(1) This is a second appeal preferred against the decree and judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge of Vellore in A. S. No. 131 of 1955, reversing the well-considered decree and judgment of the learned District Munsif of Ranipet in O. S. No. 214 of 1953.
(2) The established facts are: Two brothers by name Sundaresiah and Ramachandriah had mortgaged their properties in favour of the plaintiff Tirumagaral Mudaliar under Ex. A-13 dated 9-5-1949 for Rs. 1000/-. The mortgagee was pressing the mortgagors for repayment. Therefore they negotiated with the defendant Muruga Pillai to sell the suit properties to him and executed the sale deed Ex. B-1 dated 2-1-1953. It need not be pointed out that the primary and immediate object of this sale was the discharge of the indebtedness due to the plaintiff.
(3) The evidence in this case clearly shows that the defendant was unable to discharge the indebtedness due to the plaintiff and of which he had taken a Havala. Therefore the plaintiff had filed the suit O. S. No. 56 of 1953 in the District Munsif's Court, Kancheepuram. On receipt of summons Ramachandriah P.W. 4, and his grandfather Ramakrishnayya were sent by Sundaresiah to Chitalapakkam to meet the defendant and get the debt due to the plaintiff discharged. The defendant said that he had no ready cash. Therefore, they took him to the plaintiff in Magaral village and requested him to grant some more time.
The plaintiff refused to comply with their request. The defendant thereupon informed his vendors that he did not want the sale to be completed by registration and that the properties may be sold to others. In other words, by agreement of parties the sale in favour of defendant was cancelled. P.W. 4 agreed to refund the advance taken from the defendant. Exs. A-3 to A-5 are the 3 postal acknowledgment receipts for Money Orders sent by Sundaresiah to the defendant for Rs. 100/-, Rs. 40/- and Rs. 30/- respectively. Exs. A-6 and A-7 relate to a refused money order.
The defendant is not producing the money order coupons wherein the vendors have definitely noted that those money orders represented the refund of advance. Ex. A-7 which relates to the refused money order contains the coupon and this coupon mentions this information. Ex. A-8 is a letter written by the defendant between the dates of Ex. A-4 and A-5 in which he has stated that he has received Rs. 140/- by then towards the advance and has demanded payment of the balance as well as other items. That he wrote such a letter has been admitted by the defendant in his statement before the District Registrar, Ex. A-10.
(4) In the meanwhile the mortgagors sold the suit properties to the plaintiff under Ex. A-1 dated 24-2-1953 and it was registered in Madras on 28-2-1953.
(5) The defendant presented Ex. B-1 for compulsory registration on 27-2-1953. On 19-3-1953 he gave an application Ex. A-9 to the Sub-Registrar, Vellore, for the return of Ex. B-1 on the ground that he had received since the presentation of the document Rs. 140/- out of the advance amount of Rs. 200/- and that the vendors have promised to refund the balance to him and that the matter had been settled between them. On receipt of Ex. A-9 the Sub-Registrar returned Ex. B-1 with the endorsement that at the request of the defendant the document was returned without registration.
I may complete this information by pointing out that subsequently the defendant presented Ex. B-1 for registration on the ground that he had been tricked into taking back the document by his clever vendors, in whose hands he even described himself as having been only a tool. There was an enquiry by the District Registrar and the document Ex. B-1 was compulsorily registered on 22-6-1953.
(6) It is in these circumstances that the plaintiff filed the suit out of which this second appeal arises for a declaration of his title to the suit properties, for possession and other ancillary reliefs. The learned District Munsif came to the conclusion that the plaintiff had made out his case and decreed the suit for the reliefs of declaration and possession. The claim for mesne profits was negatived. On appeal by the defeated defendant the learned Subordinate Judge came to an opposite conclusion and dismissed the suit. Hence this second appeal by the defeated plaintiff.
(7) On a review of the entire circumstances of the case, there cannot be the slightest doubt that the learned Subordinate Judge was completely wrong because once it has been established as has been established in this case that there was a cancellation of the sale in favour of the defendant by mutual consent, the mere registration of the document Ex. B-1 subsequent to the cancellation would not and did not convey any title to the defendant.
(8) Prior to the Registration Act of 1864, the rule adopted by the various Regulations and Acts was that documents operated from the dates of their registration, and preference was given according to priority of registration. (Parshottam Ranchod v. Jagjivan Mayaram, 1 Bom HCR (AC) 60, Lakshman Das Sarupchand v. Basrat, ILR 6 Bom 168. Under the Acts of 1864 and the subsequent Acts, a registered document operated not from the date of registration but from the date from which it would have commenced to operate if no registration thereof had been required or made.
The same rule is enacted in S. 47 of the present Registration Act XVI of 1908. Stating the rule in another way, the title of a person under a registered document may be said to relate back to the time from which it would have operated if no registration thereof had been required or made. (Abdul Majid v. Muhammad Fazullah, ILR 13 All 89; Bindeshri v. Somnath Bhadry, : AIR1916All199 : Nand Kishore Lal v. Suraj Prasad, ILR 20 All 392). Ordinarily, the time from which a document not required to be registered would operate would be the date of execution thereof. Thus, although a document, so long as it remains unregistered may not be valid, yet as soon as it has been registered it takes effect from the date of its execution. (Boot Ram v. Bagga Singh, AIR 1948 Lah 103, Gopalram v. Lachmi Misir : AIR1926All549 , Ram Narain v. Basdev Misra : AIR1934All70 . Dwijendra Narain v. Jogesh Chandra : AIR1924Cal600 .) The transaction is thereby given a retrospective effect. In U On Maung v. Maung Shwe Hpaung, AIR 1937 Rang 446, Roberts, C. J. observed as follows:
'The requirement of registration of a document is, in my opinion, an evidentiary requirement; an unregistered transfer is inchoate and is ineffective until registered. But it nevertheless exists and when registered operates from the date of its execution.'
Section 47 of the Registration Act operates not only as between parties to the deed but also affects the rights of third parties. (Sadei Sahu v. Chandramani Dei, : AIR1948Pat60 .)
(9) The law is well settled (see full discussion in AIR Commentaries on Indian Registration Act by V.V. Chitaley and Appu Rao second edition page 353) that where two documents of transfer inter vivos are both registered, they operate respectively under S. 47 from the time of their execution and not from the dates of their registration. Thus, suppose document X is executed on 1-1-1940 and document Y on 1-2-1940, but Y is registered on 1-3-1940 and X on 1-4-1940 the operation of X and Y will be from 1-1-1940 and 1-2-1940 respectively and not from 1-3-1940 and 1-4-1940. On the application of the principle enunciated by the maxim qui prior est tempore potior est jure (he who is prior in time is better in right), on which S. 48 of the Transfer of Property Act is based, X will have priority over Y, though the latter was registered first. Duraiswami Reddi v. Angappa Reddi, AIR 1946 Mad 140; Mathurakalwar v Ambika Dat, AIR 1914 All 313; Surendranath v. Haridas : AIR1933Cal398 Ram Padarath v. Nilmar Singh , Jeo Narayan v. Budhan Mahto. : AIR1941Pat247 .
(10) In these circumstances the learned District Munsif came to the correct conclusion following the observations in Iswarayya v. Kurubasubbanna : AIR1934Mad637
'No doubt, under S. 47 of the Registration Act once a document is registered the effect begins to commence from the date of execution. But if the document is not registered it can never have any legal effect as a sale deed.'
(11) The net result of this analysis is that the decree and judgment of the learned Subordinate Judge cannot be supported and they are hereby set aside. The decree and judgment of the learned District Munsif are restored and this second appeal is allowed and in the circumstances without costs.
(12) Appeal allowed.