Lawful possession of a property cannot be interfered with by way of ouster or locking in absence of Court order

Patna High Court: A Single judge bench comprising of Ahsanuddin Amanullah, J. while hearing a civil writ petition ruled that lawful possession of a property cannot be interfered with by way of ouster or locking of the premises in the absence of a Court order to that effect.

Petitioners herein were the land owners and tenants of certain shops in Gaya and respondents were the buyers of these shops. The present petition was filed assailing the action of State authorities whereby petitioners’ shops were locked and the main entrance thereto was forcibly blocked by unloading sand and stone chips in front of the said shops. Petitioners submitted various documents and circumstances to indicate their lawful ownership/ tenancy of the land/ shops in question.

The primary question for consideration was as to whether the District administration or any private person can forcibly seal and put lock in the premises occupied by another person without following due process of law.

The Court noted that the report submitted by District administration showed that the petitioners were in lawful possession of the subject premises. Thus, without going into the question of title or otherwise, it was held that once the tenant petitioners were in possession of the shops in question, they could not have been dispossessed or their shops locked without the order of a civil court.

The petition was disposed of with a direction to the District Magistrate and Senior Superintendent of Police, Gaya to ensure that the possession of shops in question be handed over to the petitioners after taking due receipt of the materials inside the shop.[Bigan Mistry v. State of Bihar,2018 SCC OnLine Pat 2148, decided on 28-11-2018]

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