Having franked the Deed of Adoption for Rs. 200 stamp duty, the next step is to execute and register the deed at the city registrar's office.
The Joint Sub-Registrar of Assurances has several offices in Mumbai. If you have specified a temporary residence address in Mumbai while filing the adoption petition, you have to get the deed registered in the office that covers the geographical location that your temporary address in Mumbai falls under. The complete list of sub-registrar offices in Mumbai is available online here. We registered our deed at the Kurla 1 & 2 office in Chembur.
It took me a couple of visits to the dank, dingy office in Chembur to figure out how the whole thing works.
- Dozens of deed registrations are carried out every day - most are property related transactions. Yours is likely to be the only adoption deed on any given day.
- Execution of the deed involves both parties (buyer & seller), and 2 witnesses, all of whom are required to be physically present on the appointed day at a pre-specified time to sign the documents and have their thumb-impressions taken.
*) Getting an Appointment Token:
- To get an appointment for the registration, in the past you had to travel to the registrar's office to get a token. Apparently this led to the usual proliferation of agents and the inevitable granting of tokens in exchange for 'chaha-paaNi'. To weed this practice out, the good folks at the Department of Registration and Stamps instituted a few hotline numbers. You can only get an appointment token by calling one of these numbers between 9.30 a.m. and 10.30 a.m. and giving them your particulars.
- Tokens are always only given out for the next working day, never earlier than that. If you call during the specified time and manage to get through, you are given a registration appointment for the following day. They allocate roughly one appointment per half-hour with a break for lunch, so it's pretty much a mad first-come-first-serve rush.
- Well-intentioned it may be, but the system works terribly in practice. You are basically consigned to calling a number that's always engaged. After two attempts on two consecutive days, I fancied my chances of winning the Maharashtra State Lottery were a notch higher than getting through to the 'hotline'.Allocate a few days for this frustrating exercise.
- Or you can do what I did - which was to give up, go down physically and beg and grovel before the officer-in-charge until she condescended to allocate me a token for the next day. Fortunately in India, you can sometimes get things done by appealing to the sentimentality in people - and I wore my best pathetic-dog look and delivered my best help-us-we're-doing-a-good-deed-unlike-all-these-property-transaction-people pitch to snare the damn token. (For the record, I did not pay a bribe).
- The scene at the registrar's office was mayhem. When I was there, I realized why I had a snowflake's chance in Hell of getting through to the hotline. Picture this - about fifty people crowded around the token lady's counter, all clutching mobile phones and desperately dialing the hotline. The token lady picks up the phone when it rings, gets the lucky caller's particulars and assigns him a token while 5000 other people district-wide frantically hit the redial button on their phones.
Never mind that the 50 despos in the room are inches away from the token lady's face - they are still not allowed to get a token from her unless they get through to the phone on her desk. I was treated to the surreal spectacle of one bloke who actually got through to the hotline while standing there. Witnessing the token lady answer his call right in front of his eyes, he decided it was fine to simply talk to the lady face-to-face, but instead earned himself a sharp reprimand to give her his particulars by talking into his cell-phone. ('mala saangu naka, phone madhe saanga!' for those of you who understand Marathi).
*Update*: Apparently you can now apply for the appointment token online if you want a slot for the day-after-tomorrow or later. Click 'eStepin' --> 'Token Booking'. The system looks pretty good - you can actually view the parties involved in each transaction when you click on any of the slots. If any of you try this out for real for your adoption registration, please let me know how it worked out for you and I'll update this section.
*) The Actual Execution & Registration of the Deed of Adoption:
Once you've got an appointment to register your deed, the rest of it is actually straightforward.
Unlike a property transaction which has 2 parties - the buyer/recipient and seller/giver, ('lihun gheNaare' and 'lihun deNaare' in Marathi), you are the sole party executing the adoption deed. Remember to emphasize this while getting a token. I had an official initially insist that there had to be a representative of the RIPA present as the 'giver' until I pointed out that the Deed of Adoption had only my name in it and nobody else's. Essentially, you are giving the child to yourself in adoption.
At the appointed time, you need to be present at the registrar's office with:
- The completed application form. (you can purchase the form for Rs. 5 at any of the photocopier stalls lining the entrance to the registrar's office)
- The original franked Deed of Adoption, stapled alongwith the Court Order.
- One photocopy of the Deed & Court Order taken on one-sided paper only. The photocopy does need not be certified or notarized.
- Two witnesses with their photo-ID cards (PAN card / Driving License / Passport / Voter ID) - original + 1 copy, proof of address - original + 1 copy, and a passport-sized photo each.
- Two passport-sized photos of yourself.
*Note*: You do not need to bring the child along during registration.
*Note*: Just to make your life a little more difficult, the entire application form is in Marathi and contains obscure vernacular terms like 'duyyam nibandhak' (joint sub-registrar) and 'sobat zodleli kagadpatre' (supporting documents). For a casual speaker of Marathi like me, the form was way too complex to decipher and the officials at the counter are either too busy or can't be bothered to help you out. Fortunately, we ran into a busybody, who watching our predicament, offered to help. Being a regular there (agent), he seemed to know his way around pretty well and had our form filled in no time. Most of the sections in the form apply to property/land transactions anyway and can be left blank for adoption deed ('dattakpatra') applications.
*) What our filled application form (3 pages) looked like:
* Click on the image to enlarge
* Click on the image to enlarge
The registration takes about half an hour - your photo and thumbprint are optically scanned into the computer, you and your witnesses sign the deed, the officer puts the registrar's seal and affixes a unique numbering block on each page of the deed and court order and a few supplementary pages containing details of the applicant and witnesses, copies of IDs, photos and signatures etc., and you pay the registration fee. You can collect the registered deed later the same day.
*) Cover page of the Deed of Adoption bearing the registrar's seal and unique number block:
* Click on the image to enlarge
Congratulations! Your adoption is now official and complete!