Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Property Rights in India

Last night my flatmate and I were discussing Indian Economics and Politics with his parents. He mentioned a property rights case his uncle is fighting in the courts that gives a clear indication of the nature of property rights in India. His uncle owns ancestral property in a North Indian State. The property includes a house and some land around it. Since the family has moved away to live in a different city, they used the house as an occassional vacation home. A little over a decade ago, the state government approached them to rent the property. They had no plans to rent the place and so they declined the over. A year after this episode, someone visiting the village noticed that the house that was supposed to be locked up was being lived in. The person living in the house was the State High Court judge. When asked to vacate the property, he refused saying the government had given him the property. The owners have been fighting a case against the government for 12 years now. It does not seem likely that they will get their property back.
The irony is that the justice system which is supposed to arbiter such cases is party to this property rights theft. For every single progressive step the country makes, it slides down several thanks to a judicial and legislative system that exists to loot the common man of his hard earned property. It is a miracle that progress occurs in India in spite of these blatant misuses of the law and non-protection of private property.


Chandra said...

Infact, recenly I have collected a couple of articles on Private Property Right in India!, i'm planning to edit it it is quite interesting!

Bibek said...

Namaskar !
Judiciary is one of the three pillars of the governance . But it has some reservations regarding the check and balance system as enshrined in the constitution . Judiciary too should be subjected to the ethos of accountability. Being the judge of one's own issues negates the very fundamental principle of justice .

With so many skeletons coming out of the cup-board in the judicial sphere even in the regime of contempt of court , scheme are making right thinking people apprehensive. There is no guarantee of the moral rectitude in the present setup of the judiciary . The principle of Contempt should be taken as the last resort . But the institution of the judiciary must desire this power to continue after deserving it genuinely .

In the present knowledge era, it is highly imperative , that people from various walks of life should be allowed to enter the hallowed portals of the judiciary . This will definitely lead to better understanding of the various issues, and strengthen the internal fabric of the judicial system . Morality, rationality , domain knowledge , and the legal aptitude should be the essential prerequisites for the entrants . Those having not possessing a degree in law at the time of the appointment , should be imparted a crash course in judicial academies . This innovative scheme will bring the opportunity to the brightest persons in the society to further the cause of justice and upholding truth.

Post-retirement assignments in various government slots should be discouraged , and rather teaching assignments and undertaking social initiatives should be encouraged among the retirees so that society may be guided to tread on the saner path . However a very generous scheme of post-retirement benefits must necessarily be provided to the superannuated judges. There should also be some seats reserved in our parliament and the state legislatures for the retired judges . There should be at least 10 times raise in the judicial positions . By this way, we will be truly heralding an era of the rule of law nay justice . Judges having different educational background and selected on the basis of a stringent test, of both their knowledge and their personal integrity , will really steer the society on a correct path .

Hope, these suggestions will be taken into consideration , if we really want a reformed judiciary . However it is another matter, a truly sane idea is normally jeered at , or at worst throttled out .


Yours truly,

Bibek Kumar Anand
Convener " SAMPADA"