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In order to get benefits of Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, the document relied upon must be a registered document: High Court of Delhi

Any unregistered document cannot be looked into by the court and be relied upon on or taken into evidence in view of Section 17(1A) read with Section 49 of the Registration Act. The benefit of Section 53A could be given if and only if the alleged Agreement to Sell cum receipt satisfies the provisions of Section 17(1) A of the Registration Act. These were stated by High Court of Delhi, consisting Justice Subramonium Prasad in the case of Joginder Tuli vs. State NCT of Delhi & Ors. [W.P.(CRL) 1006/2020] on 17.01.2022.

The facts of the case are that the petitioner entered into an Agreement to Sell with one Ravinder Kumar Chugh (now deceased) for purchase of one shop for the sum of Rs.7,20,000. It is stated that the possession of the said property was not handed over to him because the family of Ravinder Kumar Chugh (since deceased) had entered into a collaboration agreement with a builder named M/s Rock Contractors Private Limited and that the said Rock Contractors Private Limited did not construct the said premises. The petitioner entered into Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the said Ravinder Kumar Chugh. The MoU notes that the vacant possession of the property has been handed over to the petitioner. It is stated that after an altercation took place, the police came to the scene of disturbance and asked the Petitioner to show the title documents of the property and the Petitioner supplied the title documents to the Police to demonstrate that he had purchased the property from one Ravinder Singh Chugh. The petitioner mentioned that the property was sealed following the orders of the monitoring committee constituted by the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the property was de-sealed by the order of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (in short ‘MCD’). The Petitioner wrote a letter to the Commissioner of Delhi Police alleging that he was threatened and was spoken to in a derogatory language at the Police Station. The Petitioner urged the Commissioner of Police to lodge an FIR against K.L. Bakshi’s representatives under Sections 294, 504 and 506 IPC as he was being threatened by them.

The Counsel for the petitioner stated that the petitioner had entered into an Agreement to Sell and that the possession of the property could not be handed over because the property was under construction. An MoU was entered into between the petitioner and Ravinder Kumar Chugh for which he paid full consideration of the amount and further the vacant possession of the property was handed over to the petitioner. It was submitted that he was called to the police station frequently despite submitting the relevant documents concerning the property. Further, the police have not taken the offenders into custody and that three Investigating Officers have been changed in the matter so far and every newly appointed I.O. asks for the same property papers repeatedly. It was contended that action should be taken against the police official for restraining him from entering his own premises.

The Counsel for the respondent stated that the petitioner was asked to produce the documents and he took some time for producing the documents. She stated that instead of producing the documents, he filed a complaint. She further submitted that other than an unstamped and unregistered MoU, there was nothing to show that the petitioner was in possession of the property. She also stated that no MCD tax receipts, electricity bills or details of payment of rent by tenant etc. was shown by the petitioner to show his possession of the area. It was contended that in the absence of any possession, there is no necessity of conducting any vigilance inquiry. It was also stated that in any event, the property subsequently has been sold to some other person and the building has been demolished.

The High Court of Delhi held that in order to give benefits of Section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, the document relied upon must be a registered document. Any unregistered document cannot be looked into by the court and cannot be relied upon on or taken into evidence in view of Section 17(1A) read with Section 49 of the Registration Act. Thus, benefit of Section 53A could have been given to the respondent, if and only if the alleged Agreement to Sell cum receipt satisfied the provisions of Section 17(1) A of the Registration Act. Had the petitioner been in lawful possession, he definitely would have filed a suit under Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act within six months. The Court stated that the present petition looked like an attempt by the petitioner to get the possession of the property and to get over the limitation for filing the suit. Therefore, the writ petition was dismissed with the above observations along with pending applications.

Judgment reviewed by Shristi Suman. Read Judgment

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