1. This reference was made by the Chief Controlling Revenue authority, Board of Revenue, Madras, under Section 57 of the Indian Stamp Act. In this case, the respondent sent moneys to his brother Sambasiva Vellalar, while he was residing in Singapore, to purchase landed properties in the village of Pattaveli. The said Sambasiva Vellalar, with the moneys sent by his brother, purchased certain properties in his own name and subsequent to the return of Mariappa Vellalar, Mariappa Vellalar took possession of all the properties. In the document executed by Sambasiva Vellalar, which is styled as 'Benami release deed', it is stated that the properties were purchased with the moneys of his brother and for his benefit and that he had no title to it. When the document was presented for registration, the Sub-Registrar was of the opinion that since the respondent's brother had sold some portion of the properties and encumbered some of the properties for obtaining Government loans as if the lands were his own, the document in question should be considered only as a conveyance chargeable under Article 23 of Schedule I to the Indian Stamp Act. Therefore, he assessed the document to a Stamp duty of Rs. 3335 on the market value of Rs. 73,000 with a penalty of Rs. 200. The respondent filed an appeal before the Board of revenue which dismissed it. On a representation made by the respondent to make a reference to this court under Section 57(1) for adjudication as the subject involves a question of law, this reference has been made to this court which is as follows-
"Whether the document styled as 'Benami Release Deed' executed by the brother of the respondent Thiru Sambasiva Vellalar in favour of the respondent by document No. P. 8/70 dated 28-11-1969 in Sub-Registrar's office, Muthupet, Thanjavar Dist. is chargeable as a deed of release under Article 55 of Schedule I to Stamp Act, or it is a 'conveyance' of property chargeable under Article 23 of Schedule I of India Stamp Act or any other Article of the Act".
On a reading of the document, there could be no doubt that it is only a release deed. The recitals are very specific that the properties were purchased with the moneys sent by Mariappa Vellalar from Singapore out of his earnings in Singapore and that title was always with Mariappa Vellalar,. It also further stated that as soon as Mariappa Vellalar came to India, possession was delivered to him. In the document there is no kind of title or right claimed by Sambasiva Vellar. It is clear that the real title always stood with Mariappa Vellar. In such circumstances, the document can only be a release deed executed by Sambasiva Vellar renouncing all his claims, if he had any and putting the title of Mariappa Vellar, beyond any cloud. In these circumstances, we answer the reference that the document is only a release deed.
2. Reference answered accordingly.