The right to property was earlier a fundamental right, under Article 19 (1) (f) and Article 31, both enshrined in Part-III of the Indian Constitution. Article 19 (1) (f) guaranteed Indian citizens the right to acquire, hold and dispose of their properties. On the other hand, Article 31 guaranteed the right against property deprivation.
However, problems with property being a fundamental right started to manifest themselves when the Defence of India Act, which empowered the central government to requisite and acquires any immovable property in the public interest, in accordance with the Requisitioning and Acquisition of Immovable Properties Act, 1952.
When the authority started land acquisition, it became obvious that the state’s power to acquire it for public use could be curtailed, as the right to property was a fundamental right. Eventually, Article 19 (1) (f) was repealed by the 44th Amendment of the Indian Constitution. Article 31 was also repealed by the Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978, and a modified version of it was inserted as Article 300-A in Part-XII of the Constitution.
Right to property under Article 300-A
Article 300-A was introduced in the Constitution in 1978, which states that ‘no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law’.
It means that barring the state, no one can deprive a person of his property. The article empowers the state to take over the private property of an individual for public welfare.
However, the law prescribing the property acquisition needs to be valid and the acquisition of land by the state must be for public gain, explained to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The landmark case of Vidya Devi v State of Himachal Pradesh & Ors (2020) decided the issue that a person cannot be dispossessed from his property without the due process of law as laid down under Article 300A of the Constitution.
The Court held that the State can only take over a person’s property by the sanction of law which is done for the public interest and reasonable compensation is paid to the injured party.
The Court also emphasized the point that it cannot perfect its title by invoking the doctrine of adverse possession. The Court observed that dispossessing a person from his private property would be violative of his human rights.
In the case of Hari Krishna Mandir Trust v State of Maharashtra & Ors (2013) the Court observed that where the executive takes over any private property for the benefit of the public, the state has to compensate the concerned party to compensate for the injury caused- statutory authorities are bound to pay adequate compensation.
Sale and disposal of immovable property owned by a minor
As per the provisions of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, any property or share in property owned by a minor, cannot be sold or disposed of by the natural guardian of the minor, without taking permission from the court.
For obtaining permission, the guardian of the minor has to make an application before the district court. Any sale of a property owned by the minor by the guardian, without the permission of the court is voidable at the option of the minor on becoming a major. The fact that the sale of the property was made for the benefit and meeting the cost of maintenance of the minor, will not make the sale ipso facto legally valid.
Disposal of property under Crpc
Section 451 of the Code deals with the disposal of the property before the conclusion of the case. Thus, this section deals with the interim disposal of the property.
According to this, when a property is produced before any Criminal Court during any inquiry or trial, and according to the Court, it is fit for it to be placed in proper custody before the trial or inquiry is concluded it can give an order for the same.
As per Section 452, the Court may order the disposal of the property when a trial or inquiry into a Criminal Court has been concluded. This disposal may be by destruction, confiscation, or delivery to any person who claims to be entitled to possess a property or document produced before the Court.
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