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

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In Pursuit of Happiness

Towards Resolving the Land Rights Dilemma of Chit-Dwellers

With the execution of the Land Boundary Agreement between India and Bangladesh, issues relating to the border enclaves are fi nally in the process of being resolved. Concerns surrounding the effective implementation of the Agreement remain, such as the recognition and distribution of property for the residents of the border enclaves. There is a need for a separate legislation to address these issues and the model adopted after partition may serve as a useful guide.

1 Introduction

In May 2015, the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act 2015 (henceforth the act) was passed to effectuate the Land Boundary Agreement (1974) and Additional Protocol (2011) with Bangladesh (together henceforth, “the Enclave Agreement”). The passing of the act and the execution of the Enclave Agreement is a vital step in improving the lives of the residents of these enclaves, also known as chit-dwellers. However, there are still a number of issues that need to be tackled for the comprehensive implementation of the spirit behind the Enclave Agreement. One such issue is with respect to land rights and property distribution for chit-dwellers who will now be settled in India as a result of the Enclave Agreement. In this article, by drawing a parallel with the process adopted during the 1947 partition, the authors endeavour to identify the rudiments of a tenable system that may be helpful in addressing this issue.

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