Key principles of accretion under Indian law

 
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Accretion refers to the gradual and imperceptible increase in landmass along a water body's edge due to the natural deposit of soil and sediment. It's important to distinguish it from avulsion, which is a sudden and violent shift in the watercourse, leaving new land exposed.

Key principles of accretion under Indian law:

  1. Gradual and Imperceptible: The process must be gradual and imperceptible, meaning it cannot be sudden or easily noticeable.
  2. Natural Causes: The landmass increase must be caused by natural processes like sediment deposition, not artificial means like land reclamation.
  3. Accretion to Riparian Land: The new land must accrete to land already bordering the water body, creating an extension of the existing property.
  4. Ownership: Ownership of the accreted land generally vests with the owner of the land to which it accretes.

Relevant legal provisions:

While there's no specific law exclusively on accretion, several legal sources recognize and address it:

  • English common law principles: These, adopted by Indian courts, establish the basic principles of accretion mentioned above.
  • The Easements Act, 1882: Section 5 specifically mentions that accretions belong to the owner of the land alongside which they form.
  • State-specific land revenue laws: These may further elaborate on accretion and related rights in the context of specific regions.

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