Anuj
Ayodhya verdict Explained: What is adverse possession, the Muslim claim SC rejected?
Anuj Malhotra 9 Nov 2019

Ayodhya verdict Explained: What is adverse possession, the Muslim claim SC rejected?

The five-judge Constitution Bench that delivered the judgment in the Ayodhya case said that while Muslims never lost possession of the disputed land, they could not assert the right of adverse possession



So what is adverse possession?

One of the questions before the Supreme Court was whether the Sunni Wakf Board had acquired the title of the disputed land by adverse possession. Adverse possession is hostile possession of a property – which has to be continuous, uninterrupted and peaceful.

The Muslim side had claimed that the mosque was built 400 years ago by Babar – and that even if it is assumed that it was built on the land where a temple earlier existed, Muslims, by virtue of their long exclusive and continuous possession – beginning from the time the mosque was built, and up to the time the mosque was desecrated – they had perfected their title by adverse possession.

This argument has now been rejected by the Supreme Court.

In fact, a similar view was taken by the two judges of the Allahabad High Court.

Justice D V Sharma had said that Muslims cannot claim adverse possession against the said property because it was an open place and everybody was visiting including Muslims.

© Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images

He said that “long possession does not mean adverse possession....and it is proved that the Muslims have no uninterrupted possession and hostile to real owner.”

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