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Human rights are the basic freedoms and rights that can neither be restricted or infringed and every person has a share on such rights. One of the basic human rights include private property rights. Article 17 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that right to own property could be enjoyed by everyone and that nobody should be deprived of this right in an arbitrary manner. The term property has its origin in the Latin term ‘proprietate’ which means an owned thing. Jurists have defined “property” in different ways. Austin stated property includes not only personal rights but also proprietaries whereas Salmond defined property as a person’s legal rights which includes complete ownership on corporeal and incorporeal things.

Classification of property mainly lies in corporeal and incorporeal property. Corporeal property is related to material things which has tangible existence. Land, furniture and machineries are example of corporeal property. It is further classified into movable and immovable property. Movable property is defined in Sec. 2 (9) of Indian Registration Act, 1908 as all properties except for immovable property where in it includes growing grass or timber, Fruits growing in tress etc…Immovable property is defined in Sec. 2 (6) of Indian Registration Act, 1908 as those things attached to the earth and are not moving which includes buildings, land, right to ways or any benefits arising out of such land. It doesn’t include growing crops, timber or grass. Incorporeal Property doesn’t find its existence in tangibility because it is invisible to the eyes. Intellectual property like patents and copyrights are examples of incorporeal Property. It is further divided into in re propia and in re aliena property wherein in right in re propia is ownership rights over immaterial things which is caused due to human skills and intelligence like intellectual property rights. But, rights in aliena are rights over properties owned by someone else whereby preventing the owner to exercise certain rights in relation to that property like security and trusts. Real properties are those which are recognised by law and personal properties are proprietary rights.


Article 19 (1) (f) and Article 31 mentioned in Part III of Indian Constitution stated that property rights fall in the list of fundamental right. Art.19(1) (f) ensured to the Indian residents an option to procure, hold and discard property. Article 31 stated that no individual will be denied of his property save by power of law and stated that remuneration would be paid to an individual whose property has been taken for public purposes. Nonetheless, during the main decade of autonomy time, it was felt that the privilege to property as a fundamental right was an incredible obstacle in guiding an equitable financial request and a contention source when the State was to obtain private property for public purposes.

Entry 42 List III states acquisition of property. Under the first Constitution Article 19(1)(f) and 31 accommodates assurance of property right and later they were removed from fundamental list of the Constitution and Article 300A was embedded. In like manner no individual will be denied of his property save by the authority of law. With respect to right to property what sort of assurance given by the India Constitution under Article 300A which was introduced by 44th Amendment. In Hari Krishna Mandir Trust v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors. Civil Appeal No. 6156 of 2013, Supreme Court held that without authority of law, the appellant couldn’t be deprived of his land which was a private road. If it occurs then it may cause violation of Art. 300A of Indian Constitution. The standard of necessary obtaining of property is established on better cases of the entire local area over an individual resident, is relevant just in those situations where private property is needed for public use or requested for the public government assistance. Likewise, the privilege of prominent space doesn't infer a privilege in the sovereign ability to take the property of one resident and move it to another, in any event, for a full pay where the public interest will be not the slightest bit advanced by such exchange. The constraint on the force of prominent space is that the securing or claiming property should be for a public reason has been explicitly engrafted in condition (2) of Article 31 of the constitution of India.


When classification take place on basis of ownership of such property it is of two types- Public property and private property. Sec 2(b) of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 defines public property as those properties which may either be movable or immovable in nature that is under control of government- Centre or State and, local authority, corporation established under Centre or State Act, government companies defined in Companies Act, 2013 or any undertaking institution of the government. Private property is defined as those tangible or intangible properties that are owned by individual person for using it personally or by the corporation for yielding benefits which may either be capital goods or personal properties. Building and Patents are examples of private property. A country’s political rights defines the concept of private property. Economic liberals believe private property to be fundamental for the development of a prosperous society. They accept private responsibility for guarantees the land will be put to beneficial use and its worth ensured by the landowner. On the off chance that the proprietors should settle local charges, this powers the proprietors to keep a beneficial yield from the land to keep charges current.

The privilege to private property was an essential interest in early missions for political opportunity and fairness and against primitive control of property. Today, separation based on property proprietorship is ordinarily seen as a genuine danger to the equivalent happiness regarding common liberties by all and non-segregation provisions in global basic freedoms instruments habitually remember property as a ground for the premise of which segregation is disallowed. The security of private property may clash with financial, social and social rights and common and political rights, like the privilege to opportunity of articulation. To moderate this, the privilege to property is normally restricted to ensure the public premium. Numerous states additionally keep up frameworks of mutual and aggregate proprietorship. While examining private property rights issues, recall that property rights are not supreme but rather, all things considered, a component of what society will recognize, protect, and authorize. The connection between the privileges of the individual and the privileges of the community have been in steady transition since our commencement and will probably keep on changing with time.


Court: Supreme Court of India

Bench: Justice Indu Malhotra, Justice Ajay Rastogi

Citation: Civil Appeal No. 6061 of 2020

Date of Judgment:08/01/2020

Facts of the Case

  1. The Appellant, Vidya Devi, aged 80 years owned a land in Khasra No. 70 in Tika Jalari, Himachal Pradesh. The land was of 3.34 Hectares and also comprised of Khatuni No. 105 in/127.

  2. The State of Himachal Pradesh took the land of Vidya Devi in Signature that hadn’t been digitally verified and signed by Satish Kumar Yadav

  3. It was signed on 1st August, 2020 for the purpose of constructing a Nadun- Sujanpur District Road.

  4. It was done without proper proceeding of acquisition of such land and without due process of law.

  5. In 1975, the road construction was finished.

  6. The Appellant didn’t know regarding her land rights being illiterate and thus no compensation proceeding was initiated in this land matter

  7. In 2004, Respondent State for public purpose took away the land of another person similarly.

  8. A compensation case regarding the land was filed named Anakh Singh & Ors. v. State of Himachal Pradesh CWP No. 1192 of 2004 in Himachal Pradesh High Court.

  9. The CWP No.1192 of 2004 was allowed thereby directing the respondent to take lands under Land Acquisition Act, 1894 which belonged to the writ petitioners,

  10. Respondent started acquiring lands of writ petitioners after such order from Himachal Pradesh High Court. They didn’t acquire any other land of other landowners.

  11. In 2010, the appellant and her daughters filed a case in High Court of Himachal Pradesh, C.W.P. NO. 1736 of 2010

  12. It was prayed in the Court that compensation to be paid for the land that was acquired in the year 1967-1968 or the State be directed to start proceeding of acquisition under the said act.

  13. The Respondent stated in its reply that the appellant’s land was used for the purpose of –State Nadaun – Sujanpur road construction and since the State possess the land for 42 long years which led to adverse possession of such land.

  14. Only Civil Suit as a statutory remedy was available to the appellant.

  15. The property of Anakh Singh was similarly acquired u/s 4 of the Land Acquisition Act in 2008.

  16. The State submitted that Writ Petition was barred by laches because the road construction took place in 1967 and mettled in 1975

  17. Such land was used by the Respondent only when the appellant’s and her predecessors’ interest were expressed consented without objection.

  18. The High Court thereby held that writ proceeding couldn’t determine the limitation point and the case involved question of law and thus, appellant had the option to file Civil Suit.

  19. A review petition was filed by the aggrieved appellant against the above judgment of the High Court.

  20. The dismissal of review petition took place by Order dated 13.05.2014.

  21. Being aggrieved with the decision, an appeal was filed against the writ petition judgment and the order which have been passed in the review petition thereof.

Issues Raised

  1. Whether the Respondent- State was liable to pay compensation to the present appellant??

  2. Whether Right to Property fell within the purview of human rights??

  3. Whether doctrine of adverse possession be invoked to acquire the citizen’s land??

Judgment of the case

When the appellant’s property was extorted in 1967, right to property was a fundamental right u/a 31 of Indian Constitution. By the 44th Amendment, property rights ceased to be fundamental right but Art. 300A was introduced which termed it to be a constitutional right. Therefore, the compensation obligation could be inferred from Art. 300A and forcibly disposing someone of their property is a violation of human rights.

Some notable case laws followed as precedents in the present case:

  1. N. Padmamma v. S. RamaKrishna Reddy Civil Appeal No. 3632 of 2008: It was held that property rights are not only constitutional rights but also a human right which can’t be taken away without the due process of law.

  2. Delhi Airtech Services Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. v. State of U.P. & Ors. Civil Appeal No. 24 of 2009: Right to property was recognised as basic human right and it was accepted that right to property is a safeguard against economic oppression and tyranny of the government.

The State being welfare state was not permitted to take the plea of adverse possession to take away the land of the citizens. Contention regarding delay was rejected stating that it couldn’t be raised when there is a continuing cause of action. Courts prescribed no limitation period for exercising their constitutional jurisdiction to meet the purpose of justice. Extraordinary jurisdiction under Art. 136 and Art. 142 of Indian Constitution were exercised by the Court. The Court asked to compensate on same terms in Anakh Singh Case vide order 07/07/2015 whereby allowing solatium, interest and other statutory benefits within 8 weeks. It shall be deemed to be an acquisition. A compliance affidavit is to be filed within 10 weeks. It was also said that is the present appellant had filed the appeal within 8 weeks of compensation date which was paid to her by the State, in that case the appeal would be treated within limitation period. The Court allowed the appeal and set aside the High Court’s order directed the State to pay Rs.10,00,000/- to the present appellant of the case and also all the legal expenses involved thereof.


Human rights are the undeniable rights to every single individual regardless to sex, identity, spot of residency, nationality, religion, color or and other classification. Subsequently, basic freedoms are non-unfair, implying that all individuals are qualified for them and can't be barred from them. Obviously, while all people are qualified for common freedoms, not all individuals experience them similarly all through the world. Numerous administrations and people disregard basic freedoms and terribly abuse other individuals. Similarly, one of the varieties of human right is economic right. Right to property is a kind of economic human right. Property rights are encroached in the name of public purposes by the State.

Encroaching on the land of the individual by the State in the name of public purpose and stating such land as its own would lead to violation of basic human rights. The case of Vidya Devi v. State of Himachal Pradesh helped in determine whether private property rights could be termed as a human right. In 1967, when the public authority coercively assumed control over the land, under Article 31 of the Constitution was a fundamental right. Though, Right to Property stopped to be a fundamental right with the 44th Constitution Amendment in 1978 but it was still considered to be a basic human right. Article 300A requires the state to follow due methodology and authority of law to deny an individual of their private property. The concept of adverse possession was taken into account while dealing with the case. This is a legitimate doctrine that permits an individual who has or lives on another person's territory for an all-inclusive timeframe to guarantee lawful title to that land. In India, an individual who isn't the first proprietor of a property turns into the proprietor due to the way that he has been in control of the property for at least 12-years, inside which the genuine proprietor didn't look for legitimate plan of action to remove him. But, in the present case it was held that the state can't intrude into the private property of a resident and afterward guarantee responsibility for land by the doctrine of adverse possession.


Property rights have as often as possible been viewed as forestalling the acknowledgment of basic liberties for all, through for instance subjection and the misuse of others. There must be a clear differentiation between public and private property. The State must not violate human rights and seek for lands of its citizens arbitrarily in the name of public purpose. Inconsistent dissemination of abundance frequently follows line of sex, race and minorities, consequently property rights may seem, by all accounts, to be a contributor to the issue, as opposed to as an interest that merits insurance. Private property additionally appends a financial worth to land, which can be utilized to exchange or as insurance. Private property in this manner is a significant piece of capitalization inside the economy. Right to property felt within the domain of human rights. The case depicted that the doctrine of adverse possession could not be arbitrarily utilised by the State to have a title over an individual’s property. Trespassing over citizen’s land and claiming ownership is major human right violation. Using the property without proper compensation is a major violation of human rights. The case of Vidya Devi thus, established that due process of law should be followed while acquiring property and proper compensation should be paid by the State.




  2. Supreme Court: Private property is a Human Right, Latest Laws,

  3. Right to Property in India: everything important you should know about, iPleaders,


  1. Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, Sec. 2 (b)

  2. Indian Registration Act, 1908, Sec. 2 (9)

  3. Indian Registration Act, 1908, Sec. 2 (6)


  1. INDIA CONST., Art. 300A

  2. INDIA CONST., Art. 19 (1) (f)

  3. INDIA CONST. Art. 31


Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, Article 17


  1. N. Padmamma v. S. RamaKrishna Reddy Civil Appeal No. 3632 of 2008

  2. Delhi Airtech Services Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. v. State of U.P. & Ors. Civil Appeal No. 24 of 2009

  3. Hari Krishna Mandir Trust v. The State of Maharastra and Ors. Civil Appeal No. 6156 of 2013

  4. Vidya Devi v. State of Himachal Pradesh Civil Appeal No. 6061 of 2020

Written By

Shyantika Khan

3rd Year/ BBA LLB (Hons.)

Amity University, Kolkata

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