Article 300A of the COI
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Article 300A of the COI

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 26-Feb-2024

Source: Supreme Court

Why in News?

Recently, the Supreme Court in the matter of Lucknow Nagar Nigam & Ors. v. Kohli Brothers Colour Lab. Pvt. Ltd. & Ors., has held that that the right to property as enshrined under Article 300A of the Constitution of India, 1950 (COI) extends to persons who are not citizens of India.

What was the Background of Lucknow Nagar Nigam & Ors. v. Kohli Brothers Colour Lab. Pvt. Ltd. & Ors. Case?

  • In this case, the subject property is an Enemy Property located on Mahatma Gandhi Marg, Lucknow, owned by the Raja of Mahmudabad, who migrated to Pakistan in the year 1947.
  • A portion of the property is currently occupied and utilized for profit-generating purposes by the respondent (assessee).
  • in the fiscal year 1998-1999, it came to the Municipal Corporation’s attention that the assessee was operating a commercial establishment within the premises.
  • Consequently, the appellant (Municipal Corporation) conducted an assessment based on Capital Value and issued a notice to the assessee regarding the assessed Annual Value.
  • Thereafter, a writ petition has been filed before the High Court of Allahabad by the respondent.
  • The High Court of Allahabad has allowed the petition, thereby holding that the assessee is exempt from payment of property tax under the provisions of the UP Municipal Corporation Adhiniyam, 1959.
  • The present civil appeal has been filed by the appellant before the Supreme Court which was later allowed by the Court.

What were the Court’s Observations?

  • A bench comprising Justices BV Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan observed that having regard to the salutary principles of Article 300A of the COI, we cannot construe the taking possession of the enemy property for the purpose of administration of the same by the Custodian, as an instance of transfer of ownership from the true owner to the Custodian and thereby to the Union.
  • It was further held that the expression person in Article 300A covers not only a legal or juristic person but also a person who is not a citizen of India. The expression property is also of a wide scope and includes not only tangible or intangible property but also all rights, title and interest in a property.

What are the Relevant Legal Provisions Involved in it?

Enemy Property

About:

  • As per the Enemy Property Act, 1968, enemy property is any property for the time being belonging to or held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm.
  • The expression enemy property shall mean and include and shall be deemed to have always meant and included all rights, titles and interest in, or any benefit arising out of, such property.

The Enemy Property Act, 1968:

  • This is an act of the Parliament of India, which enables and regulates the appropriation of property in India owned by Pakistani nationals.
  • The act was passed following the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
  • This act provides for the continued vesting of enemy property vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India under the Defence of India Rules, 1962 and the Defence of India Rules, 1971, and for matters connected therewith.

Article 300A of the COI

  • Originally, Part III of the COI contained the right to property as one of the fundamental rights.
  • It was made a Constitutional right under Article 300A of the COI.
    • Article 300A requires the State to follow due procedure and authority of law to deprive a person of his or her private property