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Court directive to register documents at old rates

Staff Reporter

Interim order subject to outcome of petitions

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed that the sale deeds of properties executed prior to April1, 2005 be registered after computing the stamp duty for the same at the rate which had remained in force on the date of execution.

Justice Pius C. Kuriakose also made it clear that the members of the All Kerala Document Writers and Script Writers' Association could bring the interim order to the notice of the registration officers concerned. The interim order would be subject to the outcome of writ petitions filed by the Association and others, the court said.

According to the petitioners, the stamp duty for registration of sales deed was increased by an amendment brought in the new State budget. The duties were restored to the rates prevailing two years ago in the State. As per the new budget, the stamp duty in panchayat areas was fixed at 10 per cent of the sale consideration while it was 12.5 per cent and 13.5 per cent in municipal and corporation areas. Earlier, it was 4 per cent, 5 per cent and 6 per cent in panchayat, municipal and corporation areas respectively.

The petitioners challenged the circular of the Inspector General of Registration directing all the registering authorities to charge the revised rates irrespective of the date of execution of the sale deed. The registering authority had no right to charge the duty for registering the sale deed executed before April 1, the date when the revised duty came into force. The Registration of Act provided that registration should be done within four months of the date of execution of the deed. Therefore, the State Government's insistence that the revised rate should be paid irrespective of the execution date was illegal, they contended.

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