It is time to bring church’s properties under ambit of Registration Act: HC

The Madras High Court recently noted that it was time to include the Church Properties under Section 22 A of the Registration Act 1908 which protects certain properties like temple and wakf properties from registration.

Justice G R Swaminathan, while directing the district registrar of Sivaganga to register the sale deed presented by the petitioner Shalin for 1,345 sq ft of land in Tirupattur town in Sivaganga district, said the division bench of the Madras High Court, in 2017, stated that the properties endowed in favour of the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church should not be registered without obtaining permission from the high court.

The IG of Registration issued a circular in this regard, which led the registrar department to refuse a check slip to the petitioner.

As per 22-A of the Tamil Nadu Registration Act, immovable properties belonging to, given or endowed for any religious institution are covered under the Tamil Nadu Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act, while Wakf properties fall under the Wakf Board. However, no properties of the church got such similar protection.

As India is a secular country, the state must approach all religions alike and it is time to include the church properties within the scope of Section 22-A, the court stated.