Question. On 01.01.2006 ‘A’ occupied an empty plot of land measuring 500 sq. yds which as per municipal records was in the name of ‘B’; government employee. After one year ‘A’ built a two room house thereon. On 15.01.2015 ‘B’ forcibly dispossessed A’. On 05.05.2015 ‘A’ filed a suit under section 6 of the Specific Relief Act for possession against ‘B’. ‘B’ contested the suit on the ground that he was the real owner while ‘A’ contended that he was in “settled possession” till 15.01. 2015. Decide. [DJS 2018]
Ans.: Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act provides summary remedy to a person who has been dispossessed of immovable property. It provides that In any person is dispossessed without his consent of immovable property otherwise than in due course of law, he or any person claiming through him may, by suit, recover possession thereof, notwithstanding any other title that may be set up in such suit. This remedy is totally different from the remedy by way of suit for possession on the basis of title. Sub-section (4) specifies that nothing in this section shall bar any person from filing suit to establish his title to such property and to recover possession thereof.
It is well settled that to be entitled to claim under Section 6, plaintiff is required to prove, firstly, that he was in juridical possession of the immovable property in dispute; secondly, that he was dispossessed without his consent and otherwise than in due course of law; and thirdly, that he was so dispossessed within a period of six months of the filing of the suit.
It is true that a person, who is in settled possession, cannot be summarily dispossessed. In case of settled possession, the rightful owner has to resort to lawful remedy and not to illegally dispossess such a person from the property. It would apply even in case of a trespasser. But the nature of the possession must be settled. The controversy herein is as to whether the plaintiff in settled possession of the immovable property. The expression “settled possession” came to be discussed in Rame Gowda v. M. Varadappa Naidu, 2004) 1 SCC 769. Reference may also be made to decision in Sopan Sukhdeo Sable v. Asstt. Charity Commissioner, AIR 2004 SC 1801; Express Newspapers (P) Ltd. v. Union of India, (1986) 1 SCC 133.
Herein, it was on 01.01.2006 that the plaintiff ‘A’ occupied the empty plot, which, as per municipal records was in the name of defendant ‘B’. In the year 2007, the plaintiff constructed two rooms accommodation on the said plot. It was on 15.01.2015 that the defendant forcibly dispossessed the plaintiff from the suit property.
A has filed suit on 5.5.2015 under section 6 of the Specific Relief Act seeking possession from the defendant on the averments that he was in “settled possession” till 15. 01. 2015. The defendant has contested the suit on the ground that he is the real owner.
Applying the well settled law to the facts of present case, it can safely be said that A, who occupied the vacant plot in 2006 and then raised construction of two rooms on it, was in settled possession of the immovable property and as such defendant-the owner could not dispossess the plaintiff forcibly or except in due course of law.