Concept of State Under Article 12

Article 12 of the Indian Constitution describes the state as

“In this part, unless the context otherwise requires, the State includes the Government and Parliament of India and the Government and the Legislature of each of the States and all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India"

Therefore, unless specified, the State includes.

  1. Government

  2. Parliament of India

  3. The Legislature of each state

  4. Other authorities

So it means the ‘state’ under art. 12 includes executive as well as legislative organ of union and states. It is therefore an action of these bodies that can be challenged before the courts as violating the fundamental rights.


This means the Executive and Legislature of the country. They come under the scope of ‘state’ as whenever there is a bill passed in the Parliament, which after the Parliament gives its assent, becomes an act. And if that law by any chance infringes the right of the citizen(s) he can file for the infringement of his fundamental rights.


This means if there is an infringement of the right(s) of any individual due to any law or act passed by the state. Then the same is safeguarded under Fundamental Rights.


It means a person or body exercising power to command in the context of Art. 12. word ‘authority’ means – the power to make laws. Orders, regulations, bye-laws, notification etc. which to enforce those laws.

Local Authorities

The expression “local authority” under Article 12 can be referred to a unit of local self-government

  • Municipality

  • Village

  • Gram Sabha, etc. In the instant case, reference made to the definition of local authority according to section 3(31) of the General Clauses Act, which defines the “local authorities” as a municipality, district board, a body of port chiefs or other legal authorities which are legitimately entitled to, or endowed by the government with all the control of such attributed bodies. All these authorities are made through a statute. Hence any by-laws or any rule and regulations made by these bodies come under the ambit of Fundamental Right

In Premji Bhai Panwar v. Delhi Development Authority (DDA) the Delhi Development Authority, a statutory body, has been held to be a ‘local authority’ because it is constituted for the specific purpose of development of Delhi according to plan which is ordinarily a municipal function.

In the case of Calcutta State Transport Corporation v. Commissioner of Income-tax, West Bengal Supreme Court refused to characterize the corporation as a ‘local authority’. The corporation is meant only for the purpose of providing road transport services and has no element of popular representation in its constitution. Its powers and functions bear no relation to the powers and functions of a municipal committee.It is more in the nature of a trading corporation.

Mohammad Yasin V/s Town Area Committee The S.C. held that the bye-laws of Muncipal Committee charging a prescribed fee on the wholesale dealer was an order by a State Authority contravened Art. 19(1). These bye-laws in effect and in substance have brought about a total stoppage of the wholesale dealer’s business in the commercial sense.

Other Authorities

It refers to authorities other than those of local self-Government, who have the power to make rules, regulations, etc., having the force of a law.

The expression of “other authorities is so wide in itself that it could have covered all authorities created by constitution or state on whom power are conferred by law. It is not necessary that statutory authority should be engaged in performing governmental or sovereign function. Supreme Court of India came up with more broad and liberal interpretation of “other authorities” so as to include all those bodies or instrumentalities which are though not created by the constitution or by a statute of government. They evolved the Doctrine of Instrumentality.

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