color_logo_transparent.png

Welcome to INDJustice!

Babulal Parate v. State of Bombay

Babulal Parate v. State of Bombay

By Ritu Paul

  BABULAL PARATE v. STATE OF BOMBAY

  [AIR 1960 SC 51]

On 28th August, 1959, the five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India delivered the unanimous ruling in the landmark case Babulal Parate v. State of Bombay.

BACKGROUND OF THE CASE

In this case, the issue was the Constitutionality of Section 8(1) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956, that it was violating Article 3 of the Constitution of India.

Section 8(1) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956 provides for the formation of a new Bombay State. This provision provides for the formation of a new state comprising of a certain number of territories within it.

Article 3 of the Constitution of India provides that the Parliament may by law form a new State or alter areas, boundaries, or names of the existing States, provided the Bill regarding the same shall be introduced in either House of Parliament on the recommendation of the President only. It also provides that the State Legislature should express its views upon the Bill as referred by the President within the period specified or allowed by the President before its expiry.

In the present, case a Bill was introduced by the Parliament which was referred to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Bombay. It proposed to split the State of Bombay into three - a Union Territory of Bombay, State of Maharashtra and State of Gujarat. However, the Parliament thereafter amended the Bill to include the Union Territory of Bombay within the State of Maharashtra and then passed it.

FACTS OF THE CASE

Ø  On December 22, 1953, the Prime Minister of India made a statement in Parliament to the effect that a commission would be appointed to examine “objectively and dispassionately” the question of the reorganization of the states of the Indian Union so that the welfare of the people of each constituent unit as well as the nation as a whole is promoted.

Ø  On 18th April, 1956, the commission so appointed submitted its report, wherein a Bill named ‘The States Reorganization Bill’ was introduced in the House of People.

Ø  Clause 8, 9 and 10 of the above mentioned Bill contained a proposal for the formation of three separate units, namely:

1)    Union Territory of Bombay

2)    State of Maharashtra

3)    State of Gujarat

Ø  Then, on recommendation of the President as entailed by the proviso to Article 3 of the Indian Constitution, was referred to the Joint Select Committee of both the Houses which made its report on July 16, 1956.

Ø  Some of the parts of the Bill were amended in Parliament and on being passed by both the houses, it received the President’s assent on August 31, 1956, and it became to be known as The States Reorganization Act, 1956.

Ø  Under section 8(1) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956, a composite State of Bombay was constituted instead of three separate units.

Ø  The appellant on September 12, 1956 filed a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India in the High Court of Bombay in which he alleged that the formation of the composite State of Bombay contravened Article 3 of the Constitution of India as the legislature of Bombay didn’t get any opportunity to express its views on such a formation.

Ø  The writ petition was dismissed by the Bombay High Court saying that there is no violation of Article 3 of the Constitution.

Ø  Thus, the appellant filed an appeal by obtaining the competent Certificate under Article 132(1) of the Indian Constitution.

ISSUES

Ø  To determine the Constitutionality of Section 8(1) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956

Ø  To determine the scope and effect of mainly the proviso to the Article 3 of the Constitution of India

ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF APPELLANT

1.     The proposal contained in the Bill affects the proviso to the Article 3 of the Constitution of India.

2.     Article 3 of the Indian Constitution consists of a substantive part which gives power to the Parliament to make laws in respect of any of the five matters mentioned in the Article, that are:

(i). Form a new State by separating or uniting two or more States.

(ii). Increase the area of any State.

(iii). Diminish the area of any State.

(iv). Alter the boundaries of any State.

(v).  Alter the name of any State.

Thus, no Bill shall be introduced in either House of Parliament in respect of the above mentioned matters, except on the recommendation of the President.  

3.     The period within which the State Legislature must express its views has to be specified by the President; but the President may extend such period. If however, the period specified or extended expires and no views of the State Legislature are received, the second condition laid down under Article 3 will be considered as fulfilled in spite of the fact that the views of the State Legislature have not been expressed.

4.     Therefore, two State Legislatures may express totally divergent views.

5.     All that is contemplated is that Parliament should have before it the views of the State Legislatures as to the proposals contained in the Bill and then be free to deal with the Bill in any manner it thinks fit, following the usual practice and procedure prescribed by and under the rule of business.

6.     Thus, the essential concerns of the second condition are a reference by the President of the proposal contained in the Bill to the State Legislature to express its views thereon within the time allowed.

ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF RESPONDENT

1.     As per the judgment of the High Court in this case, it has been properly emphasized, that what has to be referred to the State Legislature by the President which is, the proposal contained in the Bill.

2.     The proviso to the Article 3 of the Constitution of India does not say that if and when a proposal contained in the Bill is modified subsequently by an amendment properly moved and accepted in Parliament, there must be a fresh reference to the State Legislature and a fresh Bill must be introduced.

3.     For instance, if there are two or more States are involved, different views may be expressed by the Legislatures of different States, which may require a fresh reference as per the third condition of the Article 3 and subsequently will require a fresh Bill for every amendment.

4.     Therefore, this may result in an interminable process.

JUDGMENT

Ø  The court declared that the formation of the composite State of Bombay does not contravene Article 3 of the Constitution of India and hence, any of its provision is not invalid on that ground.

Ø  And also, it was held that the Parliament could amend the Bill after the views of the State Assembly were obtained and it need not be referred back to the State Assembly for expression of its views.

RATIO

It is easy to perceive that the Article 3 of the Indian Constitution consists of a substantive part which gives power to the Parliament to make laws in respect of any of the five matters mentioned in the Article.

Thus, no Bill shall be introduced in either House of Parliament in regard to the hereinbefore mentioned purpose, except on the recommendation of the President.

Although there is nothing in the proviso which lays down that the Parliament must accept or act upon the views of the State Legislature. Thus, the crucial element of the proviso is that the proposal should be referred by the President to the State Legislature.

Therefore, it is not necessary to introduce a fresh Bill, whenever the proposal contained in the Bill is modified subsequently by an amendment properly moved and accepted in the Parliament.

ANALYSIS

Although the court has given its verdict in this case, but my question is to you-

Whether the rejection of the Bill by the State Assembly has any effect or ramifications on the power of the President to introduce the Bill?

Whether the rejection of the Bill by the State Assembly has any effect or ramifications on the power of the Parliament to pass the Bill for the creation of a new State?

Although the Supreme Court’s decision in Babulal Parate v. State of Bombay stands as a landmark case because of being just after the independence of India but the answer to the above questions from a textual perspective is in the negative.

In this case the issue was the Constitutionality of Section 8(1) of the States Reorganization Act, 1956. In the Bill the Parliament referred to the Legislative Assembly of the State of Bombay, the proposal to split the State of Bombay into a Union Territory of Bombay, State of Maharashtra and State of Gujarat. However, the Parliament thereafter amended the Bill to include the Union Territory of Bombay within the State of Maharashtra and then passed it. When this was challenged, the Supreme Court held that the Parliament could amend the Bill after the views of the State Assembly were obtained and it need not be referred back to the State Assembly for expression of its views.

To understand this unique situation, one must understand the Indian model of Federalism.

There are two models of Federalism- ‘coming together’ and holding together’. India is the personification of the ‘holding together’ model of Federalism. Our Constitution was not the result of states coming together. It was only a result of Independence from the British and the formation of a Constituent Assembly by the Indian Independence Act, 1947. 

Therefore, the Constitutional scheme in India provides for a strong Centre, and this explains why the Supreme Court in this case interpreted Article 3 literally, to essentially deprive the States of any say in the territorial reorganization, except for expression of its views before the tabling of the Bill. 

Though the country and the people may be divided into different States for convenience of administration, the country is one integral whole, its people a single people living under a single imperium derived from a single source. 

Thus, the reorganization of a state by an Act of Parliament can be questioned on political grounds but invoking constitutional provisions would be futile.

Derry v. Peek

Derry v. Peek

Nilabati Behara v State of Orissa and Ors

Nilabati Behara v State of Orissa and Ors