The provisions of the Constitution of India relating to Right to Property

Article 300-A provides, “No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law”.

The effect of the amendment of the Constitution is that for violation of his right to property under Article 300-A, a person will not be entitled to invoke the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32. He will, however, be entitled to invoke the jurisdiction of High Courts under Article 226.

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The eminent jurist, H.M. Seervai has criticised the abolition of Right to Property, as fundamental right. He says, the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression which includes the freedom of press, and freedom of association, the freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India, to settle in any part of India, to carry on business, profession or vocation in any part of India, would be destroyed if the right to property is not guaranteed as a fundamental right and the obligation to pay compensation for private property, acquired for public purpose is not provided for.”

However, Prof. P.K. Tripathi in his article, “Right to property after 44th Amendment of the Constitution” published in AIR 1980 Journal 51, has concluded that now right to property of citizens and non-citizens, is more comprehensively and firmly secured under the constitutional law of India than before. He has justified his conclusion by saying that an amendment in existing position will now require not only the procedures laid down in Article 368. but also the consent of the States as required in the proviso to Article 368.

In Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India, AIR 1978 S.C. 597, and later in a series of cases, the Supreme Court has held that the validity of a law passed under the new Article 300-A for the purpose of depriving a citizen of his property, can be challenged on the ground of no provision for payment of compensation for the property compulsorily acquired for public purposes.

In this case the meaning and scope of law has been enlarged. Now after this decision, the term, “law” has been explained as a valid law, which is just, fair and reasonable in nature as well as procedure.

Any law made under Article 300-A which does not provide for compensation for the property to be acquired compulsorily for public purpose, will be declared void, unfair, unjust, unreasonable and hence unconstitutional.