Bhagauji S/o Nathaji Maind and Ors v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors

Case Analysis: 

Bhagauji S/o Nathaji Maind and Ors v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors

Author :G Gopala Krishna, a Student of  Alliance University


In the case of Bhagauji S/o Nathaji Maind and Ors v. The State of Maharashtra and Ors., the Bombay High Court rendered a significant decision on July 3, 2021, regarding the building of a national highway and its effect on the right to property as specified in Article 300A of the Indian Constitution. No one may be stripped of their property unless authorised by law, according to Article 300A. In this case, the petitioners held residential buildings, fruit trees, a bore-well, and other amenities close to a national highway in addition to agricultural property. The petitioners contended that their properties should be seized in accordance with the due process of law, even though they did not object to the proposed road widening.

The primary question in this case is whether property rights guaranteed by Article 300A qualify as both constitutional and human rights. After being classed as a statutory right by the Forty-fourth Amendment Act of 1978, the right to property is now enforceable against executive rather than legislative acts. The right to own property has been proven to be a human and constitutional right. Our case study shows that no welfare state has the right to take away someone’s property or deny them their civil rights in the sake of industrial progress.


The aforementioned route, which was formerly tiny, was expanded and turned into a State Highway—the Jalna-Wadigodri road—without paying the petitioners. According to the petitioners, the width of the road is now about 12 metres. But without purchasing further land, the respondents produced an award letter and started extending the road to 30 metres.

The landowners were not compensated since the government did not start property acquisition procedures when they turned this little route into Highway No. 176. Phase by phase, the responses have been improving the Sillod to Wadigodri route. In particular, the petitioners are worried about the Dhangar Pimpri to Wadigodri phase, where they claim authorities are trying to forcibly take their property in accordance with a resolution addressing nearby road lands that purportedly do not require purchase.

As per the petitioners, property owned by a landowner cannot be seized by state personnel without following the correct legal processes. Since every petitioner is similarly impacted, Article 300A is violated by the respondents’ use of a government resolution to forcefully take possession of the petitioners’ land in order to build a road.

Rather than building new roads, the Central Authorities contend that they are restoring existing roadways along the same line to National Highway standards. By making it easier to move agricultural products from isolated and rural locations to metropolitan markets, the road’s upgrade to National Highway standards is meant to help nearby farmers.

State Authorities argue that the problem is covered by the statute of limitations and that the petitioners are ineligible under the principles of laches and delay. Additionally, they point out that road construction has started and is almost complete, and that the public’s benefit requires the completion of the remaining work.


  1. Whether the authorities are increasing the width of National Highway No. 753-H from 12 to 30 meters without following due process of law?
  1. Whether there is an obligation to provide compensation under Article 300A?

Issue 1:

A District Road’s normal width is 12 metres, but a State Highway is required to be 30 metres wide. Prior to being recognised as a State Highway on April 19, 1967, the aforementioned route was known as a District route. This raises the question of when this designation was made. The petitioners and the respondents/authorities will both be present when the road is measured in order to resolve the ongoing dispute. An appropriate institution will oversee the road measurement in the aforementioned villages under the direction of the District Collector, Jalna, in order to settle the dispute and promote a cooperative agreement between the parties about the width of the road.

According to the court, providing copies of road construction plans and maps of individual settlements could not be sufficient to reach a conclusion or document one, as doing so would be erroneous. The Bench also reported that the width of the road varied from thirty metres in some places to less than thirty metres in other places. The right to property was rendered non-fundamental in 1978 by the Constitution (Forty-Fourth Amendment) Act; nonetheless, it continued to be a human right in a welfare state and a constitutional right under Article 300 A. According to Article 300 A, no one’s property may be seized from them unless a valid legal reason exists.

Issue 2:

The High Court held that although Article 300A does not directly require compensation, it is implied by its terms. The court determined that taking away someone’s real estate without paying them is obviously against Article 21 of the Constitution. It is a well-established legal concept that an individual cannot be dispossessed of their property unless it is done so by the force of law. This includes the right to property as a human right. The Supreme Court ruled in Vidya Devi v. Himachal Pradesh and Ors (SLP No. 6066/1995) that the State could not take away a citizen’s property without a court order in a democratic society run by the rule of law. 

The State is limited by the Constitution in its ability to act as a welfare state that upholds the rule of law. No welfare state has the authority to uproot people and deny them their fundamental, constitutional, or human rights in the sake of industrial progress. In a society where the rule of law governs, decisions cannot be made at random. The petitioners’ homes were not at risk of being seized since the High Court found no solid evidence to substantiate the argument that the road was 30 metres wide.

Arguments from both parties:

Arguments put up by either sideThe petitioners’ legal representative said that the Central Government Authority or State Government cannot lawfully seize a landowner’s property without first completing the required legal procedures. Article 300A of the Indian Constitution is flagrantly violated by the defendants’ acts of forcibly acquiring the petitioners’ properties in order to enlarge the road. The applicants are entitled to appropriate compensation under Article 300A. The government cannot simply change the status of a road and then seize adjoining landowners’ properties without following the required legal processes.

The respondent authorities assert that the road width in their respective villages is roughly thirty metres, whilst the petitioners maintain that it is around twelve metres. The petitioners’ attorney said that although work is still being done in their towns to repair the route, the government is widening the road in the name of road improvement.

The National Highway Authority, the Union of India’s learned Standing Counsel, and the Pleader for the Maharashtra State Government/State Authority all make comments that assert the authorities are repairing an already-existing road rather than building a new one. A state highway is being transformed into a national highway. The road development plan states that the work is within thirty metres. Land acquisition is not a concern for the petitioners because the road upgrade stays within this width. They maintained that the petitioners are requesting payment for land that was long ago bought in order to turn the route into a state highway.


After careful deliberation and discussion, it is determined that the relevant authorities ought to be provided with explicit instructions on how to measure the road in issue at each hamlet while all parties are present. Under the guidance of a suitable authority and in the presence of both parties, the respondents should measure National Highway No. 753-H (previously State Highway No. 176) in the villages of Shahapur, Dadegaon, Dhakalgaon, and Math Tanda. As quickly as possible—ideally within four months—this has to be completed.

In the event that the petitioners’ neighbouring lands are not acquired and the road width in these villages is determined to be 30 metres at the time of measurement. The State and Central authorities are required by law to purchase the required land if the width of the road is less than thirty metres. In order to prevent any miscommunication, the District Collector, Jalna, will oversee the road measurement exercise in the designated villages.

This directive has led to the dismissal of the writ petitions. The judgement underlined that under a welfare state, statutory authorities have a duty to not only compensate victims fairly but also to assist in their rehabilitation. If these responsibilities are not met, the abuse of displaced people may lead them to become vagrants or participate in anti-national actions, protecting their civil rights. 

In 2015 (4) All M.R. 983, the Apex Court ruled in Pradyumna Mukund Kokil vs. State of Maharashtra and Others that it is unlawful for any government agency or State authority to seize someone’s land without following the required legal procedures. The government cannot take ownership of property without following the proper procedures, even if a citizen has given permission for the government to utilise their land.

Analysis of the Judgement:

A landowner’s property cannot be seized by the government or state authorities without first following the correct legal processes. No one’s property may be seized without a court order, according to Article 300A of the Constitution. Citing the Government Resolution as justification, the respondents’ conduct of forcibly seizing the petitioners’ properties for the purpose of extending the road are against Article 300A.

Although it is still a human right under a welfare state, the right to property was devalued from a basic right to a constitutional right under Article 300A by the Constitution (Forty-Fourth Amendment) Act of 1978. No one’s property may be seized without a court order, according to Article 300A, which mandates that the state obey the law in order to remove a citizen’s property.

Even after a significant period of time has elapsed, the courts may still use Article 226 to exercise their authority with regard to the delay and the violation of basic rights. The High Court may be forced to step in notwithstanding any delay due to the pressing need for justice. The court’s discretion must be used fairly and honestly to advance justice rather than obstruct it.

Respecting the law is required of both the authorities and the responders. Decisions made in a legal society cannot be made arbitrarily. In pertinent circumstances, courts ought to prohibit State Authorities from acting arbitrarily by exercising their extraordinary writ power as granted by the Indian Constitution.


It follows that choices cannot be made arbitrarily in a society where the rule of law is in place. There was in this instance no debate about obtaining the petitioners’ lands nor concrete proof that the road was thirty metres wide. When it comes to acquiring property, state and federal government agencies are supposed to behave as role models for litigants, upholding the rights of petitioners and according to legal protocols. Requiring someone to give up their land without following the legal procedure is unacceptable for any state or federal authority. The government must pay the citizen a just compensation when they acquire land, even if the individual has granted consent for the government to utilise their land.

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