ARTICLE 31

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Article 31 of the Indian Constitution 1949 deals with the right to property. This article has undergone various amendments, with the 44th Amendment Act of 1978 being the most significant one. The right to property is no longer a fundamental right but rather a legal right in India. The scope and provisions related to the right to property are now governed by other laws and regulations. Article 31(1) has been shifted to article 300A as a new insertion in Chapter IV in part XII of the constitution. The shifting of Article 31(1) and omitting Article 31 signify that fundamental right to property is abolished.

What does Article 31 states ?
  • (1) No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.
  • (2) No property, movable or immovable, including any interest in, or in any company owning, any commercial or industrial undertaking, shall be taken possession of or acquired for public purposes under any law authorising the taking of such possession or such acquisition, unless the law provides for compensation for the property taken possession of or acquired and either fixes the amount of the compensation, or specifies the principles on which, and the manner in which, the compensation is to be determined and given.
  • (3) No such law as is referred to in clause (2) made by the Legislature of a State shall have effect unless such law, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, has received his assent.
  • (4) If any Bill pending at the commencement of this Constitution in the Legislature of a State has, after it has been passed by such Legislature, been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, then, notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, the law so assented to shall not be called in question in any court on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of clause (2).
  • (5) Nothing in clause (2) shall affect

(a) The provisions of any existing law other than a law to which the provisions of clause (6) apply, or

(b) The provisions of any law which the State may hereafter make—

(i) for the purpose of imposing or levying any tax penalty, or

(ii) for the promotion of public health or the prevention of danger to life or property, or

(iii) in pursuance of any agreement entered into between the Government of the Dominion of India or the Government of India and the Government of any other country, or otherwise, with respect to property declared by law to be evacuee property.

  • (6) Any law of the State enacted not more than eighteen months before the commencement of this Constitution may within three months from such commencement be submitted to the President for his certification; and therefore, if the President by public notification so certifies, it shall not be called in question in any court on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of sub-section (2) of section 299 of the Government of India Act, 1935.
Clauses of Article 31

Clause (1) :-

No individual may be dispossessed of their property without a court’s permission, according to Clause 1 of Article 31 of the 1949 Indian Constitution. This indicates that the State may only acquire property by passing legislation that authorizes such purchase. The legislation must be legitimate, which implies that the authority that enacts it must have the authority to pass it.

Clause (2) :-

The Indian Constitution of 1949’s Article 31 stipulates that the State shall compensate the owner of any property it acquires. The compensation must be calculated in compliance with the legal standards in a fair and equitable manner. The legislation must specify how much compensation is to be paid out as well as the guiding principles for doing so.

Provisions
  • No individual may be dispossessed of their property without a court’s permission, according to Clause 1 of Article 31 of the 1949 Indian Constitution. This indicates that the State may only acquire property by passing legislation that authorizes such purchase. It must fall inside the legislative purview of the body that enacts it in order for the legislation to be considered legal.
  • The Indian Constitution of 1949’s Article 31 stipulates that the State shall compensate the owner of any property it acquires. The compensation must be calculated in compliance with the legal standards in a fair and equitable manner. The legislation must specify how much compensation is to be paid out as well as the guiding principles for doing so.
Landmark judgements under Article 31

The State of Bihar v. Kameshwar Singh case (1952)

  • It is significant piece of case law under Article 31 of the Indian Constitution of 1949. The Supreme Court ruled that while the government might take private property for public use, the price had to be equitable and reasonable. Another important piece of case law based on Article 31 of the Indian Constitution of 1949 is the R.C. Cooper v. Union of India case from 1970. It said that the government may legally take possession of property for public use by paying a price and that the right to property was not a basic right.

The Minerva Mills Ltd v. Union of India decision, which was decided in (1980)

  • It established that the government’s right to seize private property was subject to court scrutiny and that the compensation provided had to be just and reasonable.

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