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Recovery of Possession Provisions under Specific Relief Act

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LI Research

Specific Relief Act is concerned with civil rights and not penal laws, even civil law has to take care of certain rights, and these are rights to possession of the property. Specific Relief Act deals with the requirement of remedies.

It comes into picture when there is a breach of contract and the same is not dealt by damages as compensation. Section 5 and 6 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963 provide methods for recovery of possession of immovable properties. 


Section 5 of Specific Relief Act, 1963 provides that a person entitled to the possession of any specific immovable property can recover it in the manner prescribed by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 (5 of 1908). It reads as:

A person entitled to the possession of the specific immovable property can recover it in the manner provided by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908”.

The essence of this section is ‘title,’ i.e. the person who has better title is a person entitled to the possession. The title may be of ownership or possession. Thus, if ‘A’ enters into peaceful possession of land claiming his own although he might have no title, still he has the right to sue another who has ousted him forcibly from possession because he might have no legal title but at least has a possessory title.


Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act deals with the provision related to suit by person dispossessed of immovable property. It reads as:

“(1) If any person is dispossessed without his consent of immovable property otherwise than in due course of law, he or any person claiming through him, may by suit recover possession thereof.

(2) No suit under this section shall be brought-

  • After the expiry of six months from the date of dispossession.
  • Against the Government.

(3) No appeal shall lie from any order or decree passed in any suit instituted under this section, nor shall any review of the decree under this section is allowed.

(4) Nothing in this section shall bar any person from suit to establish his title to such property and to recover possession thereof.”

Section 6 is only applicable if the plaintiff proves:

  1. That he is in juridical possession of the immovable property in dispute.
  2. That he had been dispossessed of without his consent and without due process of law.
  3. That dispossession took place within six months from the date of suit.

Possession in the context of section 6 means legal possession which may exist with or without actual possession and with or without rightful origin. The plaintiff in a suit under section 6 need not establish title.


Ramanlal Ambalal Patel v. Hina Industries [(1993) 1 GLR 820]

In this case, a suit for a decree for possession of the suit property, and a Notice of Motion for certain interim injunctions was filed by the opponent, however the same was dismissed. Thereafter, the opponent filed the Chamber Summons Exh. 80/ 81, for permission to carry out amendment in the plaint by which he wanted to add a relief for possession of the suit property, based on Section 6 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

It was averred that as the suit was filed within six months of the dispossession, the opponent was entitled to recover the possession of the suit property by virtue of Section 6 of the Act. The lower Court permitted the opponent to carry out the amendment as proposed by the opponent.

Issue before the court was whether the Plaintiff who sues for possession and for ejectment of the Defendant on the basis of title and fails to prove his title is still entitled to a decree for possession under Section 9 of the Specific Relief Act, 1877, if he can prove possession within six months anterior to the date of his dispossession?

The Court concluded that in the present case, the suit would certainly fall within Section 5 of the Act corresponding to Section 8 of the 1877 Act and Sections 8 and 9 of the 1877 Act give alternative remedies which are mutually exclusive, and the Plaintiff cannot combine both the remedies in one and the same suit.

It mentioned that amendment cannot be granted in the name of avoiding multiplicity of proceedings. Hence, the amendment application filed by the opponent was rejected.

Nagarpalika Jind v. Jagat Singh [AIR 1995 SC 1377]

A suit was filed by the respondent restraining appellant from interfering with possession of respondent over suit property. The claim was resisted by appellant saying that respondent had made unauthorised encroachments.

Respondent claimed the property by asserting his title and previous possession over the property under section 6 of the Specific Reliefs Act. However, he failed to prove his title to suit property and could not prove dispossession by the appellant.

The court directed appellant to take further steps in connection with suit land over which respondent had neither title nor he was in possession thereof.

Brij Kumar v. Bimla Rani [2006 (3) BomCR 857]

District Judge held that Trial Court had decided suit under Section 6 of the Act and thus, Additional District Judge would not sit in revisional jurisdiction and Appeal was not competent. Here, the issue was whether the order passed by Additional Sessions Judge was right?

It was held that Plaintiff had claim dispossession by revision Applicants, who were jointly in possession with him as his partners, after Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew from partnership. It was obvious that revision Applicants and original Plaintiff were in joint possession and third person, who was not in possession had not forcibly entered possession to dispossess Plaintiff.

Trial Court could have at most reinstated original Plaintiff back in possession along with revision Applicants/partners but could not have ordered eviction of these partners under Section 6 of the Act. Therefore, order passed by Additional District Judge in Appeal was set aside and it was ordered that when order passed by authority is not accordance with law, then that order will not be sustained.


Through a thorough reading of the judgements of Ramanlal Ambalal Patel v. Hina Industries [(1993) 1 GLR 820], Nagarpalika Jind v. Jagat Singh [AIR 1995 SC 1377], and Brij Kumar v. Bimla Rani [2006 (3) BomCR 857], we can conclude that:

The two sections give alternative remedies and are in our opinion mutually exclusive. If a suit is brought under section 6 for recovery of possession, no question of title can be raised or determined. The object of the section is clearly to discourage forcible dispossession and to enable the person dispossessed to recover possession by merely proving previous possession and wrongful dispossession without proving title, but that is not his only remedy.

He may, if he so chooses, bring a suit for possession on the basis of his title. But we do not think that he can combine both remedies in the same suit and that he can get a decree for possession even if he fails to prove title. Such a combination would, to say the least of it, result in anomaly and inconvenience. In a suit under Section 6 no question of title is to be determined, but that question may be tried in another suit instituted after the decree in that suit.

If a claim for establishment of title can be combined with a claim under Section 6, the Court will have to grant a decree for possession on dispossession being proved, inspite of its finding that the plaintiff had no title and that title was in the defendant. It could not surely be the intention of the legislature that the question of title could be litigated in another suit which under the second paragraph of Section 6, the defendant would have the right to bring.

Section 5 and 6 both give alternative remedies and are mutually exclusive; under section 5, a person dispossessed can get possession on the basis of title, whereas in section 6, a person dispossessed may recover possession by proving previous possession and further wrongful dispossession.


In our case, since it has already been mentioned that the individual is the owner of the property, therefore, to the best of my knowledge, most viable recourse for the individual would be to claim through Section 5 of the Transfer of Property Act, reason being that he/she has a title over the property. However, in case the limitation period is not over yet, Section 5 of the act can also prove out to be a good alternative.

Also Read- Succession of property via Testament