Uncle allowed to live in house gratuitously, not vacating house now

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  • #3331

    Anonymous
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    My father had built a house with 4 rooms from his own income. Since his younger brother (i.e., my uncle) was not having sufficient income, my father allowed him to occupy 2 rooms in the above house out of sympathy as a brother just to help him during his economic poor condition. My father never took any rent or other money from him. It was just to help his brother out of close relation. My father died 2 years back. Now, we are asking my uncle to vacate these two rooms, but my uncle is refusing to vacate it and now he has filed even a civil suit against us seeking injunction against vacating the house which belongs to us (my mother, myself and my brother). What is the legal position in this regard. Please clarify.

  • #3332

    From your question, it appears that your uncle was allowed to live in the house by your father gratuitously and purely out of natural love and affection. In these circumstances, your uncle will not acquire any right to the house or any right to live in the said house as per his own wish.

    In this regard, I may be point out that recently, in the case of Behram Tejani v. Azeem Jagani, (2017) 2 SCC 759, the Supreme Court held that a person holding the premises gratuitously or in the capacity as a caretaker or a servant would not acquire any right or interest in the property and even long possession in that capacity would be of no legal consequences.

    Previously, in the case of Maria Margarida Sequeira Fernandes v. Erasmo Jack de Sequeira, (2012) 5 SCC 370, the Supreme Court had held that:

    “Principles of law which emerge in this case are crystallised as under:

    (1) 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.

    (2) 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.

    (3) The courts are not justified in protecting the possession of a caretaker, servant or any person who was allowed to live in the premises for some time either as a friend, relative, caretaker or as a servant.

    (4) The protection of the court can only be granted or extended to the person who has valid, subsisting rent agreement, lease agreement or licence agreement in his favour.

    (5) The caretaker or agent holds property of the principal only on behalf of the principal. He acquires no right or interest whatsoever for himself in such property irrespective of his long stay or possession.”

         


    Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles.

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