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Prevent registration of bogus documents to safeguard the interest of public and their properties: Madras High Court

In order to reduce the number of fraudulent deeds being registered where land sharks or land grabbers artificially create encumbrance over properties of third parties, a government circular must rightly be issued that validates the sale of property. A division bench of N Kirubakaran J and P Velmurugan J, while adjudicating the matter in Ammasi Kutti v. S Manoharan [W.A.No.1989 of 2019]; dealt with the issue of land grabbing.

Appellants got their sale registered in their favour from one Mr.P.R.Subramaniyan, S/o.Rasappa Gounder. The property originally belonged to Mr.Rasappa Gounder and he died intestate. The widow and the daughter executed a sale deed in favour of the petitioner. When the sale deed was presented for registration before the official respondents, they refused to register the sale deed by issuing a memo and the said order was challenged before the district registrar who by way of an order rejected the appeal on the ground that Mr.P.R.Subramaniyan, already sold the entire extent of property to the appellants and therefore, the document cannot be registered. The said order was challenged before the learned single Judge. On contest, the learned single Judge allowed the Writ Petition, holding that the Registering Authorities has got no power and passed a cryptic order. The said order is being challenged before this Court.

The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner stated that the petitioner had purchased the property as early as on 04.07.2002 and he has been in possession and enjoyment of the property. Having known all these facts, the widow and the sisters kept quiet for more than 13 years and subsequently, attempted to sell away the property to the 1st respondent/original writ petitioner and that was rightly prevented by the 2nd and 3rd respondent by refusing to register the said document. The learned counsel representing the respondent stated that the registration authorities has got no power to make enquiry with regard to the title of the property and they cannot refuse the registration on the ground that the property was already conveyed or sold. He would rely upon the Rule 55 of the Tamil Nadu Registration Rules to contend that the scope of enquiry to be conducted by the registering authority is only confined to five grounds which have been enumerated therein and beyond that the registration authority has got no power to refuse the registration on the ground that the property was already sold or there is no title to the executants. Further, this Court in aware of very many fraudulent deeds, especially sale deeds being registered and knocking away the property of innocent owners behind their back, in view of the sky rocketing of real estate prices.

The Court upon considering the aforesaid facts, allowed the appeal and stated that “No doubt, the circular is in the nature of executive instruction which needs to be incorporated in Rules. It is expected that the Government would incorporate the said circular in the Registration Rules by way of an amendment, so that the circular would get a statutory backing and on a later date, it would not be found fault with. Therefore, the State Government is to frame appropriate Rules incorporating the circular within a period of six (6) months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order and file a compliance report before this Court.”

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