SUPREME COURT OF INDIA – ADMISSIBILITY OF UNREGISTERED DOCUMENTS IN EVIDENCE – ANY DOCUMENT WHICH HAS EFFECT OF CREATING OR TAKING AWAY ANY RIGHTS IN RESPECT OF AN IMMOVABLE PROPERTY MUST BE REGISTERED

Supreme Court of India

Date of Judgement: 08.10.2015

Section 17 (1) (b) of the Registration Act mandates that any document which has the effect of creating and taking away the rights in respect of an immovable property must be registered and Section 49 of the Act imposes bar on the admissibility of an unregistered document and deals with the documents that are required to be registered u/s 17 of the Act. [Para 15 of the Judgement]

The plaintiff/respondent No.1 took objection with regard to admissibility of Exhibits B-21 and B-22 on the ground that whole contents referred to in the Memorandum dated 05/6/1975 discloses that the second party thereto relinquished her right through the said documents. Therefore, the Agreement dated 04/06/1975 and Memorandum dated 05/06/1975 have to be construed as relinquishment deeds. A relinquishment deed which is compulsorily registerable document under Sec 17 (b) of the Registration Act, 1908 and hence, the unregistered document is not admissible in evidence. The plea of the defendants is that the recitals of the said document discloses past transaction with reference to division of property and further it discloses the intention of the parties to enter into a separate agreement for sharing the properties and that the terms therein have to be implemented in future. [Para 8 of the Judgement]

It is well settled that the nomenclature given to the document is not decisive factor but the nature and substance of the transaction has to be determined with reference to the terms of the documents and that the admissibility of a document is entirely dependent upon the recitals contained in that document but not on the basis of the pleadings set up by the party who seeks to introduce the document in question. A thorough reading of both Exhibits B-21 and B-22 makes it very clear that there is relinquishment of right in respect of immovable property through a document which is compulsorily registerable document and if the same is not registered, becomes an inadmissible document as envisaged under Section 49 of the Registration Act. Hence, Exhibits B-21 and B-22 are the documents which squarely fall within the ambit of section 17 (i) (b) of the Registration Act and hence are compulsorily registerable documents and the same are inadmissible in evidence for the purpose of proving the factum of partition between the parties. We are of the considered opinion that Exhibits B 21 and B22 are not admissible in evidence for the purpose of proving primary purpose of partition. [Para 17 of the Judgement]

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Advocate Amaresh Singh

Advocate Amaresh Singh is a lawyer practicing in Supreme Court of India, Delhi High Court and various District Courts including Saket Court, Tis Hazari Court, Karkardooma Court, Patiala House Court and Dwarka Court. (M) 9999678571

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