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STATE – Constitution Of India

Updated: May 20, 2020

The word ‘state’ is defined in article 12 of the constitution of India.

What can be considered as a state?

According to article 12, the word state comprises of –

  • · Government and parliament of India
  • · Government and legislature of each state.
  • · All local or other authorities[1] within the territory of India.
  • · All local or other authorities[2] under the control of the government.

In Mohammed Yasun v. Town Area Committee, Supreme Court held that by-laws of municipal corporation committee charging a prescribed fee on the wholesale deal was an order by a state authority in contravention with Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution.

In University of Madras v. Santa Bai, Madras High Court held that other authorities indicates authorities of like nature i.e. esjudem generis

In Ujjammbai v. State of U.P., the Supreme Court held that ejusdem generis rule cannot be restored to interpret this expression. In article 12 the bodies specifically named are the government of Union and States, the legislature of Union and States, and local authorities. There is no common genus running through these named bodies.

In Electricity Board Rajasthan v. Mohan Lal, it was held that ‘other authorities’ is wide enough to include all authorities created by constitution or statute on whom

Powers are conferred by law. It is not necessary that the statutory authority should engage in performing government or sovereign functions.

In Ramana Dayaram Shetty v. The International Airport Authority of India, test for determining whether a body is to be considered as a state.

Justice Bhagwati said that if a body is an agency or instrumentality of government it may be an authority within the meaning of article 12 whether it is a statutory corporation, a government company, or even a registered society.


  • · Financial resources of the state are the chief funding source.
  • · Existence of deep and pervasive state control
  • · Functional character being governmental in essence
  • · A department of government is transferred to a corporation
  • · Whether the corporation enjoys monopoly status which is State conferred or state-protected.

The court held that these tests are not conclusive but illustrative only and would have to be used with care and caution.

In Ajay Hasia v. Khalid Mujib, it was held that society registered under the Society Registration act 1898 is an agency or instrumentality of the state and hence held to be stated under article-12.

In Thekraj Vasandi v. UOI, it was held that institutions of constitutional and parliamentary studies a society registered under the society registration act 1860 is not a state within the meaning of article 12. The institution is neither an agency nor an instrumentality of the state. It is a voluntary organization.

The object of society not related to government business. The government does not have a deep and pervasive roll in the functioning of society.


All areas outside the Indian Territory but which are under or may come under the control of the government of India, for example trustee territory, the territory occupied by international agreement, etc.

In-State of Assam v. Barak Upatyaka D.V Karamchari Sansthan, it was held that financial assistance provided by the state government in the form of grant-in-aid to Assam co-operative society continuously for some years, does not make society a state.


Unaided minority institutions are not termed as a state due to their authority under article 30(1) of the constitution.

In Satimbal Sharma v. St. Paul Senior Secondary School, it was held that unaided minority institutions are under no obligation to pay equal pay for equal work.

Is Board Of Control For Cricket In India a State?

In Zee Telefilms Ltd v. UOI, the following points were made-

  • Board was not created by the state nor was a part of share capital held by the government.
  • All functions of the board were not public.
  • Board was an autonomous body.
  • The board was not dominated by or under the control of the government, financially, functionally, or administratively.

So it was held that the board was not a state.

[1] Authorities having the power to make laws, orders, regulations, by-laws, notifications, etc [2] Authorities defined in section 3(31) of The General Clause Act, refers to municipalities, district board, panchayats etc.

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