Report No. 86
3.10. General power to award monetary compensation (Owelty).-
Finally, a Court, when allotting shares at a partition, has a general power to award monetary compensation. Where a partition of land or other property is made and the shares allotted to the parties are of unequal value, the award of a sum of money or other compensation to the owner of the less valuable portion has always been regarded as within the powers of the Court. The compensation so awarded is known as "owelty".1
The matter has been exhaustively discussed in a judgment of the Supreme Court.2 When, on petition, an owelty is awarded to a member for equalisation of the shares on an excessive allotment of immovable property to another member, such a provision of owelty ordinarily creates a lien or a charge on the land taken under the partition.3 "Owelty" may thus be defined as the difference which may be paid or secured between one co-parcener or cotenant and another for the purpose of equalising a partition.4
1. Jowitt Dictionary of English Law, (1959), Vol. 2, p. 1283.
2. T.S. Swaminatha v. Official Receiver of West Tanjore, AIR 1957 SC 577 (582), paras. 14 and 18.
3. T.S. Swaminatha v. Official Receiver of West Tanjore, AIR 1957 SC 577.
4. Compare Bouvier Law Dictionary; Vol. 2, p. 2437, citing various authorities including Coke and Viner, substantially to this effect.