The state government has proposed amendments to the Registration Act 1908 to give more power to sub-registrars to check documents at the time of registration for any violation of central or state laws.
“Section 18 (a) will be incorporated in the said act to give sub-registrars the powers for refusal of registration of certain documents relating to transactions prohibited by any central or state law,” a property registration department official said on Saturday.
An amendment to the Section 21 of the Registration Act has also been proposed to empower the state government to bring about the rules needed for the description of the property in the document.
The amendments follow the violations to the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016, and the Maharashtra Prevention of Fragmentation and Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1947 in some property documents registered over the last two years. The registration department has already directed all the offices to check all the documents for such violations in the last two years.
The process to amend the act is a long-drawn one. The state has commenced the process with it being cleared by the state assembly on July 25 and state council on August 3. The governor’s approval is awaited to the amendments, following which the bill will be sent to the Union government and the President for their final assent as the Registration Act 1908 is a central law, the registration department officials said.
“The amendment is being suggested with respect to the state of Maharashtra only,” another official said.
Senior officials said the prohibitory provisions with regard to the transfer of property stated in the state and central acts were required to be followed by registration officers on the basis of rule 44 (i) of the registration rules, which were quashed and set aside by the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay HC. Hence, the state is proposing changes in the sections of the Registration Act 1908.
The Avdhoot Law Foundation from the state has opposed giving too many powers to the sub-registrars for fear of corruption. “The said powers may be misused by sub-registrars who are not qualified to assess these documents,” said Shrikant Joshi of the foundation.
The foundation has written to the President stating that the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay HC has already passed the verdict twice against the state government quashing the circular in respect of rule 44 (i) published by the office and the rule itself.
The matter is pending before the Supreme Court.