29 Jan 2121

While registering any document due diligence must be exercised by Sub-Registrar - Karnataka High Court

Case : Bhuvaneshwar v. State of Karnataka CRL.P. NO. 101934 of 2020

Court : Karnataka High Court

Bench : Justice P. Krishna Bhat

Decided on : 29 Jan 2121

The Relevant Statutes

Section 482 of Code of the Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 420, 465, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Rule 73, 74, 71(d)(i), (iii) and (iv) of the Karnataka Registration Rules, 1965

Brief facts of the case

1. A complaint was registered by Chidanand Ajjappa Mali who was a resident of Jamakhandi on 25th February 2020 in which he alleged that a compromise decree passed by the court, in property bearing survey no. 33/3 land measuring 10 guntas and inland bearing survey no. 33/12 land measuring 10 guntas overall measurings 20 guntas of Hunnur village was allotted to him and Vijayalakshmi Mendigiri who is his cousin and he also got his share separately in the said decree.

2. Further Chidanand Ajjappa Mali alleged that the entire property which includes the share allotted to him still stands in revenue records in name of Vijayalakshmi Mendigiri. On 10th January 2020, Chidanand Ajjappa Mali went to the office of the sub-registrar of Jamakhandi and there he came to the knowledge of the fact that both the items of land allotted to him as per the compromise decree were sold by Vijayalakshmi Mendigiri through sale deeds registered in the office of sub-registrar, Jamakhandi.

3. After inspection of documents in sub-registrar’s office Chidanand Ajjappa Mali came to know that a stamp paper of Rs. 200 was obtained on 27th December 2019 from a society in Jamakhandi and that document was prepared in order to give the effect that Chidanand Ajjappa Mali gave consent for the sale of his share in a property in favour of Toufik Moulasab. He also came to know that the said consent letter also contained a recital in which it was mentioned that “the property would take considerably longer time to get mutated in favour of Chidanand Ajjappa Mali, so for the time being consent letter was given in favour of Vijayalakshmi Mendigiri and to execute the said sale deed in favour of Toufik Moulasab”.

4. The signature of Chidanand Ajjappa Mali in the consent letter was forged and he didn’t sign any consent letter. False recitals were also made in the document regarding a huge amount of money was given to Chidanand Ajjappa Mali for giving the said consent letter. Further, it was alleged that 2 sale deeds were presented before Bhuvaneshwar who was sub-registrar of Jamakhandi on 31st December 2021 purporting the document to be registered which was allotted in favour of Vijayalakshmi Mendigiri and it also contained forged signatures of Chidanand Ajjappa Mali.

5. The details of names of the persons who signed as witnesses to the consent letter as well as the sale deed. It can be inferred that Bhuvaneshwar, the sub-registrar of Jamakhandi colluded with the rest of the accused in committing the offence.

The Issue of the Case

Whether sub-registrar was correct in registering documents?

The Observations of the Court

1. The Honorable Karnataka High Court opined that the petitioner is working in an official capacity as a sub-registrar, Jamakhandi and under rule 73 f Karnataka Registration Rules, 1965 it is mentioned that it’s not the Sub-Registrar’s duty to inquire into the validity of documents and since the documents were presented before him, he in performance of his duties only registered the documents and has not committed any offence alleged in FIR under section 420, 465, 468, 471 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

2. On the basis of the abovementioned allegation petitioner should not face investigation as it would be an abuse of the process of law and is a fit case for quashing of FIR. The further Honorable Karnataka High Court opined that in the sale deed there’s a clear recitation that complainant consented to accused no. 1 to execute the sale deed in favour of accused no. 2.

3. The Honorable Karnataka High Court also opined that Sub-Registrar being the petitioner in this case, in spite of clear recitation by executants and being fully aware of the fact that accused no. 1 was not having any power of attorney by the real owner who is the complainant and therefore the facts make clear that sub-registrar was complicit in the commission of an offence and investigation should be proceeded with and the petition is liable to be dismissed.

4. The Honorable Karnataka High Court relied on rule 73 of Karnataka Registration Rules, 1965 as it makes clear that accused no. 1 don’t have authority to execute the sale deeds or present them for execution. The facts stated above with regard to the sale deed must alert the Sub-Registrar regarding the fraudulent nature of the document without any inquiry. It would be very naïve to believe that he was not aware of the fact that accused no. 1 was not having the authority as he didn’t have power of attorney from the real owner i.e. complainant.

5. The Honorable Karnataka High Court opined that cannot act mechanically or as a ‘postman’ in registering the document. He should act with due diligence while registering any document in order to satisfy the rights of the person and they are in their capacity to appear for registering their documents, namely, as executants or ‘in token of his assent to the transaction’.

6. The Honorable Karnataka High Court opined that Petitioner is a public servant who is a repository of such power bypassing or turning Nelson’s eye to the same. In the performance of his duties, he committed illegal omissions as he colluded the fact in order to save other accused. So, it would be abetting for the commission of an offence and there is reasonable ground to believe that the petitioner is also involved in the commission of an offence and therefore investigation should be proceeded with and the petition should be dismissed.

7. The Honorable Karnataka High Court relied on the judgment of Amish Devgan v. Union of India and others reported in (2021) 1 SCC 1 in this case it was held that this is not a fit case in which FIR should be quashed.

The Decision held by the court

As FIR can’t be quashed under section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 because the petitioner was involved in the offence. So, the petition was dismissed.

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