IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


12th February, 2024 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE


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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.

Adverse Possession:

  • Definition: Adverse possession is a legal principle that enables an individual who has wrongfully occupied someone else's property for a specific duration to claim legal ownership of that property.

Criteria for Claiming Adverse Possession:

  • The claimant must satisfy various criteria established by the court before their adverse possession claim is accepted.
  • These criteria typically include continuous, uninterrupted possession, open and notorious occupation, and hostile use of the property against the true owner's interests.

Consequences of Successful Adverse Possession:

  • If the adverse possession claim meets the necessary requirements and conditions, the claimant may gain legal ownership of the property without compensating the true owner or obtaining their consent.
  • Adverse possession is sometimes referred to as squatter's rights, highlighting the legal rights acquired through unauthorized occupation.

Variation in Laws Across Countries:

  • The rights and procedures associated with adverse possession vary from one country to another.
  • In India, adverse possession has been a longstanding legal concept embedded in the legal framework, aiming to ensure productive use of land and prevent its abandonment.

Legal Framework in India:

  • Adverse possession in India is governed by the Limitation Act of 1963, which outlines the principles and procedures for claiming ownership through adverse possession.
  • The law stipulates that an individual occupying private land for more than 12 years or government land for over 30 years may acquire ownership rights to the property.

Burden of Proof:

  • To establish adverse possession under the Limitation Act, the burden of proof lies with the occupier.
  • The occupier must demonstrate continuous and uninterrupted possession of the land for the specified duration, along with fulfilling other legal requirements such as open and hostile occupation.

Implications of Limitation Act:

  • Under the Limitation Act, if a property owner fails to assert their rights over their property within the prescribed period, and the occupier continues to possess the property uninterruptedly, ownership rights may be transferred to the occupier.
  • The law emphasizes the importance of timely assertion of property rights to avoid adverse possession claims.


Q. Which legislation governs the concept of adverse possession in India?

a) The Limitation Act, 1963

b) The Property Rights Act, 1978

c) The Land Acquisition Act, 1894

d) The Adverse Possession Act, 1956

Correct Answer: a) The Limitation Act, 1963