Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-judge bench of Arun Mishra, SA Nazeer and MR Shah, JJ has held that the Article 65 of Limitation Act, 1963 not only enables a person to set up a plea of adverse possession as a shield as a defendant but also allows a plaintiff to use it as a sword to protect the possession of immovable property or to recover it in case of dispossession.

The Court held that a person in possession cannot be ousted by another person except by due procedure of law and once 12 years’ period of adverse possession is over, even owner’s right to eject him is lost and the possessory owner acquires right, title and interest possessed by the outgoing person/owner as the case may be against whom he has prescribed. By perfection of title on extinguishment of the owner’s title, a person cannot be remediless.

“In case he has been dispossessed by the owner after having lost the right by adverse possession, he can be evicted by the plaintiff by taking the plea of adverse possession. Similarly, any other person who might have dispossessed the plaintiff having perfected title by way of adverse possession can also be evicted until and unless such other person has perfected title against such a plaintiff by adverse possession.”

Rejecting the contention that there is no conferral of right by adverse possession, the Court held that there is the acquisition of title in favour of plaintiff though it is negative conferral of right on extinguishment of the right of an owner of the property. The right ripened by prescription by his   adverse possession is absolute and on dispossession, he can sue based on ‘title’ as envisaged in the opening part under Article 65 of Act. The Court, hence, held that

“the plea of acquisition of title by adverse possession can be taken by plaintiff under Article 65 of the Limitation Act and there is no bar under the Limitation Act, 1963 to sue on aforesaid basis in case of infringement of any rights of a plaintiff.”

[Ravinder Kaur Grewal v. Manjit Kaur, 2019 SCC OnLine SC 975, decided on 07.08.2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jammu & Kashmir High Court: A Single Judge bench comprising of M.K. Hanjura, J. while dealing with an application for condonation of delay in filing a review petition, dismissed both the application as well as the petition on grounds of inordinate delay in filing the same.

Brief facts of the case are that in a writ petition filed by the petitioners, the Hon’ble Court made an observation with regards to engagement of 130 casual workers on the basis of an order dated 02-04-2012 and directed that the engagement of the petitioners also be considered. The instant review petition was filed for recalling the aforesaid order stating that since there was no order vide which 130 casual workers had been employed, therefore the question of providing similar treatment to the petitioners did not arise. The reason given for delay in filing the review petition was that as soon as the aforesaid anomaly came to the notice of petitioners, they sought advice from a senior counsel which led to a delay in filing the review petition and that the said delay was not intentional.

The  High court observed that the law of limitation has to be enforced with all its rigor and vigor. Section 5 of the J&K Limitation Act Samvat, 1995 stipulates that the applicant has to satisfy the court of sufficient cause for not preferring the application/ appeal/ review within the time period as prescribed in the statute.

Relying on the judgment of the Apex Court in Union of India v Nripen Sarma, (2013) 4 SCC 57 and Esha Bhattacharjee v. Managing Committee of Raghunathpur Nafar Academy(2013) 12 SCC 649 the court noted that there was a reckless delay of 1230 days in filing the review petition and the sequence of the events which prompted the petitioners to file the review petition after a long delay of more than three years had not been accounted. Further, the court also relied on the judgment in Northern India Caterers v Lt. Governor Delhi, (1980) 2 SCC 167 and observed that the scope of a review petition is limited to dealing with an error apparent on the face of the record and it cannot be used as a forum to re-argue the matter.

On the aforesaid holdings, the court dismissed the petitioner’s application for condonation of delay and also dismissed the review petition. [Mohammad Akbar Lone v DG, Prasar Bharati,2018 SCC OnLine J&K 664, Order dated 28-09-2018]