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Doctrine Of Pith And Substance: Centre State Relations

There is the major contribution judiciary made, to the legislative relations between the Union and the States. Before we proceed further, let us distinguish between 'legislative' act and 'judiciary' act and sometimes it is difficult to draw a line of demarcation between them. The function of a legislature is to enact laws.

The judiciary is to decide the rights of the parties according to the law and to submit to the mandate legislature. The courts interpret the mandate and decide the rights of the accordingly. On the other hand, the legislative process is for the legislature lay down the law which will govern parties and their transactions and to the court to give effect to the Law. But in spite of all the caution, some conflict and overlapping must arise in certain cases, owing to the nature of thing.

"No amount of care in phrasing the division of power in a federal Scheme will prevent difficulty when the division comes to be applied to the variety and complexity of social relationship. The different aspects of life in a society are not insulated from one another in such a way as to make possible a mechanical application of the division of powers. There is nothing in human affairs which corresponds to the neat logical division found in the Constitution."

The paper seeks to highlight the idea that the law is the basis for the implementation of the pith and substance doctrine that is enforced across common law systems in some major judgments by the Supreme Court of India. The doctrine shall be used to decide whether the law falls within the legislative power of Articles 246 of the Constitution. In order to address the conflicts of competence the pith and substance doctrine is applied. The reasons which prompt it to act are therefore irrelevant if the legislature is competent to pass a particular law.

Thus, the constitutionality testing of the laws dealing with the legislative relations of the union and the state in India is being analyzed in this paper.

As a result, the Indian judiciary has been given the authority to review constitutional actions passed by both the Parliament and the State Legislature. The entries in the legislative list must be granted a broad and detailed interpretation when interpreting the legislative authority. The clause must be interpreted broadly and liberally.

In the event of a disagreement about whether a piece of legislation falls beyond the competence of the legislature that enacted it, the court must first decide what comprises the subjectmatter of the legislation and then compare the vocabulary of the various entries that might be applicable to the case to determine which entries are most relevant.

It can be said that Pith and Substance signify the true essence of law in accordance with the interpretation of doctrine. The doctrine draws attention to the fact that it is the core issue and not its side effects on another subject that must be challenged. Pith refers to "essence of something' or "true nature" while substance refers to "something's most important or integral component." It may also be argued that pith and substance doctrine itself is related to the discovery of the true essence of a law.

Thus, the constitutionality testing of the laws dealing with the legislative relations of the union and the state in India is being analysed in this paper.

Objective/ Purpose Of The Paper:
  • The objective of the research paper is to look how the Doctrine of Pith and Substance has been implemented in India.
  • To find out how Article 246 of the Indian constitution is related with this doctrine.
  • To discuss the current scenario of the doctrine.

Research Methodology:
The research is based on secondary sources. The information was obtained from a number of government and non-government websites. The collection, arrangement, analysis, and systematization of primary and secondary source material in this study largely follows the doctrinal research process. The analysis is both analytical and descriptive.

There is the major contribution judiciary made, to the legislative relations between the Union and the States. Before we proceed further, let us distinguish between 'legislative' act and 'judiciary' act and sometimes it is difficult to draw a line of demarcation between them. The function of a legislature is to enact laws. The judiciary is to decide the rights of the parties according to the law and to submit to the mandate legislature. The courts interpret the mandate and decide the rights of the accordingly.

On the other hand, the legislative process is for the legislature lay down the law which will govern parties and their transactions and to the court to give effect to the Law. But in spite of all the caution, some conflict and overlapping must arise in certain cases, owing to the nature of thing.

"No amount of care in phrasing the division of power in a federal Scheme will prevent difficulty when the division comes to be applied to the variety and complexity of social relationship. The different aspects of life in a society are not insulated from one another in such a way as to make possible a mechanical application of the division of powers. There is nothing in human affairs which corresponds to the neat logical division found in the Constitution."[1]

"It is not possible to make clean a cut between the powers of various legislatures; they are bound to overlap from time to time."[2]

In India, the court cannot issue a writ or procedure against the legislature to prohibit it from passing an unconstitutional statute[3], nor can the legislature determine whether a law is valid or not when it is being passed. Of instance, the government has the authority to make an enactment that makes a court ruling binding. A legislative act like this will not be a 'judicial' act.

It is unable to consider any statute to be "unconstitutional," since the term "unconstitutional law" is a misnomer in the sense of "parliamentary supremacy."

The judiciary rules on the constitutionality or otherwise of an act of legislative only in the Federal and therefore written constitutions, since the Constitution[4] is the Supreme Law of the land and all entities and persons derive their powers from it. India's political status is more akin to that of the United States than to that of the United Kingdom. The Indian Parliament has the same degree of sovereignty as the US Congress and the assemblies of other autonomous countries with a federal constitution.

Also in the Federal constitutions of various nations, courts have developed certain standards for interpreting the constitutional powers delegated to both the Center and the States[5]. The values are decided by a variety of considerations, including the constitution's essence, the country's current political situation, the country's social and economic issues, and, ultimately, the social and political history and perspective of the judge who is called upon to interpret the constitution.

This is essentially a Canadian Doctrine now firmly entrenched in the Indian Constitutional Jurisprudence. This doctrine found its place first in the case of Cushing V/S Dupey[6]. In this case the Privy Council evolved the doctrine, that for deciding whether an impugned legislation wasintra vires, regard must be had to its pith and substance. It was evolved by the Privy Council to ascertain the constitutionality of Canadian and Australian statute regarding the violation of the rules of the distribution of powers. The doctrine was adopted by the Federal Court of India and also by the Privy Council in determining the constitutionality under the Government of India Act, 1935.[7]

The framers of our Constitution established the Apex Court with the hope that the future evolution of the Constitution of India was to depend on the direction given to it by this Court.

and in fulfilling this expectation, "it has to keep poise between the seemingly contradictory forces. In this process of interpretation of the Constitution on certain occasion, it may appear to strengthen the union at the expense of the units, at another, it may champion the cause of provincial autonomy or regionalism´┐Ż it is the great tribunal which has to draw the line between individual liberty and social control."[8]

Thus the judiciary in India has been empowered to review the legislative acts, of both the Parliament and of the State Legislature. While interpreting the legislative power, the entries in the legislative list must prima facie be given broad and comprehensive interpretation.[9] The provision must be given liberal and generous interpretation.

In case of dispute arising whether a particular piece of legislation is within the competence which passed it, the court must determine what pith and substance constitutes the subject matter of legislation and see by comparing the language of the different entries that may be possibly cover the case, under which particular entries, it can be most appropriately fall.[10]

Meaning And Scope Of The Doctrine:
One of the oldest theories used to tackle constitutional issues in India is the Doctrine of Pith and Substance. When the literal signification of the doctrine is unfolded, the pith refers to the true nature or essence of something and the substance in it is an important component and is thus referred to as the doctrine as the "most important part of something which has its true essence."

The doctrine states that if the content of law lies within a legislature's legal authority, it does not become unconstitutional simply because it concerns a matter outside its permitted domain. Pith and substance is a term that implies "real meaning and character."[11]

The doctrine refers to a violation of a Federal State's statutory power's constitutional delimitation. The court uses it to determine if the suspected encroachment is minor or significant. In general, it explains that the law's existence says that a case must be questioned only by the true and necessary subject and not by its side-effects or ancillary effects on something.

In relation to the interpretation of a statute, doctrine is seen as a way of finding out the true meaning of a statute, and not the incidents that could have arisen in its application, about which it has been formulated by legislators. As a result, the concept of "pith and substance" presupposes that the challenged statute is significantly beyond the constitutional competence of the legislature that enacted it, yet only unintentionally encroached into the legislative domain of another legislature.

The doctrine protects this unintentional encroachment if the legislation is actually beyond the legal area of the legislature that adopted it. The theory has been used to determine if a specific challenged law significantly encroaches on legislative authority or is merely an unintentional encroachment that has little material impact on the allocation of legislative power between the Union and the States.

In accordance with Article 246, the doctrine of Pith and Substance covers the three lists mentioned in the Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution.[12] It is used when there is a doubt about the legislature's competence to adopt a specific act on the three lists. The Court must examine the content of the act in this respect.

When legislation is not competent, for example, if it is in respect of an Entry within the Federal legislature List, but the legislation is by a provincial legislature, then the question of "occupied field"[13] that is to say, that the federal legislature has not legislated on it, is irrelevant. Occupied or not, the provincial legislation will be incompetent.

The doctrine of 'pith and substance' is the rule of ultra vires and the difference between the operation of that rule and the effect of the doctrine of "occupied field" was brought out in the opinion of the Judicial Committee in Attorney General For Alberta V Attorney General For Canada[14]. After noticing that in respect of the subjects specifically enumerated in S. 91 of the British North America Act, the Dominion Legislature alone had exclusive legislative authority, it was observed by court thus:
"It follows had the legislation coming in 'pith and substance' within one of the classes specifically enumerated in S.91 is beyond the legislative competence of provincial legislature under S.92. In such case, it is immaterial whether the Dominion has or not dealt with the subject of legislation or to use other well-known words, whether that legislative field has or has not been occupied by the legislation of the Dominion Parliament"

The court must examine the substance of the act in this scenario. The statute is considered to be fully applicable, or if the court considers, that the legislation developed is substantially beyond the scope of the issue assigned to the framers. However, if the court determines that the implementation of the Law on another subject beyond the competence of the legislature has an adverse impact, those conclusions shall be rejected. This is because a certain statute may by the way interfere with an issue outside the ability of the legislature but it does not make the entire Statute null and void.

Historical Background And Evolution Of The Doctrine:
It is possible to trace to Canada the genesis and evolution of the Doctrine of Pith and the substance. In Canada the legal doctrine was used to determine which authority should be the subject of specific laws for constitutional interpretation.

Cushing v/s Dupuy[15] was the first case to mark the beginning of this doctrine in which the court established the doctrine of ancillary or Incidental encroachment. Notice that there is a similar constitutional agreement between Canada and India. Afterwards when the doctrine was transmitted to India, the law of that doctrine was applied with many landmark constitutional judgments.

Cushing v/s Dupuy[16]

Three of the brewing firms - Mc Leod, Mc Naughten and Leveille - became insolvent on 19 July 1877. In relation to the writ insolvency attachment , Dupuy was his official assignee. On the other hand, Cushing, who was a notary, signed a sales contract on which the company agreed to sell his properties on 12 March 1877. On the same day Cushing decided to lease the properties for three years to the company's directors. On the same day, another certificate was made.

In addition, Cushing stated in the petition that the assets were in possession. However, there had actually been no removal and the property still belonged to the company. The key argument was whether the deal was a legal sale under Sections 1027 and 1472 of the Civil Code of Lower Canada in the context of the court proceedings.

The important things that this decision took into consideration were:
  1. The role of insolvency law and its existence in Canada.
  2. When can the local legislature exclude appeals as a right to the private Council, and
  3. How can the State dispose of the royal prerogative?

Following a detailed review of the present case, the Court held that sales in accordance with Section 1027 of the Canadian Civil Code were not genuine. Although the case of Cushing v. Dupuy, as mentioned in the latter part of the present article, has been overtaken by subsequent rulings, it still remains one of the most significant cases as it laid the groundwork for the doctrine of ancillary or incidental encroachment.

The primary article of Article 246 of the Indian Constitution plays an important role in preserving and decide accordingly the principle of that doctrine.

The F.N Balsara case was the first decision of the Supreme Court to enforce and maintain this doctrine. While the Bombay Prohibition Act has by the way impacted the central law powers in this case, the Supreme Court held that it was still legitimate as the "pith" and "substance" of the act fall in List II not in List I.[17]

The doctrine has also been used in India time and again. Lord Porter in Prafulla Kumar Mukherjee V. Bank Of Commerce Ltd[18]. said that "what is pith and substance is the effect of the enactment of which complaint is made and in what list is its true nature and character to be found." Thus, the doctrine though emerged in Canada but is also applicable to India due to the similarities between both the countries.

Article 246 Of The Indian Constitution: How Is It Related To The Doctrine?

It is necessary to examine Article 246 of the Indian Constitution to better understand the doctrine of pith and substance. The lists mentioned in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution refer to Union, State and Concurrent, in Article 246. Given the federal nature of the Indian Constitution, the distribution of authority between the Union and State governments is one of the main features of that constitution, and it has been set out in the Seventh Schedule that includes:
  • List I- Union List (Parliamentary Legislation)
  • List II- State List (State Legislation)
  • List III- Concurrent List (Parliament and State Legislation)

The framers of the constitution established these three divisions. The Union List is composed primarily of matters of national significance and hence it is necessary for the government of the Union to intervene in these matters and empower them to make law in these matters.

Moreover, the State list includes issues that are local and state-related and so only the governments of the states must express their interest in these matters. Finally, the concurrent list includes concerns where both the union and the state government seem to have been common interests in that the power to legislate in these issues rests on the governments both of the state and of the Union.

Salient Features Of The Doctrine Of Pith And Substance:

  • In situations it becomes applicable if the subject of a list contradicts the subject matter of a another list.
  • The purpose behind its adoption is to avoid restrictions on the powers of legislators by declare each other's law null, and avoid limitations on the powers of legislatures.
  • It is intended to assess the true character and essence of the subject and decide which head of list it falls under.
  • The Doctrine provides the powers of the state to make a law covering the issue of the Union List with flexibility.

Need And Applicability Of Doctrine Of 'Pith And Substance' In India

The doctrine has also been used in India to provide some stability in an otherwise static power delivery scheme. The explanation for this doctrine's implementation is that if a piece of law were deemed unconstitutional because it encroached on powers, the legislature's powers would be severely limited.

"It is settled law of interpretation that entries in the Seventh Schedule are not powers but fields of legislation. The legislature derives its power from Article 246 and other related articles of the Constitution. Therefore, the power to make the Amendment Act is derived not from the respective entries but under Article 246 of the Constitution.

The language of the respective entries should be given the widest scope of their meaning, fairly capable to meet the machinery of the Government settled by the Constitution. Each general word should extend to all ancillary or subsidiary matters which can fairly and reasonably be comprehended in it.

When the vires of an enactment is impugned, there is an initial presumption of its constitutionality and if there is any difficulty in ascertaining the limits of the legislative power, the difficulty must be resolved, as far as possible in favour of the legislature putting the most liberal construction upon the legislative entry so that it may have the widest amplitude."[19]

According to this doctrine, the entire piece of law is analysed to assess its "true nature and character" in order to determine where it belongs on the list. If the statute significantly falls beyond the powers conferred on the legislature that passed it, it is not considered invalid "merely because it trenches or encroaches on matters that have been delegated to another legislature," due to its "actual meaning and character."

The theory of "pith and substance" presupposes that the legislation in issue is primarily beyond the constitutional authority of the legislature that enacted it, yet just unintentionally encroaches on the legislative domain of another legislature. The theory protects from unintentional encroachment provided the legislation is concise and substantive within the legal field of the body that enacted it.

This doctrine is often used when determining whether a state has the authority to enact legislation including a matter mentioned in the Union List of the Constitution. The fundamental premise of this theory is that a State-created act or provision is legitimate if the true essence of the act or provision is regarding a subject on the State's registry.

Applicability Of The Doctrine In Cases Of Competence And Repugnancy And The Concept Of Incidental Encroachment

As previously said, the doctrine of pith and substance must be followed in situations where the rights of the other legislature are encroached upon in relation to the right to make legislation on the topics covered by the three lists. If a legislature lacks the authority to pass laws on a specific issue, there is no reason to inquire at the content of the legislation; the enactment would remain unconstitutional. There have been several instances of the doctrine being misinterpreted, not only in cases of excellence but also in cases of repugnancy.

One of the few big cases in this respect is Subramanyam Chettiar V Muttuswami Goudan[20]. In this case the state of Madras enacted the Debt Relief Act, 1938 which provided that the court may scale down the debt of the agriculturists that was owed to moneylenders. This provision was in conflict with Negotiable Instruments Act,1881 which was a central legislation. The issue before the court was whether the enactment was repugnant and thus be declared invalid.

The court in this case was of the view that when a piece of legislation is enacted, its encroachment on the area of the other is inevitable because the areas of the legislations may be so closely intertwined that a blind adherence to the lists would render many enactments void. Thus, the court held that the enactment was intra vires in nature and cannot be held to be invalid.

In this case, the decision was correct because the promissory notes matured well before the enactment took effect, but in similar cases where the promissory note maturity date is after the enactment takes effect, the decision could be flawed. This is because, in my opinion, the encroachment is significant because it interfered with money lenders' ability to recover their funds. As a result, the law not only encroached on a central statute, but also on the interests of money lenders.

The next being Prafulla Kumar Mukherjee V. Bank Of Commerce[21]. In this case the issue was regarding the validity of the Bengal Money Lenders Act,1940. The act provided for limiting the amount as well as the interest that a lender could recover on any loan. It was challenged on the ground of being ultra vires the Bengal legislature. While the High Court of Calcutta held that the act was intra vires, the federal court on appeal quashed the judgment saying that act was ultra vires.

Finally, the case went to the Privy Council wherein the doctrine of 'pith and substance' was applied and it was held that the substance of the act is 'moneylending' which is well within the competence of the state legislature and falls under Entry 27 of List II of Government of India Act,1935. Although the court believed that there was incidental encroachment on Entry 28 of List I which was about the promissory notes, but again the encroachment was only incidental and was not sufficient the render the whole act void.

In a later case i.e. State Of Bombay V. Narottamdas Jethabhai[22] J. Patanjali Shastri held that the degree of encroachment is no factor at all to decide on the validity of the legislation. While applying the doctrine of 'pith and substance' he went on to hold that as long as the substance of the legislation is legitimate and the legislation is valid under the 'pith and substance' test, the enactment will be valid even if it encroached fully on the fields of the other legislature.

If this is the case, there is no point in demarcating the fields on which the federal or state legislatures can legislate in the first place, in my view. The whole object of making three lists in the Indian constitution would be defeated if both legislatures made laws in the other's area in the name of pith and substance.

Through these cases it very clear that not only in the cases of repugnancy but also in the cases of competence, the doctrine of 'pith and substance' is applied. Once the court is convinced that Article 254 is applicable, the question that further lies is whether the doctrine of 'pith and substance' is applicable and whether the doctrine can help to resolve such a repugnancy. In the repugnancy what has to be looked into next is the degree of encroachment.

If the encroachment is incidental then the enactment is to be held valid but if the encroachment turns out to be substantial then the enactment must be rendered invalid. If not so the whole purpose of having three lists in the constitution would be defeated. Thus, the doctrine is applied accordingly in the cases of competence as well as repugnancy.

The Doctrine Of 'Form And Substance In Relation To 'Doctrine Of 'Pith And Substance'

The philosophy of pith and substance refers to what the law's nature or heart is. The word "shape and substance" is just as familiar as "pith and substance." In other cases, what is mostly used is the actual application of a law rather than the vocabulary of the same.

Both pith and substance are used as synonyms in the doctrine of "pith and substance," but this is not the case in the doctrine of "type of substance." As evidenced by case law, there is a distinction between "form" and "substance." The doctrine of "pith and substance" is often used in judicial decisions to determine if a specific enactment comes under the subject provided under a particular list. The content of the ruling, on the other hand, would entail a careful review of the enactment's substantive aspects and consequences.

There are several cases where the doctrine of "form and material" has been enforced by the courts. Thakur Amar Singhji V. State Of Rajasthan[23] is the first. The legitimacy of a land reform in the state of Rajasthan was at issue in this situation. The real concern was whether the reform's behaviour on Jagidari lands should be considered a "acquisition" or a "resumption." While lacking the wording of the legislation that was introduced, the Supreme Court of India looked at the actual implementation of the reform. The Supreme Court determined that "acquisition" is a more descriptive term than "resumption" after examining the current legal operation.

The most common cases where 'form and substance' is applied are the cases involving taxation laws. A good example would be Indian Aluminium Co. V State Of Kerela[24]. In this case the question before the court the court was that whether two entries[ Entry 27 relating to supply of goods and Entry 53 relating to taxation on consumption and sale of electricity] in the state list form a surcharge on electricity.

The act described 'surcharge' as a duty on supply. Here again the doctrine of 'pith and substance' was applied but by looking at practical aspect of the enactment ascertaining the nature of the tax while keeping in mind the legal operation. The language of the enactment was again disregarded.

Before now, we've seen how the doctrine of "pith and material" works in practise. The theory of colorable law operates along similar lines. This doctrine is used to resolve situations including parliamentary integrity.

The Doctrine Of Colorable Legislation In Relation To 'Doctrine Of 'Pith And Substance'

The philosophy emphasises that "what can't be done directly can't be done implicitly." "The concept expressed by the phrase is that, although a government purports to operate within the bounds of its jurisdiction in passing a law, in essence and in practise, it transgresses certain powers, the transgression is obscured by what appears to be a simple pretence or mask upon careful examination." Thus, the doctrine is very closely related to the doctrine of 'pith and substance'. The doctrine finds its roots in the maxim "Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibetur et per obliquum".

The doctrine is used in the cases of Article 246 which demarcates subjects on which the parliament can make laws as List I, in which the state legislatures can make laws as List II and in which both can make laws as List III. It is used to determine if the legislature has the power to make laws on a particular subject matter.

In the case of K.C. Gajapati Narayan Deo And Ors. V. State Of Orissa[25], the doctrine is well clarified. In this case, the court held that because the subjects on which governments may make laws are well defined, questions arise as to whether the legislator in question has the authority to make laws on that subject matter. In certain cases, the transgression is indirect, and in these cases, the doctrine of "colorable law" is applied. The case of Ashok Kumar V. Union Of India[26] was then used to define the theory.

Dwarkadas Shrinivas V. Sholapur Spg. & Wvg. Co. Ltd. [27]. The Supreme Court ruled in this case that where a ban is statutory in nature and binds the body, the legislature cannot circumvent it by using indirect means. In other circumstances, the real character and essence of the law ('pith and substance') must be investigated.

Current Scenerio Of The Doctrine With Landmark Cases

Article 246 of the Indian Constitution specifically defines subjects which fall firmly in the 7th Schedule of the three lists. The authority assigned to the Union and to the list of States was clearly arranged so that no legislative body could interfere with other legislatures.

In certain cases, though, the by-law is bound to take place and the court thus applies the Pith and Substance doctrine to determine if the piece of legislation in question is intra virus or ultra-virus in nature. Where the law is found to be intra-vires, it is true and ultra-vires are unconstitutional. In deciding the legitimacy of the laws, the degree of interference is not considered. Under the provision of this law, the content of the statute shall be considered real, even though it has supplementary consequences on the matter of the other legislature.[28] It shall be considered correct.

In multiple judgements there were different opinions issued by the courts in relation to the interpretation of the doctrine. The court, for example, in the case of Bombay Vs. R.M.D Chamarbaugwala, held that the doctrine could help judge the intervention of legislation with regard to Business and Commerce.[29]

The court in the case of Atiabri Tea Co. Ltd. V. State Of Assam, said that, the doctrine of pith and substance was only useful to determine cases where the powers of enacting legislation on the subjects mentioned in three lists would be invalid.[30] There is Union and State List cases. This is the case. But if this doctrine applies to issues relating to the Competition List? Yeah, that's it.

In the Vijay Kumar Sharma V. State Of Karnataka[31] case, the Supreme Court explained. The Court held that the Pith and Substance Doctrine was valid except in cases where both the Central and the State legislature had the power to make laws in the concurrent List. The authority provided to the two legislatures, though, would be distinct. The Court also stated that in the cases in which the laws of the Parliament and the state legislature are identical, the provisions of Article 254(1) shall apply, and Parliament's legislation shall take precedence.[32]

Landmark Judgements:
In order to have a better understanding of the doctrine of pith and substance we need to refer to some of the landmark judgements.
  1. State Of Rajasthan v/s G Chawla[33]:

    In the present situation, a breach of current legislation by the use of sound amplifiers in the state was of public concern. That was the question that the legislature was called upon to determine before the court on questions of public health and importance. List II Entry 6 gives the State Government the authority to regulate the use of amplifiers to discourage noisy noises. In List I Entry 31 deals with a range of communications media like telephony, wireless radio, telegraphs, etc., the Union Government is empowered to adopt legislation on the use of amplifiers.

    The Court ruled that the use of the amplifier is not subject to List I Entry 31. The report states: while an amplifier belongs to the correspondence and broadcasting apparatus, it is the government of the state and not the government of the Union's responsibility to legislate on the law in its pitch and substance.
  2. Gujrat University v/s Krishna Ranganath Madholkar[34]:

    According to the details of the case, the Union List covers the issue of language of education at the university level, but the centre has not yet made a provision for the medium. Gujarat University (Petitioner) then implemented a plan and chose "English" as the language of education. But the question remains whether the Petitioner has the authority to choose the medium of instruction in the first place. The case ended up in front of the Supreme Court.

    According to the majority decision in the case, neither the original statute nor the subsequent provision empowers the Petitioner to prescribe the language of instruction. J. Subba Rao wrote a dissenting opinion in response to this. He mentioned that there can be no schooling without the means of information transfer, and that the State government has the authority to legislate on educational issues. As a result, if the Doctrine of Pith and Substance is applied to the aforementioned enactment, it specifically comes under the jurisdiction of the State Government.

The Doctrine of Pith and Substance has now been inextricably well-established in Indian constitutional jurisprudence, as shown by the preceding debate. It is a fundamental legal doctrine that assists the courts in determining the legality and fairness of legislation. Without it, the legislature's authority will be severely limited, but the degree of independence it offers in terms of taking a balanced strategy is definitely commendable.

This doctrine is a well-established legal concept in India, having been recognized by numerous High Courts and the Supreme Court.

The Doctrine of Pith and Substance falls into effect if a statute is seen to be encroaching or trespassing on an area where laws has been delegated to another. The essence of the theory is that if a dispute occurs about whether a particular law applies to a certain subject (which will then be listed in one of the lists), the court, in deciding those matters, examines the nature of the matter.

As a result of the above, it may be noted that the Doctrine of Pith and Substance states: "Whenever a dispute occurs as to whether a specific law applies to a particular topic (which may be listed in one or more lists), the courts primarily look at the substance of the matter." As an example, if the material is on the union list, the law's accidental encroachment on the State list would not render it invalid."

One of the key reasons for the doctrine's adoption and application in India was to add stability to an otherwise static system governing power distribution in a federal context. "If any law is to be ruled unconstitutional on the basis that it encroached on the domain of another legislature, so these powers delegated to the legislature would be enormously oppressive, and this would not serve the function of the authority being given to the legislature," said another crucial statement to be interpreted here.

The Doctrine of Pith ad Substance has been thoroughly discussed in this paper. From the above, it can be inferred that the Doctrine has attempted to cross the difference in deciding whether a particular law applies to a specific topic and has been accidental in its operation in the Indian sense. The theory has also aided in the preservation of the actual foundations of the legislature's authority.

The theory of 'pith and substance,' which first appeared in the Canadian Constitution, has historical importance in constitutional matters. The real existence and essence of an enactment is the literal sense of the "doctrine of pith and material." The doctrine is most often used in situations involving the legislature's ability to pass legislation under Article 246 on subjects mentioned in the three Lists of the Seventh Schedule, which clearly distinguishes between the right of the federal and state governments to legislate on such topics.

In addition, under Article 254, the theory is used to address questions of repugnancy resulting from inconsistencies in the laws made by the Parliament and state legislatures. In the event that the three lists are incompatible. List I still take precedence over the other two lists, and List III takes precedence over List II.

In the event of a conflict with laws passed by both legislatures under List III, the legislation passed by the Union legislature would take precedence. Furthermore, the degree of interference or encroachment must be weighed before determining the legitimacy of an enactment. If the infringement is accidental or ancillary, the law will be declared valid. If the invasion proves to be important, the law will be declared null and void.

  1. Laskin, Canadian Constitutional Law, 1951, p.4
  2. Prafulla Kumar v. Bank of Commerce, AIR 1947 PC 28
  3. AIR 1951 ALL 228(223)
  4. Mohanlal Chhaganlal Shah v Bissesarlal Chirawalla and Ors AIR 1947 Bom 268
  5. Re The Delhi Laws Act, 1912, v. the Part C States (Laws) Act, 1950 AIR 1951 SC 332 (371, 372, & 401)
  6. [1880] UPKC 22
  7. Durga Das Basu [n 8]
  8. C.A Deb VIII P 224
  9. Thakur Amar Singhji v State of Rajasthan AIR 1955 SC 5044(520); Ch. Tika Ramji & others, etc v The State of Uttar Pradesh & others AIR 1956 SC 676(691); Commissioner of Income tax, West Bengal v Raja Benoy Kumar Sahas Roy AIR 1957 SC 768
  10. A.S Krishna v State of Madras AIR 1957 297(301); Darshan Singh v State of Punjab AIR 1953 SC 83; D.N Banerji v P.R Mukherjee and Others AIR 1953 SC 58(59)
  11. Durga Das Basu, (8th Edition, first published in 1950, Reprint 2012, Vol 8) 8692
  12. Indian Constitution. Art. 246.
  13. Ujagar Prints M/s v Union of India, AIR 1989 SC 516 : 1989 3 SCC 488
  14. Attorney General for Alberta v Attorney General for Canada, AIR 1943 PC 76
  15. [1880] UKPC 22.
  16. [1880] UKPC 22
  17. State of Bombay v. F.N Balsara, AIR 1951 SC 318.
  18. Prafulla Kumar Mukherjee v. Bank of Commerce Ltd, AIR 1947 PC 60
  19. Jijubhai Nanbhai Kachar v. State of Gujarat, 1995 Supp. (1) SCC 596.
  20. Subramanyam Chettiar v Muttuswami Goudan, (1941) 1 MLJ 267
  21. Prafulla Kumar Mukherjee v. Bank of Commerce Ltd, AIR 1947 PC 60
  22. State of Bombay v. Narottamdas Jethabhai, AIR 1951 SC 61
  23. Thakur Amar Singhji v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1955 SC 504
  24. Indian Aluminium Co. v State of Kerela, AIR 1996 SC 1431
  25. K.C. Gajapati Narayana Deo and Ors. v. The State of Orissa, AIR 1953 SC 375.
  26. Ashok Kumar v. Union of India, (1991) 3 SCC 498
  27. Dwarkadas Shrinivas v. Sholapur Spg. & Wvg. co. ltd, AIR 1954 SC 119
  28. State of Bombay v. Narottamdas Jethabhai, AIR 1951 SC 61.
  29. AIR 1957 SC 699.
  30. AIR 1961 SC 232.
  31. (1990) 2 SC 562.
  32. Indian Const. art. 254(1).
  33. AIR 1959 SC 544.
  34. AIR 1963 SC 703.
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