ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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History of Eminent Domain in Colonial Thought and Legal Practice

This paper explores the prehistory of the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. By focusing on colonial Calcutta, it traces the emergence, development and various legal justifications of the principle of eminent domain under the East India Company rule. It describes the legal, bureaucratic and often extralegal methods employed to enact land acquisition law and documents the processes and narrative fictions that coalesced into our present understandings of the state's relation to land and law's relation to ethics. It also throws light upon the workings of the "reality" that law constructed and enacted in devising the principle of eminent domain.

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