Meaning and Concept of Property

Meaning and Concept of Property


Property is something that is owned by a person or entity. It includes money as well as other tangible things of value and also any intangible right which might be considered as a source or element of wealth. Essentially Property is divided into two types those are “real property” that is interest in land, real estates and “personal property” which is also sometimes known as personalty. Property can be further divided into absolute and qualified.

“Common Property” means the one which is owned by more than one person of same possession. “Community property” is joint ownership between both the spouses. “Separate property” is owned by one spouse in a community property or a married woman owns solely hip in some states. “Public property” is owned by government body.

Property is again divided into corporeal which is further categorized into movable and immovable and incorporeal which again has two categories: in re propria and rights in re aliena.

Meaning of Property

Property includes proprietaries as well as the personal rights. Depending on what the nature of property is, owner has right to sell, destroy, exchange and/or to exclude others from doing these things. In General, Property is any physical or virtual entity which is owned by an individual or by group of individuals.

There have been Traditional principles related to property rights that include:

  • Right to take benefit of the property.
  • To take full control over the property being an owner.
  • Right to sell the property.

There are three senses which Eminent Jurist Salmond thought while defining property. Those are:

  • Property includes all the rights of person legally.
  • It includes only his proprietary rights.
  • It also includes the right of ownership.

According to Austin, Property is the greatest right of enjoyment which is known to the law.

According to Jurist, Bentham, property includes ownership. He, in a way, has interpreted property in a narrow sense.

Property Act of 1882 has no definite definition of the term property although it talks about the property and rights related to property transfer. In some other acts it has been defined as per its need and use. Given below are those definitions:

  • In Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988, Section 2(c) defines property as property of any kind, whether movable or immovable, tangible or intangible and includes any right or interest in such property. In The Sale of Good Act, 1930, Section 2(11) defines property as ‘Property means the general property in goods and not merely as special property.

Interpretation by Apex Court of India

The Supreme Court of India had, interpreted the concept of Property in the legal regime in the case of R.C. Cooper v. Union of India. The recent trend of Apex Court has been changed, it no more said property which includes both corporeal things i.e. land, furniture and incorporeal things. The Court has now started referring Property in the light of Article 21 of Indian Constitution.

Kinds of Property

  • Movable and Immovable Property:

A Property which is moved from one play to another without any damage is a Movable Property. While, on the other hand, Property is the thing which is attached to the earth and embedded in the land, which cannot be moved is known as Immovable Property.

In the general clauses act, 1897, Section 3; in The Indian Registration Act, 1908, Section 2(6) defines immovable Property.

Immovable Property can be Judicially recognized as:

  • Right of Ferry.
  • Right of Fishery.
  • Right of way.
  • Right to collect lac from trees.
  • Right to collect the rent.
  • Interest of the mortgagee.
  • Mortgagor’s right to redeem the mortgage.


  • Tangible and Intangible Property:

    Tangible Property consists of real property i.e. land, buildings, fixtures and personal Property like ships, automobiles, tools etc.

Intangible Property which is also known as incorporeal Property, which says a person or corporation can have ownership of and can transfer ownership of to another person or corporation, but has no physical substance. It refers to statutory creations like copyrights, trademarks and patents.


  • Private and Public Property:

    Private Property is labeled as a legal non-governmental entity with the ownership of property, which includes either personal property or capital good. This concept is enforced by the political system of a country.

Private property is the one which is owned by the Government and as the name signifies it is for public use. Public property includes parks, hospitals, public washrooms, etc.

  • Real and Personal Property:

    Personal Property is the property which belongs to an individual, which is anything of tangible or intangible nature. It is referred to as personalty under common and civil laws. It also can be generalized as movable asset to real estate or real property.
    Personal Property are of two categories i.e. chattels and intangible. Chattels indicate to all type of property. Chattels which are attached to land and become real property are known as fixtures.Real Property is something, like land or things that are attached to land. It is also referred to as real estate or realty. Materials such as wood, metal or other building materials which are attached to land are real property, but aren’t real property on their own if not attached.

Intangible is form of personal property which cannot be touched or seen. Intangible things include bank accounts. Intellectual property, licenses, investments (stocks and bonds), etc.

  • Corporeal and Incorporeal Property:

    Corporeal Property is the right of ownership in real estate or personal property like building, equipment or vehicle.
    Incorporeal property means having legal right in something which doesn’t physically exist.

Incorporeal Property is of two types:

1) jura in repropria which means proprietary rights over immaterial things like copyrights, patents, etc.

2) jura in re aliena (encumbrances) e.g., leases, mortgages etc.

Kinds of Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property is classified into various categories, of which have been discussed below.

  • Patent: It is a kind of Property which has intellectual worth attached to it. For obtaining a Patent, it is must that the technological information must be disclosed to public in patent application.
  • Trademark: A trademark can be anything like name. Symbol, slogan, etc that identifies a product or organization. It is mainly to prevent confusion in the market. It is represented by the ‘R in a circle’ or letters ‘TM’.
  • Copyright: Copyrights gives the owner specific rights related to work and allows them to take legal actions. It is almost available in every product and creators of literary, dramatic, musical, etc.

Author: Neha Ghuge,
Government Law College, Mumbai/Second Year

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