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The Indian Easements Act, 1882

The Indian Easements Act, 1882 (Act No. V of 1882) was enacted in the year 1882 and came into force on the 1st July, 1882 also it extents to the territories respectively administered by the Governor of Madras in Council and the Chief Commissioners of the Central Provinces and Coorg. The Act was enacted to define and amend the former laws relating to easement and licence.

Easement is a term connected to Property. Under the property laws, Easement plays most important role which enables a person owning property to enjoy his property rights without any hurdle. Easement as defined under First Chapter and Section 4 of the Act, is a right which the owner or occupier of certain land possesses, as such, for the beneficial enjoyment of the land, to do and continue to do something, or to prevent and continue to prevent something being done, in or upon, or in respect of certain other land not his own. In simple terms easement could be meant as a right and the person entitled thereof being owner or occupier of certain land, for the beneficial enjoyment of his land, could require adjoining land owners to do or continue to do something and even also could prevent them from doing something being done in or upon the their lands which are not owned by right holder. The Act also provides for certain illustrations for easy understanding of readers and pleaders. Further Sections like Section 5 and 6 define different kinds of easements like ‘Continues and discontinuous, apparent and non-apparent easements; and Easement for limited time or on condition. Moreover Section 7 of the Act provides for nature of Easement i.e. how easement restricts certain rights of other land owners.

The judiciary dealt with easementary rights of many kinds while dealing with controversies relating thereto. The examples of such different kind of right of easement includes, Right to way, Right to light, Right to air, etc.

The Second Chapter of the Act contains provisions as to imposition, acquisition and transfer of easement and describes who may impose easement and who may acquire it. Also this Chapter of the Act makes provisions as to acquisition of right by Prescription, which is highly challenged and explained term by judiciary. The third Chapter of the Act makes rules controlling use of right and also provides for all relevant aspects as to use and enjoyment of easementary right. This chapter contains provision as to bar to use of easementary right which is not connected with enjoyment. Even certain provisions under this chapter contain liabilities for expenses as to preservation of easement and as to damage for want of repair while enjoying easementary right.

Further Chapter i.e. Chapter fourth of the Act describes right of easement as is enjoyable without any disturbance and in violation of this right suit could be brought. Moreover this chapter clarifies other relevant aspects like when cause of action arises for removal of support and also consequences of abatement as to obstruction to enjoyment.

Moreover, the chapter fifth of the Act also provides for extinction of easement by dissolution of right, by release, by revocation, on expiration of limited period or happening of dissolving condition, on termination of necessity, if easement became useless, by permanent change in dominant heritage, on permanent alteration of servient heritage by superior force, by destruction of either heritage, by unity of ownership, by non-enjoyment or extinction of accessory right. Further it provides for suspension and revival of easement as per Section 49, 50 and 51 of the Act.

Chapter Sixth of the Act provides for concept of ‘Licence’ and relevant provisions including its transferability. It defines license under Section 52 of the Act as, when a person grants to another or definite number of other persons right to do or continue to do something in or upon the immovable property of such granter, which would in absence of such grant, unlawful. Such right not amount to easement or an interest in property. Moreover, Sections 58 and 59 of the Act make provisions for duties of the Grantor of license. Sections 60, 61 and 62 of the Act provides for revocation of license. Further Sections provides for rights of Licensee on revocation or on eviction.