The steps required to be taken by an applicant in the process of registration is as follows:
- Get the instrument properly executed and swear an oath that it is duly executed by the grantor;
- Get the instrument stamped, if it is subject to stamp duty under the Stamp Act; and
- Pass the instrument on for the registration proper. This really means for the applicant, that he makes a duplicate or an exact copy of the instrument9 and swears the set oath, if not already done, and deposits it at the Registry. The registrar then takes the necessary particulars, registers it by filing the duplicate or copy submitted and posting or handing over the original to the depositor. Incidentally, part IV of Act 122 is still not in force. If it had been brought into force, then the steps indicated above would still have been taken; but registration would not follow automatically as is the case at present unless the following conditions would have been satisfied:
- The registrar would have to examine the application and ascertain how far sufficient ground had been shown prima facie for registering the instrument and noting that the land therein dealt with had the applicant as its owners;
- The registrar would then publish a notice of the application and fix a date at which the prima facie ground for registration would be considered conclusive in the absence of objections or adverse claims; if objections or adverse claims were made, these would be fought out between the parties themselves but before the Chief Registrar of Lands in the first instance;
- The registrar would then complete the registration. In the event of the right to register not being challenged or (if challenged) being upheld, this registration would be by placing the particular land on the register with the person entitled named as its owner.11 It would no doubt be recognised that these provisions were intended to make our system similar - very similar, to registration of title. According to the Minister who introduced the Bill in Parliament, the intention was that the 1962 Act would be a first step to the registration of title proper. If so it was a very big step that would pass over very many difficulties; and it was hoped that these difficulties would not raise their ugly heads too soon.
The result was a disappointment, however. For the difficulties soon made themselves so evident that those provisions have remained dead to date. But those are not the only provisions on registration of instruments the terms of which were never implemented. Sections 4-11 of the Conveyancing Decree, 197312 are a valiant attempt to ensure that records of oral grants under customary law are made and kept in a public office while preserving the customary mode of transfer. In spite of their progressive appearance they turned out in practice to be useless. The Land Title Registration Law, 1986, recognises this when it provides in section 138 that "[S]ections 4 to 11 of the Conveyancing Decree, 1973 (NRCD 175) are hereby repealed."