Why in News?

Article 131 in the Constitution of India:                                                         

Under Article 131 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction to deal with any dispute between the Centre and a statethe Centre and a state on the one side and another state on the other side; and two or more states.

The Chhattisgarh government instituted a suit in the Supreme Court against the Centre, challenging the National Investigation Agency Act. The primary contention is that that it violated the sovereignty of the state governments in the subject of policing.

Exclusive and original Jurisdiction:

Exclusive means, no other court can decide such disputes and original means, the power to hear such disputes in the first instancenot by way of appeal.

With regard to the exclusive original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, two points should be noted.The dispute must involve a question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.

Thus, the questions of political nature are excluded from it.

Any suit brought before the Supreme Court by a private citizen against the Centre or a state cannot be entertained under this.

Further, this jurisdiction of the Supreme Court does not extend to the following:

A dispute arising out of any pre-Constitution treaty, agreement, covenant, engagement, sanad or other similar instrument.

A dispute arising out of any treaty, agreement, etc., which specifically provides that the said jurisdiction does not extent to such a dispute.

Inter-state water disputes.

Matters referred to the Finance Commission.

Adjustment of certain expenses and pensions between the Centre and the states.

Ordinary dispute of Commercial nature between the Centre and the states.

The Centre has other powers to ensure that its laws are implemented.

The Centre can issue directions to a state to implement the laws made by Parliament.

If states do not comply with the directions, the Centre can move the court seeking a permanent injunction against the states to force them to comply with the law.

Non-compliance of court orders can result in contempt of court, and the court usually hauls up the chief secretaries of the states responsible for implementing laws.ecovery of damages by a state against the Centre.

Can the Centre too sue a state under Article 131?

In a 1978 judgment, State of Karnataka v Union of India, Justice P N Bhagwati had said that for the Supreme Court to accept a suit under Article 131, the state need not show that its legal right is violated, but only that the dispute involves a legal question.

Article 131 cannot be used to settle political differences between state and central governments headed by different parties.

Can the Supreme Court declare legislation unconstitutional under Article 131?

Ø Although earlier judgments had held that the constitutionality of a law can be examined under Article 131, a 2011 judgment in the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v. Union of India ruled otherwise.

Way forward:

2012 dispute between Bihar and Jharkhand that is currently pending for consideration by a larger Bench of the court will answer this question.



Indian Express