According to the State Amendment Bill to the Registration Act, 1908, (a Central legislation), a registering officer shall refuse to register a forged document. Certain other document types including those related to transactions that are prohibited by any Central or State Act shall also be refused to be registered.
A Registrar may also cancel the registration of a document in case of contravention of rules, as per the amendment. An appeal against such cancellation could be made to the Inspector General of Registration and the next level shall be the state government.
Every registering officer and every person entrusted with registering documents, if they register documents in violation of norms, they shall be “punishable with imprisonment for a term which may be extended to three years, or with fine or with both.”
Such norms include the newly introduced provisions in the Amendment Bill against registration of forged documents. The state of objects of the Bill said that despite efforts by the government, fraudulent registrations of documents through forged sale deeds encumbered properties, causing a lot of suffering to the real land owners.
Several circulars have been issued by the Inspector General of Registration (IGoR) in regard to verification of original title deeds, encumbrance certificates, revenue records etc before registration by the Registering Officers to prevent fraud, forgery and impersonation in registration of immovable properties.
Despite precautionary measures, registration of forged documents continued to take place and aggrieved parties sought cancellation of such documents.
“The provisions of the Registration Act do not empower the registering officer or any other authority to cancel a document once registered, even on the ground of fraud, impersonation etc, causing grave hardship to the public at large.”
Recently, the Madras High Court instructed the government to give statutory backing to such circulars of IGoR. Minister for Commercial Taxes and Registration P Moorthy piloted the Bill to amend the Registration Act, 1908 in its application to Tamil Nadu and it was passed.
Over the years, innumerable cases have been reported in Tamil Nadu wherein immovable properties were sold to gullible buyers by fraudsters who falsely claimed ownership of land by means of forgery and in several cases impersonation.