The word 'property' is derived from the Latin term 'properietate' and the French equivalent 'proprius' which means a thing owned. The concept of property and ownership are very closely related to each other. There can be no property without ownership and ownership without property. The concept of property occupies an important place human life because it is impossible to live without property. There are four modes of acquisition of property and Several Theories about the origin of the Property.

Meaning and definition of property -

       The term Property is not a Term of Art. It has been used in a variety of senses. In its widest sense, Property includes all the legal rights of a Person of whatever description The The property of a man is all that is his in law. In the narrower sense, the property includes the proprietary rights of a person and not his personal rights. Proprietary rights constitute his estate or property and personal rights constitute his Status or personal and condition. In another sense, the term property includes only those rights which are both proprietary and real.
        According to Sir John Austin, the term property is sometimes used to denote the greatest right of enjoyment known as to law excluding servitudes. Sometimes, life interests are described as property.  Even servitudes are described as property in the sense that there is a legal title to them. Sometimes property means the whole of the assets of a man including both the right in rem and right in personam
         According to Bentham "property is nothing more than the basis of s certain expectation of deriving thereafter certain advantages by a thing the reason of the relation in which we stand towards it. There is no image, no visible lineament which can property the relation that constitutes property. It belongs not to physics, but to metaphysics. It is altogether a conception of Mind. To it, all or any of these physical circumstances failed to assist in conveying the idea of property."

Kinds of property - 

      Property is essentially of two kinds Corporeal Property and Incorporeal Property. Corporeal Property can be further divided into Movable and Immovable Property and real and personal property. Incorporeal property is of two kinds-in re propria and rights in re aliena or encumbrances.

1) Corporeal And Incorporeal Property -

      (I) Corporeal Property - 

                   Corporeal property is the right of ownership in material things.Corporeal property is always visible and tangible. Corporeal property can be perceived by senses. It can be seen or touched.

        Examples -A House, Land, Car, Bike etc

Corporeal property may be divided into two classes- 

1. Movable Property (Chattels) and Immovable property. (Land and buildings)

     2. Real Property and Personal Property 

      (II) Incorporeal Property - 

                    Incorporeal property also called as intellectual or conventional property.  it includes all those valuable interests which are protected by law.Incorporeal property is intangible. It cannot be Perceived by Senses.

          Examples -  Patents, Copyrights, Trademarks etc.

Incorporeal property is divided into two classes- 

(a) Jura in re propria Over Material things (for example patents, copyrights, trademarks etc)

(b) Jura in re Aliena encumbrances, whether over material or immaterial things, for example, Lease, Mortgages and Servitude etc.

2) Movable Property and  Immovable Property - 

         All Corporeal Property is either movable or immovable. In English law, these are termed as chattels and land respectively.

     (I) Movable Property - 

              Movable property is one, which can be transferred from one place to another place with the human efforts.

    (II) Immovable Property -

   According to the General Clauses Act, 1897 "Immovable property includes land, benefits arising out of land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened or anything attached to the earth."
     According to the Indian Regulation Act, "immovable property includes land, building,  hereditary allowance, rights of way, lights, Ferries, Fisheries or any other benefit to  arise  out of land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth but not standing Timber, growing crops or grass.
     Section 3 Para 2 of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 defines immovable property as "immovable property does not include standing Timber, growing crops or grass. Movable property includes corporeal property which is not immovable.

        According to Salmond immovable property (i.e., land) has the following elements-

         A) a determinate portion of the surface of the earth.

         B) The ground beneath the surface down to the centre of the earth

         C) The column of space above the surface ad infinitum.

         D) All objects which are on or under the surface in its natural state for example-minerals natural
vegetation, or stones lying loose upon the surface.

         E) An object placed by human agency on or under the surface of the land with the intention of permanent an annexation, for example, House walls, Doors,  Fences, etc.

3) Real and Personal Property - 

          In English law, the property has been divided into the real and personal property. This division is identical to a great extent with that of immovable or movable. The division into real and personal is not based on any logical principle but is a result of the course of legal development in England.

    a) Real property -

      The real property includes all rights over land with such additions and exceptions, as the law has deemed fit.

    b) Personal property -

      The law of personal property includes all other proprietary rights whether they are in rem or in personam.

4) Public property and private property -

   Having regard ownership property is either public or private -

   (a) Public property-

           Public property is that owned by the public as such in some governmental capacity. Public property is used as a designation of which are Public Juris and therefore, are considered as being owned by the public. the entire state or the community and not restricted to the domain of private person or that which belongs to a state or political constituents like provinces etc

   (b) Private property -

          The private property is that which is owned by an individual or some other private person.

See also -

 Modes of Acquisition of Property 

Mortgage: Rights of a Mortgagee

Definition and Different Kinds of Ownership


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