SC to see if properties owned by municipal body, govt are distinct

SC to see if properties owned by municipal body, govt are distinct

The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to determine if there could be a distinction between properties owned by a municipal body and the state government for the purposes of computation of limitation for filing a suit, claiming the title on adverse possession.

It asked the state government to respond to the issue.

"As the issue involved and the answer thereto may have wide ramifications so far as the municipal bodies in the state of Karnataka are concerned and also may affect the state government, we are of the view that notice should go to the state of Karnataka to arrange for its representation before the court," a bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi said.

The court issued a notice to the state government after noting that municipal committees had so far not appeared before it. The government was, however, not a party to the pending matter.

The matter pertained to a special leave petition filed by Basavaneppa, who sought a declaration of title to urban property measuring 59-39 square metres at Ramdurg in Belagavi district on the ground of adverse possession. He challenged the Karnataka High Court's judgement of June 25, 2014.

The petitioner contended that a municipal body was a distinct identity created under the Constitution. It could not be called as government, so the 30-year period as stipulated under the Limitation Act would not apply to claim the title by way of adverse possession. The HC had relied upon the Karnataka Municipalities Act, 1964, to hold that it is not correct to say the properties belonging to municipalities are not government properties. The municipalities hold the properties only as trustees of the government, it had concluded.

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