The Supreme Court has observed that once the Court approves a bid price on the basis of the material before it, any interference by the Registering Authority on the aspect of price of transaction would be wholly unjustified.

The bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Vikram Nath observed that "Once the court is satisfied that the bid price is the appropriate price on the basis of the material before it and gives its imprimatur to it, any interference by the Registering Authority on the aspect of price of transaction would be wholly unjustified."

The Court also observed that public auction carried out through Court process/receiver is the most transparent manner of obtaining the correct market value of the property.

The Court made this observation while answering regarding the scope of Section 47A of Indian Stamp Act (as applicable to West Bengal).

Advocate Astha Sharma represented the Appellants whereas Advocate Partha Sil represented the Respondent.

In this case, the appellant sought to assail the restriction on the power of the Registering Officer in case of court auction sales.

It was the contention of the appellant that the Registering Officer is not bound by only what is specified in the deed or determined by the court and can determine a value that is greater amongst the ways stipulated therein.

The Court noted that to say that even in a court-monitored auction, the Registering Authority would have a say on what is the market price, would amount to the Registering Authority sitting in appeal over the decision of the Court permitting sale at a particular price.

The Court held that "In a court auction following its own procedure, the Registering Officer cannot have any reason to believe that the market value of the property was not duly set forth – a pre-requisite for a Registering Authority to exercise its power under the said Section."

The Court further held that the Registering Authority cannot be permitted to doubt the liquidation proceedings as having some superior knowledge when it is a court-monitored process where the court would take care of aspects such as cartelization; the Registering Authority can hardly be said to be the only authority with knowledge of the subject to the exclusion of the court.

Thus the Court held that in case of a public auction monitored by the court, the discretion would not be available to the Registering Authority under Section 47A of the Act.

Cause Title- Registrar of Assurances & Anr. v. ASL Vyapar Private Ltd. & Anr.

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