Law relating to Transfer of Property: Lis Pendens

The Doctrine of “Lis Pendens” is a legal principle that translates to “pending litigation.” In the context of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, it is specifically addressed under Section 52. This principle plays a critical role in property transactions and litigation, signifying that any property under legal dispute cannot be transferred to affect the rights of any party to the litigation until the legal dispute is resolved.

Section 52 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 – Lis Pendens

  • Effect on Property During Litigation:

The principle stipulates that during the pendency of any suit or proceeding which is not collusive and in which any right to immovable property is directly and specifically in question, the property cannot be transferred or otherwise dealt with by any party to the suit or proceeding so as to affect the rights of any other party thereto under any decree or order that may be made therein, except under the authority of the court and on such terms as it may impose.

  • Binding Nature of Transactions:

Any transfer or deal with the property under litigation without the court’s permission will be subject to the outcome of the litigation. This means that if a property is sold while a lawsuit concerning the property is pending, the buyer acquires the property subject to the final decision of the court.

  • Purpose:

Primary objective of the doctrine of Lis Pendens is to maintain the status quo concerning the property’s subject matter and to ensure that the court’s judgment can be effectively enforced. It aims to prevent parties from undermining the judicial process through external transactions that could alter the property’s status or rights being contested.

  • Duration:

The doctrine applies from the moment a suit or proceeding is filed until it is finally disposed of, meaning the property is essentially locked in terms of any transactions that might prejudice the litigation’s outcome.

Implications of Lis Pendens:

  1. For Buyers:

Buyers need to exercise due diligence when purchasing property to ensure it is not the subject of pending litigation. Failure to do so could result in the property being subject to court orders or judgments that adversely affect their interests.

  1. For Litigants:

Parties to a lawsuit must understand that any attempt to transfer property rights under litigation could be rendered invalid or subject to the outcome of the litigation, essentially negating such transactions.

  1. Legal Due Diligence:

This doctrine underscores the importance of conducting thorough legal checks and searches to uncover any pending litigations related to the property in question.

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