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Fake property documents

Fake property documents are fabricated or altered papers that misrepresent the ownership and status of a property. Impersonation, forgery, alteration, and fraudulent representations are some of the tactics employed by those doing it.

Fraudulent registration

These fake documents may be used to sell properties that do not belong to the seller. In other words, a fraudulent registration is one where the property is sold/registered by someone who has no legal right whatsoever to the property.

However, property disputes within families involving alterations to wills or disputes over legal heirs claiming ownership of property by others do not fall under fraudulent registration, according to this amendment. These issues are typically addressed in civil court regarding property titles.

Similarly, if a neighbor accidentally or intentionally registers a parcel of land slightly larger than their own, which includes a portion of their neighbour’s property, it may not be classified as fraudulent registration.

These matters typically fall under Title Deeds investigation rather than forgery.

Combating fraudulent registration

Fraudsters fraudulently register a property, and the remedy available thus far is for the affected individual to approach the courts to cancel the property registration.Though criminal actions may be initiated by the affected persons or by the Registration Department itself, the power to cancel the once registered forged document rests only with the courts.

Court cases involving property disputes can be notoriously prolonged, potentially lasting for years or even generations. Needless to say, this extended timeframe can cause significant hardship for the affected parties.

Amendments to the Registration Act, 1908

The Registration Act, 1908, is the law that governs the registration of all immovable properties in India.

The Madras High Court has advised the government to bring in suitable legislation to empower the authorities to cancel the documents once inquiries find that the documents are fake/forged.

It was in this background that, in September 2021, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a bill to amend the Registration Act, 1908, to give the District Registrar of the Registration Department the power to cancel fake documents.

New Section 22-B

The Amending Act of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly received the assent of the President on August 6, 2022. It was notified by the Tamil Nadu Government on August 16, 2022.

With this amendment, a new section 22B has been inserted, which gives the Registering Officer the power to refuse to register forged documents.

The section reads as follows:

“22-B. Refusal to register forged documents and other documents prohibited by law.— Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the registering officer shall refuse to register the following documents, namely:

(1) forged document;

(2) document relating to transaction, which is prohibited by any Central Act or State Act for the time being in force;

(3) document relating to transfer of immovable property by way of sale, gift, lease or otherwise, which is attached permanently or provisionally by a competent authority under any Central Act or State Act for the time being in force or any Court or Tribunal;

(4) any other document as the State Government may, by notification, specify.”.(4) any other document as the State Government may, by notification, specify.”.

It is explained that the meaning of forged documents is as defined in Section 470 of Indian Penal Code.

IGR’s Circular

The Inspector General of Registration, through Circular  Letter No:-33760/l.h/2022 dated.27.09.2022 gave detailed list of forged documents that could be refused by the registering authority.

Section 22A was already in force, which gives the powers to the registering officer to refuse powers to register certain other documents.

The lists of documents that are covered by the existing section 22A and the new section 22B are given below.

List of Fraudulent Documents

Section 22A

  • Land belonging to Governments, Local Bodies, CMDA and DTCP
  • Land Belonging to HR&CE and Mutt
  • Bhoodan Lands
  • Wakf Board Lands
  • Unapproved House Sites (Except those registered as house sites before 20-10-2016)
  • Cancelled Deeds without the consent of the claimants

Section 22B

Forged Documents

1. Document registered through impersonation

2. Property claimed through forged documents like patta, tax receipt, death certificate, legal heir ship certificate etc.

3. Property claimed through previously forged registered document

Other documents that are prohibited by law that are also covered under Section 22B are:

 Document relating to transaction, which is prohibited by any Central Act or State Act for the time being in force.

Document relating to transaction, which is prohibited by any Central Act or State Act for the time being in force

Registering the documents containing attached properties:

Document relating to transfer of immovable property by way of sale, gift, lease or otherwise, which is attached permanently or provisionally by a competent authority under any Central Act or State Act for the time being in force or any Court or Tribunal. 

Document relating to transfer of immovable property by way of sale, gift, lease or otherwise, which is attached permanently or provisionally by a competent authority under any Central Act or State Act for the time being in force or any Court or Tribunal. 

Any other document as the State Government may, by notification, specify

Section 77A

Though the above two sections give the registering officer the power to refuse registration, if he/she is convinced that the documents are fake/forged, the power to cancel the registered documents was not there in the Registration Act. The 41st Act of 2021 inserted the new section 77A to obviate this. The President gave his assent to the Act in August 2022.

This section 77A reads as follows:

“77-A. Cancellation of registered documents in certain cases.— (1) The Registrar, either suo motu or on a complaint received from any person, is of the opinion that the registration of a document is made in contravention of section 22-A or section 22-B, shall issue a notice to the executant and all the parties to the document and parties to subsequent documents, if any, and all other persons who, in the opinion of the Registrar, may be affected by the cancellation of the document, to show cause as to why the registration of the document shall not be cancelled. On consideration of reply, if any received therefor, the Registrar may cancel the registration of the document and cause to enter such cancellation in the relevant books and indexes.

(2) The power under sub-section (1) may also be exercised by the Inspector General of Registration.”

Cancellation Process Under Section 77A

The heart of the amendment lies in Section 77A, granting the District Registration Officer (DRO) the authority to cancel registered documents suspected to be fake or forged. This section mandates that the DRO must issue notices to all parties involved, including the executant and all subsequent document parties, to show cause as to why the document should not be canceled. After due consideration, the DRO may cancel the document and record the cancellation.

The procedure for cancellation were given in the Inspector General of Registration Circular No 1 of 2023. This detailed Circular was necessitated by Court Judgment.

Guidelines for Cancellation

The Madras High Court has outlined a clear procedure for the DRO. It emphasizes that the cancellation process should not be delayed and that affected parties should not be directed to approach the court for such cases. The Court underscores the need for timely action and a dedicated register for complaints.

It was in the context of this court directive, the Inspector General of Registration has issued circulars detailing the procedure to be followed, vide circular No 1 of 2023

Appeal Mechanisms, Punishments, and More

Section 77B introduces an appeal mechanism. Those aggrieved by the Registrar’s order under Section 77A can appeal to the Inspector General of Registration or the State Government, depending on the situation. Additionally, the amendment prescribes punishments, including imprisonment or fines, for officials involved in fraudulent actions.

Appeals may be made to the State Government within 30 days of the date of the order.

This inquiry at the District Registrar’s office is only regarding the fake or forged documents. No inquiry should be conducted regarding the Title Deeds of a property. That is the job of the courts.

In case the the property was registered in another district with forged documents, the complaint under section 77A shall be filed in the district where the property is situated.

The punishment for registering authority for registering forged documents are mentioned in Section 81-A. Punishment for persons belonging to a firm or company is provided in Section 81-B.

Effect of the Amendments: More Than 10,000 Complaints, 1,000+ Fraudulent Registrations Cancelled

It appears that more than 10,000 complaints have been received so far on this issue. And more than 1,000 fraudulent registrations have been cancelled so far.

In a recent case that was widely reported, 1.3 acres of land in Arcot Road, Kodambakkam, Chennai, worth ₹100 crores, was registered in the Radhapuram sub-registrar office through forged documents. The complaint was filed by an NGO, Arapor Iyakkam, in the South Chennai District Registrar Office, and the registration was cancelled.


The amendment to the Registration Act is a welcome step towards curbing fraudulent registration of property documents. It provides a much-needed mechanism for affected parties to get their property back if it has been registered fraudulently. The DROs and the Inspector General of Registration must be proactive in implementing the amendment and ensuring that fraudulent registrations are cancelled without delay.

பொறுப்பு துறப்பு:இந்தக் கட்டுரையில் உள்ள விவரங்கள், கல்வி மற்றும் தகவல் நோக்கங்களுக்காக மட்டுமே. இது சட்ட ஆலோசனை அல்லது நிதி ஆலோசனைக்காக தரப்படவில்லை. இதில் உள்ள தகவல்களை அடிப்படையாகக் கொண்டு எந்த முடிவுகளையும் எடுப்பதற்கு முன்பு, வாசகர்கள் தங்கள் சொந்த சுதந்திரமான ஆராய்ச்சியை மேற்கொள்ளவும், நிபுணர்களுடன் கலந்தாலோசிக்கவும் அறிவுறுத்தப்படுகிறார்கள்.-Ed

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Readers are advised to do their own independent research and consult with professionals before making any decisions based on the information in this article-Edit


23 responses to “New Section 77A of the Registration Act”


    முன்னாள் இராணுவத்தினரான நான் ஓய்வூதியத்தில் வாழ்ந்து வருகிறேன் .எனக்கு அரசால் ஒப்படைக்கப்பட்ட நிலத்தை செட்டில்மென்ட் பதிவு பலியாக பதிந்துள்ளனர் . அதனை ரத்து செய்ய முடியாத நிலை உள்ளது . விடியல் வருமா ?

  2. Shanmugham Vaiyapuri Padayatchi avatar
    Shanmugham Vaiyapuri Padayatchi

    The amented registration Act sect.77A&B and 22B must be implemented with retrospective effect even from 1967 in order to help the poor.In my case,my client had approached Court in time against the forged & impersonate sale deed registration of her property.But the court ommited the issue because of non payment of court for declaration of the as null& void.Hence,she failed have justice from trial court to H.C.Hence,she had filed comlaint before DR under sect77A,22B(1) and wait for justice, expecting the retrospective effect of the Sect 77A,77B&22B of the Amented registration Act.Thank you,Sir.

  3. S V MICHAEL avatar

    It seems that government can pass any bill and indian democracy any one can challenge and put full stop for the process.After working 40 years of service come to know my hard earned property is forged and taken. In court since 2012 fighting with out knowing what will happen.Suddenly thought that 77 A will help me. I am 75 and no hope. Indian law says not even a single person should be punished by mistake.To save the above, millions of peoples are suffering.Genuine suffer no other way.God save us ?

  4. Prabhakara.T.G avatar

    I am suffering since 2011, even after Hosur Court gave gudgement
    My Patta is not resorted,

  5. Raju avatar

    Hello what about fraudulent documents that misrepresent. I am dealing with a case where Power Of Attorney was given on only 1 plot but the Power Agent registered 3 plots to the seller and the Sub Registrar office allowed. Will that be covered by this process as well

  6. Devisurya avatar

    My property i.e land was grabbed by fradulant method because of money. The district Registrar conducted a meeting and the fradsters did not come up with proper documents.
    But now the second meeting also conducted now that process cancelled due to court order in 18814/2023 case.
    I am the sufferer

  7. Abbas Akbarali avatar
    Abbas Akbarali

    சென்னை உயர் நீதிமன்றத்தின் உத்தரவுப்படி முந்தைய தேதியிலிருந்து IG பதிவின் திருத்தப்பட்ட சுற்றறிக்கை எப்போது வெளியிடப்படும்?

  8. A.VAJRAVEL avatar

    Forged documents should be cancelled immediately .No time limit should be fixed. Fraud is a fraud.Many people are not going to court to prove it is a fraud because courts are taking too many years for judgment. Even the court is giving judgment the fraudulent person appeals to prolong the case.

  9. RAJESH A avatar

    in W.P No.18814 of 2023 Madras High court ordered to stop cancellations/actions by registrar till a
    final decision is rendered by the Larger Bench…Any update on larger bench formation ?? or any circular from IG giving retrospective effect ??? TN Govt made a big confusion they should have given retrospective effect to avoid this problems

  10. Bala Shankar avatar
    Bala Shankar

    சென்னை உயர்நீதிமன்றத்தின் Larger bench எப்போது அமைப்பார்கள்…..?

  11. K.V Sreenivasan avatar
    K.V Sreenivasan

    The amendment of registration act 1908 by inserting the section 77 A to grant power to District registrar to cancel the fake documents without going to court was passed by the Tamil Nadt Govt Legislation Assembly during 2021 and Go ws approved by President on Sept 2022. It is the Act and rule directs to do so . Instead of that the IG Registration issued order to stay the above process immediately as per press news Dinamalar dt 13-10-2023. How can the IGR issued new order against the Act? will it be legal? How can he overrule the Act and Direction Given by the HIgh Court Bench to do that??

    1. Parameswaran avatar

      Crime is a crime….Fraudulent registration is a crime…Court proceedings are unnecessarily dragged into years of process and ultimately original property owners are not getting the verdict ..Even to hearing stage, one has to wait for more than 5 years and courts are not doing anything for unwarranted postponements. Once crime is committed, further registration of documents are liable to be cancelled whether law is retrospective or not, crime is a crime,,, Courts should take a strong view on unwarranted and unnecessary postponements as these are basically used to drag the proceedings and judiciary or legal procedures are becoming a joke for delayed justice.

      1. Baskar Swaminathan avatar
        Baskar Swaminathan

        Yes crime is a crime.
        My property i.e land was grabbed by fradulant method. The Registrar conducted a meeting and the fradsters did not come up with proper documents.
        But now the second meeting is cancelled due to court order in 18814/2023 case.
        I am the sufferer

        1. Govindan Sethumathavan avatar
          Govindan Sethumathavan

          im also suffering

        2. Subbiah Pandian avatar
          Subbiah Pandian

          we are also suffering, when this issue will close….. and shall we get new GO?

      2. K.CHANDRASEKARAN avatar

        Yes crime is a crime.
        My house given by my ancestor’s was grabbed by fradulant method. The Registrar conducted 2 meeting and the fradsters did not come up with proper documents.
        I am the sufferer

        1. K.CHANDRASEKARAN avatar

          Is Larger bench formed in Madras high court? Will it be formed or not? What is the current status of 77A act? My ancestor’s house is registered fraudulantly without any documents; even basically death certificate and heirship certificate are not attached. No documents attached. I don’t know how Sub Registrar registered this document. How can I get my ancestor’s house given to me?
          Any news regarding Larger bench formation for 77A act? or Powers retained to Registration department as previously was?

      3. செத்து சுண்ணாம்பு ஆகிவிட்டேன் 17 வருடமாக. இன்னும் முடிந்தபாடு இல்லை. உலகில் பாவங்கள் நிறைந்த இடம் இந்த பேதி மன்றம் மட்டுமே.

  12. KVS RATHINAM avatar

    சென்னை உயர்நீதிமன்றத்தின் Larger bench எப்போது அமைப்பார்கள்…..?

    1. Vinothkannan avatar

      என்னுடய நிலத்தை எந்த ஒரு ஆவணமும் இல்லாமல் தான செட்டில்மண்ட் செய்துள்ளனர். என்னுடய டாக்குமண்ட் அனைத்தயும் குடுத்து enquiry முடிந்தது. அந்த தான செட்டில்மண்ட் Cancel ஆகுமா, இல்லை, நீதிமன்றம் செல்ல வேண்டுமா?

      1. Same case of mine also. Enquiry is over. But case is pending owing to retrospective effect. Email.:-

      2. Mrs.Imtiaz Ahmed avatar
        Mrs.Imtiaz Ahmed

        Please wait till 10.04.2024. Sometimes judgement date may be postponed.

  13. R Selvakumaran avatar
    R Selvakumaran

    When the revised circular from IG Registration with retrospective effect from previous date to be published as per the directive from the Madras High Court?

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