Analyzing Shrimati Shantabai v. State of Bombay & Others, 1958 AIR 532: A Landmark Decision on Property Rights and State Powers

Author : Dhruv Shrivastava, student at Prestige Institute of Management and Research, Gwalior

To The Point:

India’s Top Court in Shrimati Shantabai v. State of Bombay & Others, 1958 AIR 532, dealt with big issues about property rights and state power over private property. The case made clear how the constitution saw property rights and how much power the state had over it.

Use of Legal Jargon:

The case was about Article 31 of the Constitution, which spoke about the “right to property” before it was changed. Shrimati Shantabai said the state took her land without fair pay. The court looked at the rule of eminent domain, which gave the state right to take land for public use.

The Proof:

Shrimati Shantabai had a deal to gather stuff from a forest. The Government of Bombay said the deal was no good, and took the land and what she got from the forest, saying it was under the law.

Legal Issues:

-Did the Government of Bombay break Shrimati Shantabai’s right to property as per Article 31?

-Did the state go out of bounds when it called the deal void and took over her land without pay?

-How much power the state had as per the rule of eminent domain?


The Supreme Court’s call in Shrimati Shantabai v. State of Bombay was a key judgment about property rights in India. It laid down rules on how the state could take private land and what had to be done to keep each person’s right to their land. This ruling shaped how future courts looked at property cases.

Cases Laws Cited:

  1. State of West Bengal v. Subodh Gopal Bose, 1954 SCR 587: This case was used to know about the state’s power to mess with property rights under Article 31.
  2. Saghir Ahmad v. State of U.P., 1955 SCR 707: This helped set rules for fair pay and the steps needed for the state to take land.
  3. The State of Bihar v. Maharajadhiraja Sir Kameshwar Singh, 1952 SCR 889: It was used to talk about big ideas on property rights and state takeovers under the Indian Constitution.


In Shrimati Shantabai v. State of Bombay & Others, the Supreme Court said the state was wrong to call the deal void and take the land without fair pay. The court made it clear that when the state used its right of eminent domain, it had to do it fair and square. This ruling showed why it was key to stick to the rules and pay fair when the state took private land.


Q1: The key legal issue in Shrimati Shantabai v. State of Bombay was whether the state was wrong to say her deal was void and take her land without pay under Article 31.

A1: Yes, the court said the state had to pay fair when it took land and it had to keep the rules when it took private land too.

Q3: The notion of eminent domain was not used right by the state in this case, as it did not give fair pay to Shrimati Shantabai.

Q4: This case set the rule that the state had to stick to the law when it took private land and give fair pay. It held up the guard for each person’s property rights.

A5: This case was big as it made the law clear on private land rights under the Indian Constitution. It set out the rules for the state when it took private land. And it had a big say in how property cases are seen in India.

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