Table of Contents
Overview of Article 24 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Constitutions serve as the pillars of every nation’s legal framework, outlining citizens’ rights, liberties, and responsibilities. Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution stands as testament to their dedication in safeguarding these rights while providing an appropriate legal framework for property ownership – with Article 24 acting as guidance regarding rights and restrictions related to ownership rights.
Article 24 States
24. Protection of property rights.
- No person shall be compulsorily deprived of his property save in accordance with law.
- No property shall be compulsorily acquired or taken possession of save for a public purpose, and save by the authority of law which provides for compensation therefore and either fixes the amount of compensation or specifies the principles on and the manner in which compensation is to be determined and given.
- Nothing in this Article shall affect the validity of :-
- any law permitting the compulsory acquisition or taking possession of any property for preventing danger to life, property or public health; or
- any law permitting the taking over of any property which has been acquired by, or come into the possession of, any person by any unfair means, or in any manner, contrary to law; or
- any law relating to the acquisition, administration or disposal of any property which is or is deemed to be enemy property or evacuee property under any law (not being property which has ceased to be evacuee property under any law); or
- any law providing for the taking over of the management of any property by the State for a limited period, either in the public interest or in order to secure the proper management of the property, or for the benefit of its owner; or
- any law providing for the acquisition of any class of property for the purpose of
- providing education and medical aid to all or any specified class of citizens or
- providing housing and public facilities and services such as roads, water supply, sewerage, gas and electric power to all or any specified class of citizens; or
- providing maintenance to those who, on account of unemployment, sickness, infirmity or old age, are unable to maintain themselves ; or
- any existing law or any law made in pursuance of Article 253.
- The adequacy or otherwise of any compensation provided for by any such law as is referred to in this Article, or determined in pursuance thereof, shall not be called in question in any court.
This comprehensive article delves into the fundamental principles of property rights, conditions under which they may be acquired, and their legal regulation by law. Understanding its full significance requires breaking these key points down further.
Key Points of Article 24 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 24 recognizes that every citizen possesses an inalienable right to acquire, hold and dispose of property within Pakistan’s boundaries. This covers acquisition, possession and transfer – an important acknowledgment of how property rights play an integral role in an individual’s life.
Subject to the Constitution: While Pakistan’s Constitution upholds property rights, it must be understood that they do not extend unfettered into all areas. Property ownership must adhere to the principles and regulations laid out in its text so as to not compromise other people’s rights and interests or impede wider public interest goals.
Reasonable Restrictions: Article 24 recognizes that in certain instances the state may need to restrict property rights in order to protect the environment, ensure public safety or advance economic well-being. Such restrictions must not be unreasonable but rather should be just and fair – for instance in protecting public health or fostering economic wellbeing.
Public Purpose: Property acquisition must serve a public purpose to be legal and ethically permissible, which ensures it benefits society more broadly rather than being acquired for private gain. Law should play an integral role in this process by providing compensation measures, either through specifying an amount or providing guidelines and procedures for calculating compensation amounts and dispensations procedures.
Exceptions to Property Rights: Article 24 recognizes that in certain circumstances property rights may be overriden by specific laws; these exceptions do not compromise the validity of this article. These exceptions include compulsory acquisition for preventing danger to life, property, or public health, taking over unlawfully acquired property, dealing with enemy or evacuee property, and temporary state management of property for the public interest or the benefit of its owner.
Adequacy of Compensation: It is crucial to understand that the adequacy of compensation provided for under such laws should not be questioned in court. This provision ensures that compensation disputes are resolved through legal processes rather than by questioning the sufficiency of compensation in court.
Crux of Article 24 of the Constitution of Pakistan
The essence of Article 24 lies in its commitment to balancing individual property rights with the broader public interest. It recognizes property ownership as a fundamental right while emphasizing the government’s authority to impose reasonable restrictions when such restrictions serve the greater good.
The core principles of Article 24 can be summarized as follows:
Fundamental Right: Article 24 unequivocally acknowledges property ownership as a fundamental right for every citizen. This recognition underscores the significance of personal control and ownership over one’s assets and possessions.
Constitutional Boundaries: While protecting property rights, Article 24 sets clear boundaries. Property ownership should adhere to the Constitution, ensuring it doesn’t violate other constitutional provisions or national interests. This boundary emphasizes the rule of law.
Public Interest: Perhaps the most critical aspect of Article 24 is its acknowledgment that property rights are not absolute. The government has the authority to impose reasonable restrictions on these rights, primarily to safeguard the public interest. These restrictions reflect the concept of a social contract, recognizing that individual rights must yield to the collective welfare when necessary.
Exceptions and Legal Framework: Article 24 carefully outlines exceptions to property rights, ensuring that specific laws can supersede property rights when circumstances demand it. These exceptions are clearly defined and are part of the legal framework.
Resolution of Compensation Disputes: To maintain legal consistency, Article 24 firmly states that the adequacy of compensation provided should not be questioned in court. This provision encourages property owners and the government to resolve compensation disputes through legal means rather than through prolonged court battles.
Conclusion: Article 24 of the Constitution of Pakistan
Article 24 of Pakistan’s Constitution forms the cornerstone of its property rights regime, providing an essential balance between protecting individual rights and upholding public interest.
The delicate equilibrium established by Article 24 is a model for similar provisions in constitutional frameworks worldwide. It aims to harmonize individual rights with society’s collective needs, creating a just and equitable nation where property rights are protected, and legal processes are in place to resolve disputes.
Understanding Article 24 is fundamental for every citizen of Pakistan and anyone interested in constitutional law and the principles that underpin property rights. It exemplifies the essence of a democratic society, where rights and responsibilities coexist, working in harmony to create a just and equitable nation.