
obtained signature on INCOMPLETE SALE DEED dt.
20.06.2011 from me under misleading and false information
when they were pressurizing me to quickly sign the papers
before the registry office closes and didn't give a chance to
read the papers before signing, my granddaughter entered
the room and enquired about the doing. She asked if the
papers had been read by one to which I replied NO. So she
asked a photo copy of the documents so that our Lawyer
could go through them. It was at that moment that this fact
came to light that whatever was undergoing was wrong and
misleading, M/ s Gujral Associates people and his lawyer Mr.
Anil Ku. Agarwal was shocked when my granddaughter asked
for a photo copy as she was scared to see me surrounded by
5 people in my Room and then when we realized that they
manipulated the land area and they were taking my
manipulated the land area and they were taking my HOUSE
also illegally, so I am against this SALE deed as they have
done a fraud.‖
The appellant further claimed that:
(i) The boundaries which were set out in the deed for 1839.48 square meters
were erroneous and did not clearly reflect what was to be sold. Further, the
second respondent had manipulated the actual land area by also including
within it the appellant‘s house, where she was residing for over five decades,
though it was not her intention to alienate it;
PART A
7
(ii) The sale deed itself was incomplete, but the second respondent forcibly made
her sign it on the pretext of a rush to file the sale deed within time for
registration; and
(iii)The second respondent himself was aware that there was no partition
between the co-sharers of the land, yet went ahead with the sale deed.
Hence, based on her above contentions, the appellant requested the Sub-Registrar
to take action for the forgery which had been committed by the second respondent
and prevent the second respondent from getting the incomplete sale deed registered
for an area admeasuring 1839.48 square meters.
6 By an order dated 17 February 2012, the Sub-Registrar declined to register
the sale deed after recording the following statement of the appellant:
―I was alone, my signature was forcibly taken on this sale
deed, I do not remain well, and I take Alprex also, I am
diabetic also, I r4emain under Hypertension also. Many
persons who were 4-5 in number by reaching there, got my
signature forcibly. Other paper was read to me, and signature
was taken on other paper. I live alone. They trouble me from
day to today. The land not so in quantity which they have
written. As per them, they try to occupy that house also which
is mine. I do not want to execute this sale deed. I be let live
comfortably.‖
Relying upon her statement, the Sub-Registrar held as follows:
―On the basis of the aforesaid statement as Smt. Beena is not
ready to register the aforesaid sale deed which she tells to be
executed fraudulently and cheatingly. Therefore, the
registration of the sale deed is denied under Section 35(3)A
of the Indian Registration Act and under Rule 249 of the
Registration Manual, Part -2.‖
PART A
8
7 The Sub-Registrar having refused to order the registration of the sale deed,
the second respondent instituted an appeal2
under Section 72 of the Registration Act
19083
on 2 March 2012. The appellant objected to the maintainability of the appeal
under Section 72, besides supporting the order of the Sub-Registrar on the ground
that the sale deed in dispute had not been executed by her.
8 By an order dated 31 March 2012, the District Registrar, while entertaining the
appeal, proceeded to follow the procedure prescribed by Section 74 of the
Registration Act to determine whether the sale deed had been executed by the
appellant. The District Registrar subsequently held that the appellant had admitted
her signature on the document and that the second respondent was entitled to get
the sale deed registered. In arriving at the conclusion, the District Registrar relied on
the statements made on solemn affirmation by the scribe of the sale deed and by
the witnesses to the sale deed, to the effect that the document had been executed
by the appellant in their presence without any pressure. The District Registrar also
noted that prior to the sale deed, an agreement to sell had been registered on 22
October 2010 in terms of which the appellant received an amount of Rs 93 lakhs by
cash and cheque, as token money towards the sale consideration of Rs 1.6 crores.
The receipt of the consideration by cheque in pursuance of the agreement to sell
was stated to not be in dispute. Further, the District Registrar noted that during the
period of about one year and two months, between the registration of the agreement

2
Appeal No 01 of 2012
3
―Registration Act‖
PART A
9
to sell and the presentation of the sale deed on 15 December 2011, the appellant
had not lodged any complaint alleging fraud. The District Registrar also observed
that the signatures and thumb impressions/fingerprints of the appellant on the
agreement to sell and sale deed had been examined by a handwriting expert, and
were found to be identical. Based on these findings, the District Registrar set aside
the Sub-Registrar‘s decision and ordered the registration of the sale deed presented
on 15 December 2011. Consequently, the sale deed was registered on 16 April
2012.
9 Crucially, the appellant has adverted to certain developments which took
place after the order of the District Registrar. According to the appellant, the
Assistant Inspector General, Registration, Bareilly ordered a spot inspection by the
Sub-Registrar of the land covered by the sale deed. In his report dated 30 April
2012, the Sub-Registrar concluded that the actual area covered by the deed was
1341.73 square meters, out of which 740.73 square meters was the area of the
appellant‘s house. Further, the Sub-Registrar noted that while the northern and
western boundaries were present as according to the sale deed, the southern and
eastern boundaries at the spot did not match with the boundaries mentioned in the
sale deed. Later, pursuant to the recommendation of the Sub-Registrar, a further
spot verification was also carried out by the Naib Tahsildar. In a report dated 26 May
2012, the Naib Tahsildar stated that the boundaries mentioned in the sale deed
were completely incorrect. Further, it was stated that the actual area on the spot was
849.12 square meters, as opposed to the area of 1839.48 square meters shown in
PART A
10
the sale deed. The report noted that if the area of 1839.48 square meters was taken
as the area of the sale deed, it would partly cover the residential house of the
appellant, garden area situated in front of the house and three properties which had
been previously sold by the deceased husband of the appellant. Therefore, the Naib
Tahsildar concluded that the registered sale deed was completely incorrect.
10 At this stage, it would also be material to note that a first information report4
was filed by the appellant on 4 May 2012 at PS Kotwali, Sub-District Sadar, Bareilly
against the proprietors of the second respondent for offences punishable under
Sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code 1860. Subsequently,
a final report was filed in the FIR by the Investigating Officer. A protest petition filed
by the appellant against the final report has since been dismissed by the Magistrate
by an order dated 20 September 20135
, against which the appellant‘s revision
remains pending.
11 Along with these developments, the appellant challenged the order dated 31
March 2012 of the District Registrar before the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
in proceedings under Article 226 of the Constitution. In adjudicating the appellant‘s
writ petition by the impugned judgment dated 31 May 2018, a Single Judge of the
High Court framed the following questions for consideration:
―38. The question to be considered by this Court in facts and
circumstances of this case and in the light of arguments made
by the counsel for the parties can be summarized thus:
Whether the Writ Petition was maintainable in the form and

4
FIR No 192 of 2012; Case Crime No 1118 of 2012
5 Misc Case No 225 of 2013
PART A
11
manner it had been filed? What is the scope of power
exercised by the Deputy Registrar under section 35(3)(a) of
the Act? Whether the denial of execution of Sale Deed by the
petitioner was correctly interpreted by the Deputy Registrar to
exercise power under Section 35(3)(a) and refuse
registration? Whether the District Registrar could have
considered, the appeal filed by Respondent No. 2 as a
representation and exercise power as an original Authority
and not as an Appellate Authority? Whether Sale Deed which
was Registered on 16.04.2012 before this Court passed its
interim order can be set aside by this Court by holding that it
was wrongly registered?‖
The Single Judge then observed:
(i) In terms of this Court‘s judgment in Satya Pal Anand v. State of M.P.6
, the
Sub-Registrar under Sections 34 and 35 of the Registration Act has no quasijudicial power to conduct an enquiry regarding the validity of the title or
legality of the transaction in a sale deed, but only has to ascertain whether the
provisions of the Registration Act have been complied with. Questions
regarding the validity of the title or legality of the transaction can only be
decided by a competent civil court; and
(ii) The Sub-Registrar, in the present case, had denied the registration of the sale
deed under Section 35(3)(a) of the Registration Act since the appellant had,
while admitting that she had placed her thumb impressions/fingerprints and
signatures on the sale deed, objected to the registration on the ground that
her signatures had been taken in a fraudulent manner by representing to her
that she was selling only 839 square meters of land whereas the area shown

6
(2016) 10 SCC 767 (―Satya Pal Anand‖)
PART A
12
in the sale deed was 1839 square meters. However, it was held that the SubRegistrar under Section 35 did not have the power to conduct an inquiry
regarding the execution of the sale deed, and could have only recorded the
denial of execution by the appellant. On the other hand, it was noted that a
wider power is entrusted to the Registrar under Section 74(a) of the
Registration Act to determine whether the document has been executed. On
these premises, the Single Judge held:
―55…The registration does not depend upon the consent of
the executant, but on the Registrar finding that the executant
had actually signed the document concerned, but now was
requesting that it may not be registered for reasons other than
its execution. The registrar is required under Section 74 to
conduct an inquiry. If the Registrar finds that the document
was duly prepared by the Scribe/Deed Writer and the
attesting witnesses to such document also deposed that the
document was signed and the thumb and finger print
impressions were made thereon by the vendor in their
presence, and on inquiry from the vendor it comes out that
indeed such facts were correct, the Registrar can direct
registration of a document in spite of denial of execution
before him by the person aggrieved if such registration of
such a document is compulsory under the Act.‖
12 The Single Judge also observed that the writ petition had been instituted after
the registration of the FIR by the appellant, prior to which the order of the District
Registrar dated 31 March 2012 had already been complied with by the registration
of the sale deed on 16 April 2012. The Single Judge noted that initially, the appellant
had pleaded before the High Court that her signatures and thumb
impressions/fingerprints had not been placed on the sale deed, but had been forged
by the second respondent. However, the Single Judge noted that this was an
PART B
13
improvement from the appellant‘s story as detailed in the FIR dated 4 May 2012,
where it was stated that the appellant willingly put her signatures and thumb
impressions/fingerprints on the sale deed and only later did her granddaughter
realise the incorrect figure of the area in the sale deed. In any case, the High Court
observed that whether the signatures and thumb impressions/fingerprints of the
appellant had been forged by the second respondent raised a disputed question of
fact which could only be resolved on the basis of evidence before a competent civil
court. Holding that the High Court in the exercise of its writ jurisdiction could not
render a finding either way, the writ petition was dismissed by the Single Judge
while leaving it open to the appellant to move the civil court for a declaration that the
sale deed had been obtained by fraud and was a nullity.
B Submissions of Counsel
13 We have heard Mr Pradeep Kant, learned Senior Counsel appearing on
behalf of the appellant and Mr V K Shukla, learned Senior Counsel appearing on
behalf of the second respondent.
14 Mr Pradeep Kant, learned Senior Counsel submitted that:
(i) An appeal under Section 72 of the Registration Act lies to the Registrar
against an order of the Sub-Registrar refusing to admit a document to
registration except where the refusal is made on the ground of denial of
execution. In the present case, the execution of the sale deed had been
PART B
14
denied by the appellant and the Sub-Registrar refused registration on that
ground under Section 35(3)(a). Hence, no appeal would be maintainable
under Section 72;
(ii) In any event, in an appeal under Section 72, it is not open to the Registrar to
pursue an enquiry under Section 74. The procedure under Section 74 has to
be followed only when an application is filed under Section 73. Under Section
74, a person who had applied under Section 73 challenging the nonregistration of a document, of which execution is denied by any person by
whom it purports to have been executed, may apply to the Registrar to
establish his right to have the document registered. In the present case, the
second respondent having filed an appeal under Section 72, the provisions of
Sections 73 and 74 could not have been attracted;
(iii)The appellant does not deny having signed the sale deed and having placed
her thumb impressions/fingerprints on the documents. However, the
execution of a document cannot be conflated with its mere signing. The
appellant admitted her signatures but objected to registration on the ground of
fraud and undue influence. Hence, the question of proving her signature on
the sale deed was never an issue. Pertinently, neither the Registrar nor the
High Court has recorded a finding that the appellant understood the contents
of the sale deed or she was made to understand the obligations which were
being assumed by her with respect to the subject matter of the sale, including
the boundaries and area of the land, at the time when she placed her
signatures and thumb impressions/fingerprints on the documents. Therefore,
PART B
15
the mere fact that the witnesses proved the signatures of the appellant on the
sale deed cannot lead to the conclusion that the appellant had duly ‗executed‘
the sale deed or that there could not have been any denial of execution;
(iv)The specific objection of the appellant is that the sale deed is fraudulent and
contrary to the agreed terms since:
(a) The area reflected in the sale deed is almost double the area agreed upon
between the parties; and
(b) The area reflected in the sale deed includes a public way on the northern
side as well as a part of the appellant‘s residential house; and
(v) In sum and substance, the submission for the appellant is that:
(a) The appeal itself was not maintainable before the Registrar under Section
72 of the Registration Act;
(b) The appellant does not deny her signatures or thumb
impressions/fingerprints on the sale deed. Hence, the Registrar‘s reliance
on the statements of the two witnesses and handwriting experts to prove
the appellant‘s signature on the sale deed, while concluding that it was
thus duly ‗executed‘ by appellant, is misplaced;
(c) There has been no finding in regards to the due execution of the sale deed
by the appellant, which is the matter in dispute; and
(d) There could have been no ‗execution‘ by the appellant when there is a
serious dispute between the parties over the area reflected in the sale
deed and what had been agreed earlier.
PART B
16
15 On the other hand, Mr V K Shukla, learned Senior Counsel appearing on
behalf of the second respondent submitted that:
(i) The appellant has admitted to the execution of the sale deed both in her
objections before the Sub-Registrar and in the FIR which was lodged on 4
May 2012, where the appellant admits that the sale deed was signed by her.
If an instrument is signed by both the parties, it is presumptive of the fact that
both of them have executed it, though the presumption is rebuttable. In the
present case, the sale deed having been signed by the parties and attested
by the two witnesses, it has to be regarded as having been validly ‗executed‘;
(ii) Under the Registration Act, the Registrar is vested with a duality of powers:
(a) An appellate power under Section 72; and
(b) A power under Section 73 read with Section 74 to determine upon enquiry
whether a document has been executed and can be registered;
Since the Registrar has an independent power under Section 73 and Section
74, the mere mentioning of a wrong provision (Section 72) by the second
respondent and the Registrar will not invalidate the proceedings;
(iii) A document, once it is registered, can be cancelled or set aside only by a
civil court of competent jurisdiction. Upon the registration of the sale deed on
16 April 2012, the registration authorities are rendered infructuous and would
have no power to cancel registration even on the ground of fraud or other
irregularities;
(iv)The following conduct of the appellant has disentitled her to relief:
PART B
17
(a) The appellant placed her signature and thumb impressions/fingerprints on
each page of the sale deed as well as the photocopies totaling over 340
pages;
(b) The appellant received all the payments towards the sale consideration of
Rs 1.6 crores, except the last cheque of Rs 67 lakhs which she has
deliberately not encashed in order to resist registration;
(c) The appellant has instituted a civil suit7
claiming to be an owner of the
entire 3,172 square meters of land, despite her husband having sold
portions nearing 300 square meters to third parties during his lifetime;
(d) The appellant has executed gift deeds dated 4 October 2011 and 22
October 2011 in favour of her granddaughter, in respect of land which has
been registered in the name of the second respondent under the sale
deed; and
(e) The sale deed was preceded by an agreement to sell, which is also a
registered document executed by the appellant. The registered agreement
to sell dated 22 October 2010 was also used by the handwriting/fingerprint
expert for the purpose of comparing the appellant‘s signatures on the sale
deed, which was found to be identical.
16 The rival submissions would now fall for analysis.

7
Suit No 727 of 2012
PART C
18
C Analysis
17 There are two broad issues which arise in the present civil appeal:
(i) Whether the recourse by the second respondent to Section 72 of the
Registration Act, against the order of the Sub-Registrar refusing registration
on the basis of the appellant‘s denial of execution, would deprive them of any
remedy whatsoever; and
(ii) Whether the appellant‘s admission of her signatures and thumb
impressions/fingerprints on the sale deed also amounts to an admission of its
―execution‖.
However, before proceeding with a discussion of these issues, it is important to
understand the statutory framework of the Registration Act.
C.1 Statutory Framework of the Registration Act
18 Section 17 of the Registration Act stipulates which documents are
compulsorily registrable. Among them, in clause (b), are non-testamentary
instruments which purport or operate to create, declare, assign, limit or extinguish a
right, title or interest to or in immoveable property of a value higher than Rs 100.
Section 23, which deals with the time for presenting documents, stipulates that
subject to Sections 24, 25 and 26, no documents other than a will shall be accepted
PART C
19
for registration unless presented to the proper officer within four months from the
date of its execution.
19 Section 32 then entails that every document, to be registered, shall be
presented at the registration office by: (a) person executing or claiming under the
document; or (b) a representative or assign of such a person; or (c) the agent of
such a person, or their representative or assign, duly authorized by a power of
attorney executed and authenticated in the manner provided.
20 Section 348
stipulates that, subject to the provisions referred to in it, no
document shall be registered unless the person executing such a document or their
representative, assign or agent authorized, appear before the registering officer
within the time allowed for presentation. The provision also outlines the duties of

8
―34. Enquiry before registration by registering officer.—(1) 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, 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 sub-section (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;
(b) satisfy himself as to the identity of the persons appearing before him and alleging that they have executed the
document; 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 sub-section (1) may be lodged with a Sub-Registrar, 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.‖
PART C
20
enquiry placed upon the registering officer once a document is presented before
them within the time limit prescribed.
21 Section 35 entails that the registering officer shall register the document if:
(i) All the persons executing the document appearing personally, are personally
known to the registering officer, or if the registering officer is otherwise
satisfied that they are the person they represent themselves to be and all of
them admit the execution of the document;
(ii) A person appearing by a representative, assign or agent admits the execution
to the registering officer; and
(iii)Where the person executing the document is dead, their representative or
assign appears before the registering officer and admits its execution.
On the other hand, sub-Section (3)(a) of Section 35 stipulates, inter alia, that if a
person by whom the document purports to be executed denies its execution, the
registering officer will refuse to register the document. Section 35 is extracted below:
―35. Procedure on admission and denial of execution
respectively.—(1) (a) If all the persons executing the
document appear personally before the registering officer and
are personally known to him, or if he be otherwise satisfied
that they are the persons they represent themselves to be,
and if they all admit the execution of the document, or
(b) if in the case of any person appearing by a representative,
assign or agent, such representative, assign or agent admits
the execution, or
(c) if the person executing the document is dead, and his
representative or assign appears before the registering officer
and admits the execution,
PART C
21
the registering officer shall register the document as directed
in Sections 58 to 61, inclusive.
(2) The registering officer may, in order to satisfy himself that
the persons appearing before him are the persons they
represent themselves to be, or for any other purpose
contemplated by this Act, examine any one present in his
office.
(3)(a) If any person by whom the document purports to be
executed denies its execution, or
(b) if any such person appears to the registering officer to be
a minor, an idiot or a lunatic, or
(c) if any person by whom the document purports to be
executed is dead, and his representative or assign denies its
execution,
the registering officer shall refuse to register the document as
to the person so denying, appearing or dead:
Provided that, where such officer is a Registrar, he shall
follow the procedure prescribed in Part XII:
Provided further that the State Government may, by
notification in the Official Gazette, declare that any SubRegistrar named in the notification shall, in respect of
documents the execution of which is denied, be deemed to be
a Registrar for the purposes of this sub-section and of Part
XII.‖
22 The above provisions indicate that the registration of a document by the SubRegistrar must be preceded by:
(i) Presentation of the document by a proper person within the time allowed for
presentation; and
(ii) Admission of the execution of the document.
23 Section 58 provides for the particulars to be endorsed on the documents
admitted to registration. Section 58(2) provides that ―[i]f any person admitting the
PART C
22
execution of a document refuses to endorse the same, the registering officer shall
nevertheless register it, but shall at the same time endorse a note of such refusal‖.
Section 59 stipulates that the endorsements are to be dated and signed by the
registering officer. Section 60 provides that once the requirements of Sections 34,
35, 58 and 59 have been complied with, the registering officer shall endorse the
document with a certificate of registration.
24 Section 719
requires the Sub-Registrar who refuses to register a document,
except on the ground that the property to which it relates is not situated within his
sub-district, to make an order of refusal and record his reasons, and endorse the
refusal of registration on the document. Further, the Sub-Registrar is required to
furnish a copy of the reasons recorded, to any person executing or claiming under
the document.
25 Section 72 provides for an appeal to the Registrar from an order of the SubRegistrar refusing registration on a ground other than the denial of execution.
Section 72 is in the following terms:
―72. Appeal to Registrar from orders of Sub-Registrar
refusing registration on ground other than denial of
execution.—(1) Except where the refusal is made on the
ground of denial of execution, an appeal shall lie against and
order of a Sub-Registrar refusing to admit a document to
registration (whether the registration of such document is

9
―71. Reasons for refusal to register to be recorded.—(1) Every Sub-Registrar refusing to register a document
except on the ground that the property to which it relates is not situate within his sub-district, shall make an order of
refusal and record his reasons for such order in his Book No. 2, and endorse the words ―registration refused‖ on the
document; and, on application made by any person executing or claiming under the document, shall, without payment
and unnecessary delay, give him a copy of the reasons so recorded.
(2) No registering officer shall accept for registration a document so endorsed unless and until, under the provisions
hereinafter contained, the document is directed to be registered.‖
PART C
23
compulsory or optional) to the Registrar to whom such SubRegistrar is subordinate, if presented to such Registrar within
thirty days from the date of the order; and the Registrar may
reverse or alter such order.
(2) If the order of the Registrar directs the document to be
registered and the document is duly presented for registration
within thirty days after the making of such order, the SubRegistrar shall obey the same, and thereupon shall, so far as
may be practicable, follow the procedure prescribed in
Sections 58, 59 and 60; and such registration shall take effect
as if the document had been registered when it was first duly
presented for registration.‖
In terms of sub-Section (1) of Section 72, an appeal lies to the Registrar against an
order of the Sub-Registrar refusing to admit a document to registration, except
where the refusal is made on the ground of a denial of execution.
26 Section 73 provides for an application to the Registrar where the SubRegistrar has refused to register a document on the ground of a denial of execution.
Section 73 provides thus:
―73. Application to Registrar where Sub-Registrar refuses
to register on ground of denial of execution.—(1) When a
Sub-Registrar has refused to register a document on the
ground that any person by whom it purports to be executed,
or his representative or assign, denies its execution, any
person claiming under such document, or his representative,
assign or agent authorized as aforesaid, may, within thirty
days after the making of the order of refusal, apply to the
Registrar to whom such Sub-Registrar is subordinate in order
to establish his right to have the document registered.
(2) Such application shall be in writing and shall be
accompanied by a copy of the reasons recorded under
Section 71, and the statements in the application shall be
verified by the applicant in manner required by law for the
verification of plaints.‖
PART C
24
In terms of Section 73, where a Sub-Registrar refuses registration on the ground
that the person by whom it purports to be executed (or their representative or
assign) denies execution, any person who claims under the document (or a
representative assign or authorized agent) may apply to the Registrar within thirty
days ―in order to establish [their] rights to have the document registered‖. Such an
application has to be in writing, accompanied by the reasons recorded under Section
71. The statements in the application have to be verified in the manner required by
law for the verification of plaints.
27 On such an application being preferred, the Registrar has to follow the
procedure which is spelt out in Section 74. Section 74 stipulates as follows:
―74. Procedure of Registrar on such application.—In such
case, and also where such denial as aforesaid is made before
a Registrar in respect of a document presented for
registration to him, the Registrar shall, as soon as
conveniently may be, enquire—
(a) whether the document has been executed;
(b) whether the requirements of the law for the time being in
force have been complied with on the part of the applicant or
person presenting the document for registration, as the case
may be, so as to entitle the document to registration. ‖
In terms of the above provision, the Registrar in such a case, and also where a
denial of execution is made before the Registrar, has to enquire:
(i) Whether the document has been executed; and
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25
(ii) Whether the requirements of law for the time being in force have been
complied with on the part of the applicant or person presenting the document
for registration.
28 Section 7510 provides that if the Registrar finds that the document has been
executed and the requirements under the law have been complied with, the
Registrar shall order the document be registered. Thereafter, if the document is duly
presented for registration within thirty days of the order of the Registrar, the
registering officer has to obey the order and, as far as may be practicable, must
follow the procedure in Sections 58, 59 and 60. The registration then takes effect as
if the document has been registered when it was first presented for registration.
Pertinently, under sub-Section (4) of Section 75, the Registrar may, for the purpose
of an enquiry under Section 74, summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses,
and compel them to give evidence, as if the Registrar were a civil court under the
Code of Civil Procedure 190811
.

10 ―75. Order by Registrar to register and procedure thereon.—(1) If the Registrar finds that the document has
been executed and that the said requirements have been complied with, he shall order the document to be
registered.
(2) If the document is duly presented for registration within thirty days after the making of such order, the registering
officer shall obey the same and thereupon shall, so far as may be practicable, follow the procedure prescribed in
Sections 58, 59 and 60.
(3) Such registration shall take effect as if the document had been registered when it was first duly presented for
registration.
(4) The Registrar may, for the purpose of any enquiry under Section 74, summon and enforce the attendance of
witnesses, and compel them to give evidence, as if he were a Civil Court, and he may also direct by whom the whole
or any part of the costs of any such enquiry shall be paid, and such costs shall be recoverable as if they had been
awarded in a suit under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908).‖
11 ―CPC‖
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26
29 Section 7612 provides for that the order of refusal by the Registrar under
Sections 72 or 75 has to be reasoned, and the Registrar is required to furnish a copy
of the reasons recorded to any person executing or claiming under the document. It
further provides that no appeal shall lie against such an order of refusal.
30 In the event of a refusal by the Registrar, a suit can be filed by a party in
terms of the provisions of Section 7713 before a civil court, praying for a decree
directing the document to be registered. On the other hand, an order of the Registrar
directing the registration of a document is amenable to a challenge under Article 226
of the Constitution. While seeking a writ of certiorari, the person moving the petition
before the High Court would be entitled to establish whether the registration has
been ordered in breach of the statutory provisions and is contrary to law. The mere
existence of the remedy available before a civil court, under Section 9 of the CPC to
avoid the document or to seek a declaration in regard to its invalidity, will not divest
a person, who complains that the order passed by Registrar for the registration of

12 ―76. Order of refusal by Registrar.—(1) Every Registrar refusing—
(a) to register a document except on the ground that the property to which it relates is not situate within his district or
that the document ought to be registered in the office of a Sub-Registrar, or
(b) to direct the registration of a document under Section 72 or Section 75,
shall make an order of refusal and record the reasons for such order in his Book No. 2, and, on application made by
any person executing or claiming under the document, shall, without unnecessary delay, give him a copy of the
reasons so recorded.
(2) No appeal lies from any order by a Registrar under this Section or Section 72.‖
13 ―77. Suit in case of order of refusal by Registrar.—(1) Where the Registrar refuses to order the document to be
registered, under Section 72 or Section 76, any person claiming under such document, or his representative, assign
or agent, may, within thirty days after the making of the order of refusal, institute in the Civil Court, within the local
limits of whose original jurisdiction is situate the office in which the document is sought to be registered, a suit for a
decree directing the document to be registered in such office if it be duly presented for registration within thirty days
after the passing of such decree.
(2) The provisions contained in sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 75 shall, mutatis mutandis, apply to all documents
presented for registration in accordance with any such decree, and, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act,
the document shall be receivable in evidence in such suit.‖
PART C
27
the document was contrary to statutory provisions, of the remedy which is available
in the exercise of a court‘s writ jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution.
Undoubtedly, whether a writ should be entertained lies at the discretion of the court
and in a given case, the High Court may decline to do so on the ground that
disputed questions of fact arise. However, it needs to be emphasized that in the
exercise of the writ jurisdiction, it would be open to the High Court to determine as to
whether the statutory provisions which guide the power of the Sub-Registrar or, as
the case may be, the Registrar to order the registration of the document have been
duly fulfilled. Even where a decree is passed by the civil court for the cancellation of
any instrument, sub-Section (2) of Section 31 of the Specific Relief Act 1963
provides that:
―31. When cancellation may be ordered.— [...]
(2) If the instrument has been registered under the Indian
Registration Act, 1908 (16 of 1908), the court shall also send
a copy of its decree to the officer in whose office the
instrument has been so registered; and such officer shall note
on the copy of the instrument contained in his books the fact
of its cancellation. ‖
C.2 Validity of the recourse by the Second Respondent
31 The Sub-Registrar before whom the sale deed was submitted for registration
declined to order the registration of the sale deed by an order dated 17 February
2012. The order of the Sub-Registrar was prefaced by the statement of the
appellant, which stated that her signatures on the sale deed had been taken forcibly.
PART C
28
Before the Sub-Registrar, the appellant had filed an objection when the sale deed
was presented for registration. The appellant, in the course of her objections before
the Sub-Registrar specifically adverted to following grievances, namely that: (i) the
second respondent had furnished false and misleading information to her; (ii) the
market value of the land admeasuring 1839.48 square metres was not less than Rs
7 crores and the sale consideration of Rs 1.6 crore was meagre; (iii) the time
stipulated in the sale deed had expired; (iv) the signatures of the appellant had been
obtained on an incomplete sale deed; (v) the signatures of the appellant were taken
without furnishing to her a chance to read or peruse the papers, and when she was
surrounded by five persons; (vi) the land area having been manipulated under the
sale deed, her residential house would also been taken away by fraud; (vii) the
boundaries mentioned in the sale deed were incorrect and did not clearly reflect the
land which was agreed to be sold; (viii) the sale deed was incomplete and all the cosharers had never entered into any partition; (ix) the sale deed would attract a
capital gains tax which would be in excess of the sale consideration; and (x) an
active forgery had been committed by the second respondent.
32 As is evident from the objections filed before the Sub-Registrar by the
appellant, it is clear that she did not deny having signed the sale deed. The essence
of her grievance was that her signatures were taken forcibly; the sale deed did not
reflect the intent of the parties in terms of the area which was intended to be sold;
the sale consideration was undervalued; the consequence of the sale deed was that
even the residential house of the appellant would be sold, contrary to her
PART C
29
understanding; and the sale deed had been procured by fraud. The order of the
Sub-Registrar makes it abundantly clear that the appellant was not ready to register
the sale deed, which was claimed to have been executed in a fraudulent manner
and whose execution was thus being denied. Registration was, therefore, refused by
the Sub-Registrar in terms of Section 35(3)(a) of the Registration Act.
33 If a person by whom the document is purported to be executed denies its
execution and registration is refused on those grounds, an appeal against the order
of the Sub-Registrar denying execution would not be maintainable under Section 72
of the Registration Act. Section 72 clearly stipulates that an appeal will lie against an
order of Sub-Registrar refusing to admit a document to registration ―except where
the refusal is made on the ground of denial of execution‖.
34 In the present case, the Sub-Registrar having specifically denied registration
in terms of Section 35(3)(a), the order was not amenable to an appeal under Section
72. However, the Registrar, in the course of entertaining the appeal, instead took
recourse to the powers entrusted under Section 73. As noted earlier in this
judgment, Section 73 empowers the Registrar where the Sub-Registrar has refused
to register a document on denial of its execution by a person purporting to have
executed it. Subsequently, the Registrar appears to have followed the procedure
which is emphasized in Section 74. Section 74 provides for a procedure where the
Registrar has a two-fold function of determining: firstly, whether the document has
been executed; and secondly, whether the requirements of the law for the time
being in force have been complied with by the applicant or the person presenting
PART C
30
document for registration, so as to entitle them to have the document registered.
Upon such an enquiry under Section 74, Section 75 enables the Registrar to order
the document to be registered if it is found that: (i) the document has been executed;
and (ii) the requirements of the law have been complied with. Section 75(4) also
allows the Registrar to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses to properly
conduct the enquiry under Section 74.
35 Undoubtedly, the power of the Registrar while dealing with an application
under Section 73 are wider that the powers which are entrusted to the Sub-Registrar
under Section 35. Under Section 35(1)(a), the registering officer shall register the
document if all the persons executing the document appear in person before the
officer and admit the execution of the document. Section 35(2) empowers the
registering officer to examine anyone present in the office, for the purpose of
satisfying himself that the persons appearing before him are the persons they
represent themselves to be. In contrast to sub-Section (1) of Section 35, sub-Section
(3) stipulates that once execution is denied by the person who purports to have
executed the document, the registering officer shall refuse to register it. On the other
hand, under Sections 73 and 74, the Registrar is entrusted with the duty to enquire
whether the document has been executed and whether all the requirements of the
law for the time being have been complied with. For the purposes of this enquiry,
Section 75(4) provides the Registrar with the power to summon and enforce the
attendance of witnesses. Thus, while the Sub-Registrar under Section 35(3)(a) has
to mandatorily refuse registration when the execution of a document is denied by the
PART C
31
person purported to have executed the document, the Registrar is entrusted with the
power to conduct an enquiry on an application under Section 73 by following the
procedure under Section 74.
36 In the present case, the appeal before the Registrar was not maintainable
under Section 72. Indeed, the appellant, in response to the memo of appeal filed by
the second respondent, specifically pleaded in her objections that ―hearing the
appeal under Section 72 of the Indian Registration Act or to deliver any judgement
will be against law‖. At the same time, however, the appellant also pleaded that she
―had full right for argument under Section 75(4) of the Indian Registration Act and
under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 from the witnesses and the appellant‖. The
Registrar is empowered to summon witnesses under Section 75(4) for the purpose
of an enquiry under Sections 73 and 74. It thus emerges that the parties proceeded
on the basis that the proceedings would be decided on the basis of an enquiry under
Section 73, and the enquiry was conducted with reference to the provisions of
Section 74. The appellant herself understood this to be the position in her objections
filed to the appeal filed by the second respondent, since she invoked her rights
under Section 75(4), which applies to enquiry proceedings under Section 74. The
appeal against the Sub-Registrar‘s order was not maintainable under Section 72.
The remedy of the second respondent, where the Sub-Registrar refused registration
on the ground that the appellant denied execution of the document, was under
Section 73. The Registrar conducted an enquiry under the provisions of sections 73
and 74. Both parties participated in the enquiry.
PART C
32
37 Mulla’s commentary on The Registration Act analyses a situation where an
application under Section 73 is wrongly labelled as an appeal under Section 72, in
the following extract14:
―If a refusal is made on the ground of denial of execution,
appeal would not lie under s 72 of the Act. When the refusal
is denied on the execution, remedy is to file an application
under s 73 of the Act. The mere fact that an application is
wrongly headed as an appeal and an erroneous section of the
statute is mentioned therein is immaterial, if in fact and in law
it is an application under s 73 of the Registration Act.‖
Similarly, in S P Sen Gupta’s commentary on the Registration Act, it is stated15:
―4. Proceeding erroneously described as "appeal" or vice
versa.-A proceeding under sec. 72 is an appeal whereas a
proceeding under sec. 73 is not an appeal; it is merely an
application before the Registrar in order to establish the
applicants right to have the document registered. It is not
always easy for the aggrieved party or even by the Registrar
to decide which of the two sections – sec. 72 or sec. 73,
would apply on a given facts circumstances. Law is meant for
doing justice. As such the substance of the proceeding, and
not its form, before the Registrar should be taken into
account. As such it would not be fatal if an appeal under sec.
72 is filed as an application under sec. 73 and vice versa.‖
38 Thus, it is clear that the mis-labelling of an application under Section 73 as an
appeal under Section 72 would by itself not vitiate the proceedings before the
Registrar. This becomes especially true when proceedings before the Registrar, in
substance, were proceedings under Section 73 itself and both the parties
acknowledged them to be so, explicitly or by their conduct. This is clearly what has

14 Justice K Kannan, Mulla’s The Registration Act (LexisNexis, 2012) pg 416 ("Mulla‟s The Registration Act‖)
15 S P Sen Gupta, Commentaries on the Registration Act, 1908 (Kamal Law House, 2017) pgs 617-618 (―S P Sen
Gupta Commentary‖)
PART C
33
happened in the present case as well, as is evident from the appellant‘s reference to
Section 75(4) and her participation in the enquiry proceedings before the District
Registrar. Therefore, we hold that the second respondent‘s mis-labelling of their
application as an appeal under Section 72 will not vitiate the proceedings which led
to the District Registrar‘s order dated 31 March 2012. Hence, for the purpose of
these proceedings, we will now proceed to analyse as to whether the District
Registrar validly passed the order directing the registration of the sale deed.
C.3 Meaning of “execution”
39 Section 35(1)(a) of the Registration Act uses the expression ―admit the
execution of the document‖, while Section 35(3)(a) uses the expression ―denies its
execution‖. Similarly, Section 72(1) has adopted the expression ―denial of
execution‖, while Section 73(1) uses the expression ―denies its execution‖. However,
the word ―execution‖ itself is not defined by the Registration Act. Before us, two
possible interpretations have been urged by the parties:
(i) First, that ―execution‖ is tantamount to ―signing‖ a document. Hence, once a
person admits to their signature on a document, they admit to having
executed it; and
(ii) Second, that ―execution‖ cannot be equated with merely signing a document.
Hence, even if a person‘s signature on the document admitted, they can still
PART C
34
deny its execution if they did not agree to or understand the contents of the
document while signing it.
We must now decide which of these two interpretations should be adopted by this
Court.
40 The first interpretation of ―execution‖ is supported by the definition provided in
the Stamp Act 189916. Section 2(12) defines ―executed‖ and ―execution‖ in the
following terms:
―(12) Executed and execution.—―Executed‖ and ―execution‖,
used with reference to instruments, mean ―signed‖ and
―signature‖ and includes attribution of electronic record within
the meaning of Section 11 of the Information Technology Act,
2000 (21 of 2000);‖
However, since the Registration Act has been enacted for a purpose different from
the Stamp Act, the definition under Stamp Act is not conclusive.
41 Black’s Law Dictionary defines the expression ―execute‖ and ―executed‖
thus17:
―execute, vb. (14c) 1. To perform or complete (a contract or
duty) <once the contract was fully executed, the parties owed
no further contractual duties to each other>…3. To make (a
legal document) valid by signing; to bring (a legal document)
into its final, legally enforceable form <each party executed
the contract without a signature witness>…
executed, adj. (16c) 1. (Of a document) that has been signed
<an executed will>…
―[T]he term 'executed' is a slippery word. Its use is to be

16 ―Stamp Act‖
17 Bryan A Garner, Black’s Law Dictionary (Thomson Reuters, 2009) pgs 649-650
PART C
35
avoided except when accompanied by explanation...A
contract is frequently said to be executed when the document
has been signed, or has been signed, sealed, and delivered.
Further, by executed contract is frequently meant one that
has been fully performed by both parties." William R. Anson,
Principles of the Law of Contract 26 n.* (Arthur l. Corbin ed.,
3d Am. ed. 1919).‖
The expression ―execute‖ has been further defined in Words and Phrases in the
following terms18:
―To complete as a legal instrument; to perform what is
required to give validity to.‖
The definitions in both these dictionaries seem to once again suggest that the
signing of a document can be equivalent to its execution. However, these definitions
are by no means definitive and cannot be taken out of context, since they also do
seem to suggest that executing an agreement is making it fully valid and legally
enforceable.
42 Mulla‟s The Registration Act (supra) notes the following in relation to the
meaning of ―execution‖19:
―Admission of Execution
…It is submitted that the mere proof or admission that a
person's signature appears on a document cannot by
itself amount to execution of the document...Where a
person had signed a document after being aware of the
nature of the document, he has executed the document, and,
it is submitted, the Registrar cannot go into the question
whether the document has been obtained by coercion; but

18 Words and Phrases (Permanent Edition) (Thomson Reuters, 2020)
19 Supra at note 15, pgs 254-256
PART C
36
when a signature has been obtained by false
representations and the ostensible executant did not
sign with the intention of being bound by the terms of the
document, such a person cannot be said to have
executed the document.‖
(emphasis supplied)
Similarly, S P Sen Gupta Commentary (supra) sets out the following position20:
―A document is liable to be set aside or declared inoperative
by a civil court when it was not voluntarily executed. But that
is an altogether different consideration nor coming within the
jurisdiction of Registering Officer. The correct legal position
seems to be that though the Registering Officer cannot
take any decision as to the legality and validity of an
instrument which has been presented for registration,
there cannot be any admission of execution when the
plea taken by the executant before the Registering
Officer, if found true, would invalidate the deed. An
execution does not mean merely signing but signing by
way of assent to the terms embodied in the document.
When the executant admits his signature on the
document but takes a further plea that his signature was
taken by force after detaining him in a room or fraud was
practised upon him in obtaining his signatures on the
deed or he was duped to sign on blank papers etc, and
there is no material before the Registering Officer to
rebut the plea of the executant, then there cannot be any
"admission” within the meaning of sec. 35(1)(a) of the Act
because the mind of the signer did not accompany the
signature…‖
(emphasis supplied)
While the above extract deals with the power of the registering officer under Section
35(1)(a), it does suggest that ―execution‖ happens when a person‘s signature on the

20 Supra at note 16, pgs 389-390, 390, 617-618
PART C
37
document is accompanied by their full consent to the contents of the document,
which they have understood before signing it.
43 This understanding of the phrase ―execution‖ is also adopted by textbooks in
relation to the law of evidence. Section 6821 of the Indian Evidence Act 187222
prescribes the requirement for proving that a document has been executed. The
proviso to Section 68 stipulates that it shall not be necessary to call an attesting
witness to prove the execution of a document if it has been registered under the
Registration Act, provided that its execution is not specifically denied by the person
who is purported to have executed it. In relation to this provision, Sarkar’s Law of
Evidence notes23:
―The term ―execution‖ is not defined in any statute. It means
completion, i.e., the last act or acts which complete a
document and in English law this is known as ―signing,
sealing and delivering.‖ The ordinary meaning of executing a
document is signing it as a consenting party thereto.
[...]
[s 67.4] Meaning and Proof of ―Execution‖
[...]
Execution consists in signing a document written out and read
over and understood and does not consist of merely signing a
name upon a blank sheet of paper...‖

21 ―68. Proof of execution of document required by law to be attested.—If a document is required by law to be
attested, it shall not be used as evidence until one attesting witness at least has been called for the purpose of
proving its execution, if there be an attesting witness alive, and subject to the process of the Court and capable of
giving evidence:
Provided that it shall not be necessary to call an attesting witness in proof of the execution of any document, not
being a will, which has been registered in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 (16 of
1908), unless its execution by the person by whom it purports to have been executed is specifically denied.‖
22 ―Evidence Act‖
23 Sudipto Sarkar and Dr. H R Jhingta, Sarkar: Law of Evidence–In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Burma, Ceylon,
Malaysia & Singapore: Volume 1 (LexisNexis, 2016)
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38
Similarly, Ratanlal and Dhirajlal‘s treatise on the law of evidence states as follows24:
――[s 67.3] Execution of Document — Meaning
[...]
Execution of a document is something different from mere
signing of the document. The term execution is not
defined...The ordinary meaning of executing a document is
signing it as a consenting party thereto...Execution of the
document means that the executant must have signed or put
his thumb mark/impression, only after the contents of the
document have been fully stated and read by the executant
before he put his signature thereon. Mere admission of the
initial by the executant would not be tantamount to an
admission of execution of the document.‖
44 If we are to now look at the relevant precedent on the subject, in Rajendra
Pratap Singh v. Rameshwar Prasad25
, the validity of a decree of the eviction under
the Bihar Buildings (Lease, Rent and Eviction) Control Act 1982 was in question
before a two-judge Bench of this Court. This Court, while considering the provisions
of the third paragraph to Section 107 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882, noted that
it required that a registered instrument for the lease of an immovable property had to
be executed both by the lessor and lessee. While elaborating on the meaning of
―executing‖, this Court held:
―11…An instrument is usually executed through multifarious
steps of different sequences. At the first instance, the parties
might deliberate upon the terms and reach an agreement.
Next, the terms so agreed upon would be reduced to writing.
Sometimes one party alone would affix the signature on it and
deliver it to the other party. Sometimes both parties would

24 N Vijayraghavan and Sharath Chandran, Ratanlal & Dhirajlal: The Law of Evidence (LexisNexis, 2021)
25 (1998) 7 SCC 602
PART C
39
affix their signature on the instrument. If the document is
required by law to be registered, both parties can be involved
in the process without perhaps obtaining the signatures of
one of them. In all such instances, the instrument can be said
to have been executed by both parties thereto. If the
instrument is signed by both parties, it is presumptive of
the fact that both of them have executed it, of course it is
only rebuttable presumption. Similarly, if an instrument is
signed by only one party, it does not mean that both parties
have not executed it together. Whether both parties have
executed the instrument will be a question of fact to be
determined on evidence if such a determination is warranted
from the pleadings of the particular suit. Merely because the
document shows only the signature of one of the parties, it is
not enough to conclude that the non-signing party has not
joined in the execution of the instrument. ‖
(emphasis supplied)
In view of the above enunciation, the Court held when the defendant in that case
had not disputed in his written statement that the lease had been validly made, it
was not be open to him to raise a contention subsequently that the instrument was
void since it had not been executed both by the lessor and the lessee. The decree
for eviction was thus upheld. However, as a general principle, the above extract from
the decision of this Court, though in a different statutory context, emphasises that
while the signing of an instrument by both the parties is presumptive of the fact that
both of them have executed it, yet this is rebuttable presumption.
45 In N.M. Ramachandraiah v. State of Karnataka26
, a Single Judge of the
Karnataka High Court, while construing power of the Registrar under Section 74 of
the Registration Act, observed:

26 2007 SCC OnLine Kar 192 (―N.M. Ramachandraiah‖)
PART C
40
―8. The answer to these questions revolve round the scope of
enquiry as contemplated u/s. 74 of the Act. In an enquiry
u/s. 74 of the Act, the Registrar should enquire whether
the document had been executed, and whether the
requirements of the law has been complied with, so as to
entitle the document to registration. The Registrar should
not only be satisfied that the party in question has signed
the document, but he should also come to the conclusion
that the signature has been affixed by the party after
understanding the contents and the terms of the
document. The Registrar should summon witnesses
required by the petitioner to prove execution. The
enquiry under the section should be made by the
Registrar himself and once after such enquiry, he is
satisfied that the document not only bears the signatures
of the executant, but it is also duly executed by the
executant, after understanding the contents and terms of
the document, he may order the document to be
registered. In the said enquiry he has no power to enter into
probabilities and surrounding circumstances. He is merely to
find out whether the document tendered actually is in the
state in which it was executed by the parties to it. The scope
of enquiry contemplated under Section 74 have been
explained in various judgments, in particular, the meaning of
the word ―executed‖.‖
(emphasis supplied)
In adopting this view, the Single Judge adverted to various judgments of the
Karnataka High Court, as well as other High Courts, which we shall now note.
46 A Division Bench of the Madras High Court in Banasettappa Laljichikkanna
v. District Registrar27 held:
―5…Section 74 enjoins upon the District Registrar to hold an
enquiry and come to the conclusion as to ‗whether a
document has been executed.‘ In the present case all that the
District Registrar has stated is that he was satisfied that the
petitioner had signed the sale deed. He should have come
to the conclusion that the signature had been affixed by

27 1965 SCC OnLine Kar 132
PART C
41
the petitioner after understanding the contents and the
tenor of the document. Execution does not mean merely
signing, but signing by way of assent to the terms of the
contract of alienation embodied in the document.‖
(emphasis supplied)
47 In Sayyapparaju Surayya v. Ramchandar Prasad Singh and others28
, a
Division Bench of the Madras High Court, while construing the provisions of Section
35(1)(a) and (b) of the Registration Act, observed:
―The admission required therefore is admission of the
execution of the document…It is not enough for the person,
who is the ostensible executant, to admit his signature on a
paper on which, it may be, the document is ultimately
engrossed. The identity of the papers on which the signature
occurs is not sufficient. If a man says that he signed a blank
paper on the representation that it was required for presenting
a petition, as in the present case or if a man signs a
completed document on the representation that his signature
or thumb impression is required as an attesting witness, that
admission of the signature or thumb impression in those
circumstances cannot be construed to be an admission of the
execution of the document. Far from its being an admission, it
is a clear and unambiguous denial of the execution of the
document. He must admit, in order to attract the provisions of
S. 35(1) that he signed the document…The admission of
execution therefore must amount to an admission that the
person admitting entered into an obligation under the
instrument; in other words, that he had executed the
document, signed it as a sale deed, mortgage deed, or a
lease deed, as the case may be.‖
48 In Jogesh Prasad Singh & others v. Ramchandar Prasad Singh and
others29
, a Division Bench of the Patna High Court noted that the meaning of the
phrase ―execution‖ of a document had been well settled by another Division Bench

28 1949 SCC OnLine Mad 227
291950 SCC OnLine Pat 31 (―Jogesh Prasad Singh‖)
PART C
42
of the High Court in Ebadut Ali v. Muhammad Fareed30. The decision of the
Division Bench in Ebadut Ali (supra), which was cited with approval in Jogesh
Prasad Singh (supra), held:
―In our view, execution consists in signing a document written
out and read over and understood, and does not consist of
merely signing a name upon a blank sheet of paper. To be
executed a document must be in existence; where there is no
document in existence, there cannot be execution…Where an
executant clearly says that he signed on blank paper and that
the document which he had authorised is not the document
which he contemplated, the statement is a denial not an
admission, of execution.‖
49 Adverting to the above decisions and to the views of the Calcutta31, Orissa32
and Assam High Court33, the Single Judge of the Karnataka High Court in N.M.
Ramachandraiah (supra) emphasized that the execution of the document does not
mean merely signing it, but signing it after having understood its contents in their
entirety:
―15. Therefore, the law is well settled. Execution of a
document does not mean merely signing, but signing by
way of assent to the terms of the contract embodied in
the document. Execution consists in signing a document
written out and read over and understood, and does not
consist of merely signing a name upon a blank sheet of
paper. It is a solemn act of the executant who must own
up the recitals in the instrument and there must be clear
evidence that he put the signature after knowing the
contents of document fully. To be executed, a document
must be in existence; where there is no document in
existence there cannot be execution. Mere proof or admission
that a person's signature appears on a document cannot by

30 AIR (3) 1916 Pat 206 : 35 Ind. Cas. 56 (―Ebadut Ali‖)
31 Mohima Chunder Dhur v. Jugul Kishore Bhutta Charji, ILR Volume VII Calcutta
32 Smt. Uma Devi v. Narayan Nayak, 1984 SCC OnLine Ori 94
33 Bhutkani Nath v. Smt. Kamaleswari Nath, AIR 1972 Assam and Nagaland 15
PART C
43
itself amount to execution of a document. Registration does
not dispense with the necessity of proof of execution when
the same is denied. Thus, execution of document is not mere
signing of it.‖
(emphasis supplied)
50 The understanding of the Karnataka High Court in N.M. Ramachandraiah
(supra) is consistent with precedents emanating from the Privy Council and various
High Courts in India. In Privy Council‘s decision in Puran Chand Nahatta v.
Monmotho Nath Mukherji and Others34
, Viscount Sumner, while construing the
provisions of Section 35 of the Registration Act, observed:
―By section 35 of the Registration Act registration is directed
when certain persons have appeared, have been duly
identified, and have admitted the execution of the document
propounded, and the necessary persons are ―the persons
executing the document‖. The appellant contends that in
these words executing means and means only “actually
signing”. Their Lordships cannot accept this. A document
is executed, when those who take benefits and obligations
under it have put or have caused to be put their names to it.
Personal signature is not required, and another person, duly
authorized, may, by writing the name of the party executing,
bring about his valid execution, and put him under the
obligations involved. Hence ‗the words person executing‖ in
the Act cannot be read merely as ―person signing‖. They
mean something more, namely, the person, who by a valid
execution enters into obligation under the instrument. When
the appearance referred to is for the purpose of admitting the
execution already accomplished, there is nothing to prevent
the executing person appearing either in person or by any
authorized and competent attorney in order to make a valid
admission. Their Lordships have failed to find in the scheme
of the Act anything repugnant to this construction. Any other
would involve risk of confusion and might even defeat the
statutory procedure by multiplying the persons, who have to
be traced and induced to attend, either by themselves or by

34 1927 SCC OnLine PC 100
PART C
44
some representative.‖
(emphasis supplied)
51 In Ghasita Ram Bajaj v. Raj Kamal Radio Electronic35, a Single Judge of
the Delhi High Court, while differentiating between signatures on ordinary
documents and documents stamped in accordance with the law relating to
negotiation of instruments, observed that in the case of ordinary documents:
―8…The meaning of execution of a document ordinarily
implies that a person making his signature by way of
execution knew or should have known the nature of the
document which he was signing…‖
52 In Kamlabai v. Shantirai36, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court, in
the context of Section 68 of the Evidence Act, held:
―30…In Sarkar's Evidence Act, page 639, the meaning and
the proof of the word ―execution‖ has been set out. It says
“Executed” means completed. „Execution‟ is the last act
or series of acts which completes it. Execution consists
in signing a document written out and read over and
understood and does not consist of merely signing a
name upon a blank sheet of paper. To be executed, a
document must be in existence; where there is no
document in existence, there can be no execution”.
31. It seems to us plain that a person cannot be said to
execute a document where he does not do so with the
intention of making it. This may appear to be simple, but it is
clearly, in our opinion, full of meaning and import. The word
“execution” in a sense means the making of a document,
and a person can be said to have made or authorised a
document where with the intention and knowledge of
bringing into existence a particular kind of document he
prepares or gets prepared, such a document and signs it

35 1973 SCC OnLine Del 109
36 1980 SCC OnLine Bom 152
PART C
45
in token of his having accepted that document, with a
desire to bring it into existence. Mere signing of a
document without the intention of bringing that
document into existence, meaning thereby giving effect
to it would not properly speaking attract the expression
“execution”…‖
(emphasis supplied)
53 In S. Ramamurthy v. Jayalakshmi Ammal37
, a Single Judge of the Madras
High Court, while interpreting Section 35 of the Registration Act, observed:
―11. Let us first examine the meaning of ―admission of the
execution of a document for the purpose of section 35 of the
Registration Act,‖ The execution of a document is not mere
signing of it. It is a solemn act of the executant who must own
up the recitals in the instrument and there must be clear
evidence that he put his signature in a document after
knowing fully its contents. The executant of a document must,
after fully understanding the contents and the tenor of the
document, put his signature or affix his thumb-impression. In
other words, the execution of a document does not mean
merely signing but signing by way of assent to the terms of
the contract of alienation embodied in the document.‖
54 In Union Bank of India v. Dhian Pati38, a Single Judge of the Himachal
Pradesh High Court had to determine whether a deed of mortgage had been validly
executed. Since the Indian Contract Act 1872 and the Registration Act did not define
―execution‖, the Single Judge deduced the meaning of the phrase in dictionaries,
legal lexicons and precedent. Thereafter, the Single Judge concluded:
―21. Thus, on the basis of the aforesaid meaning of the words
―execution of document‖ it only signifies that the person
executing such a document should sign such a document

37 1990 SCC OnLine Mad 501
38 1996 SCC OnLine HP 90
PART C
46
with free consent. The execution of a document would be
complete in case the executant had signed the document
voluntarily, without any duress, knowing the contents of the
document.‖
55 While interpreting the provisions of the Evidence Act, In Re Kuttadan
Velayudhan39
, a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court determined whether the
admission of signature on a document was tantamount to admission of its execution.
After perusing the decisions of the Kerala High Court and other High Court across
India, the Division Bench held:
―9. To sign means to affix the signature. But when it comes
to the signing of a written instrument, it implies more
than the act of affixing a signature. It implies more than the
clerical act of writing the name. The intention of the person
signing is important. The person should have affixed the
signature to the instrument in token of an intention to be
bound by its conditions. It has been said that for a signing
consists of both the act of writing a person's name and the
intention in doing this to execute, authenticate or to sign as a
witness. The execution of a deed or other instrument includes
the performance of all acts which may be necessary to render
it complete as a deed or an instrument importing the intended
obligation of every act required to give the instrument validity,
or to carry it into effect or to give it the forms required to
render it valid. Thus, the signature is an acknowledgment
that the person signing has agreed to the terms of the
document. This can be achieved only if a person signs
after the documents is prepared and the terms are known
to the person signing. In that view of the matter, mere
putting of signature cannot be said to be execution of the
document.‖
(emphasis supplied)

39 2001 SCC OnLine Ker 14
PART C
47
56 In Bank of Baroda v. Shree Moti Industries40, a Single Judge of the
Bombay High Court, in the context of proving a document under the Evidence Act,
noted:
―21…The term ―execution‖ is not defined in any statute. It
means completion, i.e. the last act or acts which complete a
document and in English Law this is known as ―signing,
sealing and delivering‖. The ordinary meaning of executing a
document is signing it as a consenting party thereto.‖
57 The ―execution‖ of a document does not stand admitted merely because a
person admits to having signed the document. Such an interpretation accounts for
circumstances where an individual signs a blank paper and it is later converted into
a different document, or when an individual is made to sign a document without fully
understanding its contents. Adopting a contrary interpretation would unfairly put the
burden upon the person denying execution to challenge the registration before a civil
court or a writ court, since registration will have to be allowed once the signature has
been admitted.
58 In giving meaning to the expression ―execute‖ in the provisions of the
Registration Act, it is necessary to adopt a purposive construction to protect,
facilitate and achieve the object of registration. In Suraj Lamps and Industries
Private Limited v. State of Haryana & Another41, Justice R V Raveendran,
speaking for a two-judge Bench of this Court, highlighted the purpose of registration:
―18. Registration provides safety and security to transactions

40 2008 SCC OnLine Bom 486
41 (2009) 7 SCC 363
PART C
48
relating to immovable property, even if the document is lost or
destroyed. It gives publicity and public exposure to
documents thereby preventing forgeries and frauds in regard
to transactions and execution of documents. Registration
provides information to people who may deal with a property,
as to the nature and extent of the rights which persons may
have, affecting that property. In other words, it enables people
to find out whether any particular property with which they are
concerned, has been subjected to any legal obligation or
liability and who is or are the person(s) presently having right,
title, and interest in the property. It gives solemnity of form
and perpetuate documents which are of legal importance or
relevance by recording them, where people may see the
record and enquire and ascertain what the particulars are and
as far as land is concerned what obligations exist with regard
to them. It ensures that every person dealing with immovable
property can rely with confidence upon the statements
contained in the registers (maintained under the said Act) as
a full and complete account of all transactions by which the
title to the property may be affected and secure
extracts/copies duly certified.‖
59 In Bharat Indu and ors v. Hakim Mohammad Hamid Ali Khan42, Lord
Philimore, speaking for the Privy Council, emphasized the purpose of the provisions
of the Registration Act in the following terms:
―The provisions of the Registration Act are very carefully
designed to prevent forgeries and the procurement of
conveyances or mortgages by fraud or undue influence, and
though it may seem somewhat technical to insist upon exact
compliance with the provisions of the Act, it is necessary so to
do. Their Lordships have already given their sanction to the
necessity of strict compliance with these forms in the case
which was referred to at the Bar, Jambu Parshad v.
Muhammad Aftab Ali Khan [L.R. 42 I.A. 22 : s.c. I.L.R. 37 All.
49; 19 C.W.N. 282 (1914).].‖

42 1920 SCC OnLine PC 37
PART C
49
60 The Registration Act exists so that information about documents can be put
into the public domain, where it can be accessed by anyone in order to prevent
forgeries and fraud, and so that individuals can be aware of the status of properties.
If the interpretation conflating signing with execution is adopted, it would ensure that
the Sub-Registrars/Registrars will continuously end up registering documents whose
validity will inevitably be then disputed in a civil suit or a writ petition. While the suit
or writ proceedings continue, the document would remain on the public records as a
registered instrument, which has the potential to cause more disruption. Hence,
such an interpretation should not be adopted by this Court.
61 However, while adopting the current interpretation – that the admission of
one‘s signature on a document is not equivalent to admission of its execution – it is
important to consider the power of the Sub-Registrar/Registrar and their procedures
under the Registration Act.
62 In Smt. Raisa Begam v. District Registrar, Saharanpur and Anr.43, a
Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court observed:
―33. Section 35 requires for satisfaction of the Registrar
about execution of the document. If a document is properly
presented and its execution is admitted by the competent
person, as prescribed in statute, the Registrar has no option
but to register the document. The purpose of Registration Act
was to mitigate litigation in regard to property which in the
absence of any documentary evidence was creating lot of
administrative and otherwise problem to the then
Government. It neither confers title upon the concerned
person nor validates it but only recognizes execution of
document relating to a transaction pertaining to property of

43 2011 SCC OnLine All 2335
PART C
50
the person concerned and acts like evidence to prove such
transaction in the manner it is written in the document and
registered with the Registrar.‖
The Single Judge then adverted to the UP Registration Manual, more particularly
paragraphs 285, 304, 305, 306 and 307. Paragraphs 285 and 304, which are extracted
in the judgment of the Single Judge, are reproduced below:
―285. When a document is presented for registration the
points requiring the attention of the registering officer may be
summarized as follows:
(1) Whether he has jurisdiction to register the document?
(2) Whether the document is time-barred?
(3) Whether the document is free from the objections in
sections 19, 20 and 21?
(4) Whether the document is properly stamped?
(5) Whether the document is presented by a proper person?
(6) Whether the document was executed by the persons by
whom it purports to have been executed? ‖
[...]
304. When a document is accepted for registration the
prescribed fees should be levied and the necessary entries
made in the fees book. The counterfoil receipt should then be
prepared and the receipts for the document and the fees
delivered to the presenter. The registering officers should
then, with as little delay as possible, enquire whether the
document was executed by the alleged executant, and satisfy
himself as to the identity of the person appearing before him
to admit execution. He should also satisfy himself that the
person admitting execution has read and understood the
contents of the document and should if the person is illiterate
or cannot read and understand the document will explain the
nature and contents to him. If the presenter be the executant,
or his representative, assign or agent, and if such executant,
representative, assign or agent be present, the registering
officer shall make the necessary enquiry at once. When the
registering officer is not personally acquainted with
PART C
51
executants, he shall require them to produce persons to
testify to their identity. Such persons shall, if possible, be
persons known to the registering officer personally, or failing
these, persons of apparent respectability. Witnesses who are
unknown to the registering officer shall have their thumb
impressions recorded as in the case of executants (vide Rule
308, so far as it is applicable). Any distinctive physical
peculiarity or marked deformity in a party or witness should
be noted in the endorsement. But a descriptive roll need not
be recorded except in suspicious cases. This procedure must
be in addition to, and not take the place of, the procedure
required by section 34, that the registering officer shall satisfy
himself of their identity. Such descriptive rolls afford in
themselves no proof identity.‖
The Single Judge held that where a serious question of fraud and manipulation was
raised in a summary proceeding, such as the proceeding before the District
Registrar, it would not have been a substitute to decide a serious civil dispute which
has the effect of transferring an immoveable property from its owners to others.
Hence, when the document was not presented by the proper person before the SubRegistrar and the executant denied its execution, it was held that the remedy lay in
filing a civil suit for declaration and specific performance, and not in the summary
proceedings under Sections 72 and 73 of the Registration Act.
63 Section 73 of the Registration Act envisages that an application may be
submitted to the Registrar by a person in order to establish their rights to have a
document registered, in a situation where the Sub-Registrar has refused to register
the document on the ground that the person by whom it purports to have been
executed has denied its execution. Section 74 then lays down the procedure which
is to be followed by the Registrar, which contemplates an enquiry by the Registrar
PART C
52
into whether the document has been executed and whether requirements of law for
the time being in force have been complied with on the part of the applicant or the
person presenting the document for registration. When the twin requirements of
clauses (a) and (b) of Section 74 are found by the Registrar to have been fulfilled,
sub-Section (1) of Section 75 provides that the Registrar shall order the document
be registered. Sub-Section (4) of Section 75 stipulates that for the purpose of the
enquiry under Section 74, the Registrar may summon and enforce the attendance of
witnesses and compel them to give evidence as if he is a civil court. The Registrar is
also empowered to impose the obligation of paying the costs of the enquiry on a
party, and such costs are to be recovered as if they have been charged in a suit
under the CPC. Thus, sub-Section (4) of Section 75 incorporates a deeming fiction
from two perspectives – first, in empowering the Registrar to summon and enforce
the attendance of witnesses and for compelling them to give evidence ―as if he were
a civil court‖; and second, in awarding costs which become recoverable ―as if they
have been awarded in a suit‖ under the CPC. The process which is conducted by
the Registrar for the purpose of an enquiry under Section 74 cannot be equated to
the powers of the civil court, though certain powers which are entrusted to a civil
court are vested with the Registrar by the provisions of Section 75(4). A quasijudicial function is entrusted to the Registrar for the purpose of conducting an
enquiry under Section 74. Where the Registrar refuses to register a document under
Sections 72 or 76, no appeal lies against such an order. Section 77, however,
provides that when the Registrar refuses to order the document to be registered, any
person claiming under such document or its representative, assign or agents may
PART C
53
institute a suit before the civil court within the stipulated time for a decree directing
that the document shall be registered. It is thus clear that the Registrar, when he
conducts an enquiry under Section 74, does not stand constituted as a civil court.
The enquiry before the Registrar is summary in nature. The decision of the Registrar
in ordering document to be registered, or for that matter in refusing to register a
document, is not conclusive and is amenable to judicial review.
64 Therefore, in a situation where an individual admits their signature on a
document but denies its execution, the Sub-Registrar is bound to refuse registration
in accordance with Sections 35(3)(a) of the Registration Act. Subsequently, if an
application if filed under Section 73, the Registrar is entrusted with the power of
conducting an enquiry of a quasi-judicial nature under Section 74. If the Registrar
passes an order refusing registration under Section 76, the party presenting the
document for registration has the remedy of filing a civil suit under Section 77 of the
Registration Act, where a competent civil court will be able to adjudicate upon the
question of fact conclusively.
65 Finally, our attention has been drawn to Section 58(2) of the Registration Act,
which stipulates as follows:
―58. Particulars to be endorsed on documents admitted to
registration.— […]
(2) If any person admitting the execution of a document
refuses to endorse the same, the registering officer shall
nevertheless register if, but shall at the same time endorse a
note of such refusal.‖
PART C
54
It is submitted on behalf of the second respondent that above provision must be
read along with paragraph 241 of the UP Registration Manual, which provides:
―241. Registering officers not concerned with validity of
documents. Registering officers should bear in mind that
they are in no way concerned with the validity of documents
brought to them for registration, and that it would be wrong for
them to refuse to register on any such grounds as the
following: (1) that the executants was dealing with property
not belonging to him; (2) that the instrument infringed the
rights of third persons not parties to the transaction; (3) that
the transaction was fraudulent or opposed to public policy; (4)
that the executants had not agreed to certain conditions of the
document; (5) that the executants was not acquainted with
the conditions of the document; (6) that the executants
declared that he had been deceived into executing; (7) that
the executants is blind and cannot count. These and such like
are matters for decision, if necessary, by competent courts of
law, and registering officers, as such, have nothing to do with
them. If the document be presented in a proper manner, by a
competent person, at the proper office, within the time
allowed by law, and if the registering officer be satisfied that
the alleged executants is the person the represents himself to
be, and if such person admits execution, the registering
officer is bound to register the document without regard to its
possible effects. But the registering officer shall make a note
of such objections of the kinds mentioned in grounds (1) to (7)
above, as may by brought to his notice in the endorsement
required by Section 58.‖
Reliance has been placed on the above provisions of the UP Registration Manual to
highlight that an individual‘s refusal predicated upon any of the above-mentioned
seven grounds shall not impact its ―execution‖ but shall only require an endorsement
under Section 58(2). We are inclined to disagree with this submission. For the
reasons already mentioned in the judgment, we are inclined to accept the
interpretation of the term ―execution‖ to mean that a person has signed a document
PART C
55
after having fully understood it and consented to its terms. Hence, since paragraph
241 and Section 58(2) only come into the picture when execution is admitted, they
are not relevant at the present stage.
66 At this stage, it would be material to refer to a judgment of this Court in Satya
Pal Anand (supra), where the three-judge Bench was constituted following a
difference of opinion between two Judges. In that case, the mother of the appellant
had been allotted a plot of land by a registered deed by a cooperative society. After
her death, the cooperative society executed a deed of extinguishment unilaterally
cancelling the allotment of the plot and executed a registered deed in favour of the
fifth respondent. The appellant objected to the transaction, following which a
tripartite deed of compromise was reached with the society and the fifth respondent.
Notwithstanding this, the appellant moved the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative
Societies. During the pendency of the dispute, the society permitted the transfer of
the plot to the sixth and seventh respondents. The appellant then moved an
application before the Sub-Registrar for cancelling the registration of the deed of
extinguishment and the two subsequent deeds, but this application was rejected by
the Sub-Registrar, inter alia, on the ground that he had no jurisdiction to cancel the
registration of a registered document. The appellant then moved the Inspector
General of Registration under Section 69 of the Registration Act, who rejected the
application. The writ petition filed by the appellant before the High Court under
Article 226, seeking a declaration of the nullity of the deed of extinguishment and the
two subsequent deeds, was also dismissed by the High Court. In this backdrop,
PART C
56
Justice A M Khanwilkar, speaking for the three-judge Bench, observed that the
appellant had entered into a deed of compromise and accepted valuable
consideration, in spite of which he had instituted a dispute under the Madhya
Pradesh Cooperative Societies Act 1960. Further, pending the dispute, an
application was filed by the appellant before the Sub-Registrar seeking the same
relief of cancellation of the registration of the deed of extinguishment and the
subsequent deeds in favour of the third party. In view of these circumstances, this
Court held that the High Court was justified in declining to entertain a writ petition at
the instance of the appellant:
―25. It is a well-established position that the remedy of writ
under Article 226 of the Constitution of India is extraordinary
and discretionary. In exercise of writ jurisdiction, the High
Court cannot be oblivious to the conduct of the party invoking
that remedy. The fact that the party may have several
remedies for the same cause of action, he must elect his
remedy and cannot be permitted to indulge in multiplicity of
actions. The exercise of discretion to issue a writ is a matter
of granting equitable relief. It is a remedy in equity. In the
present case, the High Court declined to interfere at the
instance of the appellant having noticed the above clinching
facts. No fault can be found with the approach of the High
Court in refusing to exercise its writ jurisdiction because of the
conduct of the appellant in pursuing multiple proceedings for
the same relief and also because the appellant had an
alternative and efficacious statutory remedy to which he has
already resorted to…‖
Having held that the writ petition before the High Court was not maintainable for the
above reasons, this Court also observed that the role of the Sub-Registrar stood
discharged once the document had been registered, since there is no express
PART C
57
provision in the Registration Act which empowers him to recall the registration. This
Court held:
―34. The role of the Sub-Registrar (Registration) stands
discharged, once the document is registered (see Raja
Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan [State of U.P. v. Raja
Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan, AIR 1961 SC 787] )…There
is no express provision in the 1908 Act which empowers the
Registrar to recall such registration. 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. In absence of
any express provision in that behalf, 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.‖
This Court observed that Section 35 of the Registration Act does not confer a quasijudicial power on the registering officer, who is not expected to evaluate title or
irregularity in the document. As such, the validity of the registered deed of
extinguishment could be placed in issue only before a court of competent
jurisdiction. On the above facts, this Court upheld the dismissal of the writ petition by
the High Court, with an opportunity being granted to the appellant to pursue a
remedy in accordance with law. Therefore, the decision in Satya Pal Anand (supra)
has held that once a deed of extinguishment had been registered by the registering
officer, the registering officer had no power to recall it nor was it amenable to the
supervisory control of the Inspector General of Registration under Section 69 of the
Registration Act.
PART C
58
67 The aforesaid decision does not deal with a situation such as the present
case, where Sub-Registrar had in the first instance declined to order the registration
of the document and the order of the Sub-Registrar was questioned in an appeal
under Section 72 filed by the second respondent. The Registrar, in the course of the
appellate proceedings, purported to hold an enquiry of the nature contemplated
under Section 74 of the Registration Act and concluded that the execution of the
sale deed had been established and it was liable to be registered. The Registrar was
evidently seized of a case where the Sub-Registrar had declined to order
registration on the ground that the execution of the document was denied by the
appellant under Section 35(3)(a). While exercising the jurisdiction pursuant to the
invocation of the remedy under Section 72, the Registrar relied on the statements of
the scribe of the sale deed and the attesting witnesses to the effect that the sale
deed had been signed by the appellant and that the appellant had also affixed her
fingerprints on it. However, as rightly pointed out by the appellant, the signing of the
sale deed by her and the affixation of her fingerprints is not in dispute. The real issue
is whether there was due execution of the sale deed by the appellant. The appellant
in the course of her objections specifically pleaded fraud, submitting that:
(i) The area which was reflected in the sale deed which was presented for
registration was at variance that what had actually been agreed between the
parties;
(ii) The boundaries as reflected in the sale deed did not correspond with the land
agreed to be sold;
PART C
59
(iii)The sale consideration was seriously undervalued;
(iv)The purported sale deed was resulting not only in the transfer of excessive
land but also the residential house which was in occupation of the appellant
after the death of her husband; and
(v) The full consideration payable under the terms of the transaction had not
been received by the appellant.
The plea of the appellant, that the purported sale deed though signed by her was
procured by fraud and undue influence, was a matter which raised a serious
substantive dispute. In support of her contentions, the appellant has also adduced
before us the inspection report by the Sub-Registrar and the Naib Tahsildar.
However, we are inclined to hold that we cannot decide on the merits of the dispute
at this stage, since the Registrar clearly exceeded his jurisdiction by adjudicating on
the issue of fraud and undue influence.
68 The Registrar purported to exercise the powers conferred under Section 74
and arrived at a finding that the sale deed had been duly signed by the appellant
and was therefore liable to be registered. However, the objections of the appellant
raised serious issues of a triable nature which could only have been addressed
before and adjudicated upon by a court of competent civil jurisdiction. As a matter of
fact, during the course of the hearing, this Court has been apprised of the fact that in
respect of the remaining area of 1000 square meters in the front portion of the land,
a suit for specific performance44 has been instituted by the second respondent,

44 Original Suit No 568 of 2014
PART C
60
resulting in a decree for specific performance dated 16 November 2018. As regards
the subject matter of the sale deed, the second respondent has instituted a suit for
possession before the Civil Judge, Senior Division Fast Track Court45, where certain
proceedings are pending. In this view of the matter, we are clearly of the opinion that
the Registrar in the present case acted contrary to law by directing the sale deed to
be registered.
69 In the impugned judgment, the Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court has
observed that registration does not depend upon the consent of the executant but on
the Registrar‘s finding that the executant had actually signed the document. The
High Court held that having found in the course of the enquiry that the sale deed
was duly prepared by a scribe, that the attesting witness had stated that the sale
deed was signed by the appellant and she also placed her fingerprints in their
presence, it was open to the Registrar to direct registration in spite of a denial of its
execution by the appellant. In doing so, the Single Judge of the High Court has, with
respect, conflated the mere signing of the sale deed with its execution. For the
reasons mentioned earlier in this judgment, such an approach is completely
erroneous and cannot be upheld.

45 Suit No 264 of 2016
PART D
61
D Conclusion
70 For the above reasons, we allow the appeal and set aside the impugned
judgment and order of the Single Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad
dated 31 May 2018 in the appellant‘s writ petition. The order passed by the District
Registrar on 31 March 2012 shall, in the circumstances, stand set aside. However, it
is clarified that the present judgment shall not affect any of the civil/criminal
proceedings that are pending in respect of the subject matter of the transaction. In
the circumstances of the case, there shall be no order as to costs.
71 Pending application(s), if any, stand disposed of.
..…………...…...….......………………........J.
 [Dr Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud]
…..…..…....…........……………….…........J.
 [A S Bopanna]
…..…..…....…........……………….…........J.
 [Bela M Trivedi]
New Delhi;
May 10, 2022

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