Question: Against whom Fundamental Rights are available? In this context, refer to the meaning of the term ‘State’ in Part III of the Constitution. [UPJS 2018]   Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Against whom Fundamental Rights are available? In this context, refer to the meaning of the term ‘State’ in Part III of… Read More »

Question: Against whom Fundamental Rights are available? In this context, refer to the meaning of the term ‘State’ in Part III of the Constitution. [UPJS 2018] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Against whom Fundamental Rights are available? In this context, refer to the meaning of the term ‘State’ in Part III of the Constitution. [UPJS 2018] Answer Part III of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Rights which are the restriction on the power of...

Question: Against whom Fundamental Rights are available? In this context, refer to the meaning of the term ‘State’ in Part III of the Constitution. [UPJS 2018]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Against whom Fundamental Rights are available? In this context, refer to the meaning of the term ‘State’ in Part III of the Constitution. [UPJS 2018]

Answer

Part III of the Constitution deals with Fundamental Rights which are the restriction on the power of the legislature, executive, and judiciary, which, no one can encroach upon this part. Notably, Fundamental rights are available against the state, defined under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution.

Article 12 gives a wide meaning to the term ‘State’. According to the provision, state means:

  1. The Government and Parliament of India,
  2. The Government and Legislature of a State,
  3. Local Authorities, and
  4. Other Authorities;
  • Within the territories of India, or
  • Under the control of the Government of India

The Supreme Court has laid down that the meaning of the term ‘State’ extends to any action whether administrative, judicial, or quasi-judicial will be termed as state action. In Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi (1981 AIR 487) case, the court summarized the criterion for judging whether a body is a state. But in the Pradeep Kumar Biswas case 2002, the court elaborately formulated the whole law regarding ‘State’ action, and laid down the following principles:

  1. The principles laid down in the Ajay Hasia case are not a rigid set of principles.
  2. The question in each case will have to be considered on the basis of facts available- the body is financially, functionally, or administratively dominated by or under the control of the Government;
  3. Such control must be particular to the body in question;
  4. Mere regulatory control under a statute or otherwise would not serve to make a body a part of the state.

Moreover, there is no definition of the term ‘other authorities’ in Article 12 given in the Constitution or in the general clauses Act, 1897 nor in any other statute of India. So, for the purpose of determining what ‘other authorities’ fall under the scope of ‘State’, the judiciary has given several judgments as per the facts and circumstances of different cases.

In the University of Madras v. Shanta Bai (AIR 1954 Mad 67), the Madras High Court evolved the principle of ‘ejusdem generis’ i.e. of the like nature. It means that only those authorities are covered under the expression ‘other authorities’ which perform governmental or sovereign functions. Further, it cannot include persons, natural or juristic, for example, unaided universities.

In the case of Ujjam Bai v. State of U.P. (1963) 1 S.C.R. 778), the court rejected the above restrictive scope and held that the ‘ejusdem generis’ rule could not have resorted to in interpreting ‘other authorities’. The bodies named under Article 12 have no common genus running through them and they cannot be placed in one single category on any rational basis.

Lastly, in Rajasthan Electricity Board v. Mohan Lal (AIR 1967 S.C. 1857), the Supreme Court held that ‘other authorities’ would include all authorities created by the constitution or statute on which powers are conferred by law. Such statutory authority need not be engaged in performing government or sovereign functions. The court emphasized that it is immaterial that the power conferred on the body is of a commercial nature or not.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-I
  3. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-II
  4. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Constitutional Law Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-05-23T04:30:43+05:30
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