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The word ‘Property’ comes from the Latin word ‘proprietary’ and the French equivalent ‘proprius’, which means, ‘a thing owned’. The term ‘property’ is often used to refer to objects owned by someone. In general, the word ‘property’ holds several different meanings. A tangible or intangible


The word ‘Property’ comes from the Latin word ‘proprietary’ and the French equivalent ‘proprius’, which means, ‘a thing owned’. The term ‘property’ is often used to refer to objects owned by someone. In general, the word ‘property’ holds several different meanings. A tangible or intangible object of value to another person is called a property. The values ​​that accompany a property are its basic characteristics.

The notion of property in the legal system was interpreted by the Apex court in the case of ‘R.C. Cooper vs. Union of India’[1]. Here, it was noted by the court that the term “property” encompasses both corporeal objects as well as incorporeal objects. The Supreme Court of India in a number of cases has expressed the view that Article 21[2] in its widest sense, covers a variety of rights that constitute the personal liberty of a man. The right to property is an ordinary legal right under Article 300-A[3] after the passing of the 44th constitutional Amendment.


The literal meaning of the term “ownership” is, to have or hold a thing. The legal right to possess, use, and donate something is known as ownership. It grants the exclusive right to enjoy a property to its owner. The term ownership refers to a legal relationship between a person and an object. The person here may be an individual, group, government or corporation. Even if some other person or parties help the owner to purchase a property, they do not have any right in the property unless their name is mentioned in the sale deed as a party to the buyer. Sole ownership is considerably less complicated as a single individual who holds the title of the property gets to decide everything about it. In India, we have three different ways of property ownership: Sole ownership of a property, joint ownership or co-ownership of property, and ownership of a property by nomination.


When a property is purchased and registered in a person’s name, only that person is the legal owner of the property. He owns the title of ownership of the property. Sole ownership or individual property ownership are terms used to describe this sort of ownership. When two people or more, own the same property, it is called joint ownership or co-ownership. The property owned in such a manner is termed, ‘joint-owned property’.

The property transfer by a co-owner and the transferee’s rights are covered in Section 44 of the Transfer of Property Act of 1882[4]. There are mainly 4 types of joint ownership of a property, each serving different perks to the parties.


The types of joint property in India are given below:

JOINT TENANCY: The legal term “joint tenancy” refers to an agreement that defines the ownership rights and interests of more than two co-owners of a ‘real property’. In such cases, each party who owns the property together has an equal share of rights and obligations. Such a kind of shared tenancy lowers the cost of homeownership. When applying for a mortgage, the co-tenants have the advantage to divide the down payment of it. Any individual can enter into such an agreement be it- family members, married couples, friends, business associates, etc with consent. The whole of the property is accessible to its tenants without any limits or restrictions. Joint tenants are permitted to occupy the property at any time, either jointly or individually. The right of survivorship prevents the heirs of the co-tenants from receiving their parts of the property and this is the most significant requirement of this sort of joint ownership.

TENANCY IN COMMON: In the case of tenancy in common (TIC), two or more persons can jointly hold a piece of real estate or a plot of land. The total property, owned by individual owners may be the same or different. The total property, under the ownership of every single owner, may be equal or different. The term ‘tenants in common’ is used to refer to the parties. In such cases, the property’s shares, which may be of different sizes, are freely transferable to additional owners, both during the lifetime of the owner and also through a will. All owners have the right to use and occupy the entire property, even if they possess uneven shares. In such type of ownership, there is no ‘right of survivorship’, and can be made at any time. An individual may acquire an interest in a property after the other members have already signed into such an agreement. Additionally, any individual tenant may separately sell or borrow against their respective ownership interest.

TENANCY BY ENTIRETY: This type of joint property ownership, known as tenancy by the entirety, is exclusively available to married couples. Here, both can equally own the home together. Spouses are able to jointly own property under the terms of a tenancy by the entirety. In this case, the interests in the property are equal and undivided for each spouse. The survivor’s right is fully applicable in tenancy cases as well. When someone passes away, their value is automatically transferred to someone else. There is a right of survivorship created by this type of legal ownership. Therefore, the surviving spouse will automatically acquire full title to the property in the event that one spouse passes away.

However, in the event of a divorce, the tenancy by the entirety ownership would end. The property can still be owned jointly by the divorced partners, but their ownership status would shift to tenants in common. Married couples benefit from tenancy by the totality, although it is revoked in the event of a divorce. The ownership then becomes tenants in common, which does not have the same advantages. Also, not all states permit such type of ownership, and it is occasionally limited to real estate solely.

OWNERSHIP BY COPARCENARY (HINDU JOINT FAMILY): A coparcenary is a small unit of the family that owns the property jointly. The term Coparcenary describes a person who, by virtue of his birth, can assume a legal right to the family’s property. coparcenary property is the property that is acquired when the ancestral property is divided by the coparceners. This concept is only applicable in the specific context of a Hindu Undivided family structure. According to this idea, an unborn child too is allowed to have an equal share in the HUF property, similar to joint tenancy.


The concept of property plays a significant role in human life. The property acts as a source of wealth. The concept of property has undergone significant changes over time. In India, there have been several changes and difficulties with the formation and application of property law. Thus, Property as a notion has evolved in an unexpected way from a single brick to the idea guiding a product. Property law is a dynamic idea that will continue to change in the next years due to the study being done in this area. 

Author(s) Name: Silvia Kalita (RV Institute of Legal Studies, Bengaluru)


[1]R.C. Cooper vs. Union of India AIR 1970 SC 564

[2]Constitution of India, art 21

[3]Constitution of India, art 300-A

[4]Transfer of Property Act of 1882, s 44