Indian Association For The Cultivation Of Science (IACS) Is State Under Article 12: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has recently held that the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science (IACS) is a State under Article 12 of the Constitution of India.
The Court was dealing with an appeal filed against the judgment of the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court wherein it declined to interfere with the conclusion in the judgment passed by the Single Judge of the High Court.
The Bench of Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed, “… we need not elaborate on the shortcomings in the views of the Division Bench of the High Court, whether in the earlier decision in Ashoke Kumar Roy (supra) or in the order impugned because, in our view, there is hardly any scope for reaching to any other conclusion but the one in favour of upholding the submission that IACS answers to the description of “the State” within the meaning of Article 12 of the Constitution of India, for it being financially, functionally and administratively under the control of the Government of India.”
The Bench further said that the Single Judge, even after expressing his opinion, was rather constrained to dismiss the writ petitions because of the view taken by the Division Bench of the High Court.
“… while affirming the opinion expressed by the learned Single Judge, the respondent-IACS is held to be the “State” within the meaning of, and for the purpose of, Article 12 of the Constitution of India and thereby, being amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court”, the Court held.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan appeared for the appellants while A.S.G. Sanjay Jain and Advocate Gurmeet Singh Makker represented the respondents.
Brief Facts –
The writ petitions filed by the appellants earlier came to be dismissed essentially for the reason that in a previous Division Bench decision, the IACS was held to be not “the State” within the meaning of Article 12. IACS is under the administrative control of the Department of Science and Technology in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India.
IACS gets nearly 99% of its funds from the Government of India and its governing body is also approved by the Indian Government. The General Finance Rules of the Indian Government are required to be followed by IACS. It cannot on its own create any post or modify the service conditions of the employee without the approval of the Government of India.
The Supreme Court in the above context noted, “We are not elaborating on the other contents of the said communication dated 12.12.2022 and would prefer leaving all other aspects to be examined by the High Court in the writ petition. … in our view, the tests recognised and laid down by this Court in Pradeep Kumar Biswas (supra) directly apply herein.”
The Court further noted that the essential parameters for examining the question concerning the status of the particular body/institution have not gone into consideration by the Division Bench.
“… the Single Judge, even after expressing his opinion, was rather constrained to dismiss the writ petitions because of the view taken by the Division Bench of that High Court. However, the Division Bench of the High Court, while passing the order impugned, has not adverted to the thoughts projected by the learned Single Judge”, said the Court.
The Court, therefore, set aside the concluding part of the order passed by the Single Judge of the High Court and affirmed its opinion with regard to the IACS within the ambit of the State under Article 12.
Accordingly, the Apex Court allowed the appeals and restored the writ petitions for consideration on their merits.
Cause Title- Pushan Majumdar Etc. v. Union of India & Ors.