Article 12 Definition of State In The Indian Constitution

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Article 12: Definition of State

In this Part, unless the context otherwise requires, “the State” includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.

-Text in Constitution

Explanation of Article 12

From article 12 to article 35 are grouped in Part 3 as Fundamental Rights.

The purpose of giving fundamental rights by the Constitution was to protect the rights of the people in front of the state. The fundamental right starts with Article 14, but before that Article 12 defines the state.

Keep in mind that this definition of the state is only for Part 3 and Part 4 (Article 36) of the Constitution.

Only those who have been included in this definition will be considered as the state and you can demand to protect your rights against their action.

The following are included in the state-

  • Government of India {All Ministers, Ministries, Departments, Army, PSU, etc.}
  • Parliament {LokSabha, RajyaSabha, President, Speaker, Chairman, all members, and work are done by them, passed laws, etc.}
  • State Government {All Ministers, Ministries, Secretaries, and all people working there, rules, laws, etc.}
  • State Legislature {State Legislative Assembly / Council, Members, Speaker, Laws, Gadget, Documents passed by them, etc.}
  • Local Authority {Municipality, Panchayat, Nagar panchayat, Organization(LIC, ONGC, GAIL), etc.}
  • Local Official {Commissioner, Collector, Police, Government Doctor, Bus Driver, etc.}

Note: Judicial pronouncements have given a wide scope to the expression “other authorities” but still the list is not exhaustive.

Under “other authorities”, the following bodies have been included:

  • Bodies exercising statutory powers formed under a statute
  • Bodies receiving substantial funding from the government
  • Bodies performing governmental functions
  • Bodies under control of the government

Note: According to the Supreme Court, any private company that works with the government or for the government will also come under the definition of the state under Article 12.

Example: BCCI stayed away from the purview of the state by declaring itself private till 2019, but now the Supreme Court has included it in the definition of the state.

If any type of action taken by any of the above-mentioned entities the fundamental right of the person, then that person can directly go to the Supreme Court and High Court to demand his right (Article 32 and Article 226).


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Article 12 of the Indian Constitution, Definition of state

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