Research Paper: Evolution of Property Rights in India

EVOLUTION OF PROPERTY RIGHTS IN INDIA:  Lessons from the past, possibilities for the future by Madhumita Datta Mitra* Right to property is framed as a human right under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is recognized as a fundamental right in most democracies. It is one of the most controversial of rights, always in need of an appropriate definition suited to a nation’s political, social and economic conditions. While all liberal constitutions allow for certain reasonable restrictions on an absolute right to property for some public good, the challenge facing every country is where to draw the line against state interference into a person’s right to own and enjoy property. Download [PDF] I. Introduction In 1950, independent India drafted into its new Constitution a set of fundamental rights for its citizens to free speech, peaceful assembly, association, to move freely throughout the territory, to reside and settle in any part of the country, “to acquire, hold and dispose of property”, and to practice any profession, or carry on any occupation, trade or business. The Constitution also gave the nation an independent judiciary. Of all the fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution, the right to property has been persistently under attack from the Executive. Political philosophies of the day claimed a need to set right historical wrongs. Whittling down property rights through repeated subversion of the Constitution was the chosen path. This pitted the Executive against the Judiciary, while the former claimed mandate from the people, the latter saw itself to be the final arbiter on the Constitution as framed by the founding fathers. Undermining of the right...

Govt. to SC: Won’t promulgate the land acquisition ordinance again

Land acquisition ordinance not to be promulgated again: govt The ordinance, that has been re-promulgated thrice, will be allowed to lapse as due on 30 August, says an official Mint, Saturday, Aug 22 2015New Delhi: The government told the Supreme Court on Friday that the ordinance on land acquisition that is to lapse on 30 August will not be promulgated afresh. The court was hearing a challenge against the 30 May re-promulgation of the ordinance by petitioners Bhartiya Kisan Union, Delhi Grameen Samaj, Gram Sewa Samiti and Chogama Vikas Avam Kalyan Samiti. The court had issued notice to the Centre on their earlier petition against the ordinance on 14 April. Separately, a government official confirmed that the ordinance would not be promulgated again and would be allowed to lapse. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government had issued the ordinance on 29 December to introduce changes to some of the provisions of a 2013 land acquisition Act that was shepherded by the former Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government. The 2013 law, which replaced a law dating back to 1894, stipulated that consent of 70% farmers is required if land is being acquired for projects where the government is in partnership with private firms. For private projects, the consent of 80% of farmers is required before the land can be acquired. The 2013 law also made a social impact assessment mandatory before the land is acquired. These provisions were seen as prohibitive by industry and blamed for the slowing growth of the economy. With the NDA outlining plans to boost manufacturing and economic growth through its programmes like Make in India,...
Land Acquisition Using ‘Urgency’ Clause

Land Acquisition Using ‘Urgency’ Clause

State government have often used the urgency clause in the Land Acquisition Act, to try and acquire land speedily for favoured projects. Now the Supreme Court has ruled in a case involving UP Government’s Gorakhpur Land Development Authority and land owners that, “Use of the power by the government under Section 17 for planned development of city or a residential area or for housing must not be as a rule but by way of an exception.” —Barun The Supreme Court has ruled that the government cannot acquire people’s lands by invoking the “urgency clause” as a matter of rule for developing housing colonies and the power can be exercised only in exceptional cases. “Use of the power by the government under Section 17 for planned development of city or a residential area or for housing must not be as a rule but by way of an exception,” the court said. “Such exceptional situation may be for public purpose viz. rehabilitation of natural calamity-affected persons, rehabilitation of persons uprooted due to commissioning of dam or housing for lower strata of society urgently, rehabilitation of persons affected by time-bound projects, etc,” a Bench of Jutices R V Raveendra and R M Lodha said. The court’s judgment came in the wake of a bunch of appeals filed by the aggrieved land owners challenging the acquisition of over 400 private lands by Gorakhpur Land Development Authority, Uttar Pradesh, for constructing a housing colony. Article reposted from The Indian Express. See the original article...
Urban Land Laws

Urban Land Laws

Here is an article by Mohit Satyanand, on the absurdities created by development norms, zoning regulations, and land laws in the heart of Delhi. And this time he is not talking of slums, but an exclusive place in South Delhi, for the powerful and the famous. Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan Mohit Satyanand 19 July 2010 How can land on one side of a road be ten times as expensive as land on the other? It’s not easy to accomplish this, but with the right mix of land-use laws and poor policing, it can be done. On one side of the Mehrauli- Badarpur (MB) Road, in south Delhi, is Saket, an upper-class colony of single homes, low-rise apartment blocks, and Delhi’s first multiplex, PVR Saket. My real estate broker tells me that residential land in Saket is simply not available at prices below Rs.3 to 3.5 lakhs a square yard. On the other side of MB Road is Sainik Farms, home to many of Delhi’s rich and famous, where land – according to the same broker – costs between Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 50,000 a square yard. The thing is, “Sainik Farms is an entirely unauthorised colony, built in violation of building norms”, to quote Minister of State for Urban Development, Saugata Roy. Developed in 1960, as a cooperative for defence personnel, Sainik Farms has now become a symbol of Delhi Government’s inability to enforce its own laws. Every few years, the administration will threaten demolition, send in the bulldozers, and knock down a few token walls. In the last such drive, in 2004, 4 homes were demolished. To put...