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Person Claiming Title By Adverse Possession Can Maintain A Suit Under Article 65 Limitation Act: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
7 Aug 2019 1:02 PM GMT
Person Claiming Title By Adverse Possession Can Maintain A Suit Under Article 65 Limitation Act: SC [Read Judgment]
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"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."

In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, held that any person who has perfected title by way of adverse possession, can file a suit for restoration of possession in case of dispossession.The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah observed that plea of acquisition of title by adverse possession can be taken by plaintiff under Article...

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In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court, on Wednesday, held that any person who has perfected title by way of adverse possession, can file a suit for restoration of possession in case of dispossession.

The bench comprising Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice MR Shah observed that plea of acquisition of title by adverse possession can be taken by plaintiff under Article 65 of the Limitation Act and there is no bar under the Limitation Act, 1963 to sue on aforesaid basis in case of infringement of any rights of a plaintiff.

The issue considered by the Court was whether a person claiming the title by virtue of adverse possession can maintain a suit under Article 65 of Limitation Act, 1963 for declaration of title and for a permanent injunction seeking the protection of his possession thereby restraining the defendant from interfering in the possession or for restoration of possession in case of illegal dispossession by a defendant whose title has been extinguished by virtue of the plaintiff remaining in the adverse possession or in case of dispossession by some other person?

Plea of adverse possession as can be used as sword by plaintiff and shield as a defendant

Overruling the two judge bench judgments including Gurudwara Sahab v. Gram Panchayat Village Sirthala, which have held no declaration of title can be sought by a plaintiff on the basis of adverse possession inasmuch as adverse possession can be used as a shield by a defendant and not as a sword by a plaintiff , the bench, concluded as follows in Ravinder Kaur Grewal vs. Manjit Kaur :

"We hold that a person in possession cannot be ousted by another person except by due procedure of law and once 12 years' period of adverse possession is over, even owner's right to eject him is lost and the possessory owner acquires right, title and interest possessed by the outgoing person/owner as the case may be against whom he has prescribed. In our opinion, consequence 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 within ken of Article 65 of the Act and any person who has perfected title by way of adverse possession, can file a suit for restoration of possession in case of dispossession. In case of dispossession by another person by taking law in his hand a possessory suit can be maintained under Article 64, even before the ripening of title by way of adverse possession. By perfection of title on extinguishment of the owner's title, a person cannot be remediless. In case he has been dispossessed by the owner after having lost the right by adverse possession, he can be evicted by the plaintiff by taking the plea of adverse possession. Similarly, any other person who might have dispossessed the plaintiff having perfected title by way of adverse possession can also be evicted until and unless such other person has perfected title against such a plaintiff by adverse possession. Similarly, under other Articles also in case of infringement of any of his rights, a plaintiff who has perfected the title by adverse possession, can sue and maintain a suit When we consider the law of adverse possession as has developed vis¬à-vis to property dedicated to public use, courts have been loath to confer the right by adverse possession." 


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