Possession means physical control over an object or thing. Though in law it is difficult to define the concept of possession because there is no precise definition of possession. It is factual as well as a legal concept. But, we can say that it is the physical custody, control or occupancy of any object with a definite intention of ownership. Let us now discuss the types of possession in detail.
Kind of Possessions
Following are the important types of possession:
- Corporeal possession.
- Incorporeal Possession.
- Mediate possession.
- Immediate possession.
- Constructive possession.
- Adverse possession.
- De facto possession.
- De jure possession.
- Corporeal Possession
Objects which have physical or materialistic manifestation, and which our senses can perceive are corporeal possession. Thus, it is the persistent exercise of a claim on the use of material or tangible objects. For Example House, car, cycle, pen, etc.
Objects which don’t have any physical or materialistic manifestation, and which our senses cannot perceive are incorporeal objects. Thus, it is the persistent exercise of a claim on the use of immaterial or intangible objects. For example Trademark, goodwill, patent, copyright, etc.
Mediate possession of an object is the possession of a thing through a mediator (middleman) like an agent, friend or servant. It is also called indirect possession. For example: If a landlord let his house to a tenant. The tenant is bound to hand over the house to the landlord whenever he decides. So the landlord has the mediate possession of the house through the tenant.
When the possessor himself possesses the property or thing, we call it immediate possession or direct possession. For example: when I buy a pen from a shop and keep it for myself. The pen is in the immediate possession of mine.
Constructive Possession is the authority over an object without having actual possession or charge of that material. In other words, we can say that constructive possession is not actually a possession but it is a possession in law and not possession in fact. For example The delivery of my key by my car driver. Here my driver was the constructive possessor of my car until he delivers me the key.
- Adverse Possession
Adverse possession means the possession of some property or object, without legal title, for a certain time period, sufficient to become acknowledged legal owner. Sometimes, we also define it informally as “squatter’s rights”. In actual adverse possession of some property, the possessor is required to prove an intention to keep it absolutely for oneself. Just claiming the property or paying liabilities for it, without actually possessing it, is not sufficient.
For example Continuous use of private land or driveway or agricultural field of an unused piece of land.
De facto Possession
It is a Latin word meaning ‘in fact’. De facto possession means the possession which exists in reality even if it is not legally recognized.
For example, A common law spouse can be considered as a de facto wife or de facto husband though they are not lawfully married, yet they live like a married couple.
De Jure Possession
De jure is a Latin word meaning “in law”; lawful, legitimate or a matter of law. De jure possessions are legally recognized possessions regardless of whether it exists in reality or not. It is also known as juridical possession meaning possession in the eyes of law.
For example, An owner of the house could cease a man to live in a house but without intending and to abandon it for good. It is a case of De jure possession.
Solved Example on Types of Possession
What is the difference between mediate and immediate possession? Explain with example.
Mediate possession or indirect possession is when the object is possessed through the interference of some agency or another person. Example: If you tell a relative to purchase a shoe for you from London and he purchased it and keeps it with him. This possession is said to be mediate until he will deliver it to you.
Immediate possession or direct possession is when the object is possessed by him.
Example: If you purchase a bed from a shop and keep it with you, it is immediate possession.