Refund of Stamp Duty for Unexecuted Conveyance Deed and Fraudulent Transaction: Supreme Court


In a significant civil appeal in the case titledBano Saiyed Parwaz Vs. Chief Controlling Revenue Authority & Anr.’, the Supreme Court of India addressed the issue of refunding stamp duty paid on an unexecuted conveyance deed. The appeal arose from a decision of the Bombay High Court, which dismissed the appellant’s demand for a refund and upheld the order of the Chief Controlling Revenue Authority and the Inspector General of Registration and Controller of Stamps (Respondents). The Division Bench of Justices B.R. Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra allowed the appeal, setting aside the impugned orders and decisions.


Factual Matrix:

The appellant had agreed to purchase property from a vendor and prepared a deed of conveyance, which was sent for adjudication to the respondent on May 7, 2014. The stamp duty was assessed at ₹25,34,350, and this amount was duly paid by the appellant on May 13, 2014. However, it was later discovered that the vendor had already sold the property to a third party in 1992, rendering the conveyance deed unexecutable. Unable to proceed with the transaction and unable to contact the vendor, the appellant lodged a police complaint. Subsequently, the vendor executed a cancellation deed on November 13, 2014.


Meanwhile, the appellant had applied online for a refund of the stamp duty on October 22, 2014, under Section 48 of the Maharashtra Stamp Act, 1958 (“the Act”), followed by a written application on December 6, 2014. The respondent rejected the application, citing it was beyond the limitation period prescribed by Section 48 of the Act.


Analysis and Decision:

The Supreme Court noted that the appellant did not lodge the conveyance deed for registration due to the fraudulent actions of the vendor. Upon discovering the fraud, the appellant promptly applied for a refund on October 22, 2014. The vendor’s cancellation of the deed on November 13, 2014, only occurred due to police intervention. The Court observed that the appellant had actively pursued legal remedies and was denied a refund solely on the grounds of limitation.


The Court found the High Court’s reasoning flawed, particularly the assertion that the appellant’s application for refund dated October 22, 2014, was invalid because it preceded the cancellation deed. The Supreme Court clarified that Sections 47 and 48 of the Act do not mandate that all supporting documents be submitted simultaneously with the application. Instead, the application for relief under Section 47 need only be made within six months of the date of the instrument, which the appellant complied with.


The Court further explained that, under Section 47, the required evidence and subsequent inquiry are separate processes. For refunds under Section 47(c)(1) and (5), the evidence need not accompany the application. The Court referred to Committee-GFIL Vs. Libra Buildtech (P) Ltd., (2015) 16 SCC 31, which emphasised that while the period of limitation may bar the remedy, it does not extinguish the right to a refund.



The Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that the state should not rely on technicalities when dealing with citizens. It held that the appellant was entitled to a refund of the stamp duty, as the refusal based solely on limitation was unjust. The appellant had pursued the legal remedies diligently, and the fraud perpetrated by the vendor justified the refund.

Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeal, set aside the impugned orders, and directed the state to refund the stamp duty amount of ₹25,34,400 to the appellant. This decision underscores the judiciary’s commitment to ensuring fairness and justice, even when procedural technicalities are involved.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The content may not reflect the most current legal developments and is not guaranteed to be accurate, complete, or up-to-date. Readers should consult a qualified legal professional before taking any action based on the information provided. The authors and publishers disclaim any liability for any loss or damage incurred as a result of reliance on this article. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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