New Delhi: Setting aside an AAP government circular that empowered registrars to cancel registration of documents, the Delhi High Court said that the Supreme Court made it clear that they do not have such powers.

The July 13, 2016 circular of the Delhi government was crushed by a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao on the ground that it was in violation of the Registration Act of 1908.

Here are the main highlights: 

1.    The circular had laid down the procedure to be followed on receiving a complaint of fraudulent registration through impersonation or by producing false documents.

2.    It had also allowed the Registrar to cancel the registration of a document in question if it was found that it was done by fraudulent means.

3.    Setting aside the circular, the high court said Monday that Registrars have no such power under section 82 of the Registration Act which lays down the penalty of seven years imprisonment or fine for impersonation or making false statements or giving false material when registering a document.

4.    "Suffice to say in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Satya Pal Anand (supra) it must be held that Registrar has no powers under section 82 of the Registration Act nor can invoke section 21 of the General Clauses Act, to annul a registration of a document…Accordingly, the circular dated July 13, 2016 to the extent it empowers the Registrar to annul a registered document is ultra vires the Registration Act, 1908 and is set aside," the bench said.

5.    The verdict came on a PIL by an NGO Areness Foundation which had challenged the circular on the ground that the prevalent law did not allow the registrar to recall registrations and this power cannot be granted by delegated legislation.

6.    "The delegated legislation cannot supersede the legislation which is in play," the NGO had said in its plea.

7.    Advocate Sanya Kapur, appearing for the NGO, had contended before the high court that only a civil court can cancel registration of a document under the Specific Relief Act.

8.    The lawyer had argued that the circular allowed Registrars to adjudicate on questions of law and facts which can be done by a judicial body only and not by a Registrar, who was not even a quasi-judicial authority. She had also argued that the circular takes away the right of parties to approach the Civil Court.