Right to Property: Demystifying the Dichotomy of the term ‘Public Purpose’ in case of Acquisition and Requisition of Land

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By: Abu Bakar Siddique & Md. Azhar Uddin Bhuiyan*



The power of eminent domain permits the state to override private property rights in matters related to ‘public interest’. The necessity of this power is more or less acknowledged in almost all the countries around the globe. However, crossing the limits or excessive use of this power diminishes property rights of the people. The second part of Article 42 of the Constitution of Bangladesh provides for extinction of the right to property only by way of compulsorily acquisition or nationalisation under the authority of law. Socially disadvantaged groups suffer extremely when the government takes land with unjust compensation or without compensation for doubtful public purpose. Even the major law relating to Acquisition and Requisition of Immovable Property Ordinance 1982 allows acquisition or requisition of land only in cases of public purpose or public interest. However, in our corpus juris, the term ‘public purpose’ has not clearly been defined. Our judiciary tends to give it a contextual meaning rather than providing a general definition of the term ‘public purpose’. Judiciaries around the world tend to do so. On this backdrop of legal lacuna, this assignment will trace the meaning of the term ‘public purpose’ in cases of acquisition and requisition.

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* Abu Bakar Siddique is a LLM student at the Department of Law, University of Dhaka. Md. Azhar Uddin Bhuiyan is a student of LLB at the Department of Law, University of Dhaka.

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