The Supreme Court has observed that once the claim of title on the basis of adverse possession is held not tenable and ownership claim is negated, thereafter the possession or alleged possession cannot be protected by passing a decree of permanent injunction.

The Bench of Justice MR Shah and Justice Krishna Murari was dealing with an appeal challenging the Judgment passed by the Madhya Pradesh High Court in a suit involving the ownership claim of a property.

In this case respondent No.1 herein – original plaintiff filed a suit seeking declaration of ownership and permanent injunction against the defendant with regard to the suit property.

The original plaintiffs claimed the ownership on the basis of the registered Sale Deed and plaintiffs also claimed the title on the basis of the adverse possession.

However, the Trial Court dismissed the suit.

The original plaintiffs preferred the appeal before the First Appellate Court. The First Appellate Court though held that the plaintiffs shall not get any right on the basis of the Sale Deed decreed the suit for permanent injunction observing that the plaintiffs are in possession of the suit land.

Feeling aggrieved, the appellant herein – original defendant No.1 filed the second appeal before the High Court.

The High Court framed the following substantial question of law:- "Whether the First Appellate Court has erred in holding that the plaintiff has perfected his title on the disputed land by adverse possession?"

Though the High Court answered the aforesaid substantial question of law in favour of the appellant, however, thereafter did not interfere with the judgment and order passed by the First Appellate Court.

Consequently, the High Court dismissed the appeal.

Aggrieved, original defendant No.1 approached Supreme Court.

Advocate Arjun Garg represented the appellant.

The Court observed that all the Courts below negated the claim of the original plaintiffs of ownership on the basis of the registered Sale Deed. Therefore, the only claim on behalf of the plaintiffs was the plea of adverse possession.

The Court noted that the High Court had specifically observed and held that the plea of ownership based on sale deed and plea of adverse possession, both, are contrary to each other and the plaintiffs cannot be permitted to take both pleas at the same time.

The Court observed that "…once the substantial question of law on adverse possession was held in favour of the appellant – original defendant No.1 and the title/ownership claimed on the basis of the Sale Deed dated 31.08.1967 (Ex.P.1) was negated by all the Courts below, thereafter the possession/alleged possession of the plaintiffs could not have been protected by passing a decree of permanent injunction in favour of the plaintiffs."

Therefore the Court set aside the impugned Judgment and Order passed by the High Court and the First Appellate Court. The Court restored the decree passed by the Trial Court dismissing the suit.

Cause Title- Kesar Bai v. Genda Lal & Anr.

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