1. The plaintiff sued for the compulsory registration of a document said to have been signed and executed by defendant 1 on his own behalf and on behalf of his minor sons. This document purports to be a conveyance of a certain property to the plaintiff for a sum of Rs. 800. The document is dated 15th March 1929. It was presented for registration on 15th July 1929, i.e., on the last day of the four months allowed for presentation. On 19th July 1929 defendant 1 appeared before the Registrar and admitted execution but pleaded that the plaintiff had agreed to execute an agreement to resell if the sale amount was repaid within five years but would accede only to a term of three years. On this the Registrar remarked:
As this cannot be considered as urgent necessity or unavoidable accident, I refuse to register the document for non-appearance of the executant within the time prescribed by Section 34.
2. This suit was brought to enforce the registration of the document. For some reason or other issues were settled which went considerably outside of what was necessary for the determination of this suit. Issue 1 was : Was the sale deed executed in the circumstances mentioned in paras. 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the plaint? and is the same void by reason of fraud and misrepresentation set out in para. 8 of the written statement of defendant? (2) Is the plaintiff entitled to specific performance of the contract as prayed for? (3) Is the sale deed not valid and binding on defendants 2 and 3 for reasons set out in the written statement of defendants 2 and 3? (4) To what relief is the plaintiff entitled?' Evidence was led and towards the close of the case the advocate for the plaintiff-appellant who then came on the scene (Mr. Rajagopalan) raised the argument that the Court was not entitled to go at all into questions o consideration, fraud, misrepresentation, etc., in a suit to enforce registration under 8. 77 of the Act. The learned City Civil Judge notes at the end of para. 5 thus:
Even he however conceded that it is open to me to find out whether defendant really or voluntarily signed the document, i.e., with fall and free consent, after having the document read 1 out to him and understanding its contents. It is to this point therefore that I address myself.
3. What exactly the nature of this concession was, both in the light of the objection raised and of the final finding of; the Court in para. 7 it is not very easy to see. In that paragraph the learned : Judge says:
These circumstances make it abundantly clear that plaintiff has induced defendant 1 to. put his signature to the document misrepresenting to him the nature of the document as well as of its contents and consideration. If defendant had known the true nature of the document when he was called upon to sign, and if in fact it had been read out to him, he would certainly have declined to sign it.
Later on he says:
In these circumstances I find that the defendant did not sign the document knowing its real nature or significance and his signature was not a voluntary act or one made of full and free consent or with the knowledge of the contents of the document he was putting his hands to.
4. It has been admitted before us by the learned Counsel for the respondents that a great deal of evidence is beside the point in a suit of this sort. But he has contended strongly that the execution in question amounted to no execution at all. In this connexion he quotes the case in Foster v. Mackinnon (1869) 4 C.P. 704 where it is stated that the document was invalid
not merely on the ground of fraud, where fraud exists, but on the ground that the mind of the signordid not accompany the signature; in other words that he never intended to sign, and therefore in contemplation of law, ever did sign the contract to which his name is appended.
5. That case does not however deal with execution from the point of view of the Registration Act and the admitted signature for the purpose of the Registration Act may be quite good execution for purposes of registration and be an invalid execution, or no execution at all for enforcing the document. In the Indian Registration Manual under Section 35 it is said as regards Madras:
The admission of execution referred to in Section 35 is merely admission of the signature affixed to a document. Accordingly, where a person, although admitting his signature to a document presented for registration, states either (1) that he signed it under a misapprehension believing it to be a different document from what it really is, or (2) that when he signed it lie did not by reason of the deception practised upon him know the contents of the document or the nature of the document, the registering officer is bound to register.
6. In fact the scheme of the Act appears to be that the Registrar is not to go into questions as to whether the parties understood the nature of the document or meant it to be something else than what it is. The only question which he has to decide in this respect is whether it bears the genuine signature of the alleged executant. In that view it is clear that even on his findings the learned City Civil Judge should have ordered registration of the document. Another point urged before us by the learned advocate for the respondents is this : that the refusal to register the document on account of the executant not having appeared within the four months prescribed is a matter wherein the Registrar exercised his discretion and that this discretion cannot be interfered with by the Court. It is also pointed out that it was not made any part of the pleadings in the suit or appeal that this reason for refusal was incorrect or that the exercise of the discretion was wrong. Section 34 is subject to Section 77. The case in Shama Gharan Das v. Joyenoolah (1885) 11 Cal 750 the decision in which has been followed in Balambal Ammal v. Arunaohalam Chetty (1895) 18 Mad 255, was similar to the present and the learned Judges say:
But it must be observed, as we have already pointed out, that that section (Section 34) is expressly subject to Section 77; and Section 77 is the section which enables the civil Court to direct registration of a document. In 8. 77 there is no such provision as to the time within which the parties are to appear to admit execution; and indeed one of the most obvious reasons which may make it necessary for any party to come to the civil Court under Section 77 to compel registration, must be his inability to procure the attendance of the party executing before the registering officer.
7. In this matter see also Manihha Mu-dliar v. Ziavuddin Saheb AIR 1925 Mad 619. It is unnecessary in that case to consider whether any suit would lie under 8. 77 against the discretion exercised by the Registrar under Section 25 in excusing or not excusing delay by the person who presented the document. In point of fact it is clear that the conditions for the exercise of any discretion were not alleged and did not exist in the present case as is clearly recognized by the order of the Registrar himself. The executant evidently did not wish to have the document registered and therefore, though he admitted execution, he set up the plea stated above. The Registrar said:
This cannot be considered as urgent necessity or unavoidable accident. It is only when one of these two conditions is alleged and made out that the Registrar can exercise his discretion at all. There is therefore no question of this interference with his order being an interference with his discretion; still less can it be said that the presentant was to blame for not asking the Registrar to exercise his discretion when the conditions for his exercising the discretion were not present. The points and issues which have been raised in this suit, and which are admittedly outside its scope, cannot affect the order which the lower Court should have passed and which we must pass. Whether these matters will or will not be res judicata in a future suit is not for us to determine here and we therefore do not pursue this question further.
8. We allow this appeal and direct the registration of the document Ex. A by the Registrar of Madras-Chingleput at George Town, Madras, if duly presented for registration within 30 days after the passing of this decree. We do not award costs because we consider that the plain. tiff did not take any exception to the trial of unnecessary issues, nor see that the suit was confined only to the relevant questions, viz., the admission of execution. This to a certain extent is responsible for the incorrect decree which has been passed.