1. The only point raised in this Letters Patent Appeal is 'Is a sale deed executed before but registered after the filing of a suit affected by the doctrine of Us pendens?'
2. The contention of Mr. Narasimhachari for the appellant is that on the date of the filing of the plaint, the property had not passed to the plaintiff inasmuch as the sale deed was not registered and that the registration of the sale deed, subsequent to the filing of the plaint, amounted to a transfer of the property in suit and therefore Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act applies to the case. In the case of a conveyance or a document creating title to immoveable property registration is necessary to give validity to such document but the question is whether a document creates title from the date of its execution ox whether it creates title only from the date of its registration. Section 47 of the Indian Registration Act makes it clear that ' a registered document shall operate from the time from which it would have commenced to operate if no registration thereof had been required or made, and not from the time of its registration. ' In a competition between two documents creating title to immoveable property the document earlier in date has precedence over another document later in date but registered before the former document. It is not the registration of a document which operates to create title but it is the document itself. The Registration Act makes valid such documents as soon as they are registered but the right conveyed or transferred is the right which exists in the transferor on the date of the document. When the document is presented for registration the executant simply admits execution whereupon the document is registered and if the executant does not admit execution or if he refuses to appear before the Registrar the law provides for compulsory registration of the document. In such a case it cannot be said that the executant by any act of his gives validity to the document.
3. The contention of Mr. Narasimhachari is that a sale can be effected only by a registered instrument and that before the date of registration there was no sale and therefore the suit which was filed before the date of registration does stand in the way of the executant registering the document. This argument overlooks the fact that the vendee has a right to compel a vendor to execute a sale deed in his favour and if he refuses to ask the Court to execute the document. If a document has already been executed, he could present it for registration within four months and if no document had been executed he could sue for specific performance of the contract of sale. Such a. contract would not be affected by the doctrine of lis pendens on account of the filing of a suit subsequent to its date.
4. Under Section 52 of the Transfer of Property 'Act any transfer or other dealing with the property in a suit or proceeding is affected by the doctrine of lis pendens. Mere registration of the document cannot be said to be a transfer of the property or dealing with the property in suit. Section 52, therefore, can have no application to the present case where the sale deed was executed before the date of the filing of the suit.
5. Mr. Narasimhachariar relies upon the case of Tilakdhari Singh v. Gour Narain (1920) 5 PLJ 715. There the learned Judges held that a mortgage executed before a suit was filed in 'respect of the property covered by the mortgage but registered after the filing of the suit was affected by the doctrine of lis pendens. With great respect, we are unable to agree with the reasoning of the learned Judges. They rely upon the case of Ram Prasad v. Bhikari Das ILR (1903) A 464 as fully supporting the view they take. There was no question of the doctrine of lis pendens in the case in Ram Prasad v. Bhikari Das ILR (1903) A 464 and it is difficult to see how that case could support the 'reasoning of the learned Judge in the case in Tilakdhari Singh v. Gour Narain (1920) 5 PLJ 715.
6. In Venkatramana Redddi v. Rangiah Chetti : AIR1922Mad249 Sadasiva Aiyar and Spencer, JJ. held that a document creating title in immoveable property executed before the date of the filing of the suit but registered afterwards was not affected by the doctrine of lis pendens. The case in Tilakdhari Singh v. Gour Narain (1920) 5 PLJ 715 was quoted before the learned Judges and they declined to follow it. It is contended by Mr. Narasimhachariar that the learned Judge's observation as regards the doctrine of lis pendens is only obiter and not binding upon us. Even if the point was res integra we should have no hesitation in holding that the doctrine of lis pendens does not apply to the case of a document creating title in immoveable property executed before the filing of the suit but registered after. We fully concur with the reasoning of Spencer, J. in Venkatramana Reddi v. Rangiah Chetti : AIR1922Mad249 .
7. The decision in Papireddi v. Narasareddi ILR (1892) M 464 does not apply to the present case. All that was decided in that case was that title to immoveable property could be created only by a properly registered instrument. It is by the execution of a registered instrument that title to immoveable property actually passes but that is not a ground for saying that the tide passes only on the date of registration. No doubt registration is necessary for giving validity to a document but the right to, or the title to, the property passes from the date of the document even though it be registered some time after its execution or in other words in a competition between two documents one earlier and the other later in date the later document, if registered earlier than the former would have no priority over the former. The mere filing of a plaint either by the executant or by a third person in respect of the property already conveyed would not prevent the vendee from enforcing his rights under the document either by means of compulsory registration or by suing for specific performance. Though under the Indian Law the mere contract of sale does not create a title in the vendee, yet he has the right to enforce the contract; and His right is as on the date of the contract and not on the date when he enforces it. That being so, the mere fact that a vendor admits the execution of the conveyance before the Registration Officer would not bring his act within the purview of Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act.
8. We have no hesitation in holding that the document in question is not affected by the doctrine of lis pendens. The Letters Patent Appeal is dismissed.