P. G. Pandit, J.
1. This judgment will dispose of two connected Letters Patent Appeals Nos. 257 and 258 of 1959.
2. On 11-2-1943 Ajaib Singh sold agricultural land measuring 7 bighas and 18 biswas to Sant Ram, father of Ram Singh appellant, for Rs. 4,000/-. A regular sale-deed was executed on the same day, but it appears that the parties appeared before the Sub-Registrar for the registration of this document after office hours. They were, consequently, asked to come on the following day. It is common ground that they did not appear on the next day and the document, therefore, could not be registered, on 18-3-1943 Ajaib Singh exchanged 3 bighas and 5 biswas out of this very land with Baldev Singh, respondent No. 1 In Letters Patent Appeal No. 258 of 1959, and the deed was registered on 27-3-1943.
On 11-10-1943 Ajaib Singh sold the remaining land also by a registered deed to Jasmer Singh, respondent No. 1 in Letters Patent Appeal. No. 267 of 1959. On 4-5-1948 Sant Ram filed an application under Section 36 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 (hereinafter called the Act), to the Sub-Registration to the effect that the sale-deed dated 11-2-1943 in his favour which Ajaib Singh had in the meantime presented to the Registrar (Controller) for the refund of the stamp duty, be sent for from that office and Ajaib Singh be also summoned and the said deed be registered. This application was returned by the Sub-Registrar on that very day with the direction that it should be re-presented along with the sale-deed. On that very day, treating this order of the Sub-Registrar as one of refusal to register the document, Sant Ram filed in appeal to the Registrar under Section 72 of the Act. This appeal was dismissed by the Registrar as barred by time on 25-11-1943.
In the meantime, on 8-5-1943 Sant Ram filed a suit against Ajaib Singh for possession of the land in dispute by specific performance of the sale-deed. Baldev Singh and Jasmer Singh were duly impleaded as defendants in that suit. In February 1954 Sant Ram died and his son, Ram Singh, the present appellant, was brought on the record as his legal representative. On 7-3-1944 the suit was compromised between Ajaib Singh and Ram Singh. As a result, it was decreed against Ajaib Singh. The suit was, however, withdrawn against Baldev Singh and Jasmer Singh with liberty, to file a fresh suit against them. Meanwhile, on 23-12-1943 Sant Ram brought another suit against Ajaib Singh under Section 77 of the Act for a decree, directing the sale-deed dated 11-2-1943 to be registered. On 4-1-1944 a consent decree was passed in favour of Sant Ram and on 11-2-1944 this sale-deed was registered in pursuance of the same.
On 10-1-1944 Baldev Singh & Jasmer Singh instituted a suit against Sant Ram and Ajaib Singh for a declaration that the decree obtained by Sant Ram against Ajaib Singh under Section 77 of the Act was void and the registration that took place in pursuance thereof was ineffective against their rights. This suit was decreed by the trial Court, but on appeal it was dismissed, by the Additional District Judge, Ludhiana, on 31-8-1948. This decree was affirmed by J. L. Kapur J. on second appeal by this Court on 5-8-1951.
The two suits, out of which the present Letters Patent Appeals have arisen, were brought In August 1945 by Ram Singh against Baldev Singh and Jasmer Singh for possession of the land in dispute on the basis of the sale-deed dated 11-2-1943 (registered on 11-2-1944). However, the proceedings in these suits were stayed on account of the pendency of the appeal filed by Baldev Singh and Jasmer Singh in this Court as stated above.
3. These suits were resisted by the defendants on a number of grounds, which led to the framing of the following issues:
'1. Whether the plaintiff is the valid owner of the land in suit?
2. Whether the plaintiff was granted leave to withdraw the previous suit with permission to file a fresh suit?
3. If issue No. 2 is proved, whether the suit in the present form is not maintainable?'
4. The trial Court decided all these issues in favour of the plaintiff and decreed the suits.
5. In appeal by the defendants, however, the decrees passed by the trial Court were set aside and the suits were dismissed.
6. On second appeal to this Court, the decrees passed by the lower appellate Court were upheld and this has led to the filing of the present Letters Patent Appeals by the plaintiff
7. Learned counsel for the appellant, in the first instance, contended that the learned Single Judge had found that the suit brought by Sant Ram on 23-12-1943 under Section 77 of the Act for the compulsory registration of the sale-deed dated 11-2-1943 did not lie, because the same did not fall within the provisions of Section 77, the requirements of which had not been satisfied. Consequently, the decree obtained in that suit and the registration of the sale-deed in pursuance thereof could not be regarded as valid and binding so far as the rights of the defendants were concerned. These findings, according to the learned counsel, were not correct because, firstly, the requirements of Section 77 of the Act had been fully complied with and, secondly, the defendants could not challenge the registration of the sale-deed in pursuance of the consent decree dated 4-1-1944.
8. The relevant portion of Section 77 of the Act is in the following terms:--
'Section 77(1) Where the Registrar refuses to order the document to be registered under Section 72 or Section 76, any person claiming under such document, or his representative, assign or agent, may, within thirty days after the making of the order of refusal, institute in the civil Court, within the local limits of whose original jurisdiction is situate' the office in which the document is sought to be registered, a suit for a decree directing the document to be registered in such office If it be duly presented for registration within thirty days after the passing of such decree.X X X X X'
(A bare reading of the above will show that when the Registrar refuses to register a document under Section 72or 76 of the Act, It is only then that a suit can be filedwithin 30 days of the passing of the order of refusal.Learned counsel for the appellant contends that Sant Ramhad made an application under Section 36 of the Act Before the Sub-Registrar and an appeal against his orderwas filed under Section 72, which was dismissed by theRegistrar on 25-11-1943. The present suit having beenfiled on 23-12-1943 was thus covered by the provisions of Section 77 of the Act.
9. Section 72 of the Act deals with appeals to the Registrar from the orders passed by the Sub-Registrar in those cases where he refuses to register a document on grounds other than denial of execution. in the present case, the Sub-Registrar had not refused to register the sale-deed but, on the other hand, he had directed that the application under Section 36 of the Act be represented along with, the sale-deed sought to be registered, Section 36 of the Act runs as under:
'If any person presenting any document for registration or claiming under any document, which is capable of being so presented, desires the appearance of any person whose presence or testimony is necessary for the registration of such document, the registering officer may, in his discretion, call upon such officer or Court as the State Government directs in this behalf to issue a summons requiring him to appear at the registration office, either in person or by duly authorised agent, as in the summons may be mentioned, and at a time named therein.'
This section applies in those cases where the presence of the executant or any other witness is required for the registration of the document. It does not provide for the summoning of the document itself, which is sought to be registered.. The prayer made by Sant Ram in his application under Section 36 of the Act to the effect that the sale-deed in question be summoned from the office of the Collector, where it had been presented by Ajaib Singh for the refund of the stamp duty, did not fall within the provisions of this section. Under these circumstances, 'there is no force in the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant. Therefore, the suit filed by Sant Ram on 23-12-1943 was not competent under Section 77 of the Act.
Moreover, this sale-deed was admittedly executed on 11-2-1943 and the same was presented for registration on 10-2-1944 and registered on 11-2-1944. According to Section 23 of the Act, no document other than a will can be accepted for registration unless presented for that purpose to the proper officer within tour months from the date of its execution. Under Section 29 of the Act, a further period of four months is allowed for registration in certain cases of urgent necessity or unavoidable accident. That is to say, eight months is the outside limit for presenting a document for registration, in the present case, It would be seen that the sale-deed was presented after about a year of its execution. The same could not, therefore, under any circumstances tie registered. Consequently, the learned Single Judge was right in holding that the decree obtained in that suit and the registration of the sale-deed in pursuance thereof were not valid in law.
10. With regard to the objection that the defendants could not challenge the registration of the sale-deed in pursuance of the consent decree dated 4-1-1944, there 19 no force in the same, because it has already been held above that the decree itself was invalid and the registration effected in pursuance thereof was also contrary to law. Moreover, It was decided by a Division Bench of Punjab Chief Court in Bhagat Singh v. Ram Narain, 93 Pun Re 1883,--
'As to the first argument, I am quite clear that it is open to the plaintiff, who was not a party to the suit in which the decree for compulsory registration was passed, and whose rights as a mortgagee under a registered deed were then in existence, to dispute the validity of registration which was effected under that decree, so far at least as it affects his interests.'
11. Learned counsel for the appellant, in the second instance, contended that in the suit filed by Jasmer Singh and Baldev Singh, It was definitely held that the decree obtained by Sant Ram under Section 77 of the Act was not void and was binding on them, it was also held that they were bound by the registration which had taken place in pursuance of this decree. That being so, on the basis of the principle of res judicata, they could not challenge the decree and the registration in the present suit.
12. I have already held above that the learned Single Judge was right in holding that the decree obtained by Sant Ram in his suit under Section 77 of the Act and the registration of the sale-deed in pursuance thereof were not valid in law. I have also held that the sale-deed dated 11-2-1943, which had been presented for registration after more than 8 months of its execution, could not, under any circumstances, be registered. In view of these findings, it cannot be held that this decree and the registration, which was done in pursuance thereof, were binding on the defendants. In this view of the matter, it is needless to discuss the contention raised by the learned counsel.
13. in view of what I have said above, there is no force in these appeals, which are hereby dismissed. The parties are, however, left to bear their own costs in this Court.
S.S. Dulat, J.
14. I agree.