The Supreme Court of India, on February 26, 2020, in the case between Gurtej Singh v. Late Zora Singh, through LR and others has noted that plea of acquisition of title by adverse possession can be taken by the plaintiff.
The High Court of Punjab and Haryana dismissed the appeal which was filed by the appellant and affirmed the order of the lower court. The appellant had filed an appeal seeking a decree for injunction that he possesses the property of land by way of adverse possession.
The decision of the trial court was in favour of the appellant but the Additional District Judge set aside the order of trial court because the remedy for adverse possession isn’t available for Appellant or Plaintiff since the possession of a mortgage cannot be treated as adverse to the true owner.
The second appeal was filed by the Appellant in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, which was dismissed in following the case of Bhim Singh and Others vs. Zile Singh and Others, (2006) 3 RCR (Civil) 97 as the plaintiff cannot sue for the title based on adverse possession as the examination on the claim for mortgage was not examined and answered.
The Plaintiff was aggrieved by the decision recited by the High Court that made him approach the Apex Court, preferring the present appeal by way of special leave. The Counsel representing the Plaintiff contended that the suit cannot be dismissed on the ground that the plea for adverse possession is available for the defendant as a defence in a suit for possession.
To support his argument, the appellant relied upon the judgment which was rendered by the Court in Ravinder Kaur Grewaland Others vs. Manjit Kaur and others, 2019, 8 SCC 729 in which the court held that plea for the acquisition of title for adverse possession can be taken by the plaintiff. The Counsel arguing for Respondent said that the Respondent is the owner of the property and the property possessed by the appellant as a mortgage, not as an owner.
The bench opined that “the High Court dismissed the second appeal without framing any question of law and simply relying on the judgment rendered by it in Bhim Singh and others (supra) wherein it has been held that plea of adverse possession is available only to a defendant and that a suit based on adverse possession would not lie”.
The bench consisting of Justices N.V. Ramana, Sanjiv Khanna and Krishna Murari that the impugned order of the High Court needs to be set aside and the matter should be remanded for fresh consideration in the High Court in accordance with the law.
Author: Asif Iqbal