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Presence Of Some Element Of Public Duty Or Function Would Not By Itself Make A Body 'State' Under Article 12 : Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
21 Feb 2022 4:53 AM GMT
Presence Of Some Element Of Public Duty Or Function Would Not By Itself Make A Body State Under Article 12 : Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that the presence of some element of public duty or function would not by itself suffice for bringing a body within the net of Article 12 (definition of 'State')."An overall and holistic view of the functions and activities, including the primary function(s), should be taken into consideration.", the bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M....

The Supreme Court observed that the presence of some element of public duty or function would not by itself suffice for bringing a body within the net of Article 12 (definition of 'State').

"An overall and holistic view of the functions and activities, including the primary function(s), should be taken into consideration.", the bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi said while holding that Automotive Research Association of India is not a 'State'.

In this case, the Bombay High Court refused to entertain writ petition filed against the Association, observing that it is not an agency or instrumentality of the Government and that the Government does not have deep and pervasive control over it.

While considering appeal, the Apex Court bench, referring to its Memorandum of Association and other relevant facts, observed that the main objective and function of the association relate to motor vehicles which is not directly or indirectly a field connected with functions of the government. The activities are for the benefit of the members of the association, which primarily consists of various companies engaged in the manufacture of motor vehicles or allied product, it said. The court further noted that the association is not functionally and administratively dominated or controlled by the government.

"The Memorandum indicates that the Council enjoys significant and substantive freedom and independence. The respondent Association is not under the control of the central government and the supervision is limited and confined to specific aspects, which do not have the effect of deep and pervasive control of the Central Government.", the bench said.

The court noted that Rule 126 of the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, requires that every manufacturer or importer of the motor vehicle shall submit the prototype of the vehicle to be manufactured or imported by him to specified Associations/Authorities for issuance and grant of certificate by that agency for compliance of the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act and Rules.

"One function assigned to the respondent Association, which is not the primary and forms a small fraction of their activities and functions performed by the respondent Association, would not matter. An overall and holistic view of the functions and activities, including the primary function(s), should be taken into consideration", the court noted.

The court also referred to various judgments including the seven judges bench judgment in Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (2002) 5 SCC 111 and observed thus:

It is to be observed that the determination of a body as a 'State' is not a rigid set of principles. What is to be seen is whether in the light of the cumulative facts as established, the body is financially, functionally and administratively dominated by or under the control of the Government, albeit if the control is mere regulatory, whether under statute or otherwise, it will not serve to make the body a State. Also, the presence of some element of public duty or function would not by itself suffice for bringing a body within the net of Article 12. (Para 6)

Headnotes

Constitution of India, 1950 - Article 12 - State - The determination of a body as a 'State' is not a rigid set of principles. What is to be seen is whether in the light of the cumulative facts as established, the body is financially, functionally and administratively dominated by or under the control of the Government, albeit if the control is mere regulatory, whether under statute or otherwise, it will not serve to make the body a State. Also, the presence of some element of public duty or function would not by itself suffice for bringing a body within the net of Article 12. (Para 6)

Constitution of India, 1950 - Article 12 - State -  Whether Automotive Research Association of India Is A State -The majority of the members of the Association are associated with the manufacturers of the automobiles or their components and are not in service of the government. They are private players and from the motor vehicle industry - The main objective and function of the association relate to motor vehicles which is not directly or indirectly a field connected with functions of the government - One function assigned to the Association, which is not the primary and forms a small fraction of their activities and functions performed by the Association, would not matter. An overall and holistic view of the functions and activities, including the primary function(s), should be taken into consideration- Association is not an agency or instrumentality of the Government. Further, the Government does not have deep and pervasive control over it. (Para 18- 24)

Constitution of India, 1950 - Article 226 - Writ Jurisdiction - Nature of the function performed by a body may be relevant for Article 226, considering the language of Article 226 which encapsulates a wide scope of legal right. (Para 22)

Case name: Kishor Madhukar Pinglikar Vs Automotive Research Association Of India

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 189

Coram: Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Bela M. Trivedi

Case no.|date: SLP(C) 6637 OF 2019 | 10 Feb 2022

Counsel: Adv Abhay Anil Anturkar for petitioner, Sr. Adv Shekhar Naphade for respondent


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