Monday, August 12, 2019

Supreme Court landmark verdict on adverse possession over property

Often we give our land or houses to others for a period of time or some people may even commit illegal encroachment as per their needs, but now it can be risky, according to the new Supreme Court judgement.

The Supreme Court has given a landmark verdict (Ravinder Kaur Grewal versus Manjit Kaur on 07.08.2019) in this regard, the Supreme Court has held that the occupant can claim Adverse possession of land or property which has been in possession of him for 12 years or more without any interruption.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazer and Justice MR Shah held that a person, who is not a title holder (the original owner) but acquires rights over the property under the doctrine of adverse possession, is empowered to file law suits to reclaim possession in case he is dispossessed by original owner or any other person.

The apex court also said that if such a person is being evicted from the land, he can also seek legal aid. It is clear from this judgement that if the actual or legitimate owner fail to move within the stipulated time limit of 12 years to get their immovable property back from the possession of another, his ownership and the immovable property which has been occupied for 12 years will be lost.

According to the Limitation Act 1963, the statutory period of the limit allowed for possession of immovable property or any interest is 12 years in case of private property and 30 years for public property, the date from which the encroacher is occupying the property.

The bench said "We hold that a person in possession cannot be evicted by any other person except the due procedure of law and once the 12 years period of adverse possession expires, the right of the owner to evict him is also lost. In our opinion, consequences is that once the right, title or interest is acquired, it can be used as a sword by the plaintiff as well as a shield by the defendant under Article 65 of the Limitation Act 1963 and any person who has perfected title by way of adverse possession can file a lawsuit for restoration of possession in case of dispossession".

The bench said that the right to adverse possession should not be applicable in case of encroachment of public property.

Download Judgment, click here