Case Summary

SHANKARI PRASAD SINGHDEO vs UNION OF INDIA & OTHERS (AIR 1951 SC 455)

FACTS

  • The political party which was in power had carried out specific agrarian reforms in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh by enacting legislation which may be compendiously known as Zamindari Abolition Act.
  • Certain Zamindars who were feeling aggrieved had challenged the enactments mentioned above in the court of law on the grounds that it contravened the Fundamental Rights conferred on them by Part III of the Indian Constitution. 
  • The Patna High Court held that the Acts which have passed in Bihar were unconstitutional, whereas, the Allahabad High Court, as well as Nagpur High Court, upheld the validity of the acts in U.P and M.P, respectively. 
  • Appeals from those decisions were made and the Union Government, in order to put an end to these types of litigations and also as a remedy to certain defects has brought forward the bill of the amendment.
  • The abovementioned bill, after receiving the requisite majority came to be known as the Constitution (First) Amendment Act, 1951.
  • As a response to this move of the Government, the Zamindars brought their petitions under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, impugning the Amendment Act itself to be void and unconstitutional. 

QUESTION OF LAW

  • Article 368.
  • Article 13(2); Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights.
  • Article 392; Power of President to remove difficulties.
  • Article 226; Power of High Court to issue writs.

HELD

It was held that the authority of the Parliament to amend the Constitution, including the fundamental rights is entailed in Article 368 and is not violative of the provisions of the Constitution. The court upheld the validity of the land reforms; as they do not restrain the powers of the High Court under Article 226 to issue writs for enforcement of any of the rights that are conferred by Part III or of the Supreme Court under Articles 132 and 136 to consider appeals from orders are issuing or refusing such writs. Article 31A and 31B are were held not invalid on the ground of ultra virus; hence the Court held that though the subject of Land came under the State list, therefore, to enact amendments of the Constitution lay exclusively with the Parliament.

Submitted By: Shramana Sengupta

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