The law of Adverse Possession in India is governed by the principle of The Limitation Law of 1963. As per adverse possession under limitation act, if over a due course of time or period, if an appeal is not made to revise any limitation, the current scenario of titles continues. In terms of adverse possession, the period is defined to be 12 years. According to the Indian legal system, if a property owner fails to make a claim towards their property for 12 years, and the same tenant continues to occupy the property for 12 years, the ownership rights to the property is transferred to the tenant.

Essentials to Prove Adverse Possession-

1. Date of possession: The date on which adverse possession in India of the property began must be established. This date is critical as it determines the 12-year statutory period required for adverse possession.

2. Knowledge of owner and neighbours: It is necessary to demonstrate that the true owner had knowledge of the possession and the date when they became aware of it. Additionally, it is essential to establish that immediate neighbours were aware of the possession and the date when they became aware of it.

3. Peaceful possession: The possession must have been peaceful and not obtained by coercion. The possession must have been in opposition to the true owner’s expectations.

4. Lack of action by the owner: It must be proven that the true owner did not take any action against the possession despite having knowledge of it. It must be proven beyond reasonable doubt that the owner was aware of the possession.

5. Exceptions: It is also necessary to demonstrate that none of the exceptions to the rule of adverse possession are applicable in the case.

6. Continuous possession: It must be established that the possession of the property was continuous without any interruptions by the owner or any other person.

Laws Related To Adverse Possession In India-

As per Section 27 of the Limitations Act, at the determination of the period hereby limited to any person for instituting a suit for possession of any property, his right to such property shall be extinguished. It mentions the time limit to file a suit by the property owner to be 12 years. If the owner fails to do so, he/she cannot take any action against the occupant.

Article 64 and Article 65 of the Limitations Act also support the doctrine of adverse possession and say that the burden to prove the dispossession of the property for 12 years lies on the tenant. Simultaneously, the onus to prove the adverse possession for 13 years falls on the landlord. It emphasizes that any person who has taken possession of property that belongs to another person for 12 years and is the real owner of that property does not file the suit for the recovery of possession, it will be considered that property in possession belongs to that person who is claiming the adverse possession.

How To Prove Adverse Possession In India?

*The 12 years will begin from the date when adverse possession starts.

*The occupant must prove the date on which the legal owner of the property came to know about the adverse possession and the date on which the immediate neighbours came to know about the same.

*The person needs to prove that the possession was peaceful and has not coerced or threatened the legal owner.

*The occupant also needs to prove that despite having knowledge about adverse possession, the owner didn’t take any action.

*He/she should also prove that the exceptions to the doctrine of adverse possession are not applicable in the instant case.

*The person also has to prove that the possession was not interrupted by the owner or any other person throughout the statutory period.

Can Adverse Possession Be Claimed By Family Members?

When it comes to family members, possession of property by a blood relative cannot be adverse to the other family members and therefore the doctrine of adverse possession is not applicable in such scenarios.

Documents Required to Prove Adverse Possession in India-

1. Property deed or title: The deed or title of the property, along with the survey number and details of the location, is essential to establish the ownership of the property.

2. Tax receipts: The property tax receipts for the duration of the adverse possession, which proves that the possessor has been paying taxes and has been in possession of the property.

3. Utility bills: The utility bills like electricity, water, and gas bills for the duration of possession can help establish the exclusive possession of the property.

4. Affidavits from witnesses: Affidavits from neighbours and witnesses who have seen the possessor in exclusive possession of the property for the statutory period can be used to prove adverse possession.

5. Other relevant documents: Any other documents that establish the continuous, exclusive, and peaceful possession of the property by the possessor can be used as evidence to prove adverse possession.

Exceptions To Doctrine Of Adverse Possession

*If the owner is a minor.

*If the owner is mentally unwell.

*If the owner serves in the armed forces.


So, this is everything you need to know about adverse possession in India. With the passage of time, there have been several developments through various case laws related to adverse possession. Possession of someone’s property and then claiming ownership rights is not an easy thing. This happens in very rare cases and every element is considered cautiously to serve justice. The abovementioned are the legal requirements to claim adverse possession in India. Improper knowledge and unlawful behaviour to possess someone’s property might lead you to face some serious legal action and you also have to pay compensation.

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