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Monday, April 25, 2011


Legal principles governing suits for declaration of tile and injunction against Government filed by persons, with respect to the title over the immovable properties on the ground of adverse possessions.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in R.Hanumaiah & another V Secretary to Government of Karnataka, Revenue Department and others2, had provided simple guidelines to be followed by Civil Courts in a suit for declaration of title and injunction against Government on the ground of adverse possessions. 

Apex court held that a Court should necessarily seek an answer to the following question, before it grants a decree declaring title against the Government:

(1)  Whether the Plaintiff has produced title deeds tracing the title for a period of more than thirty years; or

(2)  Whether the Plaintiff has established his adverse possessions to the knowledge of the Government for a period of more than thirty years, so as to convert his possession into title. Incidental to this Court should also find

(3)  Whether the Plaintiff is recorded to be the owner of holder or occupant of the property in the revenue records or municipal records, for more than thirty years and what is the nature of the possession claimed.

In order to oust or defeat the title of the Government, a claimant has to establish:

(1)  A clear title which is superior to or better than the title of the Government or establish perfection of title by adverse possession for a period of more than thirty years with the knowledge of the Government.

(2)  To claim adverse possession, the possession of the claimant must be actual, open and visible, hostile to the owner (and therefore necessarily with the knowledge of the owner) and continued during the entire period necessary to create a bar under the law of limitation.  

(3)  Claim based on adverse possession requires clear and categorical pleadings and evidence, much more so, if it is against the Government.

Prepared by: S. Hemanth