01 April, 2013

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Real Estate :- Power of Attorney Vs Registry of Property



In order to make sale of an immovable property valid in eyes of law, the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, which applies to sale of immovable property, provides in s 54 that there should be a written instrument transferring the property to the transferee if the value of property transferred is Rs. 100 or more.

The Indian Registration Act, 1908 require such conveyance to be registered in order that the document may be admissible in evidence in a court. It may be noted that the sale of immovable property otherwise than through a registered conveyance does not vest the legal title in the property in the buyer. 


This position of law is confirmed by the supreme Court in Suraj Lamp & Industries Pvt. Ltd. (2011) 14 taxmann.com 103.

Scope of Power of Attorney
13. A power of attorney is not an instrument of transfer in regard to any right, title or interest in an immovable property. The power of attorney is creation of an agency whereby the grantor authorizes the grantee to do the acts specified therein, on behalf of grantor, which when executed will be binding on the grantor as if done by him (see section 1A and section 2 of the Powers of Attorney Act, 1882). It is revocable or terminable at any time unless it is made irrevocable in a manner known to law. Even an irrevocable attorney does not have the effect of transferring title to the grantee. In State of Rajasthan vs. Basant Nehata – 2005 (12) SCC 77, this Court held :

“A grant of power of attorney is essentially governed by Chapter X of the Contract Act. By reason of a deed of power of attorney, an agent is formally appointed to act for the principal in one transaction or a series of transactions or to manage the affairs of the principal generally conferring necessary authority upon another person. A deed of power of attorney is executed by the principal in favour of the agent. The agent derives a right to use his name and all acts, deeds and things done by him and subject to the limitations contained in the said deed, the same shall be read as if done by the donor. A power of attorney is, as is well known, a document of convenience.

Execution of a power of attorney in terms of the provisions of the Contract Act as also the Powers-of-Attorney Act is valid. A power of attorney, we have noticed hereinbefore, is executed by the donor so as to enable the donee to act on his behalf. Except in cases where power of attorney is coupled with interest, it is revocable. The donee in exercise of his power under such power of attorney only acts in place of the donor subject of course to the powers granted to him by reason thereof. He cannot use the power of attorney for his own benefit. He acts in a fiduciary capacity. Any act of infidelity or breach of trust is a matter between the donor and the donee.”

An attorney holder may however execute a deed of conveyance in exercise of the power granted under the power of attorney and convey title on behalf of the grantor.”

(….)

“Conclusion

15. Therefore, a SA/GPA/WILL transaction does not convey any title nor create any interest in an immovable property. The observations by the Delhi High Court, in Asha M. Jain v. Canara Bank – 94 (2001) DLT 841, that the “concept of power of attorney sales have been recognized as a mode of transaction” when dealing with transactions by way of SA/GPA/WILL are unwarranted and not justified, unintendedly misleading the general public into thinking that SA/GPA/WILL transactions are some kind of a recognized or accepted mode of transfer and that it can be a valid substitute for a sale deed. Such decisions to the extent they recognize or accept SA/GPA/WILL transactions as concluded transfers, as contrasted from an agreement to transfer, are not good law.”

Hence immovable property can be legally and lawfully transferred/conveyed only by a registered deed of conveyance.

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By CA.Ankit Gulgulia
New Delhi    




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