The caretaker or agent holds property of the principal only on behalf of the principal.
New Delhi: A person holding the owner’s premises gratuitously or in the capacity as a caretaker or relative or a servant would not acquire any legal right or interest in the property, the Supreme Court has held.
A bench of justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Uday Lalit said no one acquires title to the property if he or she was allowed to stay in the premises gratuitously. Even by long possession of years or decades, such person would not acquire any legal right in the said property. The bench said caretaker, watchman or servant can never acquire interest in the property irrespective of his long possession. The caretaker or servant has to give possession forthwith on demand. The courts are not justified in protecting the possession of a caretaker, servant or any person who was allowed to live in the premises for some time either as a friend, relative, caretaker or as a servant.
It said protection of the court can only be granted to the person who has valid, subsisting rent agreement, lease agreement or license agreement in his favour. The caretaker or agent holds property of the principal only on behalf of the principal. He acquires no right or interest whatsoever for himself in such property irrespective of his long stay or possession. The bench was dealing with an appeal against an interim order of the Bombay high court reversing a trial court verdict refusing to grant possession to a caretaker, Azeem Jagani. The original owners, Behram Tejani and others appealed against this interim order. The SC set aside the HC’s interim order and directed it to proceed in accordance with the law.