ARTICLE 12

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Introduction
  • A category of rights known as “fundamental rights” are those that the Indian Constitution’s Part III guarantees to all of the country’s residents. All citizens living in the country are entitled to these rights, regardless of their ethnicity, place of birth, religion, caste, or gender.
  • They are protected by law as being fundamental rights that the government must uphold to the fullest extent possible. Fundamental rights cannot be used as legal leverage against people or businesses. The government, the state, or its authorities are responsible for defending these rights.
  • Most of the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens are asserted against the State and its agencies rather than against private organizations. The term “state” has expanded meaning as a result of Article 12. It is crucial to establish which entities constitute states in order to establish who is responsible for fulfilling obligations.
What is stated in Article 12?
  • Unless the context clearly dictates otherwise, “the State” in this Part refers to the Government and Parliament of India, the Government and Legislature of each of the States, as well as any local or other authorities operating on Indian territory or under Government of India administration.
‘State’ is described in Article 12 as:
Legislative and Executive organs of the govt.Legislative and Executive organs of State govt. All local authoritiesStatutory and Non- statutory authorities
1. Indian Govt.1. State Govt.1. Municipalities – Municipal Corporations, Nagar Palika, Nagar PanchayatsStatutory authorities examples-
1. National Human Rights Commission
2. National Commission for Women
National Law Commission
3. National Green Tribunal
4. National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission
5. Armed Forces Tribunal
2. Indian Parliament- Lok sabha, Rajya sabha 2. State Legislature- Legislative assembly, Legislative council of state. 2. Panchayats – Zila Panchayats, Mandal Panchayats, Gram PanchayatsNon- statutory authorities examples-
1. Central Bureau of Investigation .
2. Central Vigilance Commission.
3. Lokpals and Lokyuktas .
3. District Boards
Meaning of additional state authorities under Article 12
  • The linguistic principle known as “Ejusdem Generis” states that when a group of words is followed by a general word, the general word’s scope is constrained to the implications of the group of words it follows. Thus, the words “and other authorities” in Article 12 must be understood in the context of the terms “local authorities,” “state and central governments,” and “and other authorities.”
  • In Ujjain Bai v. State of U.P., the Supreme Court deviated from this rule of interpretation and concluded that “other authorities” cannot be limited to mean municipal authorities, state and union governments, or union governments.

Important cases involving Article 12

Mohan Lal v. Rajasthan Electricity Board (1967)
  • The Rajasthan Electricity Board is a “other authority” under Article 12 in this case, according to the Supreme Court. The court determined that because the board was performing a public duty, its decisions were open to judicial review.
Khalid Mujib Sehravardi v. Ajay Hasia (1981)
  • The Supreme Court ruled in this case that a private educational institution that receives a significant amount of government funding can be regarded as a “other authority” under Article 12. The court determined that because these institutions were carrying out a public duty, the High Court had writ jurisdiction over them.
Indian Institute of Chemical Biology v. Pradeep Kumar Biswas (2002)
  • The Indian Institute of Chemical Biology is a “other authority” under Article 12 in this case, according to the Supreme Court. The court determined that because the institute received a significant amount of funding from the government, it fell under the High Court’s writ jurisdiction.
Whether or if BCCI is a state?
  • Zee Telefilms v. Union of India (AIR 2005 SC 2677) is one of numerous judicial cases that addressed the interpretation of Article 12 of the Indian Constitution. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) cannot be regarded as a “State” under Article 12 because it was not established by statute and is not financially, operationally, or administratively controlled by the government.
  • This decision is significant because it makes clear that not all entities can be referred to as “States” under Article 12 of the Constitution. A person, group, or thing must fulfill specific requirements in order to be classified as a “State,” including being established by law and being subject to the control of the government in various ways.
According to Article 12 of the Indian Constitution, is the judiciary a state?
  • The term “State” has been defined in Article 12 of the Indian Constitution to encompass the national government and parliament, each state’s legislature, and all local or other authorities operating on Indian territory or under the supervision of the national government.
  • Being one of the three pillars of Indian democracy, the judiciary is not specifically designated as a “other authority” under Article 12. However, the judiciary uses state authority to interpret the Constitution and defend citizens’ basic rights. The Supreme Court of India has ruled in a number of decisions that the judiciary can be treated as a branch of the state for the purposes of upholding constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights.
  • In addition to granting citizens fundamental rights, the Indian Constitution also places responsibility on the state to guarantee that such rights are upheld. Through its interpretations, the court has expanded the definition of “State” to cover a wide range of statutory and non-statutory organizations.

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