24 July 2021 11:57 AM GMT
The Kerala High Court earlier this week ruled that the petitioner cannot be asked to pay a fine for delayed presentation of a document under the Registration Act if such delay was caused due to the wrongs committed by Sub Registrar. Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V while allowing the petition also held that reasons for refusal to register a deed under section 71 of the Registration Act should...
The Kerala High Court earlier this week ruled that the petitioner cannot be asked to pay a fine for delayed presentation of a document under the Registration Act if such delay was caused due to the wrongs committed by Sub Registrar.
Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan V while allowing the petition also held that reasons for refusal to register a deed under section 71 of the Registration Act should be recorded.
The petitioner approached the Court aggrieved by the Sub Registrar's decision to impose a fine under Rule 44 of Registration Rules on him for delayed presentation of sale deed for registration. Advocate S Renjith appeared on behalf of the petitioner.
The primary argument presented by him was that he had presented the deed well within the time limit mentioned under the Act and that the Sub Registrar had grossly misinterpreted the statutory provisions to impose the aforementioned fine.
The property owned by the petitioner was acquired to set up a pipeline by the Kerala Water Authority. As part of rehabilitation measures, a property measuring 1.62 Ares was assigned to him through a sale deed. In the said deed, it was equivocally stated that the entire rights over the property stood transferred to the petitioner and that he is entitled to enjoy the same without any restrictions whatsoever.
The petitioner with the intention of assigning the property, executed a sale deed, paid the requisite amount by way of Stamp Duty, and presented the same for registration. However, the Sub- Registrar responded that since the property originally belonged to the Water Authority, the petitioner had to obtain a No-Objection certificate from the District Collector.
The District Collector reverted that since absolute rights were transferred to the petitioner, NOC was not required for registration. Accordingly, the petitioner returned to the Sub Registrar and enquired about the status of registration. He was then informed that he had to pay a fine for delayed presentation since the time period of four months as provided under Section 23 of the Act had expired.
Government Pleader A.C Vidya represented the respondents in the matter.
The petitioner relied on the maxim "Nul prendra advantage de son tort demesne" which translates into 'no one shall take advantage of his own wrong' to support his case. Reliance was placed on the decision of OPAL Builders Private Ltd., Mumbai v State of Maharashtra [2016 KHC 2276] wherein it was held that if the authorities take time to adjudicate the stamp duty, the applicant cannot be made to face the consequences of the same.
The Single Bench observed, "Section 71 (3) places an embargo on the registering officer and he is interdicted from accepting any document for registration involving transfer including a contract for the sale of immovable property if the property involved therein is vested in the Government of Kerala or public sector undertakings operating in the State or local self-government institutions unless it is accompanied by a no-objection certificate issued by an officer authorised by the State Government."
It was evident from the documents placed on record that the entire rights over the property were vested with the petitioner and neither the State nor the KWA had any rights over the same. He had absolute authority to transfer the same free of all encumbrances.
On that note, the Court agreed that the Sub Registrar had misinterpreted the statutory provisions and refused registration.
"As rightly argued by the learned Counsel, this is where the maxim "Nul prendra advantage de son tort demesne" comes in. The 1st respondent cannot be permitted to take advantage of his own wrong. The petitioner cannot be asked to pay a fine for delayed presentation of the document as it was owing to the wrongs committed by the 1st respondent that registration was delayed."
The petitioner was therefore entitled to succeed. He was accordingly directed to present the documents for registration before the Sub Registrar within 10 days from 20th July 2021. When this was done, the Sub Registrar was required to register the same in strict adherence to the relevant statutory provisions taking that the document was presented well within time.
Case Title: M.A. Joy v. Sub Registrar & Ors
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