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Some provisions of the Indian Registration Act, 1908

[In this article some of the important provisions of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 which are part of the syllabi (Sections 16 to 18, 40 to 47 and 60) for Departmental Examination for Inspector of Income Tax are discussed. To achieve simplicity some finer aspects are removed to give a firsthand account of the provisions of the Act which are important part of the said syllabi. In case of any doubt please refer to the Act]

The word ‘Indian’ is omitted from the name of the Act [by Act No. 45 of 1969]. Now the name of the Act is the Registration Act, 1908.

Register-books and fire-proof boxes
For the office of every registering officer the books necessary for the purposes of this Act shall be provided by the State Government. With the sanction of the State Government the Inspector-General shall prescribe forms. The books shall contain prescribed forms and the pages shall be consecutively numbered in print and it shall be certified on the title-page by the officer by whom such books are issued. The State Government shall (i) supply the office of every Registrar with a fire-proof box, and (ii) in each district make suitable provision for the safe custody of the records connected with the registration of documents in such district. [Refer section 16]

Documents of which registration is compulsory
(1) The following documents shall be registered, namely:-
(a) instruments of gift of immovable property;
(b) other non-testamentary instruments which operate to create, (in present or in future), any right, or interest,(vested or contingent) of the value of one hundred rupees, and upwards, in immovable property;
(c) non-testamentary instruments which acknowledge the receipt or payment of any consideration on account of the creation or extinction of any such right, or interest; and
(d) leases of immovable property from year to year, or for any term exceeding one year, or reserving a yearly rent;
(e) non-testamentary instruments transferring any order of a court or any award when such order or award operates to create (in present or in future), any right, or interest, (vested or contingent), of the value of one hundred rupees and upwards, to or in immovable property. However the State Government may, exempt from the operation of this sub-section any leases executed in any district, or part of a district, the terms granted by which do not exceed five years and the annual rent reserved by which do not exceed fifty rupees.
(2) Nothing in clauses (b) and (c) of sub-section (1) applies to-
(i) any composition-deed; or
(ii) any instrument relating to shares in a joint Stock Company, even if that the assets of such company consist in whole or in part of immovable property; or
(iii) any debenture issued by any such company and not creating, or extinguishing any right, or interest, in immovable property except insofar as it entitles the holder to the security afforded by a registered instrument whereby the company has mortgaged, or otherwise transferred the whole or part of its immovable property to trustees upon trust for the benefit of the holders of such debentures; or
(iv) any endorsement upon or transfer of any debenture issued by any such company; or
(v) any document not itself creating, or extinguishing any right, or interest of the value of one hundred rupees and upwards to or in immovable property, but merely creating a right to obtain another document which will, when executed, create, or extinguish any such right, or interest; or
(vi) any order of a court except an order expressed to be made on a compromise and comprising immovable property other than that which is the subject-matter of the suit or proceeding;] or
(vii) any grant of immovable property by government; or
(viii) any instrument of partition made by a revenue-officer; or
(ix) any order granting a loan granted under the Land Improvement Act, 1871, or the Land Improvement Loans Act, 1883; or the Agriculturists Loans Act, 1884, or instrument for securing the repayment of a loan made under that Act; or
(xa) any order made under the Charitable Endowments Act, 1890, vesting any property in a Treasurer of Charitable Endowments or
(xi) any endorsement on a mortgage-deed acknowledging the payment of the whole or any part of the mortgage-money, and any other receipt for payment of money due under a mortgage when the receipt does not purport to extinguish the mortgage; or
(xii) any certificate of sale granted to the purchaser of any property sold by public auction by a civil or revenue-officer.
(3) Authorities to adopt a son and not conferred by a will, shall also be registered. [Refer section 17]

Documents of which registration is optional
Any of the following documents may be registered under this Act, namely:-
(a) instruments (other than instruments of gift and wills) which operate to create, (in present or in future) any right, or interest, (vested or contingent), of a value less than one hundred rupees, to or in immovable property;
(b) instruments acknowledging the receipt or payment of any consideration on account of the creation, or extinction of any such right, or interest;
(c) leases of immovable property for any term not exceeding one year, and leases exempted under section 17;
(cc) instruments transferring any order of a court or any award when such order or award operates to create, (in present or in future), any right, or interest, (vested or contingent), of a value less than one hundred rupees, to or in immovable property;]
(d) instruments (other than wills) which operate to create, or extinguish any right, or interest to or in movable property;
(e) wills; and
(f) all other documents not required by section 17 to be registered.[Refer section 18]

Persons entitled to present Wills and authorities to adopt
The testator, or after his death any person claiming as executor under a will, may present it to any Registrar or Sub-Registrar for registration. The donor, or after his death the donee, of any authority to adopt, or the adoptive son, may present it to any Registrar or Sub-Registrar for registration. [Refer section 40]

Registration of Wills and authorities to adopt
A will or an authority to adopt presented for registration by the testator or donor, may be registered in the same manner as any other document. A will or authority to adopt presented for registration by any other person entitled to present it shall be registered if the registering officer is satisfied that (a) the will or authority was executed by the testator or donor, (b) the testator or donor is dead; and (c) the person presenting is entitled to present the will or authority under section 40. [Refer section 41]

Deposit of Wills
Any testator may, either personally or by duly authorised agent, deposit with any Registrar his will in a sealed cover superscribed with the name of the testator and that of his agent (if any) and with a statement of the nature of the document. [Refer section 42]

Procedure on deposit of Wills
On receiving such cover, the Registrar, if satisfied that the person presenting the same for deposit is the testator or his agent, shall transcribe in his Register-book No.5 the superscription aforesaid, and shall note in the same book and on the said cover the year, month, day and hour of such presentation and receipt, and the names of any persons who may testify to the identity of the testator or his agent, and any legible inscription which may be on the seal of the cover. The Registrar shall then place and retain the sealed cover in his fireproof box. [Refer section 43]

Withdrawal of sealed cover deposited under section 42
If the testator who has deposited such cover wishes to withdraw it, he may apply, either personally or by duly authorised agent, to the Registrar who holds it in deposit, and such Registrar, if satisfied that the applicant is actually the testator or his agent, shall deliver the cover accordingly. [Refer section 44]

Proceedings on death of depositor
If, on the death of a testator who has deposited a sealed cover under section 42, application be made to the Registrar who holds it in deposit to open the same, and if the Registrar is satisfied that the testator is dead, he shall, in the applicant's presence, open the cover, and, at the applicant's expense, cause the contents thereof to be copied into his Book No.3. When such copy has been made, the Registrar shall re-deposit the original will. [Refer section 45]

Saving of certain enactments and powers of courts
Nothing hereinbefore contained shall affect the provisions of section 259 of the Indian Succession Act, 1865, or of section 81 of the Probate and Administration Act, 1881, or the power of any court by order to compel the production of any will. When any such order is made the Registrar shall, unless the will has been already copied under section 45, open the cover and cause the will to be copied into his Book No.3 and make a notice on such copy that the original has been removed in to court in pursuance of the order aforesaid. [Refer section 46]

Time from which registered document operates
A registered document shall operate from the time from which it would have commenced to operate if no registration thereof had been required or made, and not from the time of its registration. [Refer section 47]

Certificate of registration
After complying with the provisions of sections 34, 35, 58 and 59 as apply to any document presented for registration, the registering officer shall endorse thereon a certificate containing the word "registered ", together with the number and page of the book in which the document has been copied. Such certificate shall be signed, sealed and dated by the registering officer, and shall then be admissible for the purpose of proving that the document has been duly registered in manner provided by this Act. [Refer section 60]

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