Over the last 50 years, the Supreme Court of India has established itself as one of the indisputably great courts of the world. No other court in the free world exercises jurisdiction over more than a small fraction of the nearly one billion men, women and children who form the population of India. The Golden Jubilee of this Court is accordingly a matter of much more than local importance. I am greatly honoured to have this opportunity to pay tribute to its achievements over this crucial and formative period of its and the country’s history.
The honour and the pleasure are all the greater for a visitor from the United Kingdom since for over two centuries, for better or worse — I hope not wholly for worse — our fortunes and histories were so closely intertwined.
The late Sir Penderel Moon — one of the last generation of British civil servants in India, a very intelligent man, deeply devoted to India and its peoples — strongly criticised his British fellow-countrymen for bequeathing to independent India institutions based on a British model which were, he thought, alien and unsuited to the genius of the country. In this criticism he very expressly included the legal system.1 Although lacking his knowledge and experience of India, let alone the knowledge and experience of my present audience, I find that to be not only a disappointing judgment, but also a surprising one, which indeed I find hard to accept.
It is doubtless true that the first Judge to exercise jurisdiction in Surat in the seventh century contributed little to world jurisprudence. He was a retired sea captain, and was removed from judicial office for refusing to pay his debts. He then enrolled as a captain of infantry but was again in trouble for an offence which (in the reticent words of those reporting it to the authorities) “we know not well how to put into such decent terms as may become us to your Honours”.2 It is also true that for long periods, particularly at the lower levels there was a marked lack of differentiation between the exercise of judicial and executive power: This may well have made for the effective enforcement of judicial orders, and perhaps encouraged the friendly resolution of civil disputes, but it would have offended any purist.
There are surely many things to be put on the credit side. First, I would put what seems to me to have been an enlightened approach to the application of laws foreign to India. As it was put with reference to Bombay in 1827, following some of the language of earlier provisions:
“The law to be observed in the trial of suits shall be Acts of Parliament and Regulations of Government applicable to the case; in the absence of such Acts and Regulations the usage of the country in which the suit arose; if none such appears, the law of the defendant; and in the absence of any specific law and usage justice, equity and good conscience.”3
In earlier years the expression “justice, equity and good conscience” was, it seems taken to refer to generally accepted notions of justice, which might or might not coincide with English law,4 although in course of time these values were increasingly taken to be represented by the English common law, a trend reinforced by measures such as the Indian Penal Code and the Indian Evidence Act. It is, however, my impression that respect continued to be paid to local customs and traditions. Describing the Magistrate of yore a Victorian versifier described him as:
“Prompt with the rifle, niggard of the pen,
By manly deeds he won the hearts of men;
His watchful eye each rival chieftain viewed,
And oftener calmed than curbed the rising feud.…
Nor sought to substitute with ruthless hand
The alien systems of a distant land…”.5
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council also accepted, in some cases at least, that the rules of the English common law could not be undiscriminatingly applied in a country, such as India, with old and valuable traditions of its own:
“Where Englishmen establish themselves in an uninhabited or barbarous country, they carry with them not only the laws, but the sovereignty of their own State; and those who live amongst them and become members of their community become also partakers of, and subject to the same laws.
But this was not the nature of the first settlement made in India — it was a settlement made by a few foreigners for the purpose of trade in a very populous and highly civilised country, under the Government of a powerful Mahomedan ruler, with whose sovereignty the English Crown never attempted or pretended to interfere for some centuries afterwards.”6
So, called upon to decide whether to apply in India the English rule that goods of one who has committed suicide should be forfeited to the Crown, the Judicial Committee (agreeing with the Supreme Court at Calcutta) declined to apply it: it was recognised that suicide need not in all societies and in all circumstances be regarded as the worst of all murders but as
“deriving its moral character altogether from the circumstances in which it is committed — sometimes as blameable, sometimes as justifiable, sometimes as meritorious, or even an act of positive duty”7.
I am indebted to Mr M.C. Setalvad, then the Attorney General of India, who, in his 1960 Hamlyn Lectures, gave further instances of this same approach:
“The High Courts in India have followed the same trend rejecting the principles of English law whenever they were thought unsuitable to Indian conditions. As early as 1874 the Sunday Observance Acts were held inapplicable in India. In 1875 the High Court of Bombay refused to apply the statutes against superstitious uses to Hindu religious endowments. Similarly, that Court held that the rule in Shelley case did not apply to a disposition by a Parsee. The English rule in regard to marriage with a deceased wife’s sister has been held not to extend to persons who were not by origin or domicile English. Similarly the common law rules as to survivorship, special damages in a case of imputation of unchastity to a married woman in the mofussil, have been held inapplicable to Indians.”8
I am indebted to the same learned author for two very early but very striking statements of principles which have since become familiar, both taken from Governor Aungier of Bombay. The first, on inauguration of the Court of Judicature in Bombay in 1672, is very short:
“Laws though in themselves never so wise and pious are but a dead letter and of little force except there be a due and impartial execution of them.”9
The second is much longer, but I think deserves quotation despite its length:
“The Inhabitants of this Island consist of severall Nations and Religions to wit — English, Portuguese and other Christians, moores, and jentues, but you when you sit in this seat of Justice and Judgment, must looke upon them with one single eye as I doe, without distinction of Nation or Religion, for they are all his His Majesties and the Hon’ble. Company’s subjects as the English are, and have all an equall title and right to Justice and you must doe them all Justice, even the meanest person of the Island, and in particulare the Poore, the Orphan, the Widdow and the stranger, in al matters of controversy, of Common right, and Meum and Tuum; And this not only one against the other but even against myself and those who are in office under me, nay against the Hon’ble Company themselves when Law, Reason and Equity shal require you soe to doe, for this is your Duty and therein will you be justified, and in soe doing God will be with you to strengthen you, his Majestie and the Company will commend you and reward you, and I, in my place, shall be ready to assist, Countenance, honour and protect you to the utmost of the power Authority entrusted to me: and soe I pray God give his blessing to you.”10
A similarly, early statement of a principle which took some time to be generally accepted is found in the instruction of Cornwallis in the 1780s:
“… that the collectors of revenue and their officers and indeed all the officers of Government shall be amenable to the courts for acts done in their official capacities, and that Government itself in cases in which it may be a party with its subjects in matters of property shall submit its rights to be tried in these courts under the existing laws and regulations.”
As in the statement of legal principles, so in administration were ideals expressed which remain worthy of support. Despite some note of condescension in the language used, I would find it hard to quarrel with the view expressed by the Board established to administer the Punjab:
“The Board desire that substantial justice should be plainly dealt out to a simple people, unused to the intricacies of legal proceedings. The aim is to avoid all technicality, circumlocution and obscurity; to simplify and abridge every rule, procedure and process. They would endeavour to form tribunals which shall not be hedged in with forms unintelligible to the vulgar and only to be interpreted by professional lawyers but which shall be open and accessible courts of justice where every man may plead his own cause, be confronted face to face with his opponents, may prosecute his own claim or conduct his own defence.”11
The achievement of independence in 1947 was of course a climacteric event in the history of India. But the constitutional and legal history of India is, I think, a continuum and not a story of radical revolution. As Mr Setalvad put it:
“The builders of the Indian Constitution not only drew largely from the collection of British ideas and institutions which was India’s heritage from British rule, but they also took care to maintain a continuity with the governmental system which had grown up under the British. They believed not in severing their links with the past but rather in treasuring all that had been useful and to which they had been accustomed. The structure which emerged was therefore not only basically British in its framework but took the form of an alteration and extension of what had previously existed.”12
Thus the Constitution provided (in Article 372) for the continuance in force of existing laws, and on its inauguration the Supreme Court paid a graceful and generous tribute to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as
“the great judicial tribunal which has so well and so ably functioned as the highest court of appeal for about a hundred years. The great Judges who have from time to time presided over its deliberations have left a deep and ineffaceable impress on the law of the country. Our tie with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has now snapped. But the law laid down in their judgments will doubtless continue to mould and influence the decisions of this Court. This is inevitable because the roots of our statute law and legal forms lie deeply enmeshed in the jurisprudence of England and the decisions of the English courts.”13
With equal generosity Justice Vivian Bose of the Supreme Court of India said in 1960:
“… one of the greatest boons that the English conferred on India was to introduce the rule of law into the land and to imbed it so firmly into the lives of the people that its displacement seems unlikely in any foreseeable future….”14
Having already expressed my reservations concerning the gloomy strictures of Sir Penderel Moon, I am reassured to find that the Law Commission of India, in its fourteenth report of 1958, investigating whether the system of administration of justice bequeathed to India by the British failed to accord with the pattern of Indian life and conditions, concluded that
“the system which has prevailed in our country for nearly two centuries though British in its origin has grown and developed in Indian conditions and is now firmly rooted in the Indian soil. It would be disastrous and entirely destructive of our future growth to think of a radical change at this stage of the development of our country.”15
So the legal and constitutional history of India did not end in 1947 or even in 1950. Rather it took giant strides forward, showing a sense of purpose, an energy and an imaginative willingness to innovate which must leave any British observer full of rather breathless admiration. On the occasion of this jubilee it is perhaps appropriate to mention some of the factors contributing to this great resurgence, familiar though they must be to you.
First of course one must mention the Constitution of India, the cornerstone of the new Union, and an enduring monument to the wisdom, erudition and idealism of Dr Ambedkar and all others who framed this remarkable document. Unlike the British Constitution, but like that of the United States, it is an entrenched Constitution, and it is supreme. It is no doubt true as Mr Setalvad observed, that:
“We have in truth not the supremacy of the courts but the supremacy of the Constitution.”16
But the Supreme Court is clearly established as the guardian of the Constitution and that also Mr Setalvad acknowledged:
“The makers of the Indian Constitution eventually chose to subject the decisions of the legislature in certain matters to a close and an impartial scrutiny by the judiciary in the fullest confidence that the judiciary would, in making their determination, be guided solely by the interests of the nation.”17
The Preamble to the Constitution, as amended in 1976, affirms the resolve of the people of India to constitute India into a sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens justice, social economic and political, liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship and equality of status and opportunity. This Preamble is not, as I understand, regarded as part of the Constitution itself, or as a source of substantive law.18 But I understand that the Supreme Court has regarded the Preamble as indicating the basic structure of the Constitution, and has had regard to it in construing the Constitution and determining those features of it which are to be regarded as basic and inviolable. It seems to me wholly admirable that a new nation, embarking on an independent future, should commit itself to a statement of the principles upon which its future development is to be founded. Wherever one is in the world, one need not look very far afield to see countries in which these basic principles have commanded little or no allegiance. I hope I may be permitted to pay respectful tribute to the way in which, over a turbulent and difficult half century, the people of India have remained almost unfailingly true to these principles.
Scarcely less striking to an English observer, although again unsurprising to an American, was the decision to place on the face of the Constitution the resounding roll call of Fundamental Rights to be found in Part III of the Constitution. It is not so much the content of these rights which impresses. Many of them would appear in any similar tabulation, and do appear in our own, belated, Human Rights Act of 1998, although certain of them, notably the abolition of untouchability and the prohibition of child labour in hazardous employments, were highly ambitious ideals. More significant, as it seems to me, was the decision of the new citizens of this nation to commit itself to these rights as the foundation of their future life together. It was an express and conscious social contract of a kind which political philosophers have had to imagine.
But of course a mere statement of rights, however admirable and idealistic in itself, is valueless unless effective means of enforcement exist. In Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitution such means were unambiguously provided to the Supreme Court and the High Courts of the States. Dr Ambedkar himself fully recognised the central importance of Article 32, of which he said in the Constituent Assembly:
“I am very glad that the majority of those who spoke on this article have realised the importance and significance of this article. If I was asked to name any particular article in this Constitution as the most important — an article without which the Constitution would be a nullity — I could not refer to any other article except this one. It is the very essence of the Constitution and the very heart of it and I am glad that the House has realised its importance.”19
In his R.B. Datar Memorial Lecture given in April 1999, Mr Fali Nariman described the years since 1977 as “the best years of the Court”, during which, he said, “the Court has built around itself (step by step and case by case) an almost impregnable fortress of judicial inviolability”.20 In its role as guardian of the Constitution, the Court has indeed been remarkably staunch. One of the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution required the State to take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State, manifesting an intention that the independence of the Judges should be preserved and enhanced. But this principle was given greatly added force when, in the Second Judges’ case21 a majority of the Supreme Court courageously held that, having regard to the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers, the views of the Chief Justice of India when consulted on the appointment of Judges should be determinative. In this way, as Mr Nariman has pointed out,22 effect was eventually given to the preference of Sir Patrick Spens, the last British Chief Justice of India. Whatever room for argument there may be about the correct construction of Article 124 of the Constitution, one can have no doubt that this decision does all that any decision could to ensure a politically neutral, professionally distinguished and uncorrupt judiciary. Scarcely less striking is the Court’s decision in the Kesavananda case23 that, while no part of the Constitution including even the Fundamental Rights in Part III was beyond the amending power, the basic structure of the Constitution could not be abrogated even by a constitutional amendment. It seems likely that, particularly in retrospect, this decision, and the failure of an attempt to reverse it two years later, will come to be seen as a major landmark in the constitutional development of this country, rather as the Magna Carta or the Petition of Right have come to be seen in ours. In the same distinguished category must surely be placed the Court’s decision in Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain24 that judicial review and free and fair elections were fundamental features of the Constitution and so beyond the reach of the amending power. You will be able to judge better than I whether Mr Nariman was justified when he wrote:
“If the pernicious clauses of the Thirty-Ninth Constitutional Amendment had been upheld, Indian democracy would not have long survived.”25
By these and other decisions the Supreme Court made sure that it was a guardian of the Constitution, and of the values and principles embodied in it, not only in name but also in the cockpit where, in real life, the realities of power and authority are adjusted and settled.
All this, even if standing alone, would be memorable enough. But even more striking to a British observer — perhaps to almost any non-Indian observer — is the Court’s active acceptance of responsibility for the pursuit of objects well outside the bounds of conventional litigation.26 The basis of this activity, as explained by former Chief Justice Bhagwati, with whom it is, as I understand, particularly associated, is very clear:
“[T]he weaker sections of Indian humanity have been deprived of justice for long years: they have had no access to justice on account of their poverty, ignorance and illiteracy. They are not aware of the rights and benefits conferred upon them by the Constitution and the law. On account of their socially and economically disadvantaged position they lack the capacity to assert their rights and they do not have the material resources with which to enforce their social and economic entitlements and combat exploitation and injustice.”27
The constitutional imperative of equal protection of the law could not, it seems, be left to take care of itself:
“[T]he concern shown (by the law) to the poor and the disadvantaged is much greater than that shown to the rich and the well-to-do because the latter can on account of their dominant social and economic position and large material resources, resist aggression on their rights whereas the poor and the deprived just do not have the capacity or the will to resist and fight.”28
To achieve the aim of enabling the poor and the disadvantaged to enjoy their legal and constitutional rights, two things were needful. The first was to be generous in recognising the right of persons other than the immediate victim to sue, in other words to apply relatively relaxed rules of standing. In England the test has been one of “sufficient interest” and this, not too strictly interpreted, has been found satisfactory, although in the Human Rights Act 1998, to the regret of many, it is required that the applicant be a victim of the conduct complained of.29 It is easy to understand why, in the Indian context, a different philosophy has prevailed, encouraging any member of the public to invite the adjudication of the courts on matters of interest to the wider public.30 While the Court has declared its unwillingness to act at the instance of
“pseudo public-spirited citizens who indulge in wild and reckless allegations besmirching the character of others”31
it has permitted grievances to be ventilated at the instance of those who, in many jurisdictions, would have difficulty crossing the threshold of the Court. As Professor Peiris of the University of Colombo wrote, in an article to which I am greatly indebted:
“At the core of the concern consistently shown by Indian courts for fostering public interest litigation in the conditions of contemporary life in the subcontinent, is candid recognition that, in the absence of innovative mechanisms of this nature, substantive rights central to human dignity cannot but assume an illusory character in the eyes of large sections of the population. Thus, in a case where a public interest organisation was permitted to petition the court on behalf of a group of bonded labourers working in conditions of appalling adversity in stone-quarrying operations, the observation was justly made that the very existence of the circumstances which the invocation of judicial relief was intended to remove or mitigate, precluded in practice access to the courts by the persons directly affected.”32
The second thing needful was to eschew a technical approach to the formalities of commencing litigation. If the poor and disadvantaged, particularly those living in remote rural areas, had been obliged to comply with the ordinary formalities attendant upon the issue of legal process, they would plainly have lacked the means and the professional assistance necessary to do so. This, as I understand, is the rationale of the rule which permits anyone alleging violation of a fundamental constitutional right to invoke the assistance of the Court simply by writing a letter to a Judge. This epistolary jurisdiction has, to my knowledge, no counterpart anywhere in the world, and no doubt the effect is greatly to increase the burden on the Judges called upon to decide the public interest issues thus informally raised. I cannot, however, imagine a more radical and imaginative response to an obvious social problem; and the right of any citizen to invoke the insistence (sic), directly, of a Judge of the Supreme Court seems to me to be a democratic right of the utmost value. One could not conceive of Hitler or Stalin, or other tyrants of more recent vintage, giving their citizens such a right, unless of course they could be sure that the Judges were solid and reliable party members.
In seeking to protect the important constitutional rights of Indian citizens the Supreme Court has, no doubt for good reason, involved itself much more closely in the detail of administrative decision-making than would be acceptable in more staid jurisdictions. The regulation of railway transport,33 the giving of directions to a State Government when legislation should be brought into force,34 the management of a children’s home,35 the contents of a film about communal violence at the time of partition,36 the pollution of the Ganges37 and the classification of a jungle as a reserve forest38 have all engaged the attention of the Supreme Court, whose function appears to have gone beyond the ordinary bounds of legal review, at any rate as understood by English Judges and lawyers.
If the Court was to rule responsibly on detailed administrative questions, it plainly had to have access to reliable and objective information. This too was a challenge which the Court accepted, and it led to another radical departure from what would, in the past, have been regarded as normal practice. Of the fact-finding processes which resulted, Professor Peiris has written:
“It is with regard to creation and refinement of these fact-finding processes, unconventional and yet eminently suited to the purpose in hand, that Indian courts can probably be said to have made their most imaginative contribution to the strategy of social action litigation. Without doubt the strengths — and pitfalls — of this dimension of their work possess a significance which far transcends the particular setting of societal conditions in the subcontinent.”39
The Professor gives examples: the appointment of committees of experts to report on the ecological and environmental effect of quarrying and mining in the Mussoorie Hills in one case40 and the radiation levels of milk and dairy products in another,41 the appointment of a commission to visit lands on which a depressed community were being encouraged to settle,42 the appointment of Commissioners (and later a director of the Indian Institute of Technology) to investigate a complaint made, allegedly by bonded labourers working in quarries in Faridabad.43 To ensure that human rights violations did not persist for want of exposure, the Court has been willing to order extensive disclosure and also to arm petitioners with extensive investigative powers: thus where a question was raised about the conditions in which children were being held in custody, far-reaching orders were made requiring District Judges to ascertain the conditions prevailing in their localities, and the petitioner was specifically empowered to visit jails, children’s homes, observation homes, borstal schools and all institutions providing accommodation for delinquent children in every part of the country.44
There appears to be no doubt that the Court has on occasion been drawn into laying down very detailed and specific administrative requirements. One example given by Professor Peiris relates to a mental hospital in Bihar where the Court specified the allowance to be made for food per patient per day, revoked the limit put on the expenditure of drugs by the hospital authorities, ordered that all patients should be provided with blankets and mattresses within 15 days, ordered that the sanitary facilities be improved and directed that arrangements be made for the supply of drinking water.45 Another example relates to a protective home for girls run by the Government of Uttar Pradesh, in which case directions were given covering the width of the road giving access to a building, the partitioning of the interior, precautions to prevent the accumulation of rain water, the installation of exhaust fans and mosquito nets, the provision of gas in the kitchen, access to a telephone and the rewiring of the building.46 In a third case the Court laid down appropriate standards for admission to private professional education in medical and engineering colleges.47 One can well understand, in each case, why the measures specified were regarded as necessary to give effect to the very basic rights which the Constitution was framed to protect. Dr Ambedkar and the fathers of the Constitution might, perhaps, have been surprised that it was left to the Court rather than to a political organ of the State to take action along these lines, but if they had doubted whether any political organ of the State would take the necessary action they would surely much have preferred that it should have been taken by the Court, than that it should not be taken at all.
All courts, and particularly all Supreme Courts, have to be mindful of their relationship with the other arms of Government. Modern democratic States, like the solar system, function best if major constellations follow their pre-ordained paths. The Supreme Court of India has been sensitive to these considerations. Thus when a High Court in effect directed a State to legislate to prevent ragging of college students, the Supreme Court regarded this as no part of the High Court’s business.48 The same answer was given where a High Court ordered a Public Works Department to complete a public road.49 When retired defence personnel sought to claim preferential access to residential facilities in a strategic tract of territory in an area adjacent to the boundary with Burma and China the Court observed:
“The matter appears to have political overtones and in the absence of adequate material placed before the Court we do not think it would be appropriate for us to go into the matter and dispose it of as an ordinary dispute.”50
The Court has recognised that there are some issues which simply do not lend themselves to judicial determination.51 It has also acknowledged that it is the Apex Court of the country to which resort should only be, and can only be, exceptional,52 and it has accepted a general need to concentrate on cases in which legal injury or wrong has been done to a class of individuals rather than to a single person.53
It is unfashionable nowadays for any public body, looking back on its past, to express pride or pleasure in its achievements. An ever-critical media prefer apologies for past errors, admissions of past failure, acknowledgment of continuing, unsolved problems, warnings against complacency and calls to face the future with renewed energy and ambition. All these have their place. But I hope that I, as a British visitor, may be allowed to violate these conventions on this occasion. Building on the foundations it inherited, the Supreme Court has established itself as a central organ of the Indian Republic and fashioned a body of jurisprudence which is new without being revolutionary and wisely directed to serving the needs of the people of India. I leave the last word to the President of the Bar Association of India who, of all people, is well placed to pass judgment:
“… I believe that the Judges of the nineties and the Judges of today are somehow more important than the Judges of yesteryears simply because they have been called upon to discharge and have readily assumed, far greater responsibilities than their predecessors ever did. Over recent years ‘judging’ is no longer what it used to be. Judges have now a dominant role in society — and because of this they are more often criticised for what they do and what they say — and yet today, the highest Judiciary is also held in highest public esteem. This may sound paradoxical, but it is not. The public turns to the Judiciary, and ultimately to the highest Judiciary, more and more for the resolution of its problems — more than it ever did in the past.”54
† On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the Supreme Court of India on 26-11-1999 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
** This Article was first published in Supreme Court Cases (2000) 1 SCC J-29. It has been reproduced with the kind permission of Eastern Book Company.
1 Moon, Strangers in India (1945); Divide and Quit (1961).
2 Woodruff, The Men who Ruled India, Vol. 1, p. 58.
3See Matson, “The Common Law Abroad: English and Indigenous Laws in the British Commonwealth”, (1993) 42 ICLQ 753 at p. 761.
5 Woodruff, op cit., Vol. 2, p. 59.
6Advocate General of Bengal v. Ranee Surnomoye Dossee, (1863) 9 Moo IA 391 at p. 428.
7Id., at pp. 432–33.
8 “The Common Law in India”, at pp. 54–55.
9 Quoted, “The Common Law is India”, at p. 42.
10 Quoted, “The Common Law in India”, at p. 10.
11 Quoted Woodruff, op. cit., Vol. 1, p. 341.
12 “The Common Law in India”, Hamlyn Lectures (1960), at p. 168.
13 Quoted Setalvad, “The Role of English Law in India”, 1966, pp. 56–57.
14 “The Migration of Common Law: India”, (1960) 76 LQR 59 at p. 63.
15 Quoted Setalvad, “The Role of English Law in India”, 1966, p. 56.
16 “The Common Law in India”, Hamlyn Lectures (1960), at p. 187.
18Bommai’s case (S.R. Bommai v. Union of India), (1994) 3 SCC 1.
19Constituent Assembly Debates, Vol. VII, p. 953, proceedings 9 December 1948.
20 “Fifty Years of the Supreme Court — A Balance Sheet of Performance”, p. 3.
21Supreme Court Advocates on Record Assn. case (Supreme Court Advocates on Record Assn. v. Union of India), (1993) 4 SCC 441
22Op. cit., at p. 4, fn.
23Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, (1973) 4 SCC 225
25Op. cit., at p. 12.
26 I have received very great help from Prof. G.L. Peiris, “Public Interest Litigation in the Indian Subcontinent: Current Dimensions” (1991) 40 ICLQ 66.
27Bihar Legal Support Society v. Chief Justice of India, (1986) 4 SCC 767, 768.
28Ibid, at p. 769.
29 Section 7(1).
30S.P. Gupta v. Union of India, 1981 Supp SCC 87.
31Chaitanya Kumar v. State of Karnataka, (1986) 2 SCC 594, 606.
32Op. cit. fn 26, at p. 70.
33P. Nalla Thampy Thera (Dr) v. Union of India, (1983) 4 SCC 598.
34Sheela Barse (I) v. Union of India, (1986) 3 SCC 596.
35Sheela Barse v. Secy., Children’s Aid Society, (1987) 3 SCC 50.
36Ramesh v. Union of India, (1988) 1 SCC 668.
37M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, (1987) 4 SCC 463.
38Banwasi Seva Ashram v. State of U.P., (1986) 4 SCC 753.
39Op. cit., at p. 77.
40Rural Litigation & Entitlement Kendra v. State of U.P., 1986 Supp SCC 517.
41Shiv Rao Shanta Rao Wangla (Dr) v. Union of India, (1988) 1 SCC 452.
42Kutti Padmarao v. State of A.P., 1986 Supp SCC 574.
43Bandhua Mukti Morcha v. Union of India, (1984) 3 SCC 161.
44Sheela Barse (I) v. Union of India, (1986) 3 SCC 596.
45Rakesh Chand Narain v. State of Bihar, 1986 Supp SCC 576.
46Upendra Baxi (Dr) v. State of U.P., (1986) 4 SCC 106.
47Unni Krishnan, J.P. v. State of A.P., (1993) 1 SCC 645.
48State of H.P. v. A Parent of A Student of Medical College, (1985) 3 SCC 169.
49State of H.P. v. Umed Ram Sharma, (1986) 2 SCC 68.
50Assam Rifles Multi-Purpose Coop. Society Ltd. v. Union of India, (1987) 2 SCC 638, 639.
51Vincent Panikurlangara v. Union of India, (1987) 2 SCC 165.
52Bihar Legal Support Society v. Chief Justice of India, (1986) 4 SCC 767, 768.
53S.P. Gupta v. Union of India, 1981 Supp SCC 87.
54 Nariman, op. cit., at p. 27.
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