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REGISTRAR OF DEEDS IS NOT AN ATTESTING WITNESS 2004 SC

FULL JUDGMENT
Bhagat Ram And Anr. vs Suresh And Ors. AIR 2004 SC 436, The Registrar of Deeds who had registered a document in discharge of his statutory duty, does not become an attesting witness to the deed solely on account of his having discharged the statutory duties relating to the registration of a document. Registration of any will, and the endorsements made by the Registrar of Deeds in discharge of his statutory duties do not elevate him to the status of a 'statutory attesting witness'. However, a registrar can be treated as having attested to a will if his signature or mark appears on the document akin to the one placed by an attesting witness and he has seen the testator sign or affix his mark to the will or codicil or has received from the testator a personal acknowledgement of his signature or mark and he has also signed in the presence of the testator. In other words, to be an attesting witness, the registrar should have attested the signature of the testator in the manner contemplated by Clause (c) of Section 63 of the Succession Act. No particular form of attestation is provided. It will all depend on the facts and circumstances of a case by reference to which it will have to be answered if the registrar of deeds fulfils the character of an attesting witness also by looking at the manner in which the events have actually taken place at the time of registration and the part played therein by the Registrar. .. A Registrar of Deeds before he be termed an attesting witness, shall have to be called in the witness box. The court must feel satisfied by his testimony that what he did satisfies the requirement of being an attesting witness. ….. Registration of a document does not dispense with the need of proving the execution and attestation of a document which is required by law to be proved in one manner as provided in Section 68 of the Evidence Act. Under Section 68 of the Registration Act the Registrar shall endorse the following particulars on every document admitted to registration:
(1) the date, hour and place of presentation of the document for registration;
(2) the signature and addition of every person admitting the execution of the document, and, if such execution has been admitted by the representative, assign of agent of any person, the signature and addition of such representative, assign or agent;
(3) the signature and addition of every person examined in reference to such document under any of the provisions of this Act, and
(4) any payment of money or delivery of goods made in the presence of the registering officer in reference to the execution of the document, and any admission of receipt of consideration, in whole or in part, made in his presence in reference to such execution.
Such particulars as are referred to in Sections 52 and 58 of the Registration Act are required to be endorsed by Registrar alongwith his signature and date on document under Section 59 and then certified under Section 60. A presumption by reference to Section 114 (Illustration (e)) of the Evidence Act shall arise to the effect that the events containing in the endorsement of registration, were regularly and duly performed and are correctly recorded. None of the endorsements, require to be made by the Registrar of Deeds under the Registration Act, contemplates the factum of attestation within the meaning of Section 63(c) of the Succession Act or Section 68 of the Evidence Act being endorsed or certified by the Registrar of Deeds. The endorsements made at the time of registration are relevant to the matters of the registration only (See: Kunwar Surendra Bhadur Singh and Ors. v. Thakur Behari Singh and Ors., . On account of registration of a document, including a will or codicil, a presumption as to correctness or regularity of attestation cannot be drawn. Where in the facts and circumstances of a given case the Registrar of Deeds satisfies the requirement of an attesting witness, he must be called in the witness box to depose to the attestation. His evidence would be liable to be appreciated and evaluated like the testimony of any other attesting witness.

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