Meaning of State under Article 12
To prepare for Indian Polity for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the basics of Fundamental Rights. It gives an idea of all the topics important for IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II). Fundamental Rights and related topics are extremely important for the UPSC Exam. This is an essential portion of the polity. As IAS aspirants, you should be thorough with the Union and Territories. This article will provide you with relevant details about the Nature of Fundamental Rights.
|MEANING OF STATE UNDER ART. 12|
- The term ‘State’ has been used in different provisions concerning the fundamental rights.
- 12 had defined the term for the purposes of Part III. The State includes the following-
- Government (executive) and of India (legislative) of union.
- Government (executive) and legislature of states (legislative) organs of state government.
- All local authorities – municipalities, panchayats, district boards, improvement trusts, etc.
- All other statutory or non-statutory authorities like LIC, ONGC, SAIL, etc.
- State has been defined in a wider sense so as to include all its agencies.
- It is the actions of aforesaid agencies that can be challenged in the courts as violating the Fundamental Rights.
- The Supreme Court asserted that, even a private body or an agency working as an instrument of the State falls within the meaning of the ‘State’ under Art. 12.
|WHY DEFINING STATE IS IMPORTANT?|
- Ordinary laws are sufficient enough to protect infringement of rights by individuals.
- But since state is granted with unlimited powers and authority, Individuals need constitutional protection from the acts of the state itself.
- For providing this protection, first it needs to be clearly defined what comes under the definition of state.
- Though state has been defined under Art. 12 in clear words, most of the controversies arise due to its 4th category i.e. other authorities.
- Inclusion of an organisation in the definition of state would make it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Art. 32.
|IS BCCI A STATE OR NOT?|
- Zee Telefilms v. Union of India case judgment held that BCCI cannot be called a State under Art. 12 of The Constitution as it is not created by a statute, not dominated by government either financially, functionally or administratively.
|WHETHER JUDICIARY A STATE OR NOT?|
- In Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra (2002), the Apex Court reaffirmed and ruled that no judicial proceeding could be said to violate any of the Fundamental rights and superior courts of justice did not fall within the ambit of ‘state’ or ‘other authorities’ under Art. 12.
- In the landmark case of Naresh Shridhar Mirajkar V State of Maharashtra, it was said that only administrative functions of the court can be termed as a state but not the judicial functions.
|‘STATE’ ARTICLE 12 AND ‘PUBLIC AUTHORITIES’ UNDER RTI ACT|
- Under RTI act, “Public authority” is defined in Section 2(h).
- 12 of the constitution define the term ‘State’. The definition of public authority is much wider compared to the definition of state given in the RTI act.
- The definition of Public authorities that comes under the ambit of RTI includes
any authority or body or institution of self- government established or constituted –
- by or under the Constitution;
- by any other law made by Parliament;
- by any other law made by state legislature;
- by notification issued or order made by the appropriate Government, and includes any –
- body owned, controlled or substantially financed;
- non-Government organization substantially financed, directly or indirectly by funds provided by the appropriate Government;
|DEFINITION OF PUBLIC AUTHORITY UNDER RTI ACT, 2005|
- Government may not have any statutory control over the NGOs, as such, still it can be established that a particular NGO has been substantially financed directly or indirectly by the funds provided by the appropriate government, in such an event, that organisation will fall within the scope of Section 2(h)(d)(ii) of the RTI Act (definition of public authority) – SUPREME COURT judgement 2013
- Consequently, even private organisations which are, though not owned or controlled but substantially financed by the appropriate government will also fall within the definition of public authority.
|UNITED NATIONS (UN) NOT A STATE – DELHI HC JUDGEMENT|
- The Delhi High Court in Sanjaya Bahel v. Union of India has ruled that the United Nations is not a “State” within the meaning of Art. 12 of the Constitution of India and is not amenable to the jurisdiction of the Court under Art. 226 of the Constitution of India.
- In Hindustan Engineering & General Mazdoor Union Vs. Union of India, 2001 court had held that “By no stretch of imagination an organisation of United Nations which is an international body be treated as “instrumentality” and or an “agency” of the Government.”
- Petitioner, who was an employee with United Nations Organization was charged with misconduct and suspended from duty without pay for 3 months.
- According to Art. 12 of the Constitution of India, the term ‘State’ denotes –
- the union and state governments,
- the Parliament and state legislatures
- all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Indian government.
- The government has also stated that the consent of the Government of India is not required to initiate a legal suit against UNO as it is not a foreign state and is only an Internal Organization.
- The Section 86 of Civil Procedure Code, 1908 provides that a foreign State may be sued in any Court with the consent of the Central government.
- The Ministry of External Affairs replied that the consent of the Government of India is not required to initiate a legal suit against UNO as it is not a foreign state and is only an Internal Organization.
|UNO and its officials enjoy immunity under the United Nations (Privileges and Immunities) Act, 1947.
As per the act, UNO has immunity from every form of legal process except inso far as in any particular case it has expressly waived its immunity.