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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the fundamental right to property as an important, albeit contentious, provision in the Indian Constitution. It considers Article 19(1)(f) of the Constitution, which guaranteed to all citizens the fundamental right to ‘acquire, hold and dispose of property’. It considers the shifts and continuities concerning this right in India, in both colonial and Independent India. It analyses case law relating to agrarian reform under the First, Fourth, and Seventeenth Amendments (Article 31(4) and (6), Articles 31A and 31B). It also assesses the laws within the scope of Article 31(2) needed to satisfy the requirements of public purpose and compensation. It concludes by commenting on the abolition of the fundamental right to property through the Forty-fourth Constitutional Amendment, as well as attempts to reinstate this right in the Indian Constitution.

Keywords: agrarian reform, compensation, constitutional amendments, fundamental right, Government of India Act 1935, Indian Constitution, public purpose, right to property

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