Article 12 of the Constitution of India

Article 12 of Indian Constitution

Article 12 of Indian Constitution

The Constitution of India is a living document and the supreme law of India which is instrumental is making the government system and democracy work. The document sets out the fundamental rights, directive principles and the duties of citizens as well as the infrastructure, political principles, powers and duties of the government. Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is the architect of the Constitution of India, which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950.

Article 12 of the Constitution of India

According to Article 12 of the Constitution of India, the term ‘State’ denotes the union and state governments, the Parliament and state legislatures and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Indian government.

Read : Important Articles of Indian Constitution

Government bodies falling under the precedent of Article 12

Over the years, the following bodies, which have been vested with the power to make laws and have been created by the Constitution of India, have also been included within the ambit of a State

  •  The President of India and Governors of states with executive powers
  • Any department of the government like the Income Tax Department.
  • Any institution controlled by the government like the International Institute for Population Sciences
  • LIC and ONGC which perform tasks similar to governmental or sovereign functions.
  • Municipalities, Panchayats, and other similar local authorities with the power to make and enforce rules, regulations and laws.
  • Any other organisation which exercises sovereign functions.
  • The government financing also determines the status of an organisation with sovereign functions. The government requires having a deep pervasive control over both a statutory and non-statutory body for it to be termed as a State.  Thus while statutory bodies like Electricity Boards and IDBI are deemed to be a State, NCERT is not as the government financing is not substantial and thus the government control is not pervasive.
  • The Judiciary does not have a specific mention in Article 12. However, the school of thought is that since the judiciary has the power to make and enforce laws, it should be considered to be a State. However, since an erroneous judgement may cause the violation of the fundamental rights of a citizen, unreasonable decisions of the Courts are subjected to the tests of Article 14 of the Constitution.

Thus, a mere regulatory power of the government over any statutory or non statutory body is not enough for it to be deemed as a State. The concerned body has to be financially, functionally and administratively and pervasively controlled by the government.

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