The Supreme Court has held that a person who has acquired right over a property as it was in his possession for 12 years can file a suit to re-claim it in case of forced dispossession by the original owner or any other party.
For this the Supreme Court referred to the “doctrine of adverse possession”. It states that a person who does not have legal title to a piece of property acquires legal ownership based on continuous possession without the permission of its legal owner.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah held that a person, who is not a title holder (original owner) but gets right over the property under the doctrine of adverse possession, is empowered to file law suits to reclaim possession in case he is dispossessed by others.
The Bench held 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 the owner does not have any right to eject him.
According to Article 65 of the Limitation Act (law which deals with maintainability of law suit on the basis of time limit) any person who has perfected title by way of adverse possession, can file a suit for restoration of possession in case of dispossession.
Also, the court held that in case of dispossession by another person by taking law in his hand a possessory suit can be maintained under the law even before the ripening of title by way of adverse possession.
It was further held by the Supreme court that this doctrine of “Adverse Possession” is not applicable with the land or property meant for public use.
Lastly, the bench added that the law of adverse possession may cause harsh consequences, hence, it is advisable that properties dedicated to public cause has no rights can accrue by adverse possession in the statute of limitation.
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