Laws laid down by supreme court



Question was raised against the registering authority in the matter of S.P. Goel vs Collector Of Stamps A,which was decided   on 8 December, 1995 by the Hon’ble Supreme Court ,Bench consisting of AHMAD SAGHIR S. (J)KULDIP SINGH (J) for deficiency in services for not registering the documents by the Registrar office and for with holding the document by the collector ,stamps.The subject in question was a  Built up property No.C-83, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I. New Delhi 110 020.The document of which the registration was sought by the appellant is a "Will" dated 24th July, 1987 executed in his favour, as also in favour of his wife, Smt. Shanti Rani Goel, by one Shri P.N. Mishra which was presented for registration on 24th August, 1987 before the Sub-Registrar- III, New Delhi who, instead of registering the document, impounded it as he was of the opinion that it was not a "Will" but a Deed of Conveyance which was not duly stamped.

Registrar therefore, sent the document in original to the Collector of Stamps for action under Section 40 of the Stamps Act with the suggestion that the instrument was chargeable with 3% of the amount of consideration as Stamp Duty and 5% as Transfer Duty.

Since the Collector has to take a decision with regard to the nature of the instrument as also with regard to the amount of stamp duty payable on that instrument,  Collector of Stamps, New Delhi issued several notices to the appellant and ultimately in response to one such notice, the appellant appeared before the Collector and was apprised of the fact that the document presented by him for registration was not a "Will" but a conveyance deed and, therefore, he was required to furnish the Valuation Report, Receipts, General Power of Attorney etc. so that the document may be required to be properly stamped and registered

While the matter was pending before the Collector, the appellant filed a complaint on 6th September, 1991 before the District Forum, Delhi, constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 for various reliefs, including registration of the "Will" as also for the supply of certified copy thereof besides compensation for harassment since 1987

The basic issue now before the consumer courts was as to whether the complainant is at all a consumer against the collector stamps for deficiency in services.National commission had held complainant not a consumer .

As per Section 33(1) of the Stamp Act, a document or instrument which is not duly stamped will not be registered and the Sub- Registrar before whom the document is presented may well refuse its registration and may, even, impound the document in the course of performance of his statutory duties Section 33(1) of the Stamp Act provides as under:-

"33(1). Every person having by law or consent of parties authority to receive evidence, and every person in charge of a public office, except an officer of police, before whom any instrument, chargeable, in his opinion, with duty, is produced or comes in the performance of his functions, shall if it appears to him that such instrument is not duly stamped, impound the same."

Under this Section, every instrument which is not duly stamped is liable to be impounded.

After impounding the instrument, the Sub-Registrar has to send the document in original to the Collector as required by Section 38 (2) of the Stamp has been done in the present case.

Running through the twin Acts, namely, the Registration Act and the Stamp Act, the main function of both the acts relates to collection of the  state revenue and  no element of services for taking consideration is involved  attracting the provisions of Consumer Protection Act. The person who presents a document for registration and pays the stamp duty on it or the registration fee, does not become a consumer nor do the officers appointed to implement the provisions of the two Acts render any service within the meaning of Consumer Protection Act.

Further The Courts and The Presiding Officers of the Courts are protected under the Judicial Officers (Protection) Act, 1850, read with the Judges (Protection) Act, 1985.

Section 1 of the Judicial Officers (Protection) Act, 1850 provides, inter-alia, as under :- "1. No Judge, Magistrate, Justice of the Peace, Collector, or other person acting judicially shall be liable to be sued in any Civil Court for any act dine or ordered to be done by him in the discharge of his judicial duty, whether or not within the limits of his jurisdiction :

In the instant case, Collector alone has been arrayed as respondent and the claim under the Consumer Protection Act was filed only against him.

Apart from the above, Section 86 of the Registration Act provides as under:-

"86 Registering officer not liable for thing bona fide done or refused in his official capacity. - No registering officer shall be liable to any suit, claim or demand by reason of any thing in good faith done or refused in his official capacity."

In the instant case, neither the appellant pleaded nor has the District or the State forum recorded any finding that the refusal of the Registering Officer or the inaction of the Collector of Stamps was malicious, motivated or mala-fide.

In view of the above discussion ,we conclude that both the authorities referred above perform their statutary duties of registering the documents and in the process  collecting appropriate revenue for the state ,hence do not fall under the purview of consumer protection act .



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