Registration of Documents Executed out of India

Saji Koduvath, Advocate, Kottayam.


  • Can foreign Documents (documents executed outside India) can be registered in India? Answer – Yes
  • What is the time-limit for the registration of documents executed within India? Answer – Four Months.
  • Is there provision for extension paying fine, after the 4 months? Answer – Yes. (within further 4 months)

Document Executed out of India – can be registered

A document executed outside India can be registered in India. Sec. 23 of the Registration Act allows it.

Time Limit for Registration of Documents (executed within India)– Four Months

Time limit for registration of documents before a Sub-Registrar is four months under section 23 of the Registration Act, 1908. Time is calculated from the date of execution (signature) of the deed.

  • 23. Time for presenting documents. Subject to the provisions contained in sections 24, 25 and 26, no document other than a will shall be accepted for registration unless presented for that purpose to the proper officer within four months from the date of its execution:
  • Provided that a copy a of a decree or order may be presented within four months from the day on which the decree or order was made, or, where it is appealable, within four months from the day on which it becomes final.

Re-registration of certain documents not duly Presented

If a person not duly empowered to present a document registers a document the defect can be cured by re-registration of the document within four months of becoming aware of the defect, under Sec. 23A.

  • 23A. Re-registration of certain documents. Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained in this Act, if in any case a document requiring registration has been accepted for registration by a Registrar or Sub-Registrar from a person not duly empowered to present the same, and has been registered, any person claiming under such document may, within four months form his first becoming aware that the registration of such document is invalid, present such document or cause the same to be presented, in accordance with the provisions of Part VI for re-registration in the office of the Registrar of the district in which the document was originally registered; and upon the Registrar being satisfied that the document was so accepted for registration from a person not duly empowered to present the same, he shall proceed to the re-registration of the document as if it has not been previously registered, and as if such presentation for re-registration was a presentation for registration made within the time allowed therefore under Part IV, and all the provisions of this Act, as to registration of documents, shall apply to such re-registration; and such document, if duly re-registered in accordance with the provisions of this section, shall be deemed to have been duly registered for all purposes from the date of its original registration.

Documents executed by several persons at different times.

A document already executed and registered by some (alone) can again be re-registered after signing by others who were left out. But, it must be within four months from the date of each execution, according to Sec. 24..

  • 24. Documents executed by several persons at different times. Where there are several persons executing a document at different times, such document may be presented for registration and re-registration within four months from the date of each execution.

Registration of Documents executed out of India – Four Months from Receipt in India

The period of four months for registration (stated above) will be counted from the date of receipt of that document in India, as per Sec. 26 of the Registration Act. Sec. 26 of the Registration Act is the relevant provision. It reads as under:

  • “26. Documents executed out of India. When a document purporting to have been executed by all or any of the parties out of India is not presented for registration till after the expiration of the time hereinbefore prescribed in that behalf, the registering officer, if satisfied—
    (a) that the instrument was so executed, and
    (b) that it has been presented for registration within four months after its arrival in India,
    may, on payment of the proper registration-fee accept such document for registration.”

Unavoidable DelayRegistration with Fine – within Eight Months

After four months, document can be presented within another four months to the District Registrar. The District Registrar may impose a penalty up to a maximum of ten times the registration fees and grant permission to Sub-Registrar to register the document (as per Sec. 25 – quoted below).

  • 25. Provision where delay in presentation is unavoidable. (1) If, owing to urgent necessity or unavoidable accident, any document executed, or copy of a decree or order made, in India is not presented for registration till after the expiration of the time hereinbefore prescribed in that behalf, the Registrar, in cases where the delay in presentation does not exceed four months, may direct that, on payment of a fine not exceeding ten times the amount of the proper registration-fee, such document shall be accepted for registration.
  • (2) Any application for such direction may be lodged with a Sub-Registrar, who shall forthwith forward it to the Registrar to whom he is subordinate.

Registering authority cannot cancel registration

Our Apex Court has held in Satya Pal Anand vs. State of M.P, 2016 (10) SCC 767, as under:

  • “21. The role of the Sub-Registrar (Registration) stands discharged, once the document is registered (see Raja Mohammad Amir Ahmad Khan (supra). Section 17 of the Act of 1908 deals with documents which require compulsory registration. Extinguishment Deed is one such document referred to in Section 17(1)(b). Section 18 of the same Act deals with documents, registration whereof is optional. Section 20 of the Act deals with documents containing interlineations, blanks, erasures or alterations. Section 21 provides for description of property and maps or plans and Section 22 deals with the description of houses and land by reference to Government maps and surveys. There is no express provision in the Act of 1908 which empowers the Registrar to recall such registration. The fact whether the document was properly presented for registration cannot be reopened by the Registrar after its registration. The power to cancel the registration is a substantive matter. In absence of any express provision in that behalf, it is not open to assume that the Sub-Registrar (Registration) would be competent to cancel the registration of the documents in question. Similarly, the power of the Inspector General is limited to do superintendence of registration offices and make rules in that behalf. Even the Inspector General has no power to cancel the registration of any document which has already been registered.”

Read in this Cluster:

Civil Procedure Code

Power of attorney

Title, ownership and Possession

Principles and Procedure

Land LawsTransfer of Property Act

Evidence Act – General

Contract Act


Stamp Act


Book No. 2: A Handbook on Constitutional Issues

Book No. 3: Common Law of CLUBS and SOCIETIES in India

Book No. 4: Common Law of TRUSTS in India

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