The Registration Act, 1908 is a Consolidating Act and not an Amending Act. It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir . The Preamble of the Act states "An Act to consolidate that enactments relating to the Registration of Documents". The object of such consolidation is the reduction in to a systematic form of the whole provisions contained in number of statues relating to the Registration of documents. Registration system was almost unknown to the Indian people due to the lofty ethics. But time gradually began to change and the need for compulsory registration was felt, especially in the declining Moghul period of the 18 th Century so that no one could claim any interest on any forged document or Sanad during or on the eve of the British Rule. Provincial laws were passed from time to time for the establishment of offices of registration.
By Act VIII of 1871, the office of the Registrar General was abolished under the altered designation of "Inspector General of Registration" as an office of record and registry and the limitation of the duties to Inspection and General Superintendence.
After several amendments, the present Registration Act (XVI of 1908) came into force on 1 st January 1908 . The provisions relating to the registration of documents were scattered about in seven enactments and the object of passing of this Act was to collect these provisions and incorporate them in one Act. Even after that it has gone through several amendments and the Registration Act,1908 was adapted with some changes finally.
The objects of the law of registration are :
1) to provide conclusive guarantee of the genuineness of document
2) to afford publicity to transactions
3) to prevent frauds
4) to afford facility of ascertaining whether a property has already been dealt with and
5) to afford security of title deeds and facility of proving titles in case the original deeds are lost or destroyed.
But registration does not effect to the following :-
6) Registration is not by itself absolute proof of the execution of a document
7) mere registration does not prove title nor prove bonafides;
8) registration does not confer validity upon an instrument which is otherwise ultravires or illegal or fraudulent. There are XV parts and 91 sections in the Registration Act, which deals with the Registration Establishment, registrable documents – compulsory & optional registration, time for presentation of documents; presenting documents for registration, enforcing the appearance of the executants and witnesses, presenting wills and authorities to adopt, deposit of wills, effects of registration and non-registration, the duties and powers of Registering officers, refusal to register etc.
Some of the important sections of the registration Act are:-
| Section 16 A
|| Keeping of Books in computer floppies, diskettes or any other electronic form; |
| Section 17
|| Documents of which registration is compulsory, |
| Section 18
|| Documents of which registration is optional, |
| Section 23
|| Time for presenting documents, |
| Section 27
|| Wills may be presented at any ti |
| Section 28
|| Place for registering documents relating to land/immovable property. |
| Section 30
|| Regarding registration by Registrars in certain cases has been omitted and in West Bengal section 30A and 30B have been inserted for registration by Registrar of Assurances , Kolkata in respect of properties situated in any part of West Bengal and in any part of India in cases of deed of mortage and reconveyance deed executed by an employee of a Government, a statutory body or a local authority. |
| Section 31
|| Registration at Private residence. |
| Section 32A
|| has been inserted by Act, 48 of 2001 (with effect from 24.9.2001) or compulsory affixing photographs and fingerprints to the documents. |
There are many other important sections and in case of any difficulty the said Act may be consulted.