Caretaker cannot claim ownership of property: SC
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 21:56
  
New Delhi: One cannot acquire title to a property only because he or she had been allowed to stay in the premises gratuitously for long, the Supreme Court has ruled, asking courts to deal firmly with those embroiling innocent owners in prolonged real estate litigations.

A three-judge bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari, H L Dattu and Deepak Verma also laid fresh guidelines that caretakers, watchman or servants do not acquire any title to a property merely because of its possession by them for several years.

"No one acquires title to the property if he or she was allowed to stay in the premises gratuitously. Even by long possession of years or decades such person would not acquire any right or interest in the said property," the court said.

"False claims and defences are really serious problems with real estate litigation, predominantly because of ever escalating prices of the real estate.

"Litigation pertaining to valuable real estate properties is dragged on by unscrupulous litigants in the hope that the other party will tire out and ultimately would settle with them by paying a huge amount.

"This happens because of the enormous delay in adjudication of cases in our courts. If pragmatic approach is adopted, then this problem can be minimised to a large extent," said Justice Bhandari writing the judgement for the bench.

The apex court passed the ruling while upholding an appeal of Maria Margarida Sequeria Fernandes who was embroiled in a two-decade-long legal battle with her brother and former Member of Parliament Erasmo Jack de Sequeria, whom she had appointed as a caretaker of her property in Goa.

"Caretaker, watchman or servant can never acquire interest in the property irrespective of his long possession. The caretaker or servant has to give (up) possession (of the property) forthwith on demand," the apex court said.

PTI


First Published: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 21:56


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