April 24, 2018

Claim of Title & Claim to Adverse Possession over the Property : 3 Important Supreme Court Cases

1. Annasaheb Bapusaheb Patil v. Balwant @ Balasaheb Babusaheb Patil (dead) by Lrs, (1995) 2 SCC 543

Where possession can be referred to a lawful title, it will not to be considered to be adverse. The reason being that a person whose possession can be referred to a lawful title will not be permitted to show that his possession was hostile to another's title. One who holds possession on behalf of another, does not by mere denial of that other's title make his possession adverse so as to give himself the benefit of the statute of limitation. Therefore, a person who enters into possession having a lawful title, cannot divest another of that title by pretending that he had no tide at all.

2. Mohan Lal (Deceased) through his Lrs. v. Mirza Abdul Gaffer, (1996) 1 SCC 639

Having come into possession under the agreement, he must disclaim his right thereunder and plead and prove assertion of his independent hostile adverse possession to the knowledge of the transferor or his successor in title or interest and that the latter had acquiesced to his illegal possession during the entire period of 12 years, i.e., up to completing the period of his title by prescription nec vi nec clam nec precario. Since the appellant's claim is founded on Section 53-A, it goes without saying that he admits by implication that he came into possession of the land lawfully under the agreement and continued to remain in possession till date of the suit. Thereby the plea of adverse possession is not available to the appellant.

3. L.N. Aswathama v. P. Prakash, (2009) 13 SCC 229 

To establish a claim of title by prescription, that is, adverse possession for 12 years or more, the possession of the claimant must be physical / actual, exclusive, open, uninterrupted, notorious and hostile to the true owner for a period exceeding twelve years. It is also well settled that long and continuous possession by itself would not constitute adverse possession if it was either permissive possession or possession without animus possidendi. The pleas based on title and adverse possession are mutually inconsistent and the latter does not begin to operate until the former is renounced. Unless the person possessing the property has the requisite animus to possess the property hostile to the title of the true owner, the period for prescription will not commence.
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