Does the Right to Property Create a Constitutional Tension in Socialist Constitutions: An Analysis with Reference to India and China
Volume 1 Issue 4 (2008)
While both China and India began their independent history rooted in a socialist ideology, albeit with some local customisation, they are today in some measure leaning towards free market capitalism. The development of the right to property in the two countries, however, has been diametrically opposite. While on the one hand India had, in pursuance of its ideological goals, relegated the right to property, China on the other hand, has progressively accorded it a stronger status. However, it has not witnessed the kind of constitutional tensions – be it at the ideological level, as a result of apparently conflicting goals of the State, at the institutional level, as between the judiciary and executive branches of the State, or even at the interface with civil society, which India had to brave. This paper explores the reasons for such divergence of experience. However, as Chinese society and legal institutions witness a change, it is foreseeable that China may experience similar tension as India had once witnessed. In this backdrop, this paper suggests means by which China could learn lessons from the constitutional experience in India, keeping in mind systemic differences in the traditions of the twin nations.