The Golak Nath Inheritance

Granville Austin

in Working a Democratic Constitution

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780195656107
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080397 | DOI:
The Golak Nath Inheritance

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Golak Nath Chatterji left Bengal in the mid-nineteenth century and walked across North India to the Punjab, where he joined the Scottish American Presbyterian Mission in Jalandhar. In 1879, one of his children, Henry Golak Nath, returned to take his father's place as a minister. Expanding beyond the house and small plot of land given him by the mission, Henry, with his brother William, bought up some five hundred acres of farmland over the years. The dispute between the family and the Punjab government over the disposition of this property went to the Supreme Court to become the watershed Golak Nath case. They filed a petition under Article 32 challenging the 1953 Punjab Act on the ground that it denied them their constitutional rights to acquire and hold property and practice any profession and to equality and equal protection of the law.

Keywords: India; Henry Golak Nath; Punjab Act; Supreme Court; Golak Nath Chatterji

Chapter.  6288 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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