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Adverse possession

Adverse possession:

The Law Commission, in its recent report, stated that no changes in the law relating to adverse possession are required. However, two members dissented, arguing that the law promotes false claims and should be struck off.

  • Adverse Possession refers to the hostile possession of the property, where a person can become the owner of the land if they possess it openly and continuously for a specified period of time.
  • The concept stems from the idea that land must not be left vacant but instead, be put to judicious use.
  • The concept dates back to ancient times and has its roots in the development of statutes of limitation in England.
  • The Limitation Act of 1963 shifted the burden of proof to the person claiming adverse possession.
  • Possession for 12 years on private land or 30 years on government land can lead to ownership.
  • The Supreme Court recommended changes to the law, considering it harsh for true owners and a windfall for dishonest individuals.
  • It burdens the courts and promotes false claims without hindering rights or neglecting land resources.
  • SC Test for ‘Adverse Possession’ (2004) claim adverse possession, a person must show the date of possession, nature of possession, whether the other party knew about it, how long the possession has continued, and that it was open and undisturbed.