Chh HC | Sub-Registrar appointed under Registration Act is not empowered to make roving enquiry qua title of vendor; FIR against Sub-Registrar quashed

Chhattisgarh High Court: Sanjay K. Agarwal, J. allowed a petition filed by a Sub-Registrar duly appointed under Section 6 of the Registration Act, 1908, who was implicated in an FIR registered for the commission of the offences punishable under Sections 420, 120-B and 424 read with Section 34 IPC, and quashed the FIR insofar the petitioner was concerned.

While discharging his duties as Sub-Registrar, the petitioner allowed a sale deed to be registered. The said transaction regarding the subject land off-shot into the registration of FIR against the vendors alleging that the subject land was transferred fraudulently. The petitioner was also implicated in the FIR as an accused. Soumitra Kesharwani, Advocate for the petitioner, submitted that the petitioner purely acted in the capacity of Sub-Registrar under the Registration Act, and therefore, the FIR against him should be quashed. Per contra, S.K. Agrawal, Government Advocate submitted that the prosecution against the petitioner was strictly in accordance with the law and no exception could be taken against it. While, Govind Dewangan, Advocate for the vendors supported the case of the petitioner.

The question for consideration before the High Court was — whether the petitioner/Sub-Registrar while registering the sale deed, was required to make roving enquiry upon the absolute title of the vendors qua subject land before making registration of sale deed in favour of vendees?

The Court perused Sections 34(3) and 35(1) of the Registration Act and noted: “A conjoint reading of Sections 34 and 35 shows that the scope of enquiry to be made by the registering officer is limited by the Act, restricted to the factum of execution and the identity of the person executing document, other than the levy of stamp duty, collection of registration charges and the completion of procedural formalities such as attestation, etc. There is nothing in this provision requiring the registering officer to make a roving enquiry about the title of the person with regard to the property which is being sold by the sale of deed. In my considered opinion, provisions contained in Section 34(1) do not cast any duty on the registering officer to make an enquiry qua title of the person transferring the subject land to the transferee/purchaser”.

After referring to a conspectus of authorities, the Court reached a conclusion that registration of sale deed allowed by the petitioner/Sub-Registrar while acting in the capacity of Sub-Registrar was in accordance with law. Therefore, it was held that the FIR insofar as the petitioner was concerned, was liable to be quashed and orders were made accordingly. [Daduram Sidar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC OnLine Chh 59, decided on 20-06-2019]

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