6

A property, say plot no.31, was sub-divided into two parts. After subdivision the plot number on record for the newly created subdivision was, say, 31-A; the original plot number remained 31.

The division was challenged, and the challenge dismissed at all levels after the first initial success. Many years later, after the challenger passed away and that sub-division was inherited by the challenger's heirs, it was discovered that even after dismissal the challenger continued to use the postal address of the challenged sub-division. This continued for years even when the heirs too knew from record that the address was 31-A instead of 31. When asked the postal department stated the address being next door, all mail was delivered assuming the misstated address to be simple oversight by the sender/s. Even assuming defence by 31-A claim the misrepresentation was by oversight, it comes across as far-fetched for such oversight to continue for whole decades.

What legal relief is available when a neighbour uses my address as his own for communication without written consent from me? Is the the postal department also culpable?

EDIT: To follow up with @eis' answer that tort demands establishing damage here is my concern. Documents which establish proof of address s.a. Utility Bills - telephone, energy, water service lose clarity. If so inclined, one may call this behaviour causing loss of value to the property simply because it amounts to squatting - if only on paper.

EDIT 2: Pursuant to the comment by R.M below, an additional question that comes to mind is as follows -

  • Could such use of my address as an alias for their own address serve to establish 'proof of residence'? For instance, some days ago I encountered a pizza delivery boy waiting outside my premises. Upon enquiry he intimated the pizza was to be delivered to them but the address given by them was mine.
24
  • 2
    Does this person get so much mail you need legal relief? Apr 10, 2023 at 0:48
  • 10
    If their mail gets delivered to their address and yours to yours, does the current solution cause anyone any actual harm (except for the "insult" of them using your address)?
    – Heinzi
    Apr 10, 2023 at 7:54
  • 7
    I'm not sure I understand. It seems you are getting your correct mail and they are getting their correct mail. Why are you so concerned by this seemingly irrelevant detail? Apr 10, 2023 at 9:58
  • 10
    How is everyone getting all of their mail correctly if the same address is being used? I mean, I get that the mail-carrier might be able to make judgements based on the residents' names if they've learned who lives where (is that the case?), but what about mail addressed more generically, e.g. addressed to "Resident"?
    – Nat
    Apr 10, 2023 at 10:39
  • 5
    @Everyone Your question is talking about mail delivery, but it sounds like you're actually concerned about the use of the incorrectly addressed mail as future evidence in a property claim/official action. (e.g. the owners committing fraud by claiming that the mail proves they're the rightful owners of the property.) -- You're likely to get better answers if you asked directly about those hypothetical future actions. (e.g. "Is it possible to use such incorrectly addressed mail to start fraudulent legal actions?" and/or "What can I do now to protect myself from such potential future actions?")
    – R.M.
    Apr 10, 2023 at 19:51

4 Answers 4

1

Firstly, the fact that utility bills can be used to prove title to the property is in itself a cause for worry, and can also constitute a cause of action by itself. This is due to the mere fact that these documents, can in fact, constitute proof of address, for example, for GST registration of the individual.

Further, you can refer to the following court cases which have treated utility bills as proof of title on a balance of probabilities.

  1. Nileshkumar Hiralal Modi v/s Hitesh Kaushi Kumar Modi at paragraphs 10 and 15.
  2. Rabari Nagjibhai Maneklal vs Nilamben Upendrabhai Shah at paragraph 56

Since you are the owner of property with presumably a perfect title, you are entitled to file a suit for mandatory injunction which will prevent the neighbour from using your address, there being "no standard to ascertain the actual damage caused". This relief is provided under Section 38 of the Specific Relief Act, 1963.

You must also bear in mind that, if the neighbour also claims title, you may have to contest the title to the suit property since this remedy will not then be available to you, and instead you will have to claim for declaratory relief first as per the guidelines by the Supreme Court of India in paragraph 13 of Anathula Sudhakar vs P. Buchi Reddy (Dead) By Lrs & Ors

1
  • This comes across as just the guidelines I need. Thank you!
    – Everyone
    Apr 12, 2023 at 16:42
12

Mark the mail delivered as "addressee unknown, return to sender" and give it to the postal delivery person next time around. If the mail stops getting through, the neighbor will update their address.

7
  • 4
    His mail aren't coming to me; they are being delivered at his address next door - but the address on the mail is mine.
    – Everyone
    Apr 10, 2023 at 4:28
  • 1
    This does not seem to answer the question, at all..... And shouldn't answers refrain from giving legal advice? This answer seems nothing more than instruction on how to proceed; there is not even informational justification.
    – Kröw
    Apr 10, 2023 at 9:12
  • 1
    @Everyone Then I clearly misunderstood the situation. The clarifying comments in the question weren't there when I first read it and the title question and body seem to be actually asking different things.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 10, 2023 at 17:51
  • 3
    @Krow Some legal questions have answers that are more practical than embedded in case law and regulations. The further you get from a courtroom, the more likely it is that this will be the case.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 10, 2023 at 17:52
  • 2
    @Everyone In the title it sound like the third-party is gratuitously having mail meant for them sent to your mailbox. But it appears that the actual question is the converse of that, with mail meant for you going to a neighbor's box.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 10, 2023 at 19:27
12

Based on the description, there is no legal relief available.

To quote:

a tort is breach of a non-contractual duty which has caused damage to the plaintiff giving rise to a civil cause of action and for which remedy is available.

To establish a tort, you need to establish that damage has occurred. Since mail is simply being delivered to the correct location despite the address, and you don't claim any harm having occurred, it does not sound like you have suffered any damage, hence no legal relief is available.


You added:

Documents which establish proof of address s.a. Utility Bills - telephone, energy, water service lose clarity. If so inclined, one may call this behaviour causing loss of value to the property simply because it amounts to squatting - if only on paper.

But you need to establish damage having happened. In general you would need to have receipts proving the amount of money you have lost. You don't have a bill to pay for losing clarity, hence you can't prove that you've suffered any damage.

2
  • Thanks for replying. I've updated the description to clarify what I believe is the damage done.
    – Everyone
    Apr 10, 2023 at 17:37
  • @Everyone I updated my answer to reflect that.
    – eis
    Apr 19, 2023 at 22:55
5

None

Unless the neighbour was a company (which, since they died, they can’t be), or they are giving out false information (like the address) with the intention of committing a crime like fraud.

You could, perhaps, have sought an injunction for them to stop but it seems unlikely the court would grant it since it doesn’t appear to have caused you or anyone else any harm. In any event, any remedy you might have had ended with the person’s death.

2
  • 1
    That person's heirs have kept up with the same; their communication address is mine, but they live in the next building over.
    – Everyone
    Apr 10, 2023 at 4:30
  • 3
    How sure are you that this answer applies in India? They are derived from the UK, but with local adjustments.
    – o.m.
    Apr 10, 2023 at 5:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .