News By/Courtesy: Nikshetaa Jain | 18 May 2020 13:21pm IST


  • Original Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
  • State of Bihar v Union of India: A private entity cannot be a party under article 131
  • State of Rajasthan v Union of India: State government can file a suit under article 131

The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in the following matters: - i) dispute related to the election of President or Vice President; ii) write petitions frilled under article 32; iii) Article 131 or extraordinary original jurisdiction. Article 131 states the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. According to Article 131, the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in the following disputes: i) between the Government of India v one or more state; ii) between the Government of India and one or more state v one or more state; iii) between state v state and a dispute involving any question whether on fact or law based on a legal right.  
The said article does not apply to those disputes which arise out of treaty or agreement entered before the commencement of the constitution. This article is also not applicable when a state files a case along with a private entity.
In-State of Bihar v Union of India, the state of Bihar had entered into a contract with Hindustan Steel Ltd. for the supply of steel and iron for the Gandhak Project. Bihar filed a case against Hindustan Steel to claim damages for a short supply of iron and steel as ordered for the project. A case was file against the Union of India, the owner of Indian Railways, as the goods were delayed to be dispatched by rail. The suit was filed under article 131. However, it was held that that article 131 excludes the idea of a private citizen, firm, or corporation to be a disputant either alone or along with the government. The most crucial feature of article 131 is that there is no mention of any party other than the Government of India or any one or more state.
In-State of Rajasthan v Union of India, the Congress party was defeated in the general elections for Lok Sabha of 1977. However, several states were ruled by the Congress Party. Then Home Minister advised the Chief Minister of these states to advise their Governors to dissolve the State Assemblies under article 174. Thereafter, these state government filed a suit against the Central government under Article 131. The central government raised certain issues on the maintainability of the suit. Firstly, Article 131 covers a dispute only between the GoI and a state, and there is a distinction between the state and a state government. Secondly, Article 131 covers special disputes where the state government which comes and goes may not be interested. The court held that Article 131 involves a dispute between the Centre and the state government. It refused to give a restricted meaning to Article 131.

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 19 May 2020 17:57pm IST

Tags : #Article 131

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