• Illegal occupation of agricultural land in Telangana

Our ancestral lands (agricultural) near a village in Telangana have been occupied. This property belonged my late father who passed away in 2012. He had suffered from ill-health for many years and during this time, some of the villagers took illegal possession of our property and began cultivating illegally. 

In June 2013, we tried to survey the land by hiring a private surveyor but the occupants obstructed and did not allow us to proceed. During the same time, we were quite surprised to know that the village pahani records for our survey numbers mentioned that we have sold the property to some unknown individuals. We do not know their identity or have ever entered into an agreement with them - even when my father was alive.

During an informal enquiry with the VRO, he had mentioned that the occupants were not holding of any legal document but their names were entered into the pahani by his predecessor without following due process. So, we filed a formal complaint with the VRO/MRO to correct the entries for our survey numbers but did not receive any response. We're planning to escalate this to the RDO/Collector. (There have been media reports recently about revenue officers functioning unlawfully in this area.)

My questions are:

1. Can the occupants claim possession of the land on the basis that they have been cultivating it in the last 10-12 years? Even though they do not possess any legal document such as a sale deed/agreement.
2. Can we evict them legally in a peaceful manner with the support of the court or local police? Or is there a law which prohibits eviction of any individual?
3. As per the revenue officer, they have been given "oral" orders to register lands on the basis of "current occupants". Is this tenable in the court? Or is there any such order?
4. Since we have delayed this action by many years, does it effect our chances if we approach a court?
Asked 5 years ago in Property Law
Religion: Hindu

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10 Answers

1. Can the occupants claim possession of the land on the basis that they have been cultivating it in the last 10-12 years? Even though they do not possess any legal document such as a sale deed/agreement.

==No, by mere cultivating for 10-12 years will not give them right over your land. They might have created some bogus document. We can find out by verifying the revenue records. This is complicated work. If you are interested I can take up your case. Contact me through Phone consultation.

2. Can we evict them legally in a peaceful manner with the support of the court or local police? Or is there a law which prohibits eviction of any individual?

==You have to take support of the court. You can evict them. Local police will not interfere into civil matters.

3. As per the revenue officer, they have been given "oral" orders to register lands on the basis of "current occupants". Is this tenable in the court? Or is there any such order?

==There will not be any oral orders. The orders will be in writing only.

4. Since we have delayed this action by many years, does it effect our chances if we approach a court?

==It may effect to some extent, but by hiring a good experienced laywer you can win the case.

Ravinder Pasula
Advocate, Hyderabad
400 Answers
125 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1) they have encroached on your property. They cannot claim possession of the property

2) adverse possession can be claimed by them if they are in open , hostile possession for 12 years

3) file eviction suit against trespassers

4) you have no other option

Ajay Sethi
Advocate, Mumbai
89045 Answers
6352 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. No, the occupants cannot claim possession of the land on the basis that they have been cultivating it in the last 10-12 years.

2. Yes you can evict them legally in a peaceful manner with the support of the court. Not by the support of police.

3. There will not be any oral orders. The orders will be in writing.

4. Yes it certainly effect your chances.

5. Immediately file a eviction suit.

GOPAL VERMA

ADVOCATE ON RECORD

SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

Shri Gopal Verma
Advocate, New Delhi
317 Answers
5 Consultations

4.0 on 5.0

1.This is civil dispute and you will have tofilea civil suit for declaration of title and recovery of possession. You Are wasting time with VRO or RDO. It cannot direct the occupier to vacate the proeprty.

2.mere recording of survey number does not make the occupier owner of the proeprty. So do not waste time anymore and file civil suit.

3.You have wasted several years of time by not filing any suit at all which damages the merit of your case to some extent.Now do not cause damage any further,

Devajyoti Barman
Advocate, Kolkata
22515 Answers
408 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. If your title is clear then file a suit for recovery of possession in the competent civil court against the trespassers. This apart, also file a criminal complaint for criminal trespass.

2. Mere possession cannot oust the title of the titleholder, but if they can prove that they have been in possession of the land for 12 years or more then they may repel your suit on the basis of adverse possession.

3. It has to be found out locally whether any order exists or not.

4. Consult a local lawyer with the complete set of documents.

Ashish Davessar
Advocate, Jaipur
30763 Answers
972 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

You can plead before the court that the revenue entries were made without our knowledge.

The occupants can claim that they are in possession of the property for more then 10 to 12 years but they should also be able to prove it in terms of documentary and witness proofs.

The only way is to file case and evict them from the property.

You can make all the facts mentioned herein by you as grounds for your case.

Rajashekar
Advocate, Bangalore
584 Answers
4 Consultations

4.8 on 5.0

Dear Client,

By theory of long uninterrupted possession At least of 12 years (Adverse possession) under knowledge of actual owner, ownership can be claimed by trespassers.

2. Can we evict them legally in a peaceful manner with the support of the court or local police? Or is there a law which prohibits eviction of any individual? --- File police complain and if needed encroachment suit in court/revenue court.

3. As per the revenue officer, they have been given "oral" orders to register lands on the basis of "current occupants". Is this tenable in the court? Or is there any such order? --- entry in revenue records is no proof of title but only for revenue purpose. Claim have to proved on basis of legal documents.

4. Since we have delayed this action by many years, does it effect our chances if we approach a court? - Approach as soon as, take a ground, recently came into knowledge about illegal possession.

Yogendra Singh Rajawat
Advocate, Jaipur
21481 Answers
31 Consultations

4.4 on 5.0

Consultation Paper-cum-Questionnaire on

Adverse Possession of Land/Immovable Property

The claim to rights and interests in relation to property on the basis of possession has

been recognized in all legal systems. Uninterrupted and uncontested possession for a specified

period, hostile to the rights and interests of true owner, is considered to be one of the legally

recognized modes of acquisition of ownership. The prescription of periods of limitations for

recovering possession or for negation of the rights and interests of true owner is the core and

essence of the law of adverse possession. Right to access to Courts is barred by law on effluxion

of prescribed time. The conditions necessary for the acceptance of a claim based on adverse

possession have been laid down basically by way of Judge-made law. Several exceptions to the

concept of adverse possession based on legal relationship between the title holder and the person

in actual possession as well as the character of land are also recognized by law. Permissive

possession or possession without a clear intention to exercise exclusive rights over the property

is not considered as adverse possession.

2. The legal position and principles governing adverse possession.

2.1 As observed by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Karnataka Board of Wakf Vs.

GOI1

, in the eye of law, an owner would be deemed to be in possession of a property so long as

there is no intrusion. Non-use of the property by the owner even for a long time won’t affect his

title. But the position will be altered when another person takes possession of the property and

asserts rights over it and the person having title omits or neglects to take legal action against

such person for years together( emphasis supplied). “The process of acquisition of title by

adverse possession springs into action essentially by default or inaction of the owner”.2

The

1( 2004) 10 SCC 779

2 Amrendra Pratap Singh vs. Tej Bahadur Prajapati, (2004) 10 SCC 65

essential requisites to establish adverse possession are that the possession of the adverse

possessor must be neither by force nor by stealth nor under the license of the owner. It must be

adequate in continuity, in publicity and in extent to show that the possession is adverse to the

paper owner.

2.2 The law on adverse possession is contained in the Indian Limitation Act. Article 65,

Schedule I of The Limitation Act prescribes a limitation of 12 years for a suit for possession of

immovable property or any interest therein based on title. It is important to note that the starting

point of limitation of 12 years is counted from the point of time “when the possession of the

defendants becomes adverse to the plaintiff”. Article 65 is an independent Article applicable to

all suits for possession of immovable property based on title i.e., proprietary title as distinct from

possessory title. Article 64 governs suits for possession based on possessory right. 12 years

from the date of dispossession is the starting point of limitation under Article 64. Article 65 as

well as Article 64 shall be read with Section 27 which bears the heading – “Extinguishment of

right to property”. It lays down:

“At the determination of the period hereby limited to any person for instituting

the suit for possession of any property, his right to such property shall be

extinguished.”

Kishan Dutt Kalaskar
Advocate, Bangalore
6069 Answers
392 Consultations

4.8 on 5.0

Hi

Since the land belonged to your father who passed away in the year 2012, whomsoever is occupying the land is an illegal occupant and he cannot claim any adverse possession.

1) Can the occupants claim possession of the land on the basis that they have been cultivating it in the last 10-12 years? Even though they do not possess any legal document such as a sale deed/agreement.

Answer:

a) Occupants cannot claim possession on the basis of them cultivating it in the last 10-12 years, given that they are cultivating in your land without your permission or license. (Amrendra Pratap Singh vs. Tej Bahadur Prajapati, Supreme court Judgment will be in your favor where in the possession should be neither by force or by deception or by license)

b) Mere mutation of land in pahani does NOT confer ownership as Revenue authorities do not have any powers to confer ownership ( Supreme Court in Mahila Bajrangi (Dead) through Lrs. v. Badribai W/o. Jagannath : [2002]SUPP5SCR557)

c)Another judgment in your favour will be the judgment of AP High court in B. Pushpamma v. Joint Collector, Ranga Reddy District : 2005(1)ALD260 where in the it is decreed that " any person aggrieved by an entry made in the record of rights under the provisions of the Act of 1971 must institute a suit against such person who is denying or who is interested to deny his title for a declaration"

2. Can we evict them legally in a peaceful manner with the support of the court or local police? Or is there a law which prohibits eviction of any individual?

Answer:

I) Yes. You should file a suit for declaratory title, eviction in the district court and

a) claim your title and ownership and

b) eviction of occupants.

II) Police cannot interfere in civil disputes. Only courts have that power.

3. As per the revenue officer, they have been given "oral" orders to register lands on the basis of "current occupants". Is this tenable in the court? Or is there any such order?

Answer:

a) Revenue officers do not have any powers to confer ownership, title or interest whether in summary suit or Original or revisional.

b) Only courts have the powers.

c) So whether there are any written or oral orders by any revenue authorities, the same will be held invalid in court of law.

4. Since we have delayed this action by many years, does it effect our chances if we approach a court?

Answer:

Law of Limitation prescribes limitation period of 12 years. Since your father died in the year 2012 and you became the owner of the said property, you are at liberty to file the case now in court of law.

Hope this information is useful.

Rajgopalan Sripathi
Advocate, Hyderabad
2169 Answers
394 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

1. They are encroachers or land grabbers or illegal occupants.

A complaint with the police for trespassing offence and a suit for mandatory injunction and enjoyment of the illegal occupants may be filed simultaneously and you can even ask for possession.

2. You can file a suit for ejectment before the court since they are illegal occupants in your property.

3. No it is not tenable.

Anyone can tell anything but this will not become legally valid.

You can file the suit as suggested.

4. No, not at all.

This is your property, you can very well claim the same even now

T Kalaiselvan
Advocate, Vellore
79210 Answers
1614 Consultations

5.0 on 5.0

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