Unregistered lease of agricultural land

Bar on unregistered document under Registration Act, 1908

Section 49 of Registration Act, 1908:

Effect of non-registration of documents required to be registered.—No document required by section 17 or by any provision of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882)], to be registered shall—
(a) affect any immovable property comprised therein, or
(b) confer any power to adopt, or
(c) be received as evidence of any transaction affecting such property or conferring such power, unless it has been registered: 54 Provided that an unregistered document affecting immovable property and required by this Act or the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882), to be registered may be received as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance under Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1877 (3 of 1877) 55, 56  or as evidence of any collateral transaction not required to be effected by registered instrument.

State Amendment Uttar Pradesh: In section 49,—
(i) in the first paragraph, after the words “or by any provision of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882” insert the words “or of any other law for the time being in force”,
(ii) substitute clause (b) as under: “(b) confer any power or create any right or relationship, or”,
(iii) in clause (c), after the words “such power”, insert the words “or creating such right or relationship”,
(iv) in the proviso, omit the words “as evidence of a contract in a suit for specific performance under Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1877, or”. [Vide Uttar Pradesh Act 57 of 1976, sec. 34 (w.e.f. 1-1-1977)].

Unregistered lease is worse than oral lease:

By this document [Annexure P-2] Phoolchand states that he has received Rs.2000/- from Yashchandra and that he has permitted Yashchandra to enclose and cultivate 1/3rd of his land measuring 24 acres and cultivate the same and only Rs. 500/- would be deducted. Even after payment of the full amount of Rs. 2000/-, Yashchandra would be entitled to cultivate the land for a period of 10 years. This document is signed only by Phoolchand and it is neither witnessed by anybody nor registered.

This document transfers an interest in immovable property of more than rupees hundred. It may be true that under the provisions of the Code oral leases of agricultural holdings are permissible, but once the lease is created by a document then the same has to be registered under the Registration Act. This document is an unregistered document. The courts below have come to the conclusion that this document is an ante-dated document. Therefore, this document cannot be looked into for deciding whether this document creates any right, title or interest in the appellants. In our view, in the absence of any registration or any attesting witness, the document could have easily been manipulated by Phoolchand and the plaintiff by ante-dating it.

[Source: Yashchandra vs. State of MP., decided by SC on September 20 2017]

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