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Mainstream, VOL LX No 33, 34 New Delhi, August 6, August 13, 2022 [Independence Day Special]

Bulldozing the People, their Intellectual and Immovable Properties | Bhavya

Saturday 13 August 2022

by Bhavya *


In the contemporary era, bulldozers have been used to remove political opponents and minority groups of society. It is because of the dominance of majoritarian groups over weaker sections of society. Absolute power of the State is the result of violations of basic fundamental rights. All the acts of the state should be reasonable and must not violate the principles of democracy. The values of liberty, equality, justice, fraternity, etc. should be exercised in a way that a class of society is not marginalized. State has sovereign power, but all the authority must be performed in a way that does not violate the spirit of the Constitution. Thereby, both the citizens and their properties should not be bulldozed from the mainstream sections of society. Everyone should be treated equally irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, class, and region, etc. So, the State also needs to act in a way that there is no human rights violation and hence the multiformity in society is accepted.

Literally, bulldozers are considered to be a mechanical force that is basically used for the clearing of ground. But the words are basically homonyms in nature i.e., having multiple meanings. For instance, the word bulldozer can also be used to define the force that pulls out roots of opponent ideology and therefore clears the mind and the environment. The opinion here is that the use of bulldozers is guided by the existence of homogenous groups. However, if there is a society or a group of people, it cannot be homogenous. The reason behind the aforementioned argument is that every individual is born with distinct behaviors, ideologies, colours, caste, nature, environment, conditions, religion, region, etc. These individual differences are given to us by the nature. Such heterogeneity among the people gives rise to the concept of diversity. Diversity basically means a blend of varied groups, people, things, opinions and individuals, etc. Contrary to the concept of diversity and individual rights, bulldozers are used by the powerful group of people to remove the marginalized and suburbs.

The use of absolute power by the State gives rise to the authoritarian rule of the sovereign. In such a situation, power becomes draconian and the people from ghettos continue to live in the same conditions in which they are treated as the minority groups. The administrative heads need to understand the conceptual difference between rule of law and rule by law. Rule of law means treating citizens of the country equally irrespective of their political and social ideologies, colour, caste, religion, region, class, etc. It is one of the basic natures of the Indian Constitution. The case of S.P. Gupta v. Union of India [1], says that the exercise of power by the State, whether it be the Legislature or Executive or any authority should be within the Constitutional limits. It should not cross the boundaries of the law. Law means rationality and objectivity in ideas, thoughts, and actions to empower the dispossessed classes of our society. Whereas, the notion of Sovereign immunity is contrary to the basic structure of legal theories of justice and equality. Power should not be misused; it should not become absolute and incontrovertible. The authority or the King has no legal power to do wrong. [2] Thereby, bulldozing the minds or even the immovable properties by the State is a violation of fundamental rights and is leading to lawlessness in society and among people. Exclusion of a particular group of people is the situation when discriminatory practices are exercised. The case of Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India [3] which is also known as the passport case has widened the scope of liberty. The view behind it was to “expand the ambit and reach of fundamental rights rather than to attenuate their meaning and content by a process of judicial construction.” Therefore, curbing the basic rights that are fundamental to every individual is completely unconstitutional in nature.

The impact of such illegal actions is resulting in a threat to the Human Rights of Indian citizens. There is an increase in the crisis of the right to life, protection, and safety among people. Shelter and housing facilities are the foremost priority to safeguard the people of a country. No person can be deprived of his property merely by executive fiat. [4] Deprivation from a property can also result in the violation of Article 300A of the Indian Constitution. All the acts that are performed by the State must be just, fair and reasonable. They should not violate the ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity, socialism, justice, etc. Law must be considered as the supreme authority and must be rational in nature and should not discriminate against the people. Bulldozing of both the intellectual and immovable property is the consequential result of authoritarian rule. It is illegal to deprive a person of property without any jurisdiction or authority of law. [5] The increase in totalitarian power of the state is making the minds and people anesthetically helpless. The deprivation of people from society, and their own intellectual, and immovable properties are causing harm to the spirit of the law.

Thereby, the argument drawn here is of the view that the act of bulldozing is violating both the human spirit and constitutional values. The reason behind it is that it is suppressing the voices of the people who are residing in the peripheral boundaries.

* (Author: Bhavya is a Final Year Student of B.A.LL.B., Jamnalal Bajaj School of Legal Studies, Banasthali Vidyapith, Rajasthan)

[11981 Supp Supreme Court Cases 87

[2N. Nagendra Rao & Co. v. State of A.P. (1994) 6 SCC 205

[3(1978) 1 SCC 278

[4K.T. Plantation Pvt. Ltd. v. State of Karnataka (2011) 9 SCC 1

[5Jilabhai Nanbhai Khachar v. the State of Gujarat, AIR 1995 SC 142

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