CIVIL

What is Composite Document

Indian Law Encyclopedia

A composite document is severable and in part clearly testamentary, such part may take effect as a Will and other part if it has the characteristics of a settlement and that part will take effect in that way. A document which operates to dispose of properly in praesenti in respect of few items of the properties is a settlement and in future in respect of few other items after the deeds of the executants, it is a testamentary disposition. That one part of the document has effect during the lifetime of the executant i.e. the gift and the other part disposing the property after the death of the executant is a Will. Reference may be made in this connection to the judgment of this Court in Rev. Fr. M.S. Poulose v. Varghese and Others. (1995) Supp 2 SCC 294.

In a composite document, which has the characteristics of a Will as well as a gift, it may be necessary to have that document registered otherwise that part of the document which has the effect of a gift cannot be given effect to. Therefore, it is not unusual to register a composite document which has the characteristics of a gift as well as a Will. Consequently, the mere registration of document cannot have any determining effect in arriving at a  conclusion that it is not a Will. The document which may serve as evidence of the gift, falls within the sweep of Section 17 of the  Registration Act. Where an instrument evidences creation,  declaration, assignment, limitation or extinction of any present or  future right, title or interest in immovable property or where any  instrument acknowledges the receipt of payment of consideration  on account of creation, declaration, assignment, limitation or  extinction of such right, title or interest, in those cases alone the  instrument or receipt would be compulsorily registrable under Section 17(1) (b) or (c) of the Registration Act. A ‘Will’ need not necessarily be registered. But the fact of registration of a ‘Will’ will not render the document a settlement.