January 23, 2022

Movable and Immovable Property: Definition and Concept

Transfer Of Property Act

Property incorporates all rights of a person except his personal rights which constitutes his status in the society. The property can classify into movable and immovable properties. Transfer of Property Act deals with it.

Property: Movable and Immovable Property

Property has a wide degree and along these lines has no thorough definition. The court completely in Raichand v. Dattarya [1] expressed that property incorporates all rights of a person except his personal rights which constitutes his status in the society. The significance of property is likewise not static, it changes with the reason, idea of act and new laws. Along these lines, as to guarantee that different choices, proposals and any suggestions identified with property are appropriately made, first the property is classified into movable and immovable properties and afterward as per their separate laws, the related activity is attempted.

Now, the question arises: what is movable and immovable property? 


Definition of Movable Property

Section 3 (36) of the General Clauses Act defines movable property as:

‘Movable property shall mean property of every description, except immovable property.” [2]

Section 2 (9) of the Registration Act, 1908 defines property as:

‘Moveable property’ includes standing timber, growing crops and grass, fruit upon and juice in trees, and property of every other description, except immovable property.” [3]

In this manner, crops remain in the field and incorporate all the vegetables and natural products. They are considered as movable property since they must be utilized once they are served from the land. Additionally, the grass is by and large nourishment for dairy cattle, and consequently it is likewise considered as movable property.

Also, Timber is helpful for development of houses, yet for that, it must be cut and served from the land and afterward no one but it very well may be utilized, that is the reason it is considered as movable property. Then again, trees bearing natural products are helpful when they are established in the earth, and that is the reason they are viewed as immovable property.

Section 22 of IPC defines property as:

The words “moveable property” is intended to include corporeal property of every description, except land and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything, which is attached to the earth. But things attached to the land may become moveable property by severance from the earth. [4]

Transfer of Property Act does not define movable property, since it regulates transfer of immovable property by sale, mortgage, lease, gifts or through actionable claims.


Definition of Immovable Property

Section 3 of Transfer of Property Act defines “Immovable Property” does not include standing timber, growing crops or grass.[5]Taking a reference from this definition, movable property includes standing timber, growing crops and grass. 

Section 3(26) of the General Clauses Act 1897, “immovable property” “shall include land, benefits to arise out of land and things attached to the earth, or permanently fastened to anything attached to the earth”. [6]

Section 2(6) of The Registration Act,1908 defines “Immovable Property” as under: “Immovable Property includes land, building, hereditary allowances, rights to ways, lights, ferries, fisheries or any other benefit to arise out of land, and things attached to the earth or permanently fastened to anything which is attached to the earth but not standing timber, growing crops nor grass”. [7]

Joining all the 3 definitions, immovable property can be summed as :-

i. Land

ii. Advantages emerging out of the land

iii. Things connected to the earth

iv. Things Embedded in earth

v. Things attached to what is embedded in the earth

vi. Things established in the earth, with the exception of:-

a. Standing timber,

b. Developing harvest

c. Grass.

Following the previously mentioned things, it tends to be inferred that things on the earth, yet additionally discovered profound inside the earth like the minerals are also immovable in nature.


Important Case Laws

Since, the definitions are not exact and have room for interpretation, thus various issues have arisen in past years regarding the kind of property. Concepts like that of Profit Prendre is a right to take something of someone’s territory. It is right to enter another person’s property and to make some benefit from the soil. There are different points of reference that have been set by the court in the acknowledgment of this concept. Some landmark cases that have been decided are :-

In Smt. Shantabai v. State of Bombay [8] , the court held that the right to enter the land, cut and carry away wood over a period of 12 years is benefit arising out of land and hence immovable property.

For the situation in Anand Bahera v. Province of Orissa [9], it was held that profit emerging out of land is movable property. The option to stroll on the land and to draw fish from the lake and removing it is immovable property as it is the benefit emerging of the land. Grazing of cattle on the land is additionally immovable property as it is profit emerging from the land.

Idea of Annexation turns into an establishment for choosing an issue in cases including question of characterizing the property, If property lays on the land on its own weight it is movable, however on the off chance that a thing can’t be expelled without making extreme harm to the land, at that point it is viewed as that the item has been implanted in interminability and it must be treated as immovable property. Level of annexation is known by the intention and the timeframe for the use.

Along these lines, stay on a boat is movable property yet utilization of any nail and jolts goes under immovable property since its will probably be used for a long-term and furthermore whenever severed would cause damage.

The above-mentioned concept is further elaborated in the case of Bamdev v. Manorma [10] where it was held that the pieces of equipment are movable property and they simply don’t become immovable just because they are embedded in the earth. They are embedded for the delight in the gear and not of the land. The cinema built is a temporary cinema, and the supplies and other supporting equipment’s will be fixed only till the mortgage exist.

In Duncans Industries Ltd. v. State of UP [11] , light was thrown on the intention of fixing an equipment. It stated that a property is movable, or immovable based on the intention whether the person wanted to have the equipment permanently or temporarily. In this case, Company A decided to sell its fertilizers business to company B. It included land and apparatus. Hardware that is installed in the earth is implanted as having lasting utilization of it. It is beyond the realm of imagination to expect to expel them without making extreme harm the land. Subsequently it ought to be considered as unflinching property.

Following various judicial pronouncements, some of the judicially recognized immovable properties include :- Right to collect rent for immovable property, hereditary office, , right to ferry, right of fishery, equity of redemption, factory, building, walls, interest of mortgage in immovable property etc.

Judicially recognized movable properties include :- Government promissory notes, royalty, right of warship, decree of sale of a mortgaged property, standing timber, grass, growing crops etc.

Apart from the above-mentioned items, with time and development and changing perspectives of the bar and the bench, various items are included and precluded as needs be from the rundown of versatile and steadfast things. In the end, according to the need and circumstances and the purpose the item is classified and using the statute an action is taken. Yet, to venture out characterization, hence the idea becomes one that of extreme significance as in the current times it is only property be it personal, proprietary, tangible or intangible, movable or immovable that defines a person and his status.


[1] AIR 1964 Bom 344.
[2] Section 3 (36) , General Clauses Act, 1897.
[3] Section 2 (9) , Registration Act, 1908.
[4] Section 22 , Indian Penal Code, 1860.
[5] Section 3 , Transfer of Property Act, 1882.
[6] Section 3(26) , General Clauses Act,1897.
[7] Section 2(6) , Registration Act,1908.
[8] AIR 1958 SC 532.
[9] 1955 SCR (2) 919.
[10] AIR 1974 AP 226.
[11] (2000) 1 SCC 633.


For more articles on Transfer of Property Act, Click Here.

For law notes, Click Here.

Author Details: Khyati Tongia (Government New Law College)


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