Adverse Possession Case Law in India
Overview of Adverse Possession
Under the legal concept of adverse possession, a person unlawfully residing on a piece of land for a certain period can claim legal ownership. Adverse possession claims are governed by the Limitation Act 1963. When a person not the owner of the piece of land enters into such land and continues to reside or use the land for a certain period, the person acquires the title to such land.
The land is a natural asset associated with wealth, and title ownership that comes with the rights of possession, preservation, and management vested upon the owner. However, these rights of the lawful owner are affected in exceptional circumstances where the suit property is in the physical possession of individuals other than the lawful owner. Ahlawat and Associates have expertise in Adverse Possession Law in India, having a specialized team dedicated to handling cases related to adverse possession and providing legal solutions for disputes arising from such situations.
Purpose and Rationale of Adverse Possession Law
Adverse possession is based on the presumption that the owner has abandoned the property to the adverse possessor. The law of Adverse Possession initiates the process of acquisition of title by adverse possession when there is inaction on the part of the actual owner to claim the rights over the suit property.
Adverse Possession Limitation Act provides a time bar for the actual owner to access the Court to operate the rights over the suit property, which is in possession of any other person. The plethora of Adverse Possession Case Laws in India has allowed the title to automatically shift from the actual owner to the adverse possessor by adverse possession after the expiry of the time bar.
The rationale behind the Adverse Possession Law in India is that land is required to be put to use judiciously instead of being left vacant. At the same, it provides the actual owner sufficient remedy to claim for the recovery of such land.
The Adverse Possession Law in India does not intend to penalize the actual owners for the negligence of their asserted rights over a disputed property; rather, it protects the rights of the individuals who have maintained, cared for, and developed a suit property over some time in the absence of the actual owner.
Requirements for Acquiring Title by Adverse Possession
While pleading for adverse possession, the claimant does not have any equities favoring him as he is trying to compete with the rights of the actual owner. In the Court, the claimant is required to establish the facts as laid by the Adverse Possession Law in India to prove their claim. Adverse Possession under the Limitation Act set out the following essential conditions for claiming adverse possession: –
- The claim of adverse possession of suit is pleaded for immovable property or any interest therein based on the title of such property.
- The law of Adverse Possession requires the claimant to be in actual and exclusive possession of the claimant and exercise the rights over the land as an actual owner. The claimant must have trespassed into the property and continued to physically reside and use it exclusively. Adverse Possession Case Law holds that for the commencement of adverse possession, the trespasser has to acquire the actual possession of the suit property with the required intention to put it to some use.
- According to the Adverse Possession Limitation Act, a claimant is required to possess a suit property for 12 years in case of private property and for 30 years in case of government-owned property. After the completion of the aforesaid timeline, Adverse Possession Law in India operates as a rule and cuts off the right of the actual owner to bring an action for the recovery of the suit property and vests the adverse possessor with the title.
- Adverse Possession Under the Limitation Act must be continuous and open without any interference by the actual owner for the prescribed timeline. Adverse Possession Case Laws have ruled that the continuity and publicity of the possession for a certain extent of time is required to establish adverse possession.
- Adverse possession must be hostile towards the ownership of the Actual owner where the claimant possesses the suit property knowing that he is not the lawful owner of such property. The claimant must use and exercise the rights over the suit property without the consent of the owner. However, the same must be done with the knowledge of the owner.
It must be noted that not all possession can be adverse possession. Here are the situations where the adverse possession can not claim:
- The claimant has been in possession of the suit property with the permission of the actual owner.
- The claimant has not failed to establish the intended purpose for which he has possessed the suit property.
Our Approach to Adverse Possession
Even though the Limitation Act governs the dispute of adverse possession, the simple application of the Adverse Possession Limitation Act is not enough to guarantee success in Adverse Possession claims. Therefore, our firm guides our clients, catering to their needs of preventing and claiming such adverse possession by referring to various Adverse Possession Case Laws in India to prevent our prestigious clients from facing any loss of property.
Our Approach includes guiding clients as follows:
- Meeting our clients to understand their situations by gathering information and relevant documents related to the case.
- Conducting a thorough analysis of the case of the client and identifying the challenges and risk
- Advising the client on potential legal options they can choose.
- Conducting comprehensive research and gathering evidence to support the claim of our client.
- Based on the claim and situation, we can settle outside the Court through Negotiation and Mediation.
- Even after the resolution, we will be helping our client to implement the final order by formalizing the adverse possession claim, transferring title, or resolving any remaining issues.