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  • The Law of Registration of documents is governed by The Registration Act, of 1908.
  • A few documents are mandatory to be registered for it to be valid in the eyes of the law.
  • Acts under which the documents are compulsory to be registered.
  • Documents that are valid for Registration according to the Act.
  • Documents required to undergo the process of registration of documents.


After several amendments to the Indian Registration Act which was the Act 16 of 1864, Acts 20 of 1866, 8 of 1871, 3 of 1877 12 of 1879, 19 of 1883, 7 of 1886, 7 of 1888, 13 of 1889, 12 of 1891 and 17 of 1899, the recent act came into force on 01.01.1908 and applies to the whole of India and subsequently, it was extended to other states (from 01.01.1909 in Andhra Pradesh) and as per the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India, the powers, rules and provisions granted in the said Act will apply to both the Union and the State government. 


The Registration Act of 1908 is a special act dealing with the subject of registration of documents. 

i)    The Stamp Act and the Registration Act are in no way identical but they form Legislation to documents. Both documents aim to prove their validity in the eyes of the law and not the contents of the document. Although both the Stamp Act and The Registration Act impose serious non-compliance with few provisions that are mandatory for its implementation, these Acts are also similar to some extent. Both are complimentary to each other.

ii)    Registration of every document is not necessary but doing so affirms the authenticity and helps in avoiding legal process. However, the Act provides for mandatory registration of certain documents to protect them from any type of fraud.  The Registration of certain documents is compulsory under Section 17 and the effect of non-registration is mentioned under Section 49.         


As per Section 17 of the Registration Act, any document (apart from testamentary instruments) that aims to establish, declare, assign, restrict, or eliminate "any right, title, or interest" in immovable property, whether vested or contingent, with a value of less than or equal to 100, is considered to be fraudulent.

The under-mentioned documents though not compulsorily registerable under Section 17 of the Registration Act are compulsorily registerable under other provisions of the enactments: 

Section 5 of Indian Trust Act, 1882.

Section 3 of Religious Societies Act, 1880.

Section 25 of Indian Contract Act, 1872.

Section 47 of the Indian Easements Act, 1882.

Section 54, 59, and 118 of the Transfer of Property Act.


Section 18 provides for optional registration of some documents such as Adoption Deed, instruments relating to shares in the joint stock company debentures issued by the joint stock company, Will, Lease of immovable property not exceeding 1 year, Document of a past transaction Power of Attorney concerning movable property, decree or order of court comprising an immovable property valued below Rs. 100, Certificate of Sale granted, Agreement of Mortgage and Promissory note, Instrument of partition by Revenue Officer.

As per section 23 of this Act no documents except the document of ‘Will’ shall be allowed for registration unless it’s presented within four months from the date of its execution. The document must be provided for registration and re-registration within four months of the date of each execution if it is done by multiple people at various periods according to section 24.

If any document executed or decree made is not presented for registration within the prescribed period due to any unavoidable accident or urgent necessity then the registrar may direct to present such document for registration within four months with a payment of a fine not exceeding ten times the amount of registration fees as per section 25. If a document, has been executed by any of the parties outside India for registration after the expiry of the given period, then such document must be presented to the Registering Officer for registration within three months after it arrives in India.

As per Section 28 of the Registration Act, 1908, the documents shall be presented for registration within the office of a Sub-Registrar in whose sub-district the whole or some of the relevant property is located.  Nowadays many states have implemented the Registration of documents under the “anywhere” option in their respective Districts of the jurisdictional Sub Registrar Office.

The officer may on special circumstances attend at the residence of any person who desires to deposit a will or present a document for registration as per section 31. However, the Andhra Pradesh State Government has quashed this system in its laws. 


According to section 32 of this Act, every person presenting any document shall affix Photographs and fingerprints to the documents, a person executing or claiming under the same, or, in the case of a copy of an order or decree, claiming under the order or decree, the assignee of such a person.  A will or authority presented by the testator or the donor for registration shall be registered in the same manner as any other document provided that:

1.    The will was executed by the testator or donor,

2.    The testator or donor is dead,

3.    The person presenting the will or authority under section 40 is permitted to present the same.

Section 49 of this act states that no document required to be registered under section 17 of this Act shall be valid for the creation, operation, declaration, limitation, and assignment of any right, title, or interest in any immovable property unless it’s registered within the specified period. The document cannot be received as evidence of any transaction affecting such property or conferring such power.

The required amount of fees must be paid during the presentation of documents under section 80.

The Registration Act is a Central Act and individual States have the power to amend the Rules under the Registration Act.

Source: Indian Registration Act by several Authors.

Reviewed by Adv. Nishtha Wadhwa, Content Writer and Reviewer, LCI

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