‘Ouster’ does not mean actual driving out of the co-sharer from the property. It will, however, not be complete unless it is coupled with all other ingredients required to constitute adverse possession. Broadly speaking, three elements are necessary for establishing the plea of ouster in the case of co-owner. They are: (i) declaration of hostile animus, (ii) long and uninterrupted possession of the person pleading ouster, and (iii) exercise of right of exclusive ownership openly and to the knowledge of other co-owner. Nagabhushanammal v. C. Chandikeswaralingam, 2016 (3) AWC 2721.
Tag Archives: possession
“Ownership” denotes the relation between a person and an object forming the subject matter of his ownership. It consists in a complex of rights, all of which are rights in rem, being good against all the world and not merely against specific persons” (Salmon on Jurisprudence, 12th Ed.). There are various rights or incidents of ownership all of which need not necessarily be present in every case. They may include a right to possess, use and enjoy the thing owned, and a right to consume, destroy or alienate it. Such a right may be indeterminate in duration and residuary in character. A person has a right to possess the thing which he owns, even when he is not in possession, but only retains a reversionary interest, i.e., a right to repossess the thing on the termination of a certain period or on the happening of a certain event. Suneel Galgotia v. State of U.P., 2016 (92) ACC 40.
The distinction between “possession” and “occupation” was considered in Seth Narainbhai Iccharam Kurmi v. Narbada Prasad Sheosahai Pande, AIR 1941 Nag 357 and the court held:
“Bare Occupation and possession are two different things. The concept of possession, at any rate as it is understood in legal terminology, is a complex one which need not include occupation. It comprises rather the right to possess, and the right and ability to exclude others from possession and control coupled with a mental element, namely, the animus possidendi, that is to say, knowledge of these rights and the desire and intention of exercising them if need be. The adverse possession of which the law speaks does not necessarily denote actual physical ouster from occupation but an ouster from all those rights which constitute possession in law. It is true that physical occupation is ordinarily the best and the most conclusive proof of possession in this sense but the two are not the same. It is also true that there must always be physical ouster from these rights but that does not necessarily import physical ouster from occupation especially when this is of just a small room or two in a house and when this occupation is shared with others. The nature of the ouster and the quantum necessarily varies in each case. State of U.P. v. Daiya Charitable Society, 2015 (112) ALR 138.
The term “possession” consists of two elements. First, it refers to the corpus or the physical control and the second, it refers to the animus or intent which has reference to exercise of the said control. One of the definitions of “possession” given in Black’s Law Dictionary is as follows:
“Possession.—Having control over a thing with the intent to have and to exercise such control. Oswald v. Weigel, 219 Kan616. The detention and control, or the manual or ideal custody, of anything which may be the subject of property, for one’s use and enjoyment, either as owner or as the proprietor of a qualified right in it and either held personally or by another who exercises it in one’s place and name. Act or state of possessing. That conditions of facts under which one can exercise his power over a corporeal thing at his pleasure to the exclusion of all other persons.
The law, in general, recognizes two kinds of possession: actual possession and constructive possession. A person who knowingly has direct physical control over a thing, at a given time, is then in actual possession of it. A person who, although not in actual possession, knowingly has both the power and the intention at a given time to exercise dominion or control over a thing, either directly or through another person or persons, is then in constructive possession of it. The law recognizes also that possession may be sole or joint. Of one person alsone has actual or constructive possession of a thing, possession is sole. If two or more persons share actual or constructive possession of a thing, possession is joint.”
In the said Dictionary, the term “possess” in the context of narcotic drug laws means:
“Term “possess” under narcotic drug laws, means actual control, care and management of the drug. Collini v. State, 487 SW 2d 132. Defendant ‘possesses’ controlled substance when defendant knows of substance’s presence, substance is immediately accessible, and defendant exercises ‘dominion or control’ over substance. State v. Hornaday, 105 Wash 2d 120.
Possession as necessary for conviction of offence of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute may be constructive as well as actual, United States v. Craig, 522 F 2d 29. The defendants must have had dominion and control over the contraband with knowledge of its presence and character. United States v. Morando-Alvarez, 520 F 882.
Possession as an element of offence of stolen goods, is not limited to actual manual control upon or about the person, but extends to things under one’s power and dominion. McConnel v. State, 48 Ala App 523.
Possession as used in indictment charging possession of stolen mail may mean actual possession or constructive possession. United States v. Ellison, 469 F 2d 413.
To constitute ‘possession’ of a concealable weapon under statute prescribing possession of a concealable weapon by a felon, it is sufficient that defendants have constructive possession and immediate access to the weapon. State v. Kelley, 12 Or App 496.
In Stroud’s Dictionary, the term “possession” has been defined as follows:
“ A person does not lose ‘possession’ of an article which is mislaid or thought erroneously to have been destroyed or disposed of, if, in fact, it remains in his care and control. (R v. Buswell, (1972) 1 WLR 64 : (1972) 1 All ER 75). Mohan Lal v.State of Rajasthan, (2015) 6 SCC 222.
The definition of “Lease” under the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 is a bit wider than what is provided under Transfer of Property Act, 1882. In the sum and substance, it can be said that a license is a right or permission granted by a competent authority or the owner of premises to carry on business or to do an act which, without such license/permission would be illegal. In other words, it is a formal or official permit or permission to carry on some business or to do some act which, without the license, would be unlawful and the word ‘License’ and ‘Permit’ are often used synonymously. The word “Lease” is frequently used to designate the contract by which relationship of landlord and tenant is created. A “Lease” is a species of contract for possession and profits of land and tenements, either for life or for a short period of time or during the pleasure of parties or a contract for the possession and profit of the land for a determinate period with the recompense of rent. A lease may be regarded as a conveyance or grant of an estate or interest in the real property, for limited period with conditions attached. A “License” is distinguishable from a “Lease” in more than one ways. “License” generally provides to the Licensee, less rights in real estate than a “Lease”. If a contract gives exclusive possession of premises against all the world, including the owner, it is a “Lease”, but if it merely confers a privilege to occupy the premises under the owner, it is a “License”. Accordingly, a license in a property is the permission or authority to engage in a particular act or series of acts upon the land of another without possessing an interest therein, and is thus subject to management and control retained by owner. A lease generally conveys an interest in the land, requires a writing to comply with the Statute of frauds and transfers possession, while the license merely excuses acts done by one, on the land in possession of another, that without license, would be trespass and conveys no interest in land. M/s Godwin Construction Pvt. Ltd. V. State of U.P., 2014 (124) RD 298.
Lease and Mortgage are species of the same genus viz., the ‘transfer of property’. Both of them bring about transfer of property, but with a substantial change as to the nature of disposition. The principal objective of a mortgage is to provide security for repayment of amount, whereas the one under lease is that the owner of an item of immovable property permits another to use it on payment of rent. Except in the case of usufructuary mortgage and mortgage through conditional sale, the possession of the property continues to be with the mortgagor.
In the case of lease, the transferee invariably gets the possession of the property. Apart from the broad difference, there are certain minute important aspects, that differentiate the mortgage from lease. Once a transaction of mortgage is brought about, the mortgagor gets the right to redeem and the mortgagee gets the corresponding tight to foreclose the mortgage. The nature of decree to be passed in a suit for foreclosure of mortgage differs substantially from the one to be passed in a suit for recovery of possession of property from a lessee. A preliminary decree is to be passed and it is followed by final decree. Chapter IV of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 confers rights and places obligations on the mortgagors, on the one hand, and mortgagees, on the other hand, which are typical and germatone to such transactions. Prescription of any fixed term is alien to mortgages.
Lease, on the other hand, involves, just the permission being accorded by an owner of property, to another, to use it. The consideration therefor is the rent fixed with the consent of the parties. In a given case, the lease may be nominal or phenomenal. Further law does not prohibit the rent being paid in the form of adjustment from the amount due from the lessor to the lessee. What becomes important is the objective underlying the transaction, namely use of the property belonging to the lessor by the lessee, on payment of rent and for a stipulated term. Chapter V of the Act enlists the rights, which a lessor has against the lessee and vice versa. Termination of lease on the one hand, and foreclosure/redemption of mortgage, on the other hand, have nothing in common. When such is the radical difference between the two transactions, it is not at all possible to take the one for the other. Gita Cotton Trading Company v. CCRA, Hyderabad and another, 2013(121) RD 661 (AP).
The concept of Joint Hindu Family and its Karta is quite ancient and an integral part of the way of living and customary rules of society among Hindus. In India and particularly among Hindus the family bonds are not only very strong but they have given right to a society who believe in a Joint Family even going to the extent of concept of village community. In the concept of property, there have been three layers, i.e. Patriarchal Family, Joint Family and Village Community. The patriarchal family is headed by father and consists of his offsprings. The Joint family may include within itself the members, related to each other, though not having common ancestors and goes beyond the family flowing from father himself. It is said that unlike England, where the concept of ownership, as a rule, is single, independent and unrestricted, and it may be joint, but the presumption is to the contrary. It may be restricted but only in special instances and under special provisions. The situation in India is totally different. Here the joint ownership is normally the rule and may be presumed to succeed until contrary is proved. If an individual holds property in severalty, in the next generation, it will relapse into a stand of joint-tenancy. A Hindu may start with nothing and may make a self acquired fortune by dint of his own labour, capacity and merits and he is the absolute owner of estate but in a couple of generations his offsprings would ramify in a joint family, like a banyan tree which also stands as a single shoot. If the property is free from hands of its acquirer, it will become fettered in the hands of his heirs.
The “patriarchal family” may be defined as a group of natural or adoptive descendants, held together by subjection to the eldest living ascendant, father, grandfather, great-grandfather. Whatever be a formal prescription of law, the head of such a group is always in practice, despotic; and he is the object of respect , if not always of affection, which is probably seated deeper than any positive institution. Manu says, “three persons, a wife, a son, and a slave, are declared by law to have in general no wealth exclusively their own; the wealth which they may earn is regularly acquired for the man to whom they belong. “ Narada says, “he is of age and independent, in case his parents be dead; during their lifetime he is dependent, even though he may have grown old.”
The “joint family” is normally a transitional form from “patriarchal family” at the death of common ancestors or head of the house. If the family chooses to continue united, the eldest son would be the natural head. The former one was head of family by natural authority, the latter can only be so by a delegated authority. He is the primus but inter pares. An undivided Hindu family thus is ordinarily joint not only in estate but in food and worship. The presumption therefore, is that members of a Hindu family are living in a state of union unless contrary is established. This presumption however varies inasmuch as it is stronger in case of real brother than in case of cousin. However, there is no presumption that a family because it is joint, possesses joint property. Under Mitakshara Law, possession of property is not a necessary requisite for constitution of a joint family, though where persons live together joint in food and worship, it is difficult to conceive of their possessing no property whatsoever, such as ordinary household articles which they would enjoy in common. Smt. Ramwati v. Dharmdas, 2013 (120) RD 842.