What is Adverse Possession?

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Recently, the Supreme Court reiterated that a suit for declaration of title based on the plea of an adverse possession can be filed by the plaintiff.

About Adverse Possession

  • It is a legal concept that allows a person who has unlawfully occupied someone else’s land for a certain period of time to claim legal ownership of that land.
  • The claimant must demonstrate that several criteria have been met before the court will allow their claim.
  • If the adverse possession is successful after following certain requirements and conditions, there will be no requirement to compensate the owner for that property or receive their permission.
  • Adverse possession is also known as squatter’s rights.
  • It is a negative and consequential right that arises due to the negligence of the true owner.
  • The rights and conditions for achieving adverse possession vary depending on the country.
  • In India, adverse possession has been a part of the legal framework for a long time and is rooted in the idea that land must not be left vacant and instead be put to judicious use.
  • The law of Adverse Possession in India is governed by the principle of The Limitation Law of 1963.
    • The law on adverse possession provides that any person who has been in possession of private land for more than 12 years or government land for over 30 years is granted the ownership rights to the property.
    • To claim adverse possession, the occupier must prove that they have been in continuous, uninterrupted possession of the land for at least 12 years (in the case of private land) and that their possession was open, notorious, and hostile to the true owner.
    • As per adverse possession under the limitation act, if, over a due course of time or period, an appeal is not made to revise any limitation, the current scenario of titles continues. 
    • Thus, if a property owner fails to make a claim on their property for 12 years and the same tenant continues to occupy the property for 12 years, the ownership rights to the property are transferred to the tenant.
    • If one intends to establish adverse possession under the Limitation Act of 1963, the burden of proof will rest on them. 

Q1) What is a negative right?

Negative rights require the government to refrain from acting in certain ways; governments can respect individuals' negative rights simply by doing nothing at all. Negative rights put certain activities off limits for the government, meaning that rights violations occur when the government's actions step too far out of bounds.

Source: Declaration Of Title Can Be Sought Based On Adverse Possession : Supreme Court Reiterates