What is Ostensible Owner Under the Transfer of Property Act
An ostensible owner is a person who has all the indications of ownership and looks like the owner of a property but is not the real owner. Section 41 of the Transfer of Property Act, defines an ostensible owner.
In simple words, a person may have possession and enjoyment of the property and may also have his name entered in the official records, but even then, he may not be the real owner of that property.
Such a situation may arise in case if a person purchases a property in the name of another person. It is called a Benami transaction, and the person in whose name the property is purchased is called Benamidar. So, a Benamidar is an ostensible owner.
In some situations, it may also be said that the ostensible owner has acquired that right because of the wilful neglect by the real owner of the property. This has conferred him the status of an ostensible owner.
This section is applicable only where the transferor is an ostensible owner. But it isn’t very easy to ascertain whether a person is an ostensible owner or real owner because he has all the features of an actual owner except the intention to own the property. So it is for the court to establish whether the transferor was an ostensible owner or not.
Related Case for Ostensible Owner
Jay Dayal Poddar vs Biwi Hazara, 1974: Supreme Court held that the person is an ostensible owner or not is a subjective question to be decided based on facts and circumstances. The burden of proof that a transaction is Benami lies on the person who claims that he is the real owner.