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Behram Tejani & Ors. v. Azeem Jagani - (Supreme Court) (06 Jan 2017)

Person holding premises gratuitously or as caretaker or servant would not acquire any interest in property even by long possession



Instant appeal challenges judgment passed by High Court of Bombay setting aside Order passed by Bombay City Civil Court. Said Notice of Motion was dismissed by Bombay City Civil Court vide Order observing that it is specific submission of Defendant that Noorbanoo herself has no right in premises. Only on sympathetic ground she is allowed to occupy the premises. Civil Court viewed that, there is no any substantial right made out on behalf of plaintiff to entitle him for such equitable relief like injunction. Order of dismissal of Notice of Motion was challenged by filing Appeal in High Court of Bombay which was allowed by judgment and Order presently under appeal.

Submission of Appellants that grand-mother of Respondent though did not have any right qua the premises was permitted to occupy purely out of love and affection is not without merit. Status of grand-mother is thus of a gratuitous licensee and that of Respondent is purely of a relative staying with such gratuitous licensee.

In Maria Margarida Sequeira Fernandes and others v. Erasmo Jack De Sequeira, Supreme Court laid down the principles observing that no one acquires title to the property if he or she was allowed to stay in the premises gratuitously. Even by long possession of years or decades such person would not acquire any right or interest in the said property. Caretaker, watchman or servant can never acquire interest in the property irrespective of his long possession. The caretaker or servant has to give possession forthwith on demand.

Thus, a person holding the premises gratuitously or in capacity as a caretaker or a servant would not acquire any right or interest in property and even long possession in that capacity would be of no legal consequences. In circumstances, City Civil Court was right in rejecting prayer for interim injunction and that decision ought not to have been set aside by High Court. Supreme Court set aside the judgment under appeal and restored order passed by Bombay City Civil Court.

Relevant : Maria Margarida Sequeira Fernandes and others v. Erasmo Jack De Sequeira


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