Corpus Possession means that there exists such physical contact of the thing by the possessor as to give rise to the reasonable assumption that other person will not interfere with it. Existence of corpus broadly depends on (1) upon the nature of the thing itself, and the probability that others will refrain from interfering with the enjoyment of it; (2) possession of real property, i.e., when a man sets foot over the threshold of a house, or crosses the boundary line of his estate, provided that there exist no factors negativing his control, for example the continuance in occupation of one who denies his right; and (3) acquisition of physical control over the objects it encloses. Corpus, therefore, depends more upon the general expectations that others will not interfere with an individual control over a thing, then upon the physical capacity of an individual to exclude others.
The animus possidendi is the conscious intention of an individual to exclude others from the control of an object.
There is also a concept of “constructive possession” which is depicted by a symbolic act. It has been narrated with an illustration that delivery of keys of a building may give right to constructive possession of all the contents to the transferee of the key.
A person other than the owner, if continued to have possession of immoveable property for a period as prescribed in a Statute providing limitation, openly, without any interruption and interference from the owner, though he has knowledge of such possession, would crystallize in ownership after the expiry of the prescribed period of limitation, if the real owner has not taken any action for reentry and he shall be denuded of his title to the property in law. “Permissible Possession” shall not mature a title since it cannot be treated to be an “adverse possession”. Such possession for however length of time be continued, shall not either be converted into adverse possession or a title. It is only the hostile possession which is one of the condition for adverse possession. Bhikhari v. D.D.C., 2018 (141) RD 130.
The term “possession” consists of two elements. First, it refers to the corpus or the physical control and the second, it refers to the animus or intent which has reference to exercise of the said control. One of the definitions of “possession” given in Black’s Law Dictionary is as follows:
“Possession.—Having control over a thing with the intent to have and to exercise such control. Oswald v. Weigel, 219 Kan616. The detention and control, or the manual or ideal custody, of anything which may be the subject of property, for one’s use and enjoyment, either as owner or as the proprietor of a qualified right in it and either held personally or by another who exercises it in one’s place and name. Act or state of possessing. That conditions of facts under which one can exercise his power over a corporeal thing at his pleasure to the exclusion of all other persons.
The law, in general, recognizes two kinds of possession: actual possession and constructive possession. A person who knowingly has direct physical control over a thing, at a given time, is then in actual possession of it. A person who, although not in actual possession, knowingly has both the power and the intention at a given time to exercise dominion or control over a thing, either directly or through another person or persons, is then in constructive possession of it. The law recognizes also that possession may be sole or joint. Of one person alsone has actual or constructive possession of a thing, possession is sole. If two or more persons share actual or constructive possession of a thing, possession is joint.”
In the said Dictionary, the term “possess” in the context of narcotic drug laws means:
“Term “possess” under narcotic drug laws, means actual control, care and management of the drug. Collini v. State, 487 SW 2d 132. Defendant ‘possesses’ controlled substance when defendant knows of substance’s presence, substance is immediately accessible, and defendant exercises ‘dominion or control’ over substance. State v. Hornaday, 105 Wash 2d 120.
Possession as necessary for conviction of offence of possession of controlled substances with intent to distribute may be constructive as well as actual, United States v. Craig, 522 F 2d 29. The defendants must have had dominion and control over the contraband with knowledge of its presence and character. United States v. Morando-Alvarez, 520 F 882.
Possession as an element of offence of stolen goods, is not limited to actual manual control upon or about the person, but extends to things under one’s power and dominion. McConnel v. State, 48 Ala App 523.
Possession as used in indictment charging possession of stolen mail may mean actual possession or constructive possession. United States v. Ellison, 469 F 2d 413.
To constitute ‘possession’ of a concealable weapon under statute prescribing possession of a concealable weapon by a felon, it is sufficient that defendants have constructive possession and immediate access to the weapon. State v. Kelley, 12 Or App 496.
In Stroud’s Dictionary, the term “possession” has been defined as follows:
“ A person does not lose ‘possession’ of an article which is mislaid or thought erroneously to have been destroyed or disposed of, if, in fact, it remains in his care and control. (R v. Buswell, (1972) 1 WLR 64 : (1972) 1 All ER 75). Mohan Lal v.State of Rajasthan, (2015) 6 SCC 222.