Registrars cannot be given power to cancel registered documents by a circular, says Delhi HC

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The Delhi High Court today said the AAP government cannot give power to a Registrar through a circular to cancel registration of a document when such a provision does not exist in the statute dealing with such transactions. A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao issued notice to the Delhi government and sought its response to a PIL by an NGO challenging a 2016 circular giving Registrars the power to de-register or cancel a registered document in case of a fraud or false personation. It also asked the government to provide details of the number of registered documents that have been cancelled since the circular came into effect in 2016 and listed the matter for further hearing on September 19. The bench said the Supreme Court has already held that there was no power of cancellation of a registered document and the only remedy was to initiate criminal or civil proceedings. The high court said that a Registrar can cause an enquiry to be held into the alleged fraud or false personation by lodging an FIR, with the consequences following thereafter. There is no express provision in the Registration Act to cancel a document. In view of the SC decision, you (Delhi government) cannot by a circular give the Registrar the power to cancel (registration of) a document, it said. The bench said it can uphold the circular to the extent that it pertains to initiating proceedings for the alleged fraud or false personation and asked Delhi government standing counsel Ramesh Singh to take instructions on the issue.