Subject as hereinafter provided, any property in the territory of India which, if this Constitution had not come into operation, would have accrued to His Majesty or, as the case may be, to the Ruler of an Indian State by escheat or lapse, or as bona vacantia for want of a rightful owner, shall, if it is property situate in a State, vest in such State, and shall, in any other case, vest in the Union:

 

   Provided that any property which at the date when it would have so accrued to His Majesty or to the Ruler of an Indian State was in the possession or under the control of the Government of India or the Government of a State shall, according as the purposes for which it was then used or held were purposes of the Union or of a State, vest in the Union or in that State.

 

   Explanation. — In this article, the expressions “Ruler” and “Indian State” have the same meanings as in article 363.

Debate Summary

Draft Article 271, Draft Constitution of India (1948) 

Subject as hereinafter provided, any property in the territory of India except the States for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule which, if this Constitution had not come into operation, would have accrued to His Majesty by escheat or lapse, or as bona vacantia for want of a rightful owner, shall, if it is property situate in a State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule, vest in such State for the purposes of the Government of that State, and shall, in any other case, vest in the Union for the purposes of the Government of India.

Provided that any property which at the date when it would have so accrued to His Majesty was in the possession or under the control of the Government of India or the Government of a State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule shall, according as the purposes for which it was then used or held were purposes of the Union or of a State so specified, vest in the Union for the purposes of the Government of India or in the State for the purposes of the Government of that State.Draft Article 271 (Article 296, Constitution of India 1950) was debated on 15 June 1949. The Draft Article stated that any property in India will belong to the State that it is situated in for the purposes of the Government of that State and belong to the Union for the purposes of the Union. 

 

The Drafting Committee Chairman moved an amendment that proposed some semantic changes to the Draft Article. The amendment was adopted without much debate. 

 

The amended Draft Article was adopted on the same day without any discussion.