WHAT ARE EASEMENT RIGHTS?
“An easement is a right which the owner or occupier of certain land possesses, as such, for the beneficial enjoyment of that land to do and continue doing something, or to prevent and continue to prevent something being done, in or upon, or in respect of certain other lands not his own,” states Section 4 of the Indian Easements Act. Some examples of easement rights would be rights to light stopping neighbors from developing their property, rights of way to walk or drive through the land, rights to lay electricity, broadband or telephone cables, rights to maintain gas, utilities or water supplies, etc. Appurtenant and gross are the two main types. The former refers to the use of one’s land for the benefit of adjacent lands, whilst the latter refers to the right you have over another person’s land. In a technical sense, they are any claims a third party may have on your land.
The three project themes are under the purview of easement rights. A right to do something, or to stop something from being done, in or upon, or in respect of, certain other lands, not his own, that the owner or occupier of a specific land possesses as such for the beneficial use of that land is known as an easement.
K.Krishnamoorthy vs Nagammal on 18 November 2014. To claim easement, the plaintiff must admit the title of the defendant over the property. If the plaintiff claims easement right that must be proved by sufficient evidence by the plaintiff.
Technically, they are any rights that a third party has over your land. They can arise by:
- Express grant – this is normally been expressly granted in a deed where a landowner offers the right to use part of their land. The deed of easement should specify the physical scope, purpose, and permitted uses.
- Implied grant – similar to an express grant and normally arises when a land owner sells a piece of their land where the land sold requires access through the retained land of the landowner.
- Prescription – this is a more complex easement where someone who is not the landowner can prove they have used a piece of land without permission for a period of not less than 20 years. To maintain the land’s physical borders, intended use, and usage restrictions from the previous 20 years, an easement may be required in these circumstances.
CHARACTERISTICS ESSENTIAL TO AN EASEMENT:
Without an easement, the owner of one tenement does not have the right to enjoy that tenement in or over the tenement of another, because the latter is required to suffer from or refrain from doing something on his own tenement for the benefit of the former.
- A dominant and survivor tenement must exist
- the easement must allow for the dominant tenement.
- For the dominant tenement to enjoy them in an advantageous manner, the rights of the easement must be held.
- The dominant and survivor owners must be distinct individuals.
- The dominant owners should have the right to do anything and keep doing it, or to stop something from being done in or on, or in regard to, the servient tenement; and
- The something must be capable of serving as the subject matter of a grant and must be of a particular or clearly defined nature.
An affirmative easement, which is a component of the right of way, allows the owner of a right to perform a specific act and to keep doing it, in this case, passing over the servient owner’s property. It is known as a positive easement from this perspective. However, a right of way also prohibits the servient owner from constructing on his property or taking any other action that would interfere with the right of way while exercising his proprietary rights there.
There are both negative and positive easements. In essence, an affirmative easement permits a group or individual to do activity on another person’s property. Establish electrical posts, for instance. Negative easements are used to restrict activity on privately owned property. Negative easements, for instance, can stop you from constructing something that obstructs a neighbor’s view.
RIGHT TO WAY
A right of way is the authority to move freely over another person’s property. Rights of way are not considered to be natural rights. They are discontinuous easements and may be acquired in the same way that the other easements are acquired. There are two types of rights of way:
(a) Public rights of way, which are available for everyone’s use. They are called highways. Their origin is in dedication expressed or implied.
(b) Private rights of way. These are granted to specific people or to the owners of specific tenements; their source is either a grant or a prescription, or they belong to specific groups of people or sections of the general public, such as the tenants of a manor or the residents of a parish or village, in which case their source is custom.
No possessory rights are given by easements or rights of way. There are therefore no ownership provisions. For instance, it is illegal for one person to sell another person’s land. They are only allowed to use the land. Easements may also be canceled following a predetermined time. However, a deed-based easement is permanent and remains with the land.
M.P.Ramachandran vs Madathil Radha on 22 July 2011, The right of easement by prescription claimed over the remaining land· of the landlord cannot be· defeated on the ground· that the right of way claimed is through the property of the landlord, and a tenant is not entitled to claim a right of easement by prescription as against the landlord.
It is advisable to check for easements or rights of way before purchasing the property because they can affect the property’s value. Even if you purchase the land for a reasonable price, it can be challenging to sell in the future. The property may still be subject to such an arrangement even if an easement isn’t in use.
Except in extremely rare and extraordinary circumstances, courts rarely issue injunctions in easement right of light instances when they conclude that the blocking of light is very little and the harm suffered is minor. Again, it’s important to remember that no harm is considered significant unless it significantly reduces the value of the dominant heritage, impairs the plaintiff’s physical comfort, or prevents him from engaging in his usual business in the dominant heritage as profitably as he had before filing the lawsuit. When an injury is severe enough that monetary compensation would not provide enough remedy, the court in India has the option to issue an injunction.
A required injunction may also be obtained in particular circumstances. If a man who has a right to light and air that is violated by his neighbor’s building files a lawsuit and requests an injunction as soon as he can after construction begins on the building or when it becomes clear that the intended building will obstruct the man’s light and air, the court will grant the injunction. However, the court must be convinced that there has been a real loss of comfort, not just a fantasy or idealistic loss. A required injunction will typically not be granted if the plaintiff waited until the building was complete to file his lawsuit or apply for an injunction before asking the court to have it removed.
It makes no difference if the road was established by an express grant, a reservation, or a claim based on the doctrine of prescription. The remedy has the same nature as before. The individual asserting an easement right of way may file a lawsuit in order to get an injunction, which would prevent blockage of the right of way, or to recover damages. Whether a particular interruption constitutes an unlawful interference or not depends on the type of right of way involved, the location, and the specifics of the situation. Nominal damages will only be given if the person is not harmed by the blockage, and an injunction won’t be granted.
A person who makes excessive use of the adjacent tenement while ostensibly exercising a right of way commits trespassing and may be prevented from doing so at the request of the adjacent owner. The determining reason for excessive use depends on the right’s extent, on the accurate construction of an express grant, or on the user, as determined by the prescription, as applicable.
An easement, unlike a lease, does not grant the holder the right to “ownership” of the property. In order to provide a specific remedy for specific abuses of fundamental rights, an easement right is established. Any improper obstruction of the right of way in this circumstance constitutes a nuisance. However, a right of way never confers exclusive use of the land over which it exists on the grantee or those lawfully using the way under the grant. Likewise, no obstruction of the right of way constitutes an unlawful interference, and no legal action would be warranted absent a material interference with the easement granted. In the instance of the right to access light, this does not entail a guarantee that there will always be an equal amount of light. If there is a diminution, the dominant owner must demonstrate that it has interfered with his daily activities and has caused a nuisance if it is significant enough to make occupying the home uncomfortable and prohibit the owner from conducting business as profitably as he once did.
A legal extinction could not apply to an acquisition made by grant, and if a right of way was granted to a specific shareholder, it could not be eliminated just because that shareholder had another alternative route, according to the ruling in the landmark case Hero vinoth Vs. Seshammal (AIR 2006 SC 2234).
- India: A glance over the easement rights, https://www.mondaq.com/india/land-law-agriculture/227658/a-glance-over-the-easementary-rights
- Indian Easement Act, 1882, https://indiankanoon.org/doc/
- What is an easement and how are they created and used, https://www.birketts.co.uk/legal-update/what-is-an-easement-and-how-are-they-created-and-used/
- Violation of easement rights, http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/1444/Violation-of-Easementary-Rights.html
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