Lien – Meaning Of

In Triveni Shankar Saxena v. State of U.P., 1992 Supp (1) SCC 524, the Hon’ble Supreme Court held as follows: “The word ‘lien’ originally means binding from the latin ligamen. Its lexical meaning is ‘right to retain’. The word ‘lien’ is now variously described and used under different contexts such as ‘contractual lien’, ‘equitable lien’, ‘specific lien’, ‘general lien’, ‘partners lien’, etc. In Halsbury’s Laws of England, (4th Edition, Vol. 28 at p. 221, para 502) it is stated: “502. Legal Lien.—In its primary or legal sense “lien” means a right at common law in one man to retain that which is rightfully and continuously in his possession belonging to another until the present and accrued claims [of the person in possession] are satisfied.” Similarly in, K. Saradambal v. Jagannath and Brothers, (1972) 42 Comp Cas 359 (Mad), it was held: “A legal lien differs from a mortgage and pledge in being an unassignable personal right which subsists only so long as possession of the goods subsists. A mortgage is an assignable right in the property charged and does not depend on possession. A pawn or pledge gives a special assignable interest in the property to the pawnee . A lien is, however, included in the definition of mortgage in the Law of Property Act, 1925. Where an equitable mortgage is created by deposit of title deeds, the mortgagee has a legal lien on the deeds deposited.’ The word lien is defined in the Law Lexicon by P. Ramanatha Iyer as: “A lien may be defined to be a charge on property for the payment of a debt or duty, and for which it may be sold in discharge of the lien. A lien, in a limited and technical sense, signifies the right by which a person in possession of personal property holds and retains it against the owner in satisfaction of a demand due to the party retaining it; but in its more extensive meaning and common acceptation it is understood and used to denote a legal claim or charge on property, either real or personal, As security for the payment of some debt or obligation; it is not strictly a right in or right to the thing itself but more properly constitutes a charge or security thereon.’ The word ‘lien’ is defined in Stroud’s Judicial Dictionary, 3rd Edition, at p. 1644 as: “A lien.—(without effecting a transference of the property in a thing)-is the right to retain possession of a thing until a claim be satisfied; and it is either particular or general.’ Bombay Stock Exchange v. V.S. Kandalgaonkar, (2015) 2 SCC 1.


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