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Singh (NA)     21 June 2017

Validity of unregistered agreement to sell

Buyer (X) entered into an Agreement to Sell with the Builder (B) to purchase a floor in the property constructed and owned by B. X in good faith made part payment to B and took the physical possession of the flat and started living with his family in the flat and continued paying the balance amount in instalments. After paying few instalments to B, X came to know that there is a suit pending in the court over the issue of title between B and some 3rd person, and the court has already passed status quo order with regard to title. On coming to know about the pending suit, X immediately stopped making payments to B and asked B to make the title good as claimed by him in the said Agreement to Sell that the property is free from litigation, encumbrances etc. B is claiming although there is a pending suit but status quo is not there and is forcing X to settle the dues and get the property registered. B is taking the guarantee that he will get the property transferred and registered in the name of X despite the pending suit once the amount is paid in full.

Requesting the Experts to advice on the following questions in the light of the abovementioned matter:

1. In the light of the fact that the Agreement to Sell is unregistered and only a photocopy is available with X, what action X can take to safeguard his interest in the property and the protect the payment he has paid to B?

2. How can X verify whether status quo has been issued over the property?

3. In case status quo is not there, should X pay the balance amount and proceed with the sale?


 5 Replies

Ms.Usha Kapoor (CEO)     21 June 2017

Unregistered  Agreement is valid up to 4 months of its creation. Aftr that iut is invaid. IT is not admissible as evidence in a court of law. It is compulsorily regisgterable. Otherwise we can't endforce it.

The extracts of The Registration Act, 1908 may be referred to know the difference in between Registered and Unregistered Document: Effect of non-registration of documents required to be registered No document required by section 17 1*[or by any provisions 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: 1*[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 suit for specific performance under Chapter II of the Specific Relief Act, 1877 (1 of 1877), or as evidence of part performance of a contract for the purposes of section 53A of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 (4 of 1882), or as evidence of any collateral transaction not required to be effected by registered instrument.] Certain registered documents relating to land to take effect against unregistered documents. (1) Every document of the kinds mentioned in clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d) of section 17, sub-section (1), and clauses (a) and (b) of section 18, shall, if duly registered, take effect as regards the property comprised therein, against every unregistered document relating to the same property, and not being a decree or order, whether such unregistered document be of the same nature as the registered document or not. (2) Nothing in sub-section (1) applies to leases exempted under the proviso to sub-section (1) of section 17 or to any document mentioned in sub-section (2) of the same section, or to any registered document which had not priority under the law in force at the commencement of this Act. Explanation.--In cases where Act No. 16 of 1864 or the Indian Registration Act, 1866 (20 of 1866), was in force in the place and at the time in and at which such unregistered document was executed, "unregistered" means not registered according to such Act, and, where the document is executed after the first day of July, 1.Bcan puit in n application to the court to add him as  a party to the suit  on the ground that he i s a buyer in good faith.court would decide which right  belongs to which party. There he would find out Status quo was issued or not. If status quo is  there based on law of equity he can get back  hjis payment,interest and damages from frauster seller .If statuas quo is not there it is better to avoid this sale.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     21 June 2017

'Buyer Beware' applies to property deals.


One should always obtain proper legal opinion from a local  counsel of unshakable repute and integrity specializing in revenue/property/civil matters, before signing/paying.


It can defend the long term interest and hard earned monies.

Kumar Doab (FIN)     21 June 2017

Ideally original should have been with buyer.

Statues can be checked from court of law.

Proper legal ooinion should be obtained, as already posted.

Arjun Kohli   21 June 2017


In the above-mentioned case, the property purchased by X is subject to a pending suit and Doctrine of Lis Pendens(S. 52 of Transfer of Property Act) prohibits any transaction over the same. Further, the Court has also passed an order of Status quo, which prohibits any dealing with the property that is the subject matter of the current suit.

1. X can file the suit for specific performance u/s 53A (Doctrine of Part Performance). The payment of installments is a concrete indication of X’s willingness to perform his/her end of the contract and therefore, it is perfectly in line with the relief provided by the Doctrine. The Amendment of 2001 to the Registrations Act only states that an unregistered agreement of sale cannot be relied upon as an evidence, but nothing prohibits a party to such an agreement from filing a suit for specific performance, and the same was held in the case of Ram Kishan And Another vs Bijender Mann Alias Vijender Mann on 12 October, 2012.

2. It is usually only the parties in the suit that can lawfully inspect the orders issued in a pending suit. Hence, X will first have to file an application for Joinder as a Necessary party to the relevant suit and then X will be allowed to inspect the records of the pending case, or even the records with the Land Registrar to ascertain whether any order of Status quo has been issued or not.

3. In my opinion, whether Status quo order has been issued or not, if the property involved is actually the subject matter of a dispute regarding the title of the same, pending in a Court, Doctrine of Lis Pendens inherently prohibits any dealing over such property and X, being a subsequent transferee in this case, will be bound by the final decision of the Court in such a suit. Further, the agreement being unregistered, B can’t enforce the payment of any balance by X. However, if the suit is later decided in B’s favor, B can lawfully file for an eviction of X. Also, X, despite paying the balance money, won’t be able to retain his title in the property if the Court rules against B.

There are quite a lot of technical intricacies involved in this matter and therefore, if this is a reality based query, the concerned person should take appropriate legal assistance.


vijay kumar (Tutor)     13 August 2019

@Ms.Usha Kapoor

there are contradictory information floating around on the internet, some are saying validity is 3 years.

could you tell me where it has been written that validity of unregistered agreement is 4 months or 3 years as the case may be?



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