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Doctrine Of Colourable Legislation

When anything is prohibited directly, it also prohibited indirectly.'

Under the color or guise of power given for one particular purpose the legislature cannot seek to achieve some other purpose which is either wise not competent to legislate on.
From the point of view of law, the subject matter of law falls within the power of the legislature, but the respective effect or purpose of the matter is actually beyond the authority and authority of the legislature. So in a way, the doctrine limits the exaggeration or abuse of constitutional power given in a secret manner. This is why the doctrine is also known as fraud on the constitution.

The origin of the doctrine often traced to the latin phrase Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibetur et per obliquum7 which suggests whatever cannot be done directly, it cannot be done indirectly. Basically, if legislation is prohibited to something, it cannot be done indirectly by the legislature.

The question of colourable legislation was fully discussed by the supreme court of India in K.C. Gajapati Narayan Deo v. Orissa, a choice which has been treated as settling the law on the topic.

Other relevant cases:
  • State of Bihar V. Kameshwar Singh, AIR 1952 SC 252
  • State of Madhya Pradesh V. Mahalaxmi fabric mills ltd, AIR 1995 SC 2213
  • K.T. Moopil Nair V. The state of Kerala 1961 AIR 552, 1961 SCR (3) 77
  • M.R. Balaji Vs. The state of Mysore 1963 AIR 649

K.C. Gajapati Narayan Deo v. Orissa
If the constitution of a state distributes legislative powers among the various bodies, which have to act in their respective areas marked by specific legislative entries, Or if there are limits to the legislative authority in the form of fundamental rights, the question arises whether the legislature in a particular case has violated the limits of its constitutional powers in relation to the subject matter of the law or the method of enacting it.

State Of Bihar v/s Kameshwar Singh
In this case, the Court applied the concept of the Doctrine of Colorable Law and declared a law invalid. The Bihar Land Reforms Act 1950 was declared illegal. it was purported to clearly lay down the principle of compensation, it laid down no such principle and therefore sought to deprive the petitioner of any compensation.

Sometimes the legislature makes a law which appears to be within its competence but its effect and substance are beyond its limits. Then the law will be declared void. In simple words, the law is colored differently. this does not stop it from being declared an illegal law. Such a law is called a colorable law.

Article 246 of the Indian constitution has separate subjects for law making in three list under the VIIth schedule:
  • List 1: union list
  • List 2: state list
  • List 3: concurrent list
If the legislature tries to make laws on subject matter which is beyond the scope of its power and it does so indirectly so as not to appear as if it has legislated any law outside its scope, so this is called colorable legislation.

In conclusion, we can conclude that the State cannot change the color or form of any law which is not within their jurisdiction to enforce it under the subject matter of the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Because even according to the principle of colorable law, what you cannot do directly, you cannot do it indirectly. The constitution distributes legislative powers between the state legislatures and the parliament, and each has to act in its own area.

With regard to a special legislation, the question may arise whether the legislature has violated the limits imposed on it by the Constitution. Such infringement may be patent, manifest or direct, but it may also be covert, covert or indirect. It is for the latter class of cases that the expression is the chromaticity law.

However, the underlying idea is that Evidently, a legislature, in passing a statute supposedly to act within the limits of its powers, yet actually and in fact violates these powers, which, upon due inquiry, appears to be, He is being violated by pretense or pretense. If so, then the law in question is invalid. Written By: Nitisha Sancheti

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