The Supreme Court set aside a Judgment of Allahabad High Court that allowed a suit for claiming rights by adverse possession and held that ownership and possession of land cannot be claimed through permissive possession arising from tenancy. Additionally, there was no possibility of asserting adverse possession in this context.

The disputed land in question was claimed by the appellant through a sale deed registered in 1966. The respondents claimed that their continued possession at the time of the abolition of Zamindari established their ownership. A suit for injunction and relief for possession was filed by the appellant.

A Division Bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Rajesh Bindal observed that “Even if it is assumed that the defendant respondents were in possession from prior to 1944, their possession could not have been adverse even to the Zamindars as they were tenants and their tenancy would be permissible in nature and not adverse.

AOR Shashwat Goel appeared for the appellant.

The Trial Court placed reliance on the sale deed, the Mutation and the Khasra and Khewat entries and found the appellant to be the owner of the disputed land and to be in possession of the same. On appeal before District Judge, it was held that there was no question of abolition of Zamindari with respect to the disputed land and therefore the claim of the of becoming owners on the abolition of Zamindari was incorrect.

The Allahabad High Court dismissed the suit of the appellant on the ground of limitation since the respondent had matured their rights or rather perfected their rights by adverse possession having continued so since the first suit for arrears of rent was filed.

The Supreme Court did not agree with the findings of the High Court emphasizing the absence of findings on limitation and adverse possession. The Court affirmed the appellant’s ownership from the sale deed in 1966 and rejected the High Court's reasoning.

Thus the Supreme Court allowed the appeal.

Cause Title: Brij Narayan Shukla v. Sudesh Kumar Alias Suresh Kumar & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2024 INSC 9)


Appellant: AOR Shashwat Goel, Advocates Shubhranshu Padhi, Ashish Yadav, and Rimjhim Agnihotri

Click here to read/download the Judgment