The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi in the case titled Satish Kumar Batra Vs. Harish Kumar Batra and Ors. (RFA 776/2016) on 09.02.2018 held that once family settlements are reduced in writing, they require registration. However, if the same are not registered, the contents thereof can be used to corroborate the existence of an arrangement between the families, as also to explain the conduct of the parties.
The issue before the Hon’ble High Court was whether the unregistered and insufficiently stamped family settlement can be read in evidence as per Section 49 of the Registration Act.
The Hon’ble High Court of Delhi after relying upon the landmark judgment of Kale & Ors. v. Deputy Directors of Consolidation & Ors. (1976) 3 SCC 119 held that no technicalities are to come in the way of enforcing family settlements. The Court further held that assuming, however, that the family settlement was was compulsorily registrable, the Courts have generally held that a family arrangement is binding on the parties to it. Further the family settlement, would operate as an estoppel, against the parties, by preventing the parties who after having taken advantage under the arrangement attempt to resile from the same or try to revoke it.
By also relying upon Subraya M.N. v. Vittala M.N. (2016) 8 SCC 705, the Hon’ble court held that in the present case, though the family settlement is unregistered but the same has been exhibited and is admitted by the parties. It was further discussed that Family settlements are intended to maintain and continue peace and cordiality among family members. Even if one family member does not abide by it, the harmony of the family is disturbed. Courts, therefore, are to enforce the letter and spirit of family settlements without going into technicalities.