Date: 8th February, 2021
by Divya Menon, UILS, Panjab University
Actionable claim is defined in Section 3 of the Transfer of Property Act, which was included in the Act by the Amending Act II of 1990.“actionable claim” means a claim to any debt, other than a debt secured by mortgage of immovable property or by hypothecation or pledge of moveable property, or to any beneficial interest in moveable property not in the possession, either actual or constructive, of the claimant, which the Civil Courts recognize as affording grounds for relief, whether such debt or beneficial interest be existent, accruing, conditional or contingent.
Broadly, an actionable claim means
1. unsecured debt and;
2. a claim to beneficial interest in movable property not in possession of the claimant.
Tangible movables such as tables or cars have physical existence and can be possessed but intangible movables in the form of right have no physical existence and cannot be possessed. The existence of tangible-movable can be known simply by physical presence. But the existence of intangible movable property may be known only when the person having such interest claims it by maintaining an action in the court of law.
For example, A has a claim or right to get back the money given by him to B, then A’s claim can be known only when he files suit against B for the recovery of his money. In other words, A’s claim against B can be known only when he maintains action in Court of law.
UNSECURED MONDEY DEBT:
A debt may be secured or unsecured; when there is no security of any movable or immovable property, the debt is unsecured. When a person takes out a loan and simply writes a pronote, the debt is an unsecured debt.
According to Section 3, only unsecured debt is an actionable claim.
Debt secured by way of mortgage, pledge or hypothecation is not an actionable claim.
It should be noted that debt not only means a loan, it can be any obligation to pay a certain or definite sum of money. For example, claims of ‘arrears of rent’ is an actionable claim.
Debt may be existent, accruing or conditional.
CLAIM TO BENEFICIAL INTEREST NOT IN POSSESSION OF THE CLAIMANT:
Right of a person to take the possession of immovable property from the possession of another, is the actionable claim of that person provided that the claimant has beneficial interest (i.e., right of possession) in that property.
The requirements necessary for constituting an actionable claim are-
The claim is to some movable property.
The movable property is in possession of another person.
The beneficial interest or the right of the possession of the claimant is recognized by the Court.
Illustration: A has sold 50 bags of wheat to B. The bags of wheat are in the godown of A. B’s right to take possession of the bags of wheat from the godown of A is his (B’s) actionable claim.
CAN ACTIONABLE CLAIMS BE TRANSFERRED?
Actionable claim is an intangible movable property and it can be transferred. Transfer is dealt in the Chapter VIII of the Act.