The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the authorities concerned to transfer the patta of a property to a woman. It took cognisance of the fact that Tirunelveli Corporation attempted to claim the right over the property through adverse possession.

It was hearing the petition filed by S. Kanaga in 2013. The property belonging to her grandmother was bequeathed to her in 2002 by her mother. She then made an application to the Palayamkottai Tahsildar seeking to issue the patta in her name. She was then directed to approach the Revenue Divisional Officer. The patta was issued in her name after an inquiry.

Aggrieved by this order, Tirunelveli Corporation authorities filed a revision petition before the District Revenue Officer. This petition was allowed. Then, in 2011, she moved the High Court for relief. The order was quashed and the matter was remanded back to revenue authorities to inquiry and pass orders.

The District Revenue Officer passed an order directing both the parties to approach the Civil Court to settle the issue. A finding was recorded that the Corporation perfected the title through adverse possession. The order to issue the patta in the name of the petitioner was again set aside. This was challenged by the petitioner.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh sought the reports in the case. Perusing the Town Survey Field Register, the court observed that it was shocked to see manipulations in the record that was so apparent on the face of it. There was absolutely no basis for the corporation to claim any right over the property. The manipulation was noticed by the Tahsildar and the Revenue Divisional Officer. This was one of the reasons why the claim of the Tirunelveli Corporation was rejected in the first place and the patta was directed to be issued in favour of the petitioner. The claim was made only by virtue of manipulated entry made in the register. The court said that the property in question was vacant land. It is a settled law that insofar as vacant land is concerned, possession follows title. Without a title, Tirunelveli Corporation can never claim to be in possession of the property. Whereas the petitioner was able to trace the title from 1935 onwards when the property belonged to her grandmother.

The court quashed the order that was passed by the District Revenue Officer and upheld the order passed by the Revenue Divisional Officer. The court directed the patta be transferred in favour of the petitioner and the necessary mutation be carried out in the revenue records by the Tahsildar.

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