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Partition Suits

Partition of property means redistribution or adjustment of pre-existing rights, among co-owners/coparceners, resulting in a division of lands or other properties jointly held by them, into different lots or portions and delivery thereof to the respective allottees. The effect of such division by way of Partition is that the joint ownership is ended and the respective shares vest in them in severalty.

A partition of a property can be only among those having a share or interest in it. A person who does not have a share in such property cannot obviously be a party to a partition. `Separation of share' is at core of 'partition'. When all co-owners get separated, it is a partition. Separation of share/s refers to a division where only one or only a few among several co-owners/coparceners get separated, and others continue to be joint or continue to hold the remaining property jointly without division by metes and bounds. For example, where three brothers owning a property divide it amongst themselves by metes and bounds, it is a partition. But if only one brother wants to get his share separated and other two brothers continue to remain joint, there is only a separation of the share of one brother. In a suit for partition or separation of a share, the prayer is not only for declaration of plaintiff's share in the suit properties, but also division of his share by metes and bounds.


Generally following issues are involved in partition:

  • The person seeking division has a share or interest in the suit property/properties or not ;
  • Whether he is entitled to the relief of division and separate possession; and
  • How and the manner in which, the property/properties should be divided by metes and bounds
Dispute Resolution

To file a civil partition suit, there is a limitation of 3 years from the date when the right to sue accrues, beyond which, the suit would be struck by the law of limitation. In a suit for partition or separation of a share, the court at the first instance decides whether the plaintiff has a share in the suit property and whether he is entitled to division and separate possession. The decision on these two issues is the exercise of a judicial function and results in first stage decision termed as `decree' under Order 20 Rule 18(1) and termed as `preliminary decree' under Order 20 Rule 18(2) of the Code. The division thereafter by metes and bounds, considered to be an administrative act requiring the physical inspection, measurements, calculations and considering various permutations/ combinations/alternatives of division is referred to the Collector under Rule 18(1) and is the subject matter of the final decree under Rule 18(2). Rule 18 of Order 20 of the Code of Civil Procedure (`Code' for short) deals with decrees in suits for partition or separate possession of a share therein.

Important Point to Note

A partition suit can be filed only when a legal notice has been sent for the same and such legal notice has not been accepted to or replied back with which shall be treated as disregarded in the eyes of law. It is only under such circumstance that a partition suit is proceeded with.

Documents Required
  • The party who files such partition suit is/are advised to keep the following documents in place before filing a partition suit. They are:
  • Certified Copies/Original Copies of all the title deeds of the property/properties which you are claiming to be as an ancestral property.
  • A proper description of the property/properties which shall include the following-
    • Area
    • Location
    • Geographical Boundaries
    • Survey Numbers·
    • Any other property details
  • Valuation of the property/properties upon which you have decided to file such a partition suit. [The valuation of the same must be done by the Sub – Registrar of these property/properties]
Who Can File a Partition Suit?

Any or all of the co-owners can file a partition suit. The co-owners can be legal heirs also if it is a family property. Anyone having a share in the property which is intended to be partitioned can file the suit

Process of Filing

Partition suit is a civil suit, and the process of filing is the same as that of a civil lawsuit.

  • Drafting and filing of plaint
  • Affixing court fee
  • Attaching relevant documents – Title Deed, Valuation of property etc.
Limitation Period

The Limitation Act governs the period of limitation for partition suit. Accordingly, the period of limitation to file a partition suit is 12 years. The calculation for the period of 12 years of limitation shall begin from the day that the adverse claim to the plaintiff arises.

Time Taken for Completion of Suit

A partition suit takes 3 years for completion. The grant of preliminary decree takes around 2 years and another 1 year is given by the Court for obtaining the share in the property.

Court Fee

Court fee is not standard and differs from each state in India and also on the value of the partition suit. The same can be ascertained with the help of the best property lawyer in the designated state.

Frequently Asked Questions
How do I partition a joint property?

Joint property partition is done by dividing the property according to the shares to which each of the parties is entitled to as per the law applicable to them.

How long does a partition suit take in India?

Generally, a partition suit takes 3 years for completion. The grant of preliminary decree takes around 2 years and another 1 year is given by the Court for obtaining the share in the property.

Who can file a partition suit in India?

Any person with an existing or future interest in the property may bring the action for partition. This includes existing co-owners (joint tenants; tenants in common, etc.) as well as people with a future interest (remainder men to life estates.)