The Supreme Court exposited that one who holds possession on behalf of another i.e. permissive possession, does not by mere denial of the other’s title, make his possession adverse so as to give himself the benefit of the statute of limitation.
The above said observation was made in the matter of Ram Nagina Rai vs. Deo Kumar Rai [Civil Appeal No. 7266/2013], ordered on 23.08.2018.
Plaintiffs in a title suit claimed to be owners of a property, which was being occupied by the defendants, as permitted by their ancestors. Their case was that defendants got khatian changed without notice to them, showing the defendants to be in possession of the same.
Khatian, which records that Defendants are in possession, was published in the year 1970, but the plaintiff filed the title suit only 19 years after its final publication and hence, the suit is barred by limitation and contending that they had perfected the title by way of adverse possession.
Though the Munsiff’s court rejected the plea of adverse possession, the appellate courts found favour with it and dismissed the suit filed by the plaintiffs. Hence, the case reached the apex court.
The Apex Court in the instant matter reiterated the law on Adverse possession as follows:
It was held in the instant case that the acquisition of title by adverse possession springs into action essentially by default or inaction of the owner. There is a lot of difference between simple possession and adverse possession. Every possession is not adverse possession. The defendants will not acquire adverse possession by simply remaining in permissive possession for howsoever long it may be.
By applying the test of nec vi, nec clam, nec precario i.e., ‘without force, without secrecy, without permission’ as an established test for finding adverse possession, The Court found that the defendants have not proved their possession to be adverse to that of the real owner inasmuch as they entered into possession as licensees to begin with and there is nothing on record to show as to when the permissive possession became adverse to the interest of the real owner.