IMMOVABLE PROPERTY: LAWS AND CASES

Since the dawn of evolution, humans have classified properties based on their shape, sizes and use case. Generally, any property can be broken down into one of the two categories- immovable and movable. As the name suggests, movable property can be relocated or shifted from one position to another with ease. Immovable property is any property that cannot be shifted or relocated. A Real Estate structure, like a house, is an example of immovable property. Now that we know how to define immovable property, let’s take a look at laws, rules and regulations around an immovable property.

Immovable Property

Property can have a very wide meaning in a deeper and real sense. Although it includes valuable items like money, jewellery and houses, it generally includes items of intangible value that add as a source of income or adds to the wealth of a person. With respect to Section 2(6) of The Registration Act,1908 meaning of Immovable Property is described. The act defines “Immovable Property” meaning as:

“Immovable Property includes land, building, hereditary allowances, rights to ways, lights, ferries, fisheries or any other benefit to arise out of the land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which in turn is attached to the earth except standing timber, growing crops nor grass”.

This definition of “Immovable Property” under the Registration Act of 1908 applies to the whole of India barring the State of Jammu and Kashmir. According to this definition, a building is classified as immovable property.

The term “Immovable Property” is mentioned in other acts as well and the definition finds more prominence from Section 269UA(d) of the Income Tax Act, 1961:

  • Any land or any building or any part of a building, and it includes, where any land or any building or part of a building is to be transferred together with any machinery, plant, furniture, fittings or other things, such machinery, plant, furniture, fittings and other equipment also.

Examples of Immovable Property include:

  1. Houses, Land, Trees attached to the ground
  2. Contract to cut bamboos for a specified amount of time
  3. Factory Buildings
  4. Machinery, receptacles intended for commercial work
  5. Statues, paintings, or other decorative paintings are classified under immovable property if they are installed with the intention of permanent attachment to the property.
  6. Fertiliser utilised on farmland or a garden
  7. Mines, quarries, or slag dumps
  8. Any Government contracts related to public work, servitudes, or other legal rights over a property

Types of Immovable Property

According to all the definitions of immovable property, generally, the structure of the property is directly or indirectly attached to the ground. For example, a house is attached to the earth, and hence it is an immovable property. An important thing to note here is that the land on which the house is constructed is also considered to be tangible immovable property. In terms of the real estate market across the globe, an immovable property includes a house and the land surrounding it. It also includes any item or part in a house which comes with the house and it falls under the house’s functioning, like drainage systems or air conditioning units.

Immovable Property Law: Rules and Exceptions

India is a country that has historically undergone a major regime shift almost every century. It’s no wonder the laws around Property and its classification can get confusing. A major portion of India’s Property Laws is based on the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, which was introduced by the British regiment ruling over the country. Over time, the definition and acts have changed and evolved to make the laws clearer. Yet, no definition around the concept is exhaustive. Let’s take a look at the most significant laws associated with immovable property and its wider definition. An Immovable Property is any asset that cannot be shifted or relocated. Concerning Section 3(26) of General Clauses Act, 1897 and the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, the sale of immovable property notes the following under its bracket.

  • Land:

Any surface, above or beneath the ground. Any or all objects attached or installed to the surface with an intention of permanent settlement. It is a tangible immovable property example.

  • Land Benefits:

Hereditary allowances, right of way, equity of redemption, right to collect rent are all basic rights for any immovable property.

  • Anything ‘Attached to Earth’

Things rooted in the earth, things embedded in the earth, things attached to what is so embedded, and chattel attached to earth or building are considered immovable.

  • Mineral below the Earth’s soil

Exceptions:

  • Growing Crops are considered as movable property, despite being attached to the Earth as they don’t have any existence beyond consumption and hence, they are considered temporary.
  • Trees that don’t bear fruits and were planted for their economic benefits are considered standing Timber. These include Babool, Shisham, Nimb, Peepal Banyan, Teak, Bamboo, etc.
  • Fruit-bearing trees are immovable properties but they can be considered movable if the owner intends to cut them down anytime soon.

These exceptions were made over time based on the Court’s Case Laws on Immovable Property.

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