Liability of state in tort/ suits and proceedings under Article 300

Liability of state in tort/ suits and proceedings under Article 300

Article 300 of the Constitution says that the Government of India may sue or be sued by the name of the Union of India and the Government of a State may sue or may be sued by the name of the State, or of the Legislature of a State. Thus the Constitution makes the Union and the States as juristic persons capable of owning and acquiring property,  making contracts, bringing and defending legal actions, carrying on trade or carrying on business, just as private individuals. The Legal personality of the Union of India or State of Indian Union is thus placed beyond doubt by the express language of Article 300.

The Government of India can be sued in relation to their affairs in the like cases as the Dominion of India might have been sued if this Constitution had not been enacted. The position in this respect remains the same as it existed before the commencement of the Constitution so long as Parliament does not make a law providing otherwise. Article 300, As the Union of India is a legal person it is not necessary to investigate whether the Government of India was a legal entity before the commencement of the Constitution. 

Article 300 of the Constitution says that the Government of India might sue or be sued by the name of the Union of India and therefore the Government of a State may sue or could also be sued by the name of the State, or of the General Assembly of a State. So the Constitution makes the Union and the States as legal persons capable of owning and deed property, creating contracts, transportation and defensive legal actions, carrying on trade or carrying on business, even as personal individuals. The Legal temperament of the Union of India or State of Indian Union is thus placed certainly by the categorical language of Article 300.

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The Government of India are often sued in the relevancy of their affairs within the like cases because the Dominion of India might have been sued if this Constitution had not been enacted. The position during this respect remains constant because it existed before the commencement of the Constitution ciao as Parliament doesn’t create a law providing otherwise. Article 300, because the Union of India may be a legal entity, it’s not necessary to research whether or not the government of India was a legal entity before the commencement of the Constitution.

Liability of Tort:-

Article 300 (1) provides that the Government of India could also be sued in relevance of its affairs within the like case because the Dominion of India, subject to any law which can be created by Act of Parliament. The Parliament has not created any law and thus the question should be determined on whether or not the suit would lie against the Dominion of the Republic of India before the Constitution came into force. Thus, because the Parliament or the State legislative assembly don’t enact a law now, the legal position during this respect is that the same as existed before the  commencement of the Constitution.

Before this Constitution came into force the East Indies Company, and when the government of India Act ,1858, that transferred the govt. of Republic of India to Her Majesty with its rights and liabilities, the Secretary of State Council was accountable for the wrongdoing acts of their servants committed within the course of their employment. Section 65 of the Government of India Act, 1858, provided the Secretary of State in Council might be sued because it might be done against the East Indian Company. Section 65 of the Government of India Act, 1858, was re-enacted as Section 32 of the Government of India Act, 1915, and as Section 176 of the Government of India Act, 1935. Within the present Constitution the corresponding provision in Article 300.

The first leading case on the purpose is the P. and O. Steam Navigation Co. v. Secretary of State for India, during this case a servant of the Plaintiff’s company was moved from Garden Reach to Calcutta during a carriage driven by a combine of horses. The accident came about once the coach was passing through the Kidderpore waterfront that was Government waterfront. Some government workmen utilised within the Government waterfront were carrying a significant piece of iron rod for the aim of repairing a steamer.

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The lads carrying the iron rod were getting in the center of the road. Once the carriage of the litigator drove up nearer the driver gave a warning to the lads carrying the iron rod and therefore the coachmen slowed his speed. The lads carrying the iron rod tried to induce out of the approach, those ahead tried to travel to at least one aspect of the road whereas those behind tried to travel to the opposite aspect of the road. The consequence of this was a loss of your time, transferring the carriage pack up to them before they’d left the centre of the road. Seeing the horses and carriage they got afraid and suddenly borne the iron road and ran away.

The iron rod fell with an excellent noise leading to injuries to at least one horse, that surprised the plaintiff’s horses that crashed forwards violently and fell on the iron rod. The corporation filed a suit against the Secretary of State in Council for the damages for injury to its horse caused by the negligence of the servants utilised by the government of India.

It was held by the Supreme Court that the Secretary of State for India was responsible for the damages caused by the negligence of state servants, as a result of the negligent act wasn’t exhausted the exercise of a “sovereign power” and acts exhausted the exercise of “non-sovereign power” that’s, acts exhausted the conduct of undertakings which could be carried on by personal person- people while not having such power. Liability might solely arise just in case of “non- sovereign functions”.

Author: Shaheera Sultana,
NBM Law College, 2nd year

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