Ways To Resolve Property Disputes In India
One of the most common legal disputes in India is property disputes. Property disputes related to property division, property ownership, sale and purchase of property, and other similar concerns. Property disputes among family members, especially brothers, are a common sight in India. In the absence of awareness about the settlement of disputes, most property disputes end up in courts. Lack of proper title documents and court delays often prolong property disputes. Through this article, we shall explore the various aspects of property disputes in India.
Property Disputes in India
India has a large number of pending property disputes. Property disputes can arise among family members and sellers/purchasers of land, and even landlords and tenants. Laws that govern inheritance are applied when property disputes occur among family members. The Act that governs property disputes in India is the Transfer of Property Act. This Act governs the transfer of property in India and forms the legal basis for determining and resolving disputes. While the moveable property is also subject to contention, most of the property disputes in India are related to immovable property such as land or a house.
Many case laws have been passed deciding the contours of property law in India. The holding of such case laws is often important in determining and resolving property disputes in India. One such landmark decision was Vineet Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma, where the daughters were given the right to property as a coparcener for the first time. This clear laying down of the law became the basis for many pending disputes wherein sisters claimed a right in the property and the brothers did not agree to the same.
Similarly, in Poona Ram v. Moti Ram, the Supreme Court was of the view that settled and established possession of land is required for possession to qualify as ownership.
The courts, through numerous decisions, have laid down the defining features of property law in India.
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How to Resolve Property Disputes in India
In India, there are two ways through which you can resolve property disputes:
You can choose to resolve your property dispute through settlement if family members are involved in the property dispute. The settlement involves all the stakeholders sitting across the table and mutually deciding how the assets/property would be divided. This involves the division of not only immovable property but also moveable property such as jewellery. Sometimes, families bring in a neutral third party to maintain discipline during the process. Such a neutral third party can help the parties arrive at a mutually beneficial outcome. Once a mutual division is agreed upon by the family members, you should draw up a settlement agreement. All family members should sign this settlement agreement.
Settlement saves the costs of hiring a lawyer and court expenses. If possible, in the first instance, it is always preferable to resolve through a settlement. If a settlement is not possible or if settlement fails, then you can approach the courts.
Litigation is nothing but approaching the courts to resolve property disputes. This involves lawyers, court costs, and, more often than not substantial amount of delay. Typically unrelated parties resort to litigation in the first instance. Litigation involves court processes and procedures and may take a long time to resolve the dispute. Go for litigation only if you have all the documents, including the title deed, and your lawyer advises you that you have a strong chance to win. Sometimes courts order the parties to settle outside court. This is a court-monitored settlement.
Property Disputes Among Brothers
Property disputes among brothers are one of the most common property disputes in India. In India, the conception exists that it is the male child that inherits the property. But the problem arises when there are two or more two male children. Brothers often squabble among themselves regarding property division, especially if the parents have not left a will. Such disputes are resolved by applying the applicable inheritance and succession laws.
Property disputes in India account for more than half of the pending caseload. Property laws and case laws around them govern property disputes. Despite having clear-cut laws, such disputes go on for years. Land being a valuable asset in India, the scope of disputes arising is more. Hence, you should always have drafted agreements before you enter into any property transaction. Write and register wills in your life so that your children do not engage in property disputes. Paperwork always reduces ambiguity and hence the chances of disputes.
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