Reviewed by Sweta | Updated on Sep 28, 2020


Condemnation refers to the process adopted by the government of seizing of private property for public use. The ownership of the property is transferred from private to public enterprise. The land or real estate is generally acquired to build public infrastructures, such as highways, railways, metro lines, roads, airports, and any other infrastructure requirements.

Understanding Condemnation

Eminent domain is the right of the government to take away the private property to develop for public use. In India, eminent domain is referred to as ‘compulsory acquisition’ of land. The applicable law is ‘The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013’.

The above the law governs the land acquisition and prescribes the procedure for land acquisition, and providing compensation for the condemned land. The law also prescribes for the issue of notice and hearing to the affected parties, and further provisions for rehabilitation of the affected parties.

In case the owner of the property views the compensation as inadequate, they can challenge the compensation in a court. However, the owner can challenge the compulsory acquisition only if they are of the view that the acquisition is not in the public interest or the seizure is illegal.

The acquisition should be viewed from the perspective of economic development. Private projects and public projects for economic development are in the interest of the public. For example, a hotel construction project on a new highway will generate business and tax revenues for the government.

The government can also seize intellectual property through the process of condemnation. With respect to setting up public infrastructure in the form of sewage lines, water pipelines, or power connections, the government carries out the development in agreement with the private owners. There is no seizure of private property in such cases.


Condemnation or the legal process for the seizure of property or land is necessary for the economic development of a country. Various countries lay down laws prescribing the procedure for condemnation.

The law prescribes the mode of acquisition, compensation, and so on. In case the private individual or enterprise challenges the order of condemnation, while the appeal is pending, the government can go ahead with the project.

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