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

Debate Summary

Article 7, Draft Constitution, 1948

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.

 

Draft Article 7 (Article 11) was debated on  25th November 1948. It was a gateway provision for Part III on Fundamental Rights, and defined the term ‘State’ used throughout the Part.

 

This Article, as one Assembly member argued, was indispensable to enforce fundamental rights as it identified those authorities upon whom fundamental rights were binding. 

 

Members of the Assembly were concerned that the wording of the Article was too vague and some moved amendments. One member took issue with the term ‘other authorities’ which would in effect bring in almost every government agency or officer under the ambit ‘State’. Another argued that it was inappropriate to district boards and municipalities as the ‘State’. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee clarified that ‘other authorities’ would refer to those that had ‘the power to make laws or the power to have discretion vested in it’. He further stated that it would be cumbersome to list the various institutions upon whom Part III was binding, so the term ‘State’ was useful in this regard.

 

The Assembly adopted the Article with just one amendment on 25th November 1948.