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Why Was Right to Property Removed From Fundamental Rights?

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  • Last Updated : 03 Jun, 2022
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Every day, some legal reform or other occurs. Certain rights have been provided to us, along with responsibilities. Fundamental rights are granted to people in the Constitution to safeguard them. However, the Right to Property was changed into a legal right (from a fundamental right) after an amendment.

Property Rights as a Basic Right

The Right to Property has been recognized as a fundamental right in India’s Constitution since the 1950s. Article 31 and 19 (1) (f) ensure that a person’s right against his property is preserved.

No person shall be deprived of his property unless by law, says Article 31, clause 1. It protects individuals from the government’s or state’s arbitrary seizure of private property for both public and private purposes. This means that if this right is violated, a person has the right to move to Apex Court.

Why Property Rights Have Been Removed?

Property rights were dropped from the list of fundamental rights. The 44th Constitutional Amendment eliminated this right from the “Fundamental Rights” list in 1978 because it presented numerous challenges in achieving the goal of socialism and equitable economic distribution. This right is still available to citizens, but only as a legal right, not fundamental.

  • Originally, there was a basic right to ‘acquire, possess, and keep’ property in the Constitution. However, the Constitution made it plain that the government might seize property for the public good.
  • The government has passed numerous laws restricting this right to property since 1950.
  • The protracted discussion about the link between rights and directive principles was centred on this right.
  • Finally, in 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that because the property right was not part of the Constitution’s basic structure, parliament had the power to limit it through amendment.
  • The 44th Amendment to the Constitution, enacted in 1978, removed the right to property from the list of Fundamental Rights and replaced it with legal right under article 300 A.
  • In “Jilubhai Nanbhai Khachar v. the State of Gujarat, it was held that the Right to property article 300-A is not a basic structure of the Constitution. It is only a constitutional right.”

The 44th Amendment:

The petition contested the 44th Amendment’s removal of Article 19 (1) (f) from the Fundamental Rights part of the Constitution. “In light of the particular position proposed to be granted to fundamental rights,” the goal of this Amendment states, “the right to property, which has been the subject of more than one constitutional amendment, would cease to be a fundamental right and become just a legal right.” Article 19 is being amended as needed for this purpose, and Article 31 (compulsory acquisition of property) is being abolished.”

The petitioner argued that the relevance of an individual’s right to private property has dwindled over time. Acquisition schemes have repeatedly invaded it with no safeguards regarding the law’s rationality or ultimate purpose. The “right to property,” which existed as a “fundamental right” was integral to the basic framework and could not be changed when the Keshavananda Bharati case was handed down.

According to the petitioner, Article 19 (1) (f) was intimately related to Articles 19 (1) (d), (e), and (g), namely, the right to move, the right to dwell and settle in any area of the country, and the right to occupation, which together comprised the nation’s fabric of unity and integrity. These other rights would become fleeting and meaningless without the freedom to acquire, retain, and dispose of the property.

As a result, the petitioner requested that the 44th Amendment be struck down to violate the Constitution’s basic structure.

Note:

The Right to Property has been elevated from a fundamental to a constitutional right. As a result, persons were no longer permitted to approach the Supreme Court directly under Article 32 of the Constitution for violations of the Right to Property, albeit they may still seek relief from the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India.

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