When trees are considered as movable and immovable property?

Section 4 of General Clause Act, 1897 talks about the definition of Immovable Property as land, benefits arising out of land, things attached to earth but not standing timber, growing crops and grass.


Section 3 of Transfer of Property Act, 1882, explains ‘things attached to the earth’. Things attached to earth means – 

  1. Things embedded in the earth
  2. Things attached to what is so embedded in the earth

iii. Things rooted in the earth


Things rooted in the earth


Trees keep themselves fixed in the earth until they are cut down. So, they are permanently attached and rooted in earth. Generally, trees, plants and shrubs are considered immovable property. But there are some exceptions to the general rule. 

Standing timber, growing crops and grass are considered as movable property because they are rooted in earth but the intention is not to keep their performance rooted. 


Standing timber


The wood of Sheesham, neem, babool, etc are considered as standing timber because they are used for the construction of buildings, furniture, etc. 

The fruit bearing trees are not considered as movable property. 


  1. In Shanti Bai v. State of Bombay, the Court held that if the intention of the owner is to cut down the tree then it is movable property but if the intention is to keep the tree alive then it is immovable property. 

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