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The classical requirements for establishment of a claim of acquisition of title by adverse possession are nec vi, nec calm, nec precario: Orissa High Court

The possession must be adequate in continuity, in publicity and in extent to show that it was adverse to the true owner as that of a competitor to the title of the true owner. This was said in the case of Smt Satyanarayan Mahana & Another v Sri State of Orissa [R.S.A. NO. 126 OF 2018] by Mr. Justice D. Dash in the High Court of Orissa, Cuttack.

The facts of the case are that the land which is the subject matter of the Suit stands recorded as the States land in the Record of Right. The lands are cultivable lands and the father of Plaintiff has been in possession of the suit land since the year 1940 till his death. On the death of the father, the plaintiffs are in possession of the said property. It is stated that for such long continuous and uninterrupted possession of the land in question as its owner to the knowledge of the true owner, i.,e., the State, the Plaintiffs have acquired title in respect of the suit land by adverse possession.

The Trial Court and the lower appellate Court concluded that the Plaintiffs have failed to satisfy the required ingredients for establishment of their claim of acquisition of title over the suit land by adverse possession by leading clear, cogent and acceptable evidence. Hence, the appeal under section 100 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

The plaintiff contended by referring to the case of Ravinder Kaur Grewal and Others Vs. Manjit Kaur and Others [(2019) 8 SCC 729] laying down the legal position that the suit at the instance of the person claiming acquisition of title over the land in question by adverse possession is squarely maintainable and accordingly, it can also be used as sword by the suitor besides being used as shield by the defender. Secondly, he contended that the findings of the Courts is based on perverse appreciation of evidence and the exercise as to appreciation of evidence, according to him, is based on erroneous view point of law and without taking into account the material evidence on record as to the open, peaceful, long, continuous and interrupted possession of the Plaintiffs since the time of their father the finding on that score has been recorded against the Plaintiffs.

The Court after analyzing the facts of the case and the settled position of law on the case opined that “So even if it is accepted that the father of the Plaintiffs since then continued to possess the suit land by cultivating over there, it goes without saying that it was not in denial of the title of the true owner-State but upon acceptance or acknowledgment of the title of the true owner with the hope and expectation of final settlement of the same. The hostile animus thus squarely lacks in the matter of possession of the property and intent behind possession in the admitted facts and circumstances was never to deny the title of the true owner”. The father having paid the fine for the unauthorized occupation in the encroachment case, further fortifies the position as to lack of hostile animus. Thus, the appeal was dismissed.

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