The Registration act, 1908 deals with the rules and regulation relating to the registration of a legal document. Registration is the process of recording and safeguarding original copies of a document with a recognized officer along with other necessary information. There are certain types of document which are required to be compulsorily registered, which are dealt by Section 17 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908.
Registration of a document is deemed too prevent fraud. One of the main objectives of registering a document is to bring in notice to the general public that such a document has been executed. A registered document does not confer any title over the property as per the registered document, but it acts as an evidence that such a document have been registered, which can further be used to establish the claim over the property as per the registered document.

Section 17 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 deals with the compulsory registration of a document. The test for it is to look at the intention of the parties as expressed in that document. The material for consideration under the compulsory registration of a document as per section 17(1) of the act involves certain documents that need to be registered compulsory:

  • Documents or records pertaining to gift deed of immovable property are required to be compulsorily registered.
  • Documents that limit, assign, or create an individual’s interest in the immovable property involving a transaction that has a value of more than one hundred rupees. It is required by this section to compulsorily register such a document that creates an interest in immovable property in present or in future having a value above one hundred rupees.
  • Lease documents for the purpose of leasing an immovable property on yearly basis or against yearly rent are compulsorily required to be registered under this provision.
  • Such documents that acknowledge the receipt or payment of any kind of registration needs to be compulsorily registered.
  • Documents of any decree or order of a court or an arbitral award which create a title or interest in an immovable property of rupees one hundred or more.

The following points highlight the scope of the registration act:

  • In a situation, where the terms of a document render it to be compulsorily registered as per section 17 of the act, it cannot be brought out of the purview of this section merely by stating that it does not specify the said property as per the requirements of section 21.
  • Documents that form a contract are required to be registered compulsorily and also they must comply with all the acts and procedures which will assist in securing registration of the documents.
  • Documents of a settlement deed of an immovable property are required to be registered for the purpose of transfer or division of a property or title.
  • It is to be understood that in a situation where an award was granted before the enforcement of the Amendment of 1929 in the Registration Act, then the non-registration of the same will not affect its validity.
  • Registration of a document is not required in the circumstances where a part of the compromise related to the property which is not related to the subject matter of the suit.
  • In circumstances where the registration of a document of a contract is necessary, it is essential that the parties to the contract put the best of their efforts necessary to get the documents registered.

In the case of In the case of Suraj Lamp and Industries Pvt. Ltd. vs. State of Haryana and Another Hon’ble Supreme Court laid down the objective of Registration of a document.
The Court said that the intention behind the enactment of The Registration Act, 1908, was to provide orderliness, discipline and protection from fraud and forgery of documents of transfer, in regard to transactions relating to immovable property. Therefore, certain documents related to the transaction of an immovable property are required to be compulsorily registered. Registering a document also helps in court of law for making a claim as it acts as reliable evidence if the document is registered.

In the case of Narinder Singh Rao v. Avm Mahinder Singh Rao & Ors, Supreme Court highlighted the importance of Section 17. In this case, the Appellant’s father left a piece of paper according to which if he died, his wife would be entitled to receive the entire property. That document was not registered and was only signed by a single witness. After the death of the father, appellant’s mother made a Will, which gave the entire property to one of her nine children. The appellant claimed that as the Will was not registered under the Indian Registration Act of 1908, it could not be regarded as a legitimate transfer of property.
The Supreme Court held that, a will has to be attested by two witnesses in order to be legitimate and in order to be a lawful property transfer; it must be registered according to the provisions of Indian Registration Act of 1908.
This case lays down the importance and necessity of Registration of documents as in cases of disputes a registered Will, is always going to have an upper hand. Therefore, Section 17 is regarded as one of the most important provision under of the Indian Registration Act, 1908.

Section 17, by making registration compulsory, not only puts an obligation but also it ensures to prevent unlawful activities and frauds. In other words, this section provides with precautions against the disputes that may arise in the future if the documents are not registered.

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