In the push and pull of how a property needs to be distributed or whether the legal heirs have got the right share, many families and extended families get tangled in legal cases. Land disputes in India are complicated and often such litigations run into years.
We have already covered the inheritance rights of family members as laid out in the Hindu Succession Act. Despite rules, it is not uncommon to see members of a family get into a tiff and file a partition suit. Here’s a step by step outline of how to go about a partition suit in India.
The Hindu Succession Act 1956 is the governing law behind a partition in a Hindu joint family while the Hindu Undivided Family and the Hindu Partition Act of Property 1892 governs partition of jointly-owned property by two or more co-owners.
Filing the partition suit
It is important to understand that a partition suit is filed only when a legal notice has gone disregarded. Suppose you are a legal heir but do not have any supporting documents, you could get the information about the property from the registration office.
Kolkata-based advocate, Devajyoti Barman says, “No document is required to file a partition suit but you will need to mention the property that is sought to be partitioned. Once the property is mentioned, it is the liability of the other co-sharer to prove how it does not belong to you or that you have received your rightful share.”
Lakshmi Kanth, a Hyderabad-based advocate says, “You can file partition suit, even though the documents relating to the property not lying with you. You have to obtain certified copies of the documents pertaining to property along with encumbrance on property certificate and Market Value Certificate from concerned Sub Registrar. Death Certificate of your grandparent/ parents (whichever is applicable) will be required which you can get from concerned municipal authorities. You should prepare a detailed family tree by mentioning all the family members and why the share belongs to you and others. If property is in joint possession a nominal court fee of Rs 200 will be applicable.”
It is, however, advisable that you keep a copy of the following:
a) Certified copy of title deed of properties which you claim as ancestral properties.
b) Description of properties ( area, location with survey numbers, boundaries etc)
c) Valuation done by sub-registrar of these properties.
Note that the partition suit has to be filed in a court that has jurisdiction over the location in which your property is located.
Establishing the rightful ownership
The next process involves the court trying to establish your rightful ownership over the property to proceed with the trial. It may also allow an inquiry to this effect or could even appoint a Commissioner who would evaluate your claim and submit a report. Based on the report, the court can determine your share and the co-owner’s share as well on a case to case basis.
If the two parties have come to a resolution, a partition deed is usually the next step which is based on the Land Partition Act. Remember that a partition deed requires court’s sanction. You will also need to execute this deed on a stamp paper specifying the date of partition and each person’s share.