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The controversy surrounding transfers via ‘SA/SPA/GPA/Will” was certainly put to rest by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in its recently delivered judgment titled Suraj Lamps & Industries Pvt Ltd. v. State of Haryana and another. [Special Leave Petition (C) No.13917 of 2009-Decided on 11-10-2011.] The operative portion of the said judgment clearly stipulates that SA/GPA/WILL transactions are not `transfers' or `sales' and that such transactions cannot be treated as completed transfers or conveyances.

It also stated that they can continue to be treated as existing agreement of sale and may also be used to obtain specific performance or to defend possession under section 53A of TP Act. Hon'ble Delhi High Court in its recent judgment delivered on 1st March, 2012 in the matter of Suresh Kumar And Anr. v. Suresh Atal  in RFA No. 482/2011 spelled out the scope of application of Suraj Lamps judgment in a suit for possession. The Court observed, ‘Of course, the judgment in the case of Suraj Lamp (Supra) squarely applies against the respondent/plaintiff in the facts of the present case ….however, it would at best mean that ownership rights as is normally known would not rest with the respondent/plaintiff, however, possessionary rights of the suit property cannot be disputed to be that of the respondent/plaintiff. These possessory rights were created in the year 2001 itself by means of the documents executed in favour of the respondent/plaintiff. In a suit for possession a plaintiff has to show better title i.e. entitlement than that of the defendant and in the present case, besides the fact that respondent/plaintiff has shown a better entitlement to possession by virtue of the documents dated 25.9.2001 executed in her favour, the appellants/defendants themselves do not have any equities in their favour inasmuch as qua both the flats purchased by them rights have been exercised.

Thus, even if the respondent/plaintiff fails to prove the ownership rights stricto sensu to the extent of entitlement of possession, the appellants/defendants cannot defend the suit for possession once no title or interest in the suit property is claimed by them. The respondent/plaintiff, therefore, need not strictly prove, that a license deed ought to have been executed before the suit for possession could be filed by respondent/plaintiff. A license is merely a right to enter and exit a property and for which there is no deed which is required to be drawn up.” Unhesitatingly, it can be said that judgment delivered by the Hon'ble delhi High Court succinctly explicates the substance of the ratio as also the application of Suraj lamps (supra) by stating that Suraj lamps (supra) at best governs the ownership rights of the parties by reiterating that immovable property can be legally and lawfully transferred/conveyed only by a registered deed of conveyance but does not govern the possessory rights of the parties in a suit for possession wherein the plaintiff has to show better title i.e. entitlement than that of the defendant and not absolute title as required to claim ownership.


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