Ostensible Owner and Benamdar

Ostensible Owner : Section 41 Transfer of Property Act , 1882: The relation between ostensible owner and benamdar:

Meaning and introduction:

The word ostensible , according to Mitra's Legal and Commercial Dictionary means " Able to be seen ; apparent ; assumable ; avowed ; deceptive ; pretended ; delusive ; delusory ;...
The word 'ostensible' has two meanings - a) that the object bears a certain from or appearance without suggesting that it is or is not that of which it has the superficial appearance , and
b)that the object bears a certain appearance but is not really that of which it bears the appearance. [case law : Debi Singh v/s Jagadish Saran AIR 1952 All 716 ].


Ostensible owner is the person who is though not the real owner but has all incidents and/or characteristics as the real owner.The person on the face of it i.e apparently looks like the real owner but in fact he is not the real owner.Though he owns the property and all the property documents, papers and records are on his name on a minute scrutiny it can be found that he has never the intention to own the property.The ostensible owner only fulfills and/or carries somebody else's wishes and/or aims. As per the wishes of the ostensible owner puts his name as an owner on the records of the property although his has the intention to own the property. The money required as the consideration of the property is funded by the real owner i.e. the person whose wishes are carried on by the ostensible owner,that person who had the intention to buy the property.

Case Laws:

1.Kannashi Vershi v/s Ratanshi Nenshi AIR 1952 Kutch 85 :-

It was held in the above mentioned case that an ostensible owner is one who has all the indicia of ownership without being the real owner.

1.Jamanadas v/s Uma Shankar (1914) 36 All 308 ,25 IC 158.

2.Seshumull M shah v/s Sayed Abdul Rashid and ors AIR 1991 Kant 273 , 278.

3. Muhammad Sulaiman v/s Sakina Bibi (1922)44 All 674 ,69 IC 701 , AIR 1922 All 392 :-

It was held in the above mentioned cases that the possession of a manager cannot be treated as an ostensible ownership with the consent of the real owner and it was held to be so even in a case where the manager's name had been entered in the Municipal House Register as the real owner.

Real test for tracing whether a person is ostensible or not :

For determining whether a person is ostensible owner or not :

  • Firstly, we have to search the source of money which was needed for the purchase of the property concerned whether it is the same person whose name is there in the property documents or some other person's name is there in those documents.
  • Secondly, whether the person having his name in the documents of the property in question has any intention to purchase the same or not.
  • Thirdly, it is the most important test for determning whether a person is ostensible owner or not that who is the person who is really enjoying the property so purchased or some other person is enjoying the same on his behalf. If the person aho is the owner as per the records and the  documents of  the proerty so concerned the chances of being ,it a property of an ostensible owner or he being an ostensible owner is quite less. And if the person whose name is there in the property documents is not similar then it enhances the chances of it being a property of ostensible owner who is fullfiling the wshishes of the real owner.                                                                                                                                                                                    Enjoying the property here does not only mean the mere enjoyment of the property being in the possesion of the property but includes the saling rights ,right to lease out the said property and get the consideration from the same , to enjoy the benefits out of the said proeprty etc. Enjoyment has been given a broadr aspect in this aspect and perticular case.
  • Fourthly , the reason behind it being given the aspect of ostensible ownership , i.e the reason why the real owner has not purchased same in his own name .
Reasonable care:

For the purpose for performing the real test the person has to take the reasonable care as a man of ordinary prudence.

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