Constitutional & Administrative Law

Doctrine of Eminent Domain

Previous Year Questions:

Q. Analyze the relevance of doctrine of eminent domain under the constitution of India. Explain the limitations of this doctrine with the help of case laws. 

Q. What do you understand by the term ‘Eminent Domain’? Discuss its relevance in the present day context. 

Important Observations:

  • Doctrine of Eminent domain, in its general meaning means the supreme power of the king or the government under which property of any individual can be taken over in the concern of the general public
  • Salus Populi Suprema Les Esto – The welfare of the people is the paramount law.
  • Necessita Public Major Est Quan – The public necessity is greater than the private necessity.
  • By the 44th Constitution Amendment Act, the right to property became a constitutional right. The right to property can be differentiated as before and after the 44th Constitution Amendment Act. This amendment removed Article 31 and replaced it under 300A.
  • Article 300-A of the Constitution says that no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law.
  • The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Act, 2013 provides the procedure to be followed by the State Government to make the land acquisition constitutionally valid.

Important Case Laws:

  • State Of W.B. v. Union Of India, 1963 – The entire territory (of India) is directly under the Federal Government and that the Federal Government could exercise its power of eminent domain in respect of that territory.
  • Sudharsan Charitable Trust V. Government of Tamilnadu – The law is well settled that eminent domain is an essential attribute of sovereignty of every State and, in the exercise of its eminent domain power, the State may take any property from the owner and may appropriate it for public purposes on payment of compensation, as otherwise, no beneficial project involving larger public interest/public utility would come into existence.
  • State of Bihar v. Kameshwar Singh – The Government can acquire property of any individual but it shall be used for public purpose and not otherwise.

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