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  • The Apex Court in Veena Singh (D) vs District Registrar/Additional Collector held that mere signature does not imply execution of a sale deed.
  • It was observed that though the word ‘execution’ itself has not been defined in the Registration Act, it was affirmed that mere signature on the documents does not imply execution of a deed if it was not understood or agreed to. 
  • The appellant in the instant case has filed an appeal before the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the judgment of dismissing a petition under Article 226 by the Hon’ble Allahabad HC. 
  • Veena Singh, the appellant, had entered into two agreements with the developer- Gujral Associates to sell her husband’s property. 
  • The execution and registration of the sale deed formed the bedrock of the dispute present case. A sale deed allegedly had been executed by the appellant in the favour of the respondent based upon the agreement to sell and upon the payment of the remaining sale consideration. 
  • Subsequently, the respondent filed an application to seek permission to execute the sale deed before the Sub-Registrar, Bareilly to which the appellant submitted an objection with a request not to execute the incomplete and forged sale deed in favor of the respondent. She further stated that the respondent had been harassing her to sign the deed forcibly and had furnished misleading and false information to make her sign.  Based on the contention made by the appellant, the Sub-Registrar declined the sale deed registration. 
  • The declination of sale deed registration was set aside by the District Registrar when an appeal was filed by the respondent u/s 72 of the Registration Act. 
  • The order by the District Registrar was challenged by Veena Singh before the High Court. The High Court dismissed the writ petition and gave an opportunity to the appellant to move the Civil Court for a declaration that the sale deed had been obtained fraudulently. 
  • The main issue which arose before the Apex Court was whether the signature on the document implies executing the deed even if the person hasn’t understood or agreed to the content in the document
  • Another contention that arose was whether the recourse taken by the respondent to Section 72, Registration Act, against the order of the Sub-Registrar refusing registration on basis of the appellant’s denial of execution would be deprived of a remedy.
  • The meaning of ‘execution’ was discussed in great detail and was concluded that the signature of a person on a document does not amount to an admission of its execution.
  • Scrutinizing several previously decided cases and understanding the facts and circumstances of the present case, the bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, AS Bopanna, and Bela M. Trivedi observed that Section 35, Registration Act does not confer a quasi-judicial power on the Registering Officer to evaluate title or irregularity in the document. 
  • The Court held that the objections of the appellant raised serious issues that could only have been addressed before the competent civil court and set aside the decision of the High Court and allowed the petition. 
  • Hence the appeal was allowed, and the impugned order of the High Court was set aside. 
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