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Right To Property Is A Constitutional As Well As Human Right, Reiterates SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
7 Aug 2020 1:26 PM GMT
Right To Property Is A Constitutional As Well As Human Right, Reiterates SC [Read Judgment]
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"However, laudable be the purpose, the Executive cannot deprive a person of his property without specific legal authority."
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The right to property  is still a constitutional right and a human right, reiterated the Supreme Court while allowing an appeal filed by Hari Krishna Mandir Trust in the matter of a land dispute with the Pune Municipal Corporation.

The bench comprising Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee observed that the right to property includes any proprietary/ hereditary interest in the right of management of a religion endowment, as well as anything acquired by inheritance.

The trust, in this case, had filed an application in which it requested the State Government to correct the wrong entry (as internal road to the Trust) in the name of Pune Municipal Corporation. The Urban Development Department, Government of Maharashtra rejected the proposal and held that the Pune Municipal Corporation is the owner in respect of the land. The High Court dismissed the writ petition challenging the said order passed by the Government and held that the land in question had vested under Section 88 of the Regional and Town Planning Act. Thus the Trust approached the Apex Court.

Allowing the Trust's Appeal, the Apex Court bench observed that the High Court misconstrued Section 88 of the Regional and Town Planning Act, by reading the same in isolation from the other provisions of the Regional and Town Planning Act, particularly Sections 65, 66, 125 and 126 thereof. In the light of admissions, on the part of the respondent authorities that the private road measuring 414 sq. was private property never acquired by the Pune Municipal Corporation or the State Government, the respondents had a public duty under Section 91 to appropriately modify the scheme and to show the private road as property of its legitimate owners, as per the property records in existence, and or in the award of the Arbitrator, the Court said.

Right To Property: A Constitutional & Human Right

The bench also observed that in the absence of any proceedings for acquisition or for purchase, no land belonging to the Trust could have vested in the State. In this regard, the bench, referring to Article 300A of the Constitution, said:

The right to property may not be a fundamental right any longer, but it is still a constitutional right under Article 300A and a human right as observed by this Court in Vimlaben Ajitbhai Patel v. Vatslaben Ashokbhai Patel and Others. In view of the mandate of Article 300A of the Constitution of India, no person is to be deprived of his property save by the authority of law. The appellant trust cannot be deprived of its property save inaccordance with law.

Executive cannot deprive a person of his property without specific legal authority

The court further observed that the Article 300A embodies the doctrine of eminent domain which comprises two parts, (i) possession of property in the public interest; and (ii) payment of reasonable compensation. It further observed:

"The State possesses the power to take or control the property of the owner for the benefit of public. When, however, a State so acts it is obliged to compensate the injury by making just compensation. The right to property includes any proprietary interest hereditary interest in the right of management of a religion endowment, as well as anything acquired by inheritance. However, laudable be the purpose, the Executive cannot deprive a person of his property without specific legal authority, which can be established in a court of law."

State seeking to acquire private property for public purpose cannot say that no compensation shall be paid

The court further added that though the right to claim compensation or the obligation of the State to pay compensation to a person who is deprived of his property is not expressly provided in Article 300A of the Constitution, it is inbuilt in the Article. It said:

"The State seeking to acquire private property for public purpose cannot say that no compensation shall be paid. The Regional and Town Planning Act also does not contemplate deprivation of a land holder of his land, without compensation. Statutory authorities are bound to pay adequate compensation."

HC Not Only Have Power To Issue Mandamus But Are Duty Bound To Exercise Such Power In Appropriate Cases

The High Courts exercising their jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, not only have the power to issue a Writ of Mandamus or in the nature of Mandamus, but are duty bound to exercise such power, where the Government or a public authority has failed to exercise or has wrongly exercised discretion conferred upon it by a Statute, or a rule, or a policy decision of the Government or has exercised such discretion malafide, or on irrelevant consideration. In all such cases, the High Court must issue a Writ of Mandamus and give directions to compel performance in an appropriate and lawful manner of the discretion conferred upon the Government or a public authority, the bench said while setting aside the High Court judgment.

While allowing the appeal, the Court also directed to delete the name of the Pune Municipal Corporation as owner of the private road in the records pertaining to the Scheme and carry out such other consequential alterations.'

Case details
Case no.: CIVIL APPEAL NO.6156 OF 2013
Case name: HARI KRISHNA MANDIR TRUST vs. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA 
Coram: Justices Indu Malhotra and Indira Banerjee 
Counsel: Sr. Adv Pallav Sisodia  assisted by Adv Braj K Mishra for Appellants, Nishant R. Katneshwarkar for State,  AdvocatesMarkand D. Adkar and Rajesh Kumar, for Corporation

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