Survey Officer can decide Boundaries, but not the Title

Survey officer can decide boundaries

Under Section 9 of the Kerala Survey and Boundary Act 1961 (KSBA), the survey officer has the power to determine and record any boundary as undisputed in respect of which no dispute is brought to his notice. However, they cannot decide the question of a disputed title which a court alone can do. This is what the High Court of Kerala says in Thomas and Others v Philip [ 2022 (4) KHC 451].

When boundary is disputed, the survey official under Section 10 of the KSBA, after making such enquiry determine the boundary and record it in accordance with his decisions with reasons in writing for arriving at that decision.

Resurvey is done under KSBA

The re-survey is done as per the provisions of the KSBA. As per the Act, the term survey includes all operations incidental to the determination, measurement, and record of a boundary or boundaries or any part of a boundary and includes a resurvey. The Chapter II of the KSBA deals with survey of lands.

Survey officer cannot decide the title

Entries in resurvey records are based on position as of now. It is not for the survey officials to decide the question of title of the property based on resurvey records. The decision of the survey authorities shall not affect the right and title of the properties acquired by a party as per a valid title deed.

The survey authorities are not endowed with the duty to adjudicate the title of the immovable property. The rights and title to property have to be determined not with reference to the survey demarcation but based on other cogent materials, the primary of which is the title deed.

Resurvey records indicate the proof of boundaries

The record of the survey result shall be conclusive proof that the boundaries were determined and recorded therein correctly.

Question of title can be decided in a suit

The declaration of status or rights or title of the property has to be done by the court by a person in a suit filed under Section 34 of the Specific Relief Act (SRA).

Under Section 34 of the SRA, any person entitled to any right as to any property, may institute a suit against any person denying, or interested to deny, his title to such character or right. If so, the court may in its discretion make therein a declaration that he is so entitled, and the plaintiff need not in such suit ask for any further relief.

However, no court shall make any such declaration where the plaintiff, being able to seek further relief than a mere declaration of title, omits to do so.


  1. Thomas and Others v Philip [ 2022 (4) KHC 451]
  2. Kerala Survey and Boundary Act 1961