Madras HC orders civil courts to ensure proper communication of attachment order disposals

The HC bench said that many sub-registrars have refused to register non-testamentary instruments on the ground of attachment orders, passed by a Civil Court.
Madras High Court
Madras High Court(File photo| Express)

CHENNAI: To resolve the issue of registration officers leaving the property owners in the lurch by refusing to register property documents, the Madras High Court has directed the civil courts to “properly communicate” the judgments relating to the dismissal of attachment orders to registration officers. This comes in after such officers refused property registration citing encumbrance even though such orders were lifted.

A division bench of Justices R Subramanian and R Sakthivel recently passed the orders on a petition about the refusal of registration of property documents by a sub-registrar in Namakkal district.

The bench said it finds that in the recent past, many sub-registrars have refused to register non-testamentary instruments - dealing with immovable property - on the ground of attachment orders, passed by a Civil Court. It cites the encumbrance certificate even though it is brought to the knowledge of the sub-registrars that the suit, in which the order of attachment was passed, has either been disposed of or dismissed.

“This is primarily due to the failure on the part of the staff of the Courts to communicate orders raising attachments or disposal of the suits. Rule 11 B of Order 38 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, as introduced by the Madras High Court, specifically provides that orders granting or raising attachment should be communicated to the registering officer within whose jurisdiction the property, subject matter of the attachment, is situated,” the bench said.

The bench pointed out that the attachment orders continue to remain in the encumbrance certificate. This is because the order of attachment or dismissal of the suit is not communicated to the registration officers, who, in turn, refuse to register the instruments, citing the existence of attachment.

“In order to prevent the recurrence of such mistakes in future, we direct the Judicial Officers, manning civil courts raising attachment or ordering the dismissal of the suits in which an order of attachment has been granted, properly communicate to the registering officers without fail,” the bench ordered.

The appeal was filed by N Periyasamy and Nallamal. They approached the sub-registrar of Paramathi in 2023 for registering a property document but he refused to register it citing entry of an attachment order issued in 2003 by Namakkal Sub-Court in the encumbrance certificate.

He rejected the document even after they had produced the decree disposing of the suit as ordered in 2007. Hence, they filed a writ petition in the High Court. A single judge, who heard the petition, dismissed it saying that the dismissal of the suit was not communicated to the sub-registrar.

The division bench said it was unable to sustain the order of the single judge and set aside the single judge’s order and the order of rejection of the sub-registrar. The bench directed the officer concerned to register the property within fifteen days. Citing section 64 of the Code of Civil Procedure, it said that “an alienation of attached property” is “not completely prohibited.”

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