Animus Possidendi

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‘De Facto’ Possessor of Object v. ‘De Jure’ Owner of Object

‘Actually’ Has v. ‘Ought’ to Have

A person who asserts possessory title over a particular property must show that he is under settled or established possession of the said property – settled possession means such possession over the property which has existed for a sufficiently long period and has been acquiesced to by the true owner – merely stray/intermittent/casual acts of trespass, which has not matured into settled possession, does not have the effect of interrupting the possession of the rightful owner – settled possession must be effective, undisturbed, to the knowledge of the owner or without an attempt of concealment – no straitjacket formula to determine settled possession – based on facts and circumstances – occupation of a property by a person as an agent or a servant acting at the instance of the owner will not amount to actual legal possession – possession should contain an element of animus possidendi [animus possidendi involves the intention, in one’s own name and on one’s own behalf to exclude the world at large, including the owner with the paper title if he be not himself the possessor, so far as is reasonably practicable and so far as the processes of the law will allow].”

Hon’ble Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar, Poona Ram v. Moti Ram, [Civil Appeal No. 4527 of 2009].