The Clear Sky: Interpreting Article 12 through Pradeep Kumar Biswas & ORS v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology & ORS

13 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2008

Date Written: March 12, 2008


The political implication of the theory of natural rights lays down that these rights, being inherent in man, existed prior to the birth of the State itself, and cannot, therefore be violated by the State. The Constitution framers of the country with this notion in mind, inculcated the concept of fundamental rights within our constitution. Far away from merely paper hopes or fleeting promises, the fundamental rights are the constitutional guarantees and so long as they find a place in it, they cannot be emasculated in their application by a narrow and constricted judicial interpretation.

Part III of the Constitution, which deals with Fundamental Rights, begins with the definition of 'state', as adumbrated in Article 12. Most of the Fundamental Rights are claimed against the state and its instrumentalities and not against any private bodies. Owing to the spaciously worded definition of 'the state', the courts of law did not find it necessary to abridge its contours or amputate its limbs in any manner. However, in the changed context of globalization and survival of the fittest, there was perceptible change in the thinking and philosophy towards its interpretation. The public sector entities, be they statutory bodies, government companies, government departmental undertakings or societies, were now perceived as the "holy cows".

With a plethora of judicial precedents, the courts illumed the wider horizon of article 12, and subjected the public enterprises to judicial scrutiny. The array of decisions culminated as a settled law in the Pradeep Kumar Biswas Case, where the court taking into account all the previous precedents, interpreted the term "other authorities" for the purposes of part III of the constitution, thereby, removing all doubts with regards the same.

Keywords: Case Comment, Article 12, State, Other Authorities

Suggested Citation

Sharma, Dhruv, The Clear Sky: Interpreting Article 12 through Pradeep Kumar Biswas & ORS v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology & ORS (March 12, 2008). Available at SSRN: or

Dhruv Sharma (Contact Author)

NALSAR University of Law ( email )

3-4-761, Barkatpura
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh 500027

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