11. In the counter affidavit, it is stated that the online application provides two methods. One is index creation unsing “Index Creation of Deed’. Another is automatic generation of Index using “Document Creation of Deed”. It the citizen opts for the second application, index will automatically get created. The apprehension of the petitioner regarding index preparation is unfounded and magnified. Further, Index is nothing but the abstract of the document. Digital generation of Index through the above applications cannot be said to be handing over to private persons. Creation of Index online is not against the provisions of Section 54 and 55 of the Registration Act. In truth, the citizen gets the opportunity of pre-registration verification which would avoid subsequent rectification deeds. Further, modification in the office is averted.
12. The learned counsel appearing for the appellant contended that this is against the provisions laid down in part XI of the Act dealing with the duties and powers of registering officers. Part XI contains Sections 51 to 70. Section 51 states that in all registration offices Book Nos.1 to 5 shall be kept. What each book shall contain has also been set out. For instance, Book No.1 is the register of non testamentary documents relating to immovable property. Section 54 mandates that in every office in which any of the books herein before mentioned are kept, there shall be prepared current indexes of the contents of such books and every entry in such indexes shall be made, so far as practicable, immediately after the registering officer has filed a true memorandum of or a memorandum of the document to which it relates. Section 55 reads as under:
“55.Indexes to be made by registering officers, and their contents. – (1) Four such indexes shall be made in all registration offices, and shall be named respectively Index No.I, Index No.II, Index No.III and Index No.IV.”
(2) Index No.I shall contain the names and additions of all persons executing and of all persons claiming under every document of which a true copy, or a memorandum is filed in Book No.1.
(3) Index No.II shall contain such particulars mentioned in section 21 relating to every such document and memorandum as the Inspector General, from time to time, directs in that behalf.
(4) Index No.III shall contain the names and additions of all persons executing every will and authority of which a true copy is filed in Book No.3, and of the executors and persons respectively appointed thereunder, and after the death of the testator or the donor but not before the names and additions of all persons claiming under the same.
(5) Index No.IV shall contain the names and additions of all persons executing and of all persons claiming under every document of which a true copy or memorandum is filed.
(6) Each index shall contain such other particulars, and shall be prepared in such form, as the Inspector General, from time to time, directs.”
13. Section 57 of the Act makes it clear that subject to the previous payment of the fees payable in that behalf, the Book Nos. 1 and 2 and the Indexes relating to Book No.1 shall be at all times open to inspection by any person applying to inspect the same. Copies of entries in such books shall be given to all persons applying for all such copies. Section 57(5) of the Act states that all copies given under this section shall be signed and sealed by the registering officer and shall be admissible for the purpose of proving the contents of the original documents.
14. As seen earlier part XI bears the heading “Of the duties and powers of registering officers. (A) As to the Register book and Indexes”. Section 55 bears the heading “Indexes to be made by registering officers, and their contents”. In the principles of Statutory Interpretation by Justice G.P. Singh (13th Edition at page 167), it is stated that the Headings or Titles prefixed to sections or group of sections can be referred to in construing an Act of the Legislature. The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed in N.C.Dhondial V. Union of India – AIR 2004 SC 1272 at page 1728 that it is a settled rule of interpretation that the section heading or marginal note can be relied upon to clear any doubt or ambiguity in the interpretation of the provision and to discern the legislative intent. In Tata Coffee Ltd. V. State of Tamil Nadu – (2008) 3 CTC 614 , this Court observed that Section 55 of the Registration Act mandates the registering officer to prepare index in the form of Index No.I, II, III and IV.
15. In view of the above, we have to hold that creation of Index only is a statutory duty which must be performed only by the officials of the registration department. This cannot be passed on to the document writers or to the registrants. Since the certified copies of index entries will have to be provided to the applicants on demand and on payment of fees, it is necessary that the entries are correctly made. The entries have to be authentic. Therefore, it is the duty of the Sub Registrar to carry out the preparation of the indexes.