Supreme Court on Unregistered Agreement To Sell:
A division bench of the Apex Court has held that relief of permanent injunction cannot be sought based on an unregistered document/agreement to sell in Balram Singh vs Kelo Devi.
In this case, the plaintiff had filed a suit praying for a decree of permanent injunction to restrain the defendant from disturbing her possession of the suit property, which was claimed based on an agreement to sell. The document was an unregistered document/agreement to sell on ten rupees stamp paper. Upon dismissing the suit by the Trail Court and allowing the counterclaim of the defendant, the First Appellate Court reversed the Trial Court judgement and decreed the suit. Thereafter, the High Court dismissed the second appeal. Hence, the original defendant approached the Apex Court for relief.
The major contention between both parties was that an unregistered agreement to sell is not admissible evidence. Both parties also contended that the original plaintiff had not sought relief under the Specific Performance Act, as she was aware that she would not succeed in the suit for specific performance based on an unregistered agreement to sell. The respondent i.e., the original plaintiff contended that the unregistered document can be used for a collateral purpose and hence, the First Appellate Court and the High Court passed a right decree for permanent injunction considering the agreement to sell for a collateral purpose on grant of a permanent injunction.
Allowing the Appeal filed by the original defendant, the Apex Court observed thus:
“… having become conscious of the fact the plaintiff might not succeed in getting the relief of specific performance of such agreement to sell as the same was unregistered, the plaintiff filed a suit simplicitor for permanent injunction only. It may be true that in a given case, an unregistered document can be used and/or considered for collateral purpose. However, at the same time, the plaintiff cannot get relief indirectly which otherwise he/she cannot get in a suit for substantive relief, namely, in the present case the relief for specific performance.
Therefore, the plaintiff cannot get the relief even for permanent injunction on the basis of such an unregistered document/agreement to sell, more particularly when the defendant specifically filed the counter-claim for getting back the possession which was allowed by the learned trial court. The plaintiff cleverly prayed for a relief of permanent injunction only and did not seek for substantive relief of specific performance of the agreement to sell as the agreement to sell was an unregistered document and therefore on such unregistered document/agreement to sell, no decree for specific performance could have been passed. The plaintiff cannot get the relief by clever drafting…”