Can evicted person recover expenses made in good faith:  If a transferee of immovable property under a defective title who, in good faith, believes that he has a good title makes improvements to the property and later on, if any person having a better title evicts him from such property, can the evicted person claim reimbursement?

Section 51 of the Act provides that, the transferee has the right to require the person causing the eviction, either to have the value of the improvement estimated and paid or secured to the transferee, or to sell his interest in the property to the transferee at the then market value, irrespective of the value of the improvements.

The Section further provides that in the above circumstances, if the transferee has planted or sown on the property crops which are growing when he is evicted, he is entitled to such crops and free ingress and egress to gather and carry them away.

The principle behind this Section is an application of the equitable maxim that he who seeks equity must do equity, the conditions to be fulfilled are:

  • The person evicted must be a transferee;
  • He must have made the improvements, believing in good faith that he was absolutely entitled to the property.

Transferee: The following are the instances of transferees who have been given the benefit of the Section:

  • A purchaser who purchased ”bona fide” in ignorance of a mortgage;
  • A purchaser of a life estate, who believed that his vendor was absolutely entitled;
  • A purchaser who was put in possession of a larger area then he was entitled to and who, in ignorance of the mistake, made improvements on the excess area;
  • A transferee under an oral sale of immovable property worth RS.100 or more.

Illustration:

  • ”A” purchased the property of a Mohammedan minor from his mother, who was acting as the de facto guardian, believing, in good faith, that she had the authority to sell. When A was evicted by the minor, he was entitled to compensation for improvements that he had made.
  • A grantee of land from a Tahsildar, believing himself to be absolutely entitled, improved the land by laying out a casuarina plantation. The collector revoked the grant and evicted the grantee, but the latter was entitled to compensation for the improvements.

In all these cases, the rule was applied when the transferee was evicted by the better title.

 

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