Title in State.
§ 146-79. Title presumed in the State; tax titles.
In all controversies and suits for any land to which the State or any State agency or its assigns shall be a party, the title to such lands shall be taken and deemed to be in the State or the State agency or its assigns until the other party shall show that he has a good and valid title to such lands in himself.
In all controversies touching the title or the right of possession of any lands claimed by the State or by any State agency under any sale for taxes at any time heretofore made or which hereafter may be made, the deed of conveyance made by the sheriff or other officer or person making such sale, or who may have been authorized to execute such deed, shall be presumptive evidence that the lands therein mentioned were, at the time the lien for such taxes attached and at the time of the sale, the property of the person therein designated as the delinquent owner; that such lands were subject to taxation; that the taxes were duly levied and assessed; that the lands were duly listed; that the taxes were due and unpaid; that the manner in which the listing, assessment, levy, and sale were conducted was in all respects as the law directed; that all the prerequisites of the law were duly complied with by all officers or persons who had or whose duty it was to have had any part or action in any transaction relating to or affecting the title conveyed or purported to be conveyed by the deed, from the listing and valuation of the property up to the execution of the deed, both inclusive; and that all things whatsoever required by law to make a good and valid sale and vest the title in the purchaser were done, and that all recitals in such deed contained are true as to each and every of the matters so recited.
In all controversies and suits involving the title to real property claimed and held under and by virtue of a deed made substantially as above, the person claiming title adverse to the title conveyed by such deed shall be required to prove, in order to defeat such title, either that the real property was not subject to taxation for the year or years named in the deed, that the taxes had been paid before the sale, that the property had been redeemed from the sale according to the provisions of law, and that such redemption was had or made for the use or benefit of persons having the right of redemption under the laws of this State, or that there had been an entire omission to list or assess the property or to levy the taxes or to sell the property; but no person shall be permitted to question the title acquired under such sale and deed without first showing that he or the person under whom he claims title had title to the property at the time of the sale, and that all taxes due upon the property have been paid by such person or the person under whom he claims title. (1842-3, c. 36, s. 3; R.C., c. 66, s. 24; Code, s. 2527; 1889, c. 243; Rev., s. 4047; C.S., s. 7617; G.S., s. 146-90; 1959, c. 683, s. 1.)