Literal Meaning:-No one can transfer to another a larger right than he himself has.

Origin:- Nemo dat quod non habet, literally meaning “no one gives what they don’t have” is a legal rule, sometimes called the nemo dat rule, that states that the purchase of a possession from someone who has no ownership right to it also denies the purchaser any ownership title. It is equivalent to the civil (continental) ” Nemo Plus Juris Transfer Read Alium Potest Quam Ipse Habet ” rule, which means “No one can not transfer to another more rights than he has”.

The rule usually stays valid even if the purchaser does not know that the seller has no right to claim ownership of the object of the transaction (a bona fide purchaser); however, in many cases, more than one innocent party is involved, making judgment difficult for courts and leading to numerous exceptions to the general rule that aims to give a degree of protection to bona fide purchasers and original owners. The possession of the good of title will be with the original owner.

Illustration:- “Nemo Plus Juris Transfer Read Alium Potest Quam Ipse Habet is a Latin phrase meaning ‘no one can transfer a greater right than he himself has’. The purchaser of a stolen good from a thief will not acquire a title to that property. The person purchasing from such a person has no right over the property when compared with the real owner.

The purchaser will not acquire title because s/he purchased the property from a person who has no title to the property. However, persons who have obtained property lawfully can provide better title than himself to the purchaser. In such cases, the possessor’s title will be of an agent.

Explanation:- No one can transfer a greater right than he himself has, A purchaser of stolen goods will not become the rightful owner thereof since the seller himself was not the owner, to begin with

Case Reference:- Yanala Malleshwari And Ors. vs Ananthula Sayama

What would be the remedy for the person who actually and factually holds a valid title to a property in respect of which a fraudulent transfer was effected by deceitful vendors and vendees or deceitful vendors and genuine vendees, who parted with consideration? The legal maxims ‘nemo dat quod non habet’ and ” Nemo Plus Juris Transfer Read Alium Potest Quam Ipse Habet ‘ postulate that where property is sold by a person who is not the owner and who does not sell under the authority or consent of the real owner, the buyer acquires no title to the property than the seller had.

The Indian law recognizes this principle in various provisions of various statutes which in pith and substance deal with Contracts, Transfer of property and Specific relief (See Sections 17, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25 and 29 of the Contract Act; Sections 6(h), 7, 25, 38, 42 to 48, 52, 53 and 55 of TP Act and Sections 13, 15, 17, 21, 31 and 34 of the Specific Relief Act). Dealing with this aspect of the matter, one of us (Justice V.V.S. Rao) in A.K. Lakshmipathy (died) by LR v. R.S. Pannalal Hiralal Lahoti Charitable Trust , after making reference to Section 55 of TP Act and Section 13 of Specific Relief Act pointed out the following remedies for the transferees under fraudulent sale contracts or transfer vitiated by fraud.

In case Sri.Munirathnamma vs Sri Y.V.Gopala

The counsel for the plaintiff has also relied on the decision reported in (2009) 7 Supreme Court Cases 444 (Ramdas vs, Sitabai and others). In the said case in Head Note it is held as under:

“Transfer of Property Ac, 1882 – Ss.44 and 8 – Transfer of possession of entire property by one co-owner without consent and knowledge of the other co-owner – Legality – Relief to the other co-owner – Self-acquired property of deceased father jointly held by defendant 1 son with respondent sister – Defendant 1 selling and delivering possession of property to appellant for consideration by executing sale deed – Transfer made without consent and knowledge of respondent – Legality of – Held, Defendant 1 could not have sold more than his sharfe now could he have delivered possession of property till its partition – Further held, a purchaser under the Act cannot have a better title than what his vendor had – Appellant’s claim to possession of entire land was therefore untenable – Decree of courts below holding sale deed null and void to the extent of one-half share of respondent and being not binding on her, affirmed – Moreover, relief on grounds of equity would not be justified – Directions issued to appellant to hand over possession of property to respondent failing which respondent held entitled to proceed for execution of decree and secure possession of half portion of property -Costs allowed – Maxims – Nemo potest plus juris ad aliumtransferrequam ipse habet – Equity – Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – S.8 – Practice and Procedure – Costs – Property Law – Co- owner – Specific Relief Act, 1963 Ss.5 and 34.”

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