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: