A person purchases or buys a land or any property and believes that property to be his own but on the same time when that person in not living in that country where the property is situated, he appoints a caretaker to take care of his property. On the same time people never know when the property can be encroached, if it has been left unattended for a long time. The caretaker apart from title enjoys certain the rights of the owner on that property if the owner is not able to look forward to his property. Also, the legal eviction is burdensome and also time-consuming. The property could be rented out by the caretaker and give the aforesaid profits coming from the rent to the owner only. However, he is supposed to manage and maintain the entire property in the absence of the owner. Generally, caretaker is provided with Power of Attorney or he does the required work out of love and affection or for some consideration in return.
However, some relatives, friends or professional agencies are also hired for the same concerned matter, but it doesn’t mean that they cannot cheat you. No one can be blindly trusted. These appointed members are supposed to send the every time report to owner, if there is any change has been done in the property, etc. but the owners get cheated by these people as they are not directly in contact with the property and living out of the country, people send false information to these innocent owners or gets bothered by the process of law if wrong has been committed because of the tedious proceeding. The owner left with no option rather to make a compromise with the caretaker in good faith or just wait for years and years for the law to provide him with the decision.
Supreme Court on Caretaker Issue
In the case of Maria Margarida Sequeria Fernandes and Others v. Erasmo Jack de Sequeria (Dead) and Southern Roadways Ltd., Madurai v. S.M. Krishnan as well as in Ramrameshwari Devi v Nirmala Devi the Hon’ble Apex Court said that the caretaker acts only as the agent of the titled owner and not the owner itself and he is required to tell the details to the owner and handover the entire property back to the owner himself who is the principal. Longtime unjustified stay in the property does not generate any right, title or interest of caretaker in it.
In another case of Sham Lal v. Rajinder Kumar & Others it was held that the real owner or the master can’t get excluded on the right to possession of servant or chowkidar.
In 2012, the Supreme Court gave a decision for matters where the servants or caretakers try to seize the property of the real owners and have also tried mishandling the justice system. There have been examples where these caretakers or servants of the property tried to get the rights in the property and have also refused to leave and renounce control over the property on ground of 12 years of uninterrupted possession in the absence of the real owner of the property. These claims are however unjustified and baseless but it is known as the reasons for delaying the justice.
In another major case where the appellant was a watchman and he was unable to bear the required costs, Supreme Court held that such frolicsome matters costs high to the titled owner, that person has the right to demand the restitution but because of the watchman’s condition the Hon’ble Supreme Court with a fine of Rs. 25,000 dismissed the case. With this there are certain principles which the SC has upheld which are; just because someone is living in a property to take care of that without any cost doesn’t mean the title of the same property can be acquired by that individual. No matter since how many years that person is living on that property, that person can’t take the possession of the aforesaid property. SC upholds the judgment which protected the rights of the actual property owners and safeguards them from the land snatchers.
Rights available to the owner against the caretaker
- The foremost action that any person can take is to stop that person from obtaining over your property.
- There are some legal ways to protect the property in the case of encroachment.
- Apart from this, the Indian penal code gives a person right to cause grievous hurt or even kill that person in order to protect his property. However, it can be done only in necessary circumstances or where it is justifiable.
A person suffers the most when he invests his money on property and some other person claims and enjoys every right as of the owner falsely. There are specified laws for this matter but one should take necessary steps for protecting his property like do the fencing around the property, make relations with the neighbors so that they will inform when something wrong happens, relatives should go and have a check on the property time to time, POA should be well defined if one is hiring other person on his behalf, if there is a tenant then take all the necessary details of him and make a good tenancy agreement, etc. Although, after the implementation of computerization of land records and registration in many states the conditions got better but it is still not enough, people should be careful in order to avoid land and property intrusion by the caretakers.