Documents Eligible for Optional Registration

Section 18 of the Registration Act: Optional Registration of Documents

Documents Eligible for Optional Registration


In the realm of property transactions, the Registration Act, 1908, plays a vital role in establishing legal validity and authenticity. Generally, documents specified under Section 17(1) of the Act are compulsorily registerable. However, there is an interesting provision in the Act that allows for the optional registration of certain documents. These are the documents that are not mandated by law to be registered under Section 17 but can still be voluntarily registered under Section 18 of the Act. Such optional registration provides added legal benefits and recognition to the concerned parties.

Object of Registration

Before we delve into the documents subject to optional registration, let's understand the primary objective of registration itself. The process of registration ensures that documents related to property transactions hold legal weight and can be used as admissible evidence in case of any disputes. On the other hand, unregistered documents are considered ineffective and cannot be relied upon to prove ownership or other rights. By registering documents, the law aims to instill confidence in individuals dealing with properties, as they can trust the official records as a complete and accurate reflection of the transactions that impact their property ownership.

Documents Eligible for Optional Registration

Under Section 18 of the Registration Act, 1908, certain documents that are not required to be compulsorily registered under Section 17 can be optionally registered. Opting for optional registration can provide additional security and legal validity to these documents.

Thus, the following are some instances of registerable documents in this way,

  • 1. Wills.
  • 2. Leases of Less Value.
  • 3. Partnership-Deed.
  • 4. Power of Attorney.
  • 5. Deed of Adoption.
  • 6. Releases.
  • 7. Compromise.
  • 8. Memorandum of Past Transaction
  • 9. Promissory Note.
  • 10. Guardianship of Property.
  • 11. Family Arrangements.
  • 12. Agreement to Re-convey.
  • 13. Agreement of Partition.
  • 14. Agreement of Create a Lease
  • 15. Agreement of Mutations 
  • 16. Agreement of Mortgage.
  • 17. Agreement to Sell.
  • 18. Memorandum of Past Gift
  • 19. Rectification Deed
  • 20. Appointment of New Trustee


(1) Wills:

Wills are not required to be compulsorily registered. However, registering a will provides strong evidence of its execution and authenticity. This can be particularly useful in avoiding disputes and ensuring the smooth execution of the testator's wishes.

The mere fact that a will is not such a circumstance as must ipso facto tell against the genuineness of the will. It was held the fact that the will is registered is a strong piece of evidence in favor of its execution. AIR 1962 A.P. 178

(2) Leases of Less Value:

Leases that are not from year to year or exceed one year in duration are not mandatorily registerable but can be optionally registered. This option grants additional security and legitimacy to both parties involved in the lease agreement.

(3) Power of Attorney: 

A Power of Attorney, which grants authority to act on someone else's behalf, is not among the documents listed in Section 17 and can be optionally registered. Registration can be beneficial, especially when the power granted involves property-related matters or significant decisions. In case one parts his powers to alienate the property to an attorney, it amounts to assignment and thus requires registration. 

(3) Partnership-Deed: 

In order to decide whether a partnership deed is registerable compulsorily or optionally, the nature of the business has to be taken into consideration. Therefore, when a partnership deed merely declares an already existing right in immovable property, its registration is optional, otherwise, compulsory. 

(5) Deed of Adoption 

A deed of adoption reciting the factor of adoption and stating that the adoptee had acquired certain rights in immovable properties may be registered. 

Whereas under Section 17(b) authorities to adopt a son is compulsorily registerable, for it is not merely a deed but adoption itself, creating the status of adopted son conferring an interest in the property of the adoptive father. 

(6) Releases 

A release in writing of a right to certain armaments to which the person releasing is entitled falls within this clause and is optionally registerable.

(7) Compromise 

The only test in this connection is the intention of the parties and generally, where the parties have an antecedent title of some kind in the properties and they only agree to acknowledge their title by compromise, the arrangement cannot be said to create, declare, assign, limit, or extinguish any right, title, or interest, and the agreement if reduced to writing need not be registered.

(8) Memorandum of Past Transaction: 

A document that merely recites a transaction that has already taken place or admits a past transaction is not compulsorily registerable but can be optionally registered. Registration can serve as evidence of the transaction's occurrence.

A letter was sent to Patwari by an owner of land informing that he had given away the land and that entries should be made in the name of a particular person being neither gift nor sale requires no registration. 108 2nd Case.191

(9) Promissory Note 

Promissory notes may be registered under this section. Optional registration can strengthen the validity of the promissory note and the commitment to repay the debt.

(10) Guardianship of Property. 

A document appointing a person as a guardian of a minor's property is not a transfer or assignment of the minor's property and may be optionally registered. Registration can help ensure that the guardian's authority is legally recognized.

(11) Family Arrangements 

A deed of arrangement meant merely for the usufruct of certain immovable property in lieu of the maintenance of a female which does not confer any title on her nor does limit or extinguish anybody’s right in the property does not require registration compulsorily but optionally. 

A family arrangement does not involve a transfer but is a settlement in which each party takes a share of the family property by virtue of an independent title which is to the extent admitted by the other parties. 241 IG 309. 

(12) Agreement to Sell 

An agreement to sell does not require compulsory registration by reason only of the fact that such document contains a recital of the payment of any earnest money or of the whole or any part of the purchase money. 

(13) Agreement of Mortgage 

An agreement by a debtor to execute a mortgage of his immovable property to his creditor does not by itself create any right but may be registered under Section 18 of this Act. 

(14) Agreement to Create a Lease 

Compulsory registration is not prescribed for a document that makes no present demise and creates no immediate interest, like an instrument of an agreement to create a lease. 

(15) Agreement of Mutation 

An agreement to enter formal mutation in a revenue register, when proprietary rights are acquired does not require registration.

(16) Agreement of Partition 

Agreement of partition does not require compulsory registration but may be registered under Section 18 of the Registration Act, 1908. 

(17) Agreement to Re-convey 

An agreement to execute a deed to re-convey the property does not require registration. 

(18) Memorandum of Past Gift

A document that is merely a memorandum of a gift made in the past does not require registration. But maybe registered under this section. 

(19) Rectification Deed 

Where a document purports to be a rectification deed consequently upon a mistake found to have crept into the sale deed, the document does not require registration for its validity. 

(20) Appointment of New Trustee 

A deed of appointment of new trustees which in itself does not purport or operate to create any interest in the trust property, doesn't require compulsory registration.


Optional registration of documents under Section 18 of the Registration Act, 1908, provides a valuable legal avenue for enhancing the recognition and validity of various property-related transactions. By understanding the concept of optional registration and the eligible documents, parties involved in property transactions can make informed decisions to safeguard their interests and ensure the legal standing of their agreements.


Q. “What are the documents on which the registration is optional under the registration act?

Ans: Under the Registration Act, certain documents have optional registration, including wills, leases of less value, power of attorney, partnership deeds, deeds of adoption, releases, compromises, memoranda of past transactions, promissory notes, guardianship of property documents, family arrangements, agreements to sell, agreements of mortgage, agreements to create leases, agreements of mutation, agreements of partition, agreements to re-convey, memoranda of past gifts, rectification deeds, and appointment of new trustees. Optional registration enhances legal recognition and validity for these property-related transactions

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