Relation between possession and ownership

Relation between ownership and possession


The concept of ownership vital concept. It gives effect to the idea of mine and not mine stop ownership compromises both benefits and burdens. Benefits example sell. Salmond defines it as the relation between a person and any right is vested in him


According to Austin ownership means a right, which avails against everyone who is subject to the law conferring the right to put thing to user of indefinite nature. It is right in rem which is available to the owner against the world at large. It includes ownership over both corporeal and incorporeal things.

Incidents of ownership

  • Right to possess : donon Hyderabad to possess the things which he owns. Means to have it with oneself. Eg. I own a car then I have right to possess it. It is immaterial whether the owner is in actual possession of the thing or not, as long as he has right to purchase such things.
  1. The property of landlord may be in the possession of tenant but the owner of the property is still landlord as he has the right to possess and recover possession from tenant.
  • Right to use and enjoy things owned: the owner has right to use and enjoy the thing owned. This means that the owner has a right to manage the things.
  1. If I owned a car I have Liberty to use it.
  • Right to exhaust and destroy the thing : The owner has right to exhaust the things owned. To exhaust means to use up, consume or finish off product.

Eg. If I owned a dozen apples I can consume them. The owner has also right to destroy.

  • Right to alienate : Owner has the  right to alienate, transfer or gift the property he owns. Eg. I can gift my car to my friend. The transfer of alienation may be during the lifetime of owner. 

A person who is not owner cannot transfer the property that he may have possession. Though it is not absolute. It has some exceptions. 

  • Ownership is indeterminate in Duration : The perpetuity of ownership means that on the death of owner the property shall pass on his heirs. 


Incidents of possession 

  • Position is prima facie evidence of title of ownership. Possession is nine points of law.
  • lornit adverse possession confers title even to property which originally belonged to other. Ex. ‘X’ is in possession to ‘Y’s land since a very long time, he can claim title by adverse possession.
  • Transfer of possession is transfer of ownership.
  • Things belongs to no one is good title of right.(Res nullis)
  • In respect of stolen property wrongful possession of such property is a good title.
  • Possession may in some cases conferred good title on another, even though he has non himself.
  • Position requires both Corpus and animus therefore opposition can hand over goods without passing possession.

Possession in law recognizes the right to possession of a person even if he is not in physical possession of the object. Ownership, on the other hand, is a purely legal concept. Both are supplymentary to each other. While one is a factual concept, the other is a strictly legal concept. Both of these concepts together govern the right to property of an individual.

possession is considered to be strong evidence of ownership. law protects possessor of a thing against every person other than someone who has a better title or possessory right.

Author: Pooja Pawar,
NBT Law College Nashik

Leave a Comment