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Limitation Act, 1963-Articles 64 & 65 of the Schedule-Indian Limitation Act, 1908-Articles 142 & 143 of the Schedule-Purchase of suit property by plaintiffs by registered sale deeds without knowledge of earlier purchase of the same by defendants-Suit for possession claiming title by adverse possession was decreed by trial court-High Court reversing the judgment of the trial court holding that the plaintiffs failed to prove their title by adverse possession-Correctness of-Held, on facts and evidence, positive intention to dispossess the suit property essential to claim adverse possession was not proved by plaintiffs and hence, suit for possession dismissed. Appellant-plaintiffs purchased suit property by two registered sale deeds subsequent to the purchase of the same by respondents-defendants. A suit for possession filed by the appellants claiming title on the basis of adverse possession was decreed by the trial court. The High Court, in appeal, reversed the judgment of the trial court holding that the plaintiffs failed to prove their title by adverse possession. In appeal to this Court, the appellants contended that the acknowledgment of the owner’s title was not sine qua non for claiming title by adverse possession. =Dismissing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1. Adverse possession is based on the theory or presumption that the owner has abandoned the property to the adverse possessor on the acquiescence of the owner to the hostile acts and claims of the person in possession . It follows that sound qualities of a typical adverse possession lie in it being open, continuous and hostiles. [Para 5] [496-D, E] Downing v. Bird, [100] So. 2d 57 (Fla. 1958); Arkansas Commemorative Commission v. City of Little Rock, 227 Ark. 1085, 303 S.W.2d 569 (1957); Monnot v. Murphy, [207 N.Y. 240, 100 N.E. 742 (1913) and City of Rock Springs v. Sturm, 39 Wyo. 494, 273 P. 908, 97 A.L.R. 1 (1929), referred to. 1.2. Efficacy of adverse possession law in most jurisdictions depend on strong limitation statutes by operation of which, the right to access the court expires through effluxion of time. As against rights of the paper-owner, in the context of adverse possession, there evolves a set of competing rights in favour of the adverse possessor who has, for a long period of time, cared for the land, developed it as against the owner of the property who has ignored the property. Modern statutes of limitation operate, as a rule, not only to cut off one’s right to bring an action for the recovery of property that has been in the adverse possession of another for a specified time but also to vest the possessor with title. The intention of such statutes is not to punish one who neglects to assert rights but to protect those who have maintained the possession of property for the time specified by the statute under claim of right or color of title. Simple application of Limitation shall not be enough by itself for the success of an adverse possession claim. [Para 6] [496-F, G; 497-A, B] American Jurisprudence Vol. 3, referred to. Fairweather v. St. Marylebone Property Co., (1962) 2 WLR 1020; [1962] 2 All ER 299; Taylor v. Twinberries, [1930] 2 KB 17 and Chung Ping Kwan & Ors. v. Lam Island Development Company Ltd. (Hong Kong), (1997) AC 38, referred to. 1.3. To assess a claim of adverse possession, two-pronged enquiry is required. Firstly, application of limitation provision thereby jurisprudentially “Willful neglect” element on part of the owner established. Successful application in this regard distances the title of the land from the paper-owner. Secondly, specific positive intention to dispossess on the part of the adverse possessor effectively shifts the title already distanced from the paper owner, to the adverse possessor. Right thereby accrues in favour of adverse possessor as intent to dispossess is an express statement of urgency and intention in the upkeep of the property. [Para 9] [498-D, E, F] 1.4 The aspect of positive intention is weakened by the two sale deeds. Intention is a mental element which is proved and disproved through positive acts. Existence of some events can go a long way to weaken the presumption of intention to dispossess which might have painstakingly grown out of long possession which otherwise would have sufficed in a standard adverse possession case. The fact of possession is important in more than one way. Firstly, due compliance on this count attracts limitation act and secondly, it also assists the court to unearth as the intention to dispossess. [Para 13] [499-D, E] JA Pye (Oxford) Ltd. v. United Kingdom, [2005] 49 ERG 90; [2005] ECHR 921, referred to. 1.5. Intention to possess can not be substituted for intention to dispossess which is essential to prove adverse possession. The factum of possession in the instant case only goes on to objectively indicate intention to possess the land. If the appellant has purchased the land without the knowledge of earlier sale, then in that case the intention element is not of the variety and degree which is required for adverse possession to materialize. [Para 15] [499-G; 500-A] Thakur Kishan Singh (dead) v. Arvind Kumar, [1994] 6 SCC 591, referred to. Lambeth London Borough Council v. Blackburn, [2001] 82 P & CR 494 and The Powell v. Macfarlane, [1977] 39 P & CR 452, referred to. 1.6. There must be intention to dispossess. It needs to be open and hostile enough to bring the same to the knowledge and plaintiff has an opportunity to object. After all adverse possession right is not a substantive right but a result of the waiving (willful) or omission (negligent or otherwise) of right to defend or care for the integrity of property on the part of the paper owner of the land. Adverse possession statutes, like other statutes of limitation, rest on a public policy that does not promote litigation and aims at the repose of conditions that the parties have suffered to remain unquestioned long enough to indicate their acquiescence. Intention implies knowledge on the part of the adverse possessor. A peaceful, open and continuous possession is engraved in the maxim nec vi, nec clam, nec precario i.e. not by force, nor stealth, nor the licence of the owner. [Paras 20, 22 and 23] [501-F, G; 502-A, B-E; 504-C] Saroop Singh v. Banto & Ors., [2005] 8 SCC 330; Karnataka Board of Wakf v. Government of India & Ors., [2004] 10 SCC 779; Narne Rama Murthy v. Ravula Somasundaram & Ors., [2005] 6 SCC 614; S. M. Karim v. Mst. Bibi Sakini, AIR (1964) SC 1254; P. Periasami v. Periathambi, [1995] 6 SCC 253; Mohan Lal v. Mirza Abdul Gaffar, [1996] 1 SCC 639; M. Durai v. Madhu & Ors., (2007) 2 SCALE 309; Saroop Singh v. Banto & Ors., [2005] 8 SCC 330; Mohammadbhai Kasambhai Sheikh & Ors. v. Abdulla Kasambhai Sheikh, [2004] 13 SCC 385; T. Anjanappa & Ors. v. Somalingappa & Anr., [2006] 7 SCC 570; Des Raj & Ors. v. Bhagat Ram (Dead) by Lrs. & Ors., (2007) 3 SCALE 371 and Govindammal v. R. Perumal Chettiar & Ors., JT [2006] 10 SC 121 : [2006] 11 SCC 600, referred to. Secy. of State v. Debendra Lal Khan, AIR (1934) PC 23 and State of West Bengal v. The Dalhousie Institute Society, AIR (1970) SC 1978, distinguished. R. v. Oxfordshire County Council & Ors., Ex Parte Sunningwell Parish Council, [1999] 3 ALL ER 385; [1999] 3 WLR 160; Beresford, R (on the application of) v. City of Sunderland, (2003) 3 WLR 1306; [2004] 1 All ER 160; Beaulane Properties Ltd. v. Palmer, (2005) 3 WLR 554 : (2005) EWHC 817 (Ch); JA Pye (Oxford) Ltd. v. United Kingdom, (2005) EHCR 921 (2005) 49 ERG 90 [2005] ECHR 921; Beyeler v. Italy [GC], no. 33202/96 [108-14 ECHR 2000-I], referred to. Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, (1789) and Universal of Human Rights, (1948) referred to. 1.7. Adverse Possession is a right which comes into play not just because someone loses high right to reclaim the property out of continuous and willful neglect but also on account of possessor’s positive intent to dispossess. Therefore, it is important to take into account before stripping somebody of his lawful title, whether there is an adverse possessor worthy and exhibiting more urgent and genuine desire to dispossess and step into the shoes of the paper owner of the property. [Para 58] [513-A, B] P. Krishnamoorthy, Romy Chacko, Girjesh Pandey and Rajiv Mehta for the Appellants. K.R. Sasiprabhu, Arvind Varma, Swati Sinha and Jaysree Singh (for M/S Fox Mandal & Co.) for the Respondents. =2007 AIR 1753, 2007(5 )SCR491 , 2007(6 )SCC59 , 2007(6 )SCALE95 , 2007(6 )JT86

CASE NO.: Appeal (civil) 7062 of 2000 PETITIONER: P.T. Munichikkanna Reddy & Ors RESPONDENT: Revamma and Ors DATE OF JUDGMENT: 24/04/2007 BENCH: S.B. Sinha & Markandey Katju JUDGMENT: J U D G M E N T S.B. SINHA, J : BACKGROUND FACTS One Thippaiah was the owner of 5 acre 23 guntas of land having … Continue reading

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