Should the Right to Property Return?
(Harvard Law School and Center for Policy Research)
Friday, August 17
Second Floor Conference Room, World Bank New Delhi Office
(VC Connection to HT Building)
12:30 to 2:00 PM
Abstract: The Indian Constitution adopted in 1950 guaranteed to all citizens the fundamental right to “acquire, hold and dispose of property” subject to reasonable restrictions in the public interest. Moreover, Article 31 of the Constitution provided that any state acquisition of property must only be upon enactment of a valid law, for a public purpose and upon payment of compensation with exceptions for certain zamindari abolition laws. The following decades saw conflict between the legislature and the courts in cases of acquisition of property (movable and immovable) with the Supreme Court striking down acquisition laws (including but not limited to land acquisition laws) on constitutional grounds and Parliament responding with amendments to the Constitution which redefined property rights. This culminated in the 44th amendment in 1978 which abolished the fundamental right to property. However, a legal right to property was retained in Article 300A of the Constitution.
About the author: Namita Wahi is an S.J.D candidate at Harvard Law School and affiliated with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. Her doctoral dissertation traces the historical evolution of the right to property in the Indian Constitution and examines how state institutions in India, the Parliament and the Supreme Court have, over the last sixty years, managed tensions between the right to property and the state’s power to acquire property for the purposes of redistribution and economic development. Her representative publications include “India: Citizens, Courts and the Right to Health: Between Promise and Progress?” Litigating Health Rights: Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health? (Harvard University Press, 2011) (co-authored with Sharanjeet Parmar) and “Human Rights Accountability of the IMF and the World Bank: A Critique of Existing Mechanisms and a Theory of Horizontal Accountability”, 12 U.C. Davis J. Intl L. & Poly (2006).
Please confirm your attendance by email to Jyoti Sriram at [email protected] by Thursday, August 16th.