Right To Property- Overview, Dispute, Changes, Human Rights

Property is a significant notion in human life since we can’t imagine living without material goods, which are the subject matter of property. In today’s society, the term ‘property is also employed in a broader sense in which it encompasses all the rights of a person. Thus, a person’s life, liberty, and reputation, as well as any other rights he may have against others, are his/her property. The Right to Property might be considered an inherent human right. It is a very extensive subject that is widespread across many nations.


Right To Property: Overview

The Right to Property was incorporated as a ‘fundamental right’ under Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31 in Part III of the Indian Constitution, which made it an acceptable right after India’s independence on January 26, 1950.

During the first decade after independence, it was widely believed that the Right to Property as a fundamental right was a major hindrance to the establishment of an impartial social and economic order. It was seen that it was forcibly used by the government when they needed to seize private property for public progress, such as the industrial expansion or the expansion of railways, roadways, etc.

To get rid of this disagreement, the Supreme Court came to the decision that the Right to Property is not part of the constitution’s basic structure and that Parliament can acquire or take away the private property of individuals for the public good and in the public interest. Following that, the 44th Amendment to the Constitution was passed, making the right to property an ordinary legal right under Article 300-A.

Right To Property: Dispute Between Legislature And Judiciary

There has always been a difference of opinion between India’s legislature and the judiciary over the Right To Property. Both the Legislature and the judiciary have their own different judgments and set of laws regarding this right, which always remain unmatchable.

In India, the government introduced the Right To Property in the 1950s. It was a fundamental right guaranteed by the constitution. There have been various misuses of the right to property over time, and as a result, it now provides significantly poorer protection than it did at first. 

Property rights were initially implemented in India to replace the Zamindari system that existed during British rule. At that time, there was a desperate need for a proper framework for resolving property disputes. The government and the ministers tried to abolish the Zamindari system by curbing property rights. But their mistake was that they chose an approach of limiting the right to property of all citizens rather than just a few Zamindars.

Over the next few decades, this resulted in disagreement between the legislature and the judiciary. The parliament planned to introduce a modification that would limit property rights and limit the involvement of the judiciary in this matter. The parliament wanted to amend the right to property in such a way that the government can assert ownership of any property for its own use. At the same time, the judiciary was also making judgments to protect individuals’ property rights. 

This conflict came to end in 1978  with the 44th amendment to the constitution, which gave lower protection to the right to property, The government resurrected a long-dead basic right by this amendment, but it was in the shape of a Constitutional right, not the same fundamental right.

Article 300A of the Constitution was included for this purpose, and it states that a person’s right to property cannot be limited unless the government establishes a legitimate mechanism for doing so through legislation.

Right to Property In Its Pre-Constitutional State

The Government of India Act passed in 1935 allowed property to be acquired or disposed of by the government. Section 299 of this Act ensured the protection of this right to all people, whether they were zamindars or peasants. This protected the people and ensured that their property would not be exploited or abused without compensation from the government.

Changes In The Post-Constitutional Era

There was a widespread misconception that the constitutional right to property could not be modified without the state’s directive principles. This notion was later disproved in 1950 when numerous articles were developed such as-

 Article 14, 19(1)(f), 19(5), 31, 32, 39(b) and (c), 226 and 265).

The state has the authority to acquire any private land for public or private use, but only after providing adequate compensation to the private individual or party. So many questions arise as:

  •  Is it possible for the government to claim any property?
  •  Is it possible to provide justice by simply compensating the parties? 
  • Are the legality of the aforementioned laws of social control, taxes, and acquisition a justiciable question?

To put it another way, the right to property is subject to justiciable social control rules under the said clauses.

Right To Property: The Most Important Of All Human Rights

As previously noted, the right to property was given precedence in the Indian Constitution since it was considered a basic right. This is because the framers of our constitution believed that property, like the ability to vote, freedom of expression, and personal liberty, is a fundamental human right. 

It encompasses a wide range of rights that have nothing in common other than the fact that they are exercised by individuals and enforced by the government. As a result, arguing for or against private property without stating the scope or value of that property is pointless.


It can’t be denied that property rights and their protection have been the talk of the town since ancient times. Thus, the act of converting the Right to Property from a fundamental right to a legal right was aimed at protecting people’s rights while curtailing the zamindars’ accumulated rights. So, while the right to property as a fundamental right is no longer valid, the constitutional right to property must continue to exist for the sake of justice.

Right to property: FAQs

When was the Right to Property incorporated as a Fundamental Right in Indian Constitution?

The right to property was incorporated as a ‘fundamental right’ under Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31 in Part III of the Indian Constitution, which made it an acceptable right after India’s independence on January 26, 1950.

When was the Right to Property become Legal right?

In 1978, with the 44th amendment to the constitution, the right to property become a legal right instead of a fundamental right.


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