General Introduction to Transfer of Property Act

This law note deals with the conceptual and fundamental introduction to the Transfer of Property Act of 1882. We have also briefly covered the essential points that can be helpful for several judicial exams.

Before getting into the details of the Act, one must understand the title of the Act, i.e., the Transfer of Property Act. Let us break the title into two: transfer and property.

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The word transfer refers to the moving of control from one person to another. It may be a physical transfer (by giving possession of the property) or a mental transfer (by giving ownership of the property).

The second word is property. Property can be defined as a bundle of rights over a thing. It may be in possession or ownership. The term property is not defined in the Transfer of Property Act. Property can be of two kinds: movable property and immovable property.


Before the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 came into force, the Indian legal system had various personal laws for transferring property. There was no such uniform law that could provide a clear and concrete law for the transfer of property suitable for Indian circumstances.

Therefore, the First Law Commission prepared a draft dealing with matters of property transfer. It was amended several times, and finally, it was re-drafted by the Second Law Commission to remove its discrepancies and to prepare a uniform law that suits the Indian circumstances and which can be understood easily.


The object of the Transfer of Property Act is to establish rules relating to the transfer by the act of parties (the term “act of parties” is explained below). The preamble of the Act lays down its object as to define and amend the law related to transfer by the act of parties.

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These are the four basic features of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882:

1. The Transfer of Property Act is a civil substantive law.

2. It governs the transfer by the act of parties. A property can be transferred in two ways: by the act of parties or by the operation of law.

However, the Transfer of Property Act only governs the transfer made by the act of parties, which means Intervivos (transfer between living persons). Examples of transfer by the act of parties are sale, lease, mortgage, exchange, gift, and actionable claim.

Extra Info: Transfer by operation of law means that the property is transferred automatically by the process of law. Examples of transfer by operation of law are attachment made by the court, transfer in case of insolvency, forfeiture, sale in execution of court’s decree, inheritance, will, etc. The Transfer of Property Act does not apply to transfer by operation of law. Transfer by operation of law is governed by different other Acts such as:

3. It is not an exhaustive law.

4. The chapters and sections of the TPA which relate to contracts shall be taken as part of the Indian Contract Act of 1872. TPA is also supplemental to the Indian Registration Act of 1909.


  • It came into force on 1st July 1882.
  • Its citation is Act No. 4 of 1882.
  • Total number of chapters: 8
  • Total sections: 137
ChaptersContent Sections
I.Preliminary1 to 4
II.Transfer of property by act of parties5 to 53A
Movable and Immovable Property: 5 to 37
Only Immovable Property: 38 to 53A
III.Sale of immovable property54 to 57
IV.Mortgages of immovable property and charges58 to 104
V.Leases of immovable property105 to 117
VI.Exchange118 to 121
VII.Gift122 to 129
VIII.Transfer of actionable claims130 to 137
Ankita Soni
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