RIGHT TO PRIVATE PROPERTY

The case starts with an 80-year-old woman whose 3.34 hectare of land was forcefully taken over by the government of Himachal Pradesh in 1967 for a road construction.

The Court used its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 136 and Article 142 of the Constitution to direct the government to pay the woman a compensation of 1 crore rupees.

  • Although the government forcefully took over the land in 1967, according to Article 31 of the Constitution 'right to private property was still a constitutional right.'
  • The Right to Property ceased to be a constitutional right in 1978 under the 44th Constitution Amendment Act.
  • It has been given a fundamental right pursuant to Article 300A. Article 300A requires the State to follow the required procedure and the statute to deprive a person of his or her private property.

 

Doctrine of Adverse Possession: This is a legal doctrine that enables a person who owns or lives in the property of another to claim legal rights to that property for an extended period of time. In India, a person who is not the original owner of a property becomes the owner because he has been in possession of the property for at least 12 years, where the real owner has not sought legal remedy to oust him.

The state cannot infringe upon a citizen's private property, and then claim land ownership in the name of 'adverse possession.' Grabbing private property and then claiming it as their own transforms the state into an invader. The state cannot take control of it without having followed proper process and legal authority. A welfare state can't consider the appeal in unpossessed possession and cannot allow the State to perfect its land title by invoking the adverse ownership theory to understand the property of its people.
In an earlier verdict the bench referred that in the State of Haryana v. Mukesh Kumar Case (2011), it was held that the right to property is not only a constitutional or statutory right, but also a human right.

  • Finally the Supreme Court held that a citizen’s right to own private propertyis a human right in the welfare state.

The civil right to immovable property has the following implications:

  • Can be governed, i.e. shortened, abbreviated or changed without a constitution Amendment by Legislative Ordinary Procedure.
  • Protecting private property from executive action but not from legislative action.
  • In the event of a violation, the grievers cannot pass directly to the Supreme Court Pursuant to Article 32 (right to civil redress including writs) for compliance thereof. Pursuant to Article 226 he will move the high court.
  • No assured right to compensation in the case of a private sale or requisition State owned land.

Conclusion:

In a democratic politics governed by the rule of law, the State cannot deprive people of their rights land without formal sanction. It was therefore held that the right to own property still existed, considered not only to be a constitutional or statutory right but also a right of man.