Private property is a human right: Supreme Court

News:Recently,the Supreme Court has held that a citizen’s right to own private property is a human right.



  • The case was of an 80-year-old woman whose 3.34 hectare land was forcibly taken by the Himachal Pradesh Government in 1967 for constructing a road.

Key takeaways from the judgement:

  • The court ruled that the citizen’s right to own private property is a human right.
  • It said that to forcibly dispose citizens of their private property without following the due process of law would be to violate a human right as also the constitutional right.
  • The apex court also referred to the earlier verdict in State of Haryana v. Mukesh Kumar case (2011) wherein it was held that the right to property is not only a constitutional or statutory right but also a human right.
  • The court also said that the state cannot be permitted to perfect its title over the land by invoking the doctrine of adverse possession.
  • Further,the apex court also used its extraordinary jurisdiction under Article 136 and Article 142 of the Constitution to direct the government to pay the woman compensation of 1 crore rupees.

Additional information:

About Right to property:

  • The 44th Amendment of 1978 deleted the right to property from the list of fundamental rights.It was made a Constitutional right under Article 300A. 
  • Article 300A requires the state to follow due procedure and authority of law to deprive a person of his or her private property.

Right to Adverse possession:

  • The right to Adverse possession is a legal doctrine that allows a person who possesses or resides on someone else’s land for an extended period of time to claim legal title to that land.
  • In India,the person who is not the original owner of the land becomes the owner because of the fact that he has been in possession of the property for a minimum of 12-years within which the real owner did not seek legal recourse to oust him. 

About Article 142:

  • Article 142 provides for the enforcement of decrees and orders of Supreme Court.It consists of two clauses:
  • Article 142(1) states that Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it and the orders shall be enforceable throughout the territory of India.

Article 136(Special leave petition):

  • Under Article 136 of the Constitution,the Supreme Court is authorised to grant in its discretion special leave to appeal from (a) any judgment, decree determination, sentence or order (b) in any case or matter or (c) passed or made by any court or tribunal in the territory of India.
  • The only exception to this power of the Supreme Court is with regard to any judgment of any court or tribunal constituted by or under any law relating to the armed forces.