‘Material resources of community’ extends to private property, Maharashtra govt tells SC : The Tribune India

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‘Material resources of community’ extends to private property, Maharashtra govt tells SC

Amid a raging political debate over redistribution of wealth, the top court had on Wednesday said it would be "dangerous" to say that private wealth of an individual can’t be regarded as ‘material resources of community’

‘Material resources of community’ extends to private property, Maharashtra govt tells SC

Photo for representation only.



Satya Prakash

New Delhi, April 25

Maintaining that the expression “material resources of the community” under Article 39(b) of the Constitution should not be construed narrowly to include natural resources alone, the Maharashtra Government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that the concept extended to private property as well.

“For the purpose of welfare, all things available in the world and maintained by individual human beings are a part of community resources. Also, any object created or made for human purposes will constitute community resources,” Attorney General R Venkataramani told a nine-judge Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud on behalf of the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHAADA).

Maintaining that he was not suggesting that the Marxist distribution of wealth philosophy should be adopted while giving effect to Article 39 (b) for distribution of material resources, the Attorney General, however, clarified that the extent of State intervention for redistribution of “community resources” could be looked into on a case-to-case basis and “each one of them will certainly be scrutinised by the court.”

A non-justiciable provision under Part-IV of the Constitution, Article 39 (b) casts an obligation on the State to create policy towards securing "that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to sub-serve the common good".

The Bench -- which also included Justices Hrishikesh Roy, B V Nagarathna, Sudhanshu Dhulia, J B Pardiwala, Manoj Misra, Rajesh Bindal, Satish Chandra Sharma and Augustine George Masih – was hearing a challenge launched by Property Owners Association (POA) of Mumbai and others against a Maharashtra Law that allowed taking over dilapidated private buildings for redevelopment. Filed in 1992, the case was referred to a nine-judge Bench by a seven-judge Bench in 2002 for an authoritative pronouncement.

“Isn't it a caveat against privatisation and liberalisation, -- which is the order of the day, today? And… where private enterprise is being encouraged, and as a result, there is an increase in private wealth which ultimately leads to the increase in the nation’s wealth,” Justice Nagarathna asked Venkatarami.

“I am not seeing that in the classic Marxist sense that you regulate everything. Such constitutional provisions will receive wisdom and maturity in an evolving constitutional framework… so whether we have private capital or not, this provision will still have some relevance,” Venkataramani replied.

“Each word of the Constitution can have a different meaning at different points of time… So, we cannot think of only what was there in the 1950s. The same words can be interpreted in the 21st century…” Justice Nagarathna said.

Amid a raging political debate over redistribution of wealth, the top court had on Wednesday said it would be "dangerous" to say that private wealth of an individual can’t be regarded as ‘material resources of community’ and taken over by the state to sub-serve "common good".

"It may be a little extreme to suggest that 'material resources of the community' only means public resources and we do not have their origin in the private property of an individual. I will tell you why it would be dangerous to take that view,” the CJI had said.

#Maharashtra #Supreme Court


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