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  • Article 12 defines the term 'State' as used in different Articles of Part III of the Constitution. The definition in Article 12 is only for the purpose of application of the provisions contained in Part III and part IV of the constitution.
  • Elucidating certain terminologies used in the definition of state under the constitution such as local authorities, other authorities etc.
  • Various case laws regarding the matters related to article 12.


Article 12 of the Indian Constitution is a significant provision that defines the term "State." It lays down the entities that come under its purview. It provides clarity on who can be held accountable for violating fundamental rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution. According to the constitution of India excepting a couple of exceptions, fundamental rights are enforceable against the state, as characterized under article 12 of the constitution. Hence the idea of state under article 12 is the edge through which central privileges can be guaranteed.

However, the constitution unequivocally characterizes the term state over the long haul, the other term authority under 12 was deciphered to incorporate any instrumentality or office of the state, different standards were additionally figured out for bringing an authority/body under the idea of the instrumentality or agency of state. At the point when the body is monetarily, practically, and authoritatively overwhelmed by or heavily influenced by the public authority and such control is specific to the body and is unavoidable, then, at that point, it will be "State" under Article 12. In the event that the control is only administrative, it won't be a State.

Article 12 sets down four expansive heads which comprise the State. To begin, there is the Union Government, which is exemplified by the legislative and executive branches. This incorporates the Indian Government, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

Furthermore, the State Legislatures addressed by their legislative and executive bodies are incorporated with their individual legislative assemblies and legislative councils. Thirdly, local authorities including municipalities, panchayats, district boards and improvement trusts all structure part of the meaning of the State.

Lastly, statutory, and non-statutory authorities like the National Law Commission and National Human Rights Commission, also, central bureau of investigation, Lokpals and Lokayuktas comprise different specialists. In this way, State under Article 12 contains union Government, State Government, local authorities, and other authorities.

Article 12 is not a fundamental right technically, but it defines the term ‘State’ for the Fundamental Rights that are entailed in the Article 14-35.

  • In the case of Srikant v. Vasantrao & Ors., the Supreme Court, AIR 2006 SC 918 said that the extremely comprehensive meaning of State under Article 12 by alluding to Legislature of India, the Public authority of every one of the States and the local and other authorities, clarified that a State Government and a nearby or other authorities, are unique and that they fall under a typical definition just with the end goal of Part-III of the Constitution of India.

Part third of the constitution contains a longlist of fundamental rights and safeguard privileges and opportunity to all, they likewise provide safeguard to minorities, protecting strict opportunity and social freedoms. The essential point of having a statement of fundamental rights is that certain rudimentary rights, for example, right to life and personal liberty, the right to speak freely of discourse, freedom of faith and so on, shall be held inviolable in all circumstances during an emergency, but some fundamental rights may be restricted.

Fundamental rights are the fundamental basic liberties cherished in the Constitution of India which are ensured to all residents and now and again to non-residents also. Initially there was seven basic rights under the Constitution yet by 44th protected amendment act 1978, right to property is not any more a major right and was eliminated from the rundown of essential freedoms and is currently a legal right.

‘State’ as defined under Article 12 of the constitution.

According to what is stated in article 12 of part 3 of the constitution, the term "state" is defined. In this part, except if the setting in any case requires, the state, incorporates the government and parliament of India and the government and the lawmaking body of every one of the states and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or heavily influenced by the government of India. The definition of state under article 12 is inclusive and not exhaustive.

The 3 organs of state are:





The Constitution of India doesn't characterize local authorities. The articulation authority implies a body contributed with ability to order or give an extreme choice or implement dutifulness or having a legitimate right to order and be complied.

Section 3 (31) of the general clauses act 1897 defines, local authority will mean a municipal committee, district board, leading group of port commissioners or other authority lawfully qualified for or depended by the government with the control or the executives of a maniples or local fund.

  • In the case of Mohammed Yasin v. Town area committee, the High Court of India held that the byelaws of a municipal Council that forced an endorsed expense on discount sellers comprised an order by a state authority that disregarded Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution. The bye-regulations had the impact of totally halting the discount seller's business, which was considered illegal.

The Supreme Court has laid down seven criteria to determine what constitutes a local authority. This test for local authority includes:

1)Independently existing as a corporate body,

2)Have legitimate free presence past its capability as a government agency,

3)Have distinct locale to work in,

4)Be chosen by the residents of the locale in immediate or indirect way,

5)Be vested with some level of independent powers,

6) Have legal presence which additionally characterizes its particular capabilities, generally restricted to appointed functions of the State Rundown in VIIth schedule, for example, health, education, climate, town infrastructure, and so on.

7)Be funded independently to pay for its functions and activities through fees, taxes, or other charges of a similar nature.

  • In Association of India v/s R.C. Jain, to be thought of as a "local authority", an authority should satisfy the accompanying tests:

1) Separate legal existence.

2) Function in a defined area.

3) Has the power to raise funds.

4) Enjoys autonomy.

5) Entrusted by a statute with functions which are usually entrusted to municipalities.

The significance of Article 12 lies in the way that it explains the extension and degree of the expression "State," which is utilized in numerous essential fundamental rights like Articles 14, 15, and 21. Life and personal liberty are safeguarded, discrimination is outlawed, and equality before the law is guaranteed by these provisions.

By including all local and other authorities inside the region of India or heavily influenced by the Indian government within the meaning of State under Article 12, it is guaranteed that these authorities will undoubtedly follow the major privileges arrangements of the Constitution, and any infringement of these freedoms by such authorities can be tested in court.


Other authorities are not characterized under the Indian constitution but rather translation of the term is made by judiciary and Legal assessment has gone through changes over the long haul. The High Court has fostered the idea of an instrumentality of the state. Authority which can be viewed as an instrumentality of the state falls under article 12, as other authorities.

Ejusdem Generis is the tool of interpretation which suggests that when a class of words is followed by a general word, the general word is not wide but restricted to the implication of the class of words it is preceded by. Therefore, the use of the phrase “and other authorities” in Article 12 must be read considering the preceding terms such as local authorities, and state and central governments.

The expression of other authorities is so wide that it could have covered all authorities created by constitution or state on whom power are conferred by law. It is not necessary that statutory authority should be engaged in performing governmental or sovereign function. Supreme court of India came up with more broad and liberal interpretation of other authorities so as to include all those bodies or instrumentalities which are though not created by the constitution or by a state of government.

  • K S Ramamurthi Reddiar V. Chief Commissioner, Pondicherry & Anr. 1964-All constitutional or legal experts on whom powers are presented by regulation. It isn't by any stretch material that a portion of the powers presented perhaps to carry on business exercises. Despite the fact that the reasons to conveying a business action, assuming the power is presented by regulation it is remembered for the meaning of state.
  • The supreme court ruled in Rajasthan State Electricity Board v. Mohanlal, that a state electricity board established by statute and performing a commercial function would be an authority under article 12. The court emphasized that the fact that some of the authority's powers are of a commercial nature is irrelevant.

This is on the grounds that under article 298, the government is engaged to convey exchange or commerce. In this manner the court noticed, the conditions that the board under the electricity supply act is expected to continue some activities of the idea of trade or commerce doesn't, accordingly, give any sign that the board should be barred the extent of the word state is utilized in article 12.

  • University of Madras v. Santa Bai (1954): In University of Madras v. Santa Bai, the Madras High Court held that 'other authorities' could only indicate authorities of a like nature, i.e. ejusdem generis. So construed, it could only mean authorities exercising governmental or sovereign functions. It cannot include University.
  • In Manmohan Singh Jaitla v. commissioner, union territory of Chandigarh, the Court following Ajai Hasia's case held that a supported school which got an Administration award of 90% was an "authority" inside the significance of Article 12.Similarly, it has been held that the Food Organization of India, the Steel Authority of India, Bihar State Power Board, Indian Oil Partnership, are the 'State' inside the importance of 'other authorities' under Article 12 as they are instrumentalities of the State.
  • Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (2002)-For this case, the High Court held that the Indian institute of chemical biology is an "other authority" under Article 12. The court held that the foundation was significantly funded by the government and was, in this manner, dependent upon the writ jurisdiction of the high Court.
  • On account of Ramana Dayaram Shetty v. Global Air terminal Power of India (IAAI), the High Court set out the rules to decide if an entity can be viewed as an "other authority" under Article 12 of the Indian Constitution. The rules are as per the following:

1)Existence of a statutory authority: The entity must have been created by a statute, which provides for its powers and functions.

2)Functional character: The entity must be discharging a public function or an essential public utility.

3)Financial autonomy: The entity must be financially independent, or its finances must be deeply intertwined with the government.

4)Control by the government: The entity must be subject to a significant degree of control by the government.

That's what the court held assuming a substance fulfils all or the majority of these rules, it tends to be viewed as an "other authority" under Article 12. The court also said that if an entity meets the other criteria listed above, it can still be considered an "other authority" even if it was not created by a statute.

What Does Instrumentality of the State Mean?

An entity, for example, a state funded college might be an instrumentality of the state. That is, it is playing out a fundamental public help yet it's anything but a public office. It is free of state control yet allows state oversight.

Such elements are instrumentalities of the state. The Constitution absolves them from tax assessment by different degrees of government, remarkably the federal government. An instrumentality might be a hospital in the state, county, or city. A substance with a highway job, like a port authority, might be an instrumentality. An instrumentality might be a national organization.

In any of these cases, the element might possibly be an instrumentality. Since they are playing out a fundamental public assistance, and in light of the fact that they have significant tax reductions, there are severe standards for endorsement of instrumentality status.

Is Judiciary included in the word "State"?

Article 12 does not explicitly refer to the judiciary—Supreme Courts, High Courts, or State/District Courts—as a "State." In any case, the organs of the legal executive can't make rules that are in itself violative of the fundamental rights. Article 13 of the Indian Constitution specifies, State to not make any regulation that abuses the arrangements under Part III.

The Judiciary is not specifically mentioned in Article 12 of the Constitution's definition of state. Thus, a lot of debate encompasses its status versus Part III of the Constitution. Bringing the Legal executive inside the extent of Article 12 would imply that it is considered equipped for acting in negation of fundamental rights. It is deep rooted that in its non-legal capabilities, the Legal executive comes surprisingly close to State. Be that as it may, testing a legal choice which has accomplished conclusiveness, under the writ purview of predominant courts based on an infringement of principal privileges, stays open to discuss.

Their assurance, of whether an act abuses the same, can be correct or wrong. It is usually impossible to claim that the judicial decision violates fundamental rights if it is incorrect. In the event that this were permitted, it would include extended and maybe superfluous prosecution, for each situation, there is essentially an unsatisfied party. Then again, not permitting a choice to be tested could mean a grave unnatural birth cycle of equity, and go unnoticed, simply on the grounds that the unsteadiness of the Legal executive isn't perceived.

  • In the case of Naresh v. State of Maharashtra-The issue presented under the steady gaze of the High Court for consideration whether the legal executive is covered by the articulation 'State' in Article 12 of the Constitution. The court decided that the order of the court did not violate the fundamental right, so no writ could be issued to the High Court. Nonetheless, in one more case, it was held that High Court Judge is as much a piece of the State as the executive.
  • The Supreme Court affirmatively ruled in Rupa Ashok Hurra v. Ashok Hurra that no judicial proceeding could be inferred to have violated the fundamental rights outlined in Part III of the Indian Constitution of 1950. The undertaking of the prevalent courtrooms as the overseers of the Constitution is to safeguard the fundamental rights of the residents from State offenses. It was stressed that, the superior courtrooms don't fall inside the ambit of State or other authorities under Article 12 of the Constitution of India, 1950.
  • In A.R.Antulay v. R.S.Naik, the court held that If a judicial order of a competent court has an incidental or indirect impact on a person's fundamental rights, the remedy is not to assert a violation of those rights and approach the courts under Article 32 or 226 but rather to assert that the decision of the court is inconsistent with those rights and approach the appropriate court with such allegations in appeal or review.

Considering these factors, court held that judiciary in exercise of its judicial functions does not come within the definition of ‘state’ under Article 12.


The State society structure of analysis centres gladly around the amount and nature of the state attachment with the society. The connection among state and society is complementary and beneficial. The mere giving of fundamental rights to the people wouldn't get the job done except if there exists corresponding obligation to do and guarantee the execution and assurance of such Privileges. This is the fundamental justification for the methodology embraced by the legal executive in broadening the extent of Article 12 which is in accordance with the expectation of the designers of the Constitution. The state oversees over a general public and the general public structures the subject of the state. Both the state and society are commonly enabling powers and mutually damaging powers, each attempt to control and impact the other in its own unique way and since states are not seldom liberated from the social powers, the latter can bridle their power accordingly.

Regardless of whether a party isn't referenced as 'State' under Article 12, in cases, where such a party has a public obligation to perform or where such a party's demonstrations are upheld by the State or public authorities; A writ issued in accordance with Article 226 may be issued against it on grounds that are not in accordance with the Constitution or that violate some provision of the Constitution outside of Part III.

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