Collateral Evidence in court
Can unregistered Gift Deed be considered as Collateral evidence in the court of law under section 49 of the Registration Act?
S. 49 of the Indian Registration Act, 1908 lays down the effect of a document if it is non-registered but should have been registered. All such documents cannot be admissible in the court of law with relation to immovable property, to confer any power to adopt or as an evidence in the any transaction. However, this section does not use the word “collateral” purpose.
The question whether such documents can be used as a collateral evidence in court is a very common and significant question. There have been huge debates over this matter and there have been numerous judgments which deal with this issue. The conclusion which can be drawn from these judgments is as follows.
The courts have in several cases, allowed an unregistered document to be considered as evidence for collateral purposes. The courts have said that, as long as the documents does not have a role to play in determining the ratio of the case in hand, it may be admissible. However, there is no hard and fast rule, and it is decided on the merits of the case. The evidence may be allowed if it is being used to prove an ancillary claim, like that of possession (K Ramamoorthi v. C Surendranatha Reddy). The Varada Pillai v. Jeevaratnammal case ((1920) 22 BOMLR 444) also laid down, “An unregistered deed of gift requiring registration under S. 17 of the Registration Act is admissible in evidence not to prove the gift, but to explain by reference to it the character of the possession of the person who held the land and who claimed it, not by virtue of deed of gift but by setting up the plea of adverse possession.”
The cases, G. Balakistiah v. B Ranga Reddy (AIR 1960 AP 112), Hemanta Kumari Debi v. Midnapur Zamindari Co. (AIR 1919 PC 79), Shibani Basu v. Sandip Ray (AIR 2011 SC 509) are few of the many cases which deal with this issue.
Hope this helps!
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