REGISTRATION OF DOCUMENTS ORDINANCE

Arrangement of Sections

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

2. Land registries.

2A. Repealed.

3. Definition of Land.

CHAPTER II

REGISTRATION OF DUPLICATES OF DEEDS

4. Duplicates to be transmitted to Registrar.

5. Registrar to bind all duplicates.

CHAPTER III

REGISTRATION OF INSTRUMENTS AFFECTING LAND

6. Meaning of "instrument”.

7. Unregistered instruments void against subsequent registered instruments.

8. Meaning of "affecting land”.

9. Registration of notice of seizure.

10. Will when defeated by conveyance by heir.

11. Registration of lis pendens.

12. Books for registration of instruments affecting land.

13. Mode of description of lands in instruments.

14. Instruments to be registered in proper folio.

15. Method of registration.

CHAPTER IV

REGISTRATION OF INSTRUMENTS CREATING PLEDGES, MORTGAGES OR BILLS
OF SALE OF MOVABLE PROPERTY

16. Meaning of "bill of sale”.

17. Pledge, mortgage or bill of sale ineffectual unless property delivered or instrument registered.

18. Transfer or assignment of pledge, mortgages or bills of sale to be also by deed and registered.

19. Saving of registrations under earlier Ordinances.

20. Pledges, mortgages or bills of sale of after-acquired property.

21. Books for registration of pledges, mortgages or bills of sale.

22. Method of registration.

23. Assurance or mortgage of land in same instrument not affected by preceding provisions.

24. Non-application of Chapter to certain documents.

CHAPTER V

PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO INSTRUMENTS AFFECTING LAND OR PLEDGES, MORTGAGES
OR BILLS OF SALE OF MOVABLE PROPERTY

25. Meaning of "instrument”.

26. Who may present instrument for registration.

27. Day book.

28. Return of instruments.

29. Land or movable property situated in several districts.

30. Priority notices.

31. Seizure priority notices.

32. Caveats.

33. Cancellation of priority notices, seizure notices, seizure priority notices, caveats and lis pendens.

34. Damages for unreasonable priority notice, seizure priority notice, caveat or lis pendens.

35. Correction of errors.

36. Grounds for refusing to register an instrument.

37. Reasons for refusal to be recorded.

38. Appeals against refusal.

39. Power of District Court to cancel registration.

CHAPTER VI

SUPPLEMENTARY

40. Copies of damaged or illegible volumes or part thereof.

41. Indexes.

42. Searches and copies.

43. Evidence.

44. Destruction of priority notices after expiry of registration.

45. Indemnity of Registrars.

46. Costs in suits against Registrar-General.

47. Defect in appointment of Registrars or procedure.

48. Fees.

49. Power to make regulations.

50. Forms.

SCHEDULES

23 of 1927,

19 of 1928,

22 of 1930,

14 of 1936,

34 of 1939,

13 of 1947,

4 of 1974,

14 of 1974,

19 of 1976,

23 of 1978,

6 of 1949,

16 of 1951,

22 of 1958,

11 of 1963,

27 of 1969,

50 of 1982,

5 of 1990,

21 of 2013,

1386-18-2005.

AN ORDINANCE to amend and consolidate the law relating to the Registration of Documents.

[Date of Commencement: 1st January, 1928]

CHAPTER I

PRELIMINARY

1. Short title.

This Ordinance may be cited as the Registration of Documents Ordinance.

2. Land registries.

(1) There shall continue to be in Colombo a land register office for the purposes of this Ordinance and the Land Registration Ordinances, No. 5 of 18771 and No. 4 of 1889,1 with branch offices at such places as the Minister may from time to time direct, and the Land register office and branch offices established under the land Registration Ordinance, 1891, or any enactment repealed by that Ordinance shall be deemed to be duly established under this Ordinance.

(2) The business of the land register office and branch offices shall be conducted by a Registrar-General of Lands (in this Ordinance called the "Registrar-General”), a Deputy Registrar-General of Lands and such number of Assistant Registrars-General (in this Ordinance called "Assistant Registrars-General”) and Registrars of Lands (in this Ordinance called "Registrars”) as the Minister may from time to time consider necessary. Acting appointments may be made as may be necessary in the event of the Registrar-General or the Deputy Registrar-General of Lands or any Assistant Registrar-General or Registrar being ill or incapable of acting or temporarily absent from duty.

(3) All appointments under this section shall be made, and may at any time be revoked, in accordance with the law for the time being in force relating to the appointment of public officers:

Provided that in the case of death, illness, incapacity, absence from duty, or other emergency, the Registrar-General may appoint any person to act as a Registrar for not more than thirty days at any one time and may at any time revoke such appointment.

2(4) All appointments under this section shall be notified in the Gazette.

(5) All appointments made under the Land Registration Ordinance, 1891,3 shall be deemed to have been made under this Ordinance.

(6) The Registrar-General may, if he thinks fit exercise all or any of the powers possessed by a Registrar.

(7) Subject to the directions of the Registrar-General, any matter or thing which by this Ordinance or any regulation may or is to be done by the Registrar-General may also be done by a 4Deputy Registrar-General or any Assistant Registrar-General.

2A. .

[S 2A rep by s 2 of Law 4 of 1974.]

3. Definitions of Land.

In this Ordinance, unless the context otherwise requires, "land” includes things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth and any estate or interest in land, and a mortgage of or charge on land.

CHAPTER II

REGISTRATION OF DUPLICATES OF DEEDS

4. Duplicates to be transmitted to Registrar.

(1) Every District Judge, Judge of a Primary Court, or Justice of the Peace shall, on or before the fifteenth day of each month, deliver or transmit to the Registrar of the district wherein he resides the duplicates of all deeds or other instruments executed before him during the previous month under the provisions of the Deeds and Documents (Execution before Public Officers) Ordinance, together with two copies of a list of such duplicates, and, if the land affected by any such deed or instrument is situated in a district other than that in which he resides, he shall also on or before the day aforesaid transmit or deliver an attested copy of the deed or instrument to the Registrar of the last-mentioned district.

(2) Every public officer by or before whom any document affecting land is executed shall, if subsection (1) of this section does not apply thereto, on or before the fifteenth day of the following month deliver or transmit a duplicate or an attested or certified copy thereof to the Registrar of each district in which the land affected thereby is situated together with two copies of a list of all duplicates or copies so delivered by him.

5. Registrar to bind all duplicates.

(1) Every Registrar shall from time to time cause all duplicates and copies transmitted or delivered to him under the preceding section or any other written law, or by any notary under the provisions of the Notaries Ordinance, to be bound in convenient volumes distinguished by the name of the court to which the judge is attached, or by the name of the Justice or notary who attested the deed or instrument, or, in the case of duplicates or copies transmitted or delivered under subsection (2) by the official designation of the public officer by or before whom the deed or instrument was executed, and shall keep and preserve the same in his office.

(2) All duplicates and copies transmitted or delivered to a Registrar or bound in volumes under the corresponding provision in the Land Registration Ordinance, 1891, or any enactment repealed by that Ordinance shall be deemed to have been so transmitted, delivered, or bound under this Chapter.

CHAPTER III

REGISTRATION OF INSTRUMENTS AFFECTING LAND

6. Meaning of "instrument”.

In this Chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, "instrument” means an instrument affecting land.

7. Unregistered instruments void against subsequent registered instruments.

(1) An instrument executed or made on or after the 1st day of January, 1864, whether before or after the commencement of this Ordinance shall, unless it is duly registered under this Chapter, or, if the land has come within the operation of the Land Registration Ordinance, 1877,5 in the books mentioned in section 26 of that Ordinance, be void as against all parties claiming an adverse interest thereto on valuable consideration by virtue of any subsequent instrument which is duly registered under this Chapter, or, if the land has come within the operation of the Land Registration Ordinance, 1877, in the books mentioned in section 26 of that Ordinance.

(2) But fraud or collusion in obtaining such subsequent instrument or in securing the prior registration thereof shall defeat the priority of the person claiming thereunder.

(3) An instrument duly registered before the commencement of this Ordinance, under the Land Registration Ordinance, 1891, or any enactment repealed by that Ordinance, shall be deemed to have been duly registered under this Chapter.

(4) Registration of an instrument under this Chapter shall not cure any defect in the instrument or confer upon it any effect or validity which it would not otherwise have except the priority conferred on it by this section.

8. Meaning of "affecting lands”.

For the purpose of this Ordinance, the following instruments shall be deemed to affect land, namely—

(a) if executed or made before the commencement of this Ordinance, every deed or other instrument of sale, purchase, transfer, assignment, or mortgage of any land, or of promise, bargain contract, or agreement for effecting any such object, or for establishing or transferring any security, interest, or incumbrance affecting any land (other than a lease at will, or for any period not exceeding one month); or of contract or agreement for the future sale or purchase or transfer of any land; and every deed or act of release, surrender, or annulment of or affecting any such deed or other instrument, and every will disposing of any land, and every grant of administration, affecting any land; and every judgment or order of court affecting land;

(b) if executed or made after the commencement of this Ordinance, all instruments, including wills, decrees and orders of any court or authority, and awards, which purport or operate to create, confer, declare, limit, assign, transfer, charge, incumber, release, or extinguish any right, title, or interest, whether vested or contingent, past, present, or future, to, in or over land, or which create or record or are evidence of any contract for effecting any such object, and also a notice of seizure issued under section 237 of the Civil Procedure Code:

Provided that paragraph (b) of this section shall not apply to—

(i) any decree or order of court where the action in which the decree or order is made has been duly registered as a lis pendens;

(ii) a writ of execution issued under section 225 of the Civil Procedure Code;

(iii) any letters of administration to the estate of an intestate;

(iv) a decree or order adjudging a person to be insolvent or bankrupt;

(v) a decree, order, or other instrument appointing or recording, certifying, or confirming the appointment or election of an assignee or trustee in insolvency or bankruptcy;

(vi) any document relating to shares in a registered company notwithstanding that the assets of the company consist in whole or in part of land;

(vii) a mortgage or debenture by a registered company, so long as its only effect, as respects the land affected thereby, is to create a floating charge thereon in such form that the company can, until the security is enforced, dispose of the land in the ordinary course of its business free from the mortgage or debenture;

(viii) any debenture issue by any such company the only effect of which, as respects the land affected thereby, is to entitle the holder to the benefit of the security afforded by a duly registered instrument;

(ix) any endorsement upon or transfer of any debenture specified in (vii) or (viii);

(x) any receipt for payment of money due under a mortgage or charge;

(xi) any instrument if the only interest in land created or dealt with thereby is a tenancy at Will or for a period not exceeding one month or determinable by the landlord by not more than one month's notice.

9. Registration of notice of seizure.

(1) A notice under section 237 of the Civil Procedure Code, of a seizure of land effected after the commencement of this Ordinance is an instrument affecting the land seized and may be registered under this Ordinance.

(2) A notice of a seizure effected before the commencement of this Ordinance may also be registered under this Ordinance.

(3) Registration of a notice of seizure shall remain in force for six months only from the date of registration but may be re-registered as often as may be necessary.

(4) Registration of a notice of a seizure in the book kept under section 237 of the Civil Procedure Code, shall remain in force for six months only from the commencement of this Ordinance. But the notice may be re-registered under this Ordinance. No re-registration shall be effected under section 237.

10. Will when defeated by conveyance by heir.

(1) A Will shall not, as against a disposition by any heir of the testator of land affected by the Will, be deemed to be void or lose any priority or effect by reason only that at the date of the disposition by the heir the Will was not registered under this Chapter.

(2) This section applies whether the testator died before or after the commencement of this Ordinance, but does not apply—

(a) where the disposition by the heir was executed before the commencement of this Ordinance; or

(b) where, at the time of the disposition by the heir, being not less than one year after the death of the testator, letters of administration to the estate of the testator have been granted on the footing that he died intestate.

11. Registration of lis pendens.

(1) No lis pendens affecting or relating to land instituted on or after the 9th day of November, 1917, shall bind a purchaser, unless and until the lis pendens is duly registered under this Chapter.

(2) But a lis pendens duly registered before the commencement of this Ordinance under the provisions of Ordinance No. 29 of 1917, shall be deemed to have been duly registered under this Chapter.

(3) In this section, "purchaser” means any person (including a mortgagee or lessee) who, for valuable consideration, takes any interest in or charge on land.

(4) For the purpose of registering a lis pendens a document in the prescribed form shall be presented for registration, and such document shall be registered in the same manner as other instruments affecting land, but shall be retained by the Registrar.

(5) A lis pendens may be registered at any time after the plaint has been accepted by the court in accordance with the provisions of the Civil Procedure Code.

(6) For the purpose of the application of the doctrine of lis pendens, an action duly registered as lis pendens shall be deemed to be pending from the time of registration notwithstanding that the summons has not been served on the defendant.

(7) Where a lis pendens has been duly registered on a date before the 1st day of May, 1947, such registration shall continue in force until such time as it is cancelled under section 33 of this Ordinance.

[S 11(7) am by s 2 of Act 13 of 1947.]

12. Books for registration of instruments affecting land.

(1) Every Registrar shall prepare and keep the prescribed books for the registration of instruments, allotting to each book (which may be in as many volumes as necessary) a defined division of his province or district.

(2) The books for the registration of instruments established under the Land Registration Ordinance, 1891, or any enactment repealed by that Ordinance shall continue to be used, and shall be deemed to be kept under this Chapter.

13. Mode of description of lands in instruments.

(1) Every instrument (other than a will) presented for registration shall embody therein or in a Schedule annexed thereto, an accurate and clear description of the land or immovable property affected thereby, its boundaries, extent and situation specifying the District, Pattu, Korale, Divisional Secretary's Division, local authority division and the Grama Niladari Division and the village, of the District in which the land is situated and in case the land or immovable property affected by this instrument is situated in within any municipality, town or developed area, declared under section 2 of the Municipal Councils Ordinance, section 2 of the Urban Councils Ordinance and section 2 of the Pradeshiya Sabha Act, No. 15 of 1987 respectively, the assessment number and the name, if any, of the street, in which such land or immovable property is situated.

[S 13(1) subs by s 2 Act 48 of 2011.]

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