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The umbrella of public law in India is extensive incorporating constitutional law, administrative law, criminal law, and tax law, all of which regulate the relationship between the government and individuals. As the scope of public law is vast and complex, it’s essential to understand some key legal provisions governing this area. At SimranLaw, our legal experts draw upon years of experience to dissect these complexities, enabling a more profound understanding of public law.
The Constitution of India
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land and forms the backbone of public law in India. It lays down the framework that demarcates fundamental political principles, establishes government institutions’ structure, powers, and duties, spells out fundamental rights, directive principles, and citizens’ duties.
1. Fundamental Rights (Chapter III)
Fundamental rights are the bedrock of Indian democracy, safeguarding citizens’ liberties against state intrusion. They include Right to Equality (Articles 14-18), Right to Freedom (Articles 19-22), Right against Exploitation (Articles 23 & 24), Right to Religion (Articles 25-28), Cultural & Educational Rights (Articles 29 & 30), and Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32).
In the celebrated case of ‘Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala’ (1973), the Supreme Court held that ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution cannot be amended by Parliament, thereby preserving citizens’ fundamental rights.
2. Directive Principles of State Policy (Chapter IV)
Directive Principles guide the government in making laws and policies. Though not legally enforceable, they ensure social and economic justice. The landmark case ‘State of Madras vs Champakam Dorairajan’ (1951) held that if any government policy contravenes fundamental rights while implementing directive principles, it would be declared unconstitutional.
Administrative Law regulates administrative actions ensuring people’s rights are not infringed upon by arbitrary exercise of state power. Key Administrative Law legislation include Administrative Tribunals Act 1985, Right to Information Act 2005, and Central Vigilance Commission Act 2003.
1. Administrative Tribunals
Administrative Tribunals deal with disputes relating to service matters of public servants. A notable case is ‘S.P. Sampath Kumar vs Union of India’ (1987), which debated the constitutionality of administrative tribunals.
2. Right to Information Act
The Act empowers citizens to request information from public authorities promoting transparency and accountability. ‘Central Board of Secondary Education & Anr vs Aditya Bandopadhyay & Ors’ (2011) case held that an examination body does not withhold information about evaluation of answer sheets under RTI Act.
Criminal Law consists of Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) 1973, and Indian Evidence Act 1872. The infamous ‘Nirbhaya’ case (State vs Mukesh & others 2017) underscored speedy trial of heinous offenses and led to stringent amendments in IPC for sexual offences.
Tax laws include Income Tax Act 1961, GST Act 2017 amongst others. The recent ‘Vodafone International Holdings B.V vs Union of India & Anr’ (2012) case highlighted issues related to taxation in cross-border transactions.
In conclusion, understanding public law provisions is paramount in comprehending the relationship between government and individuals. While this summary presents an overview, each area requires in-depth exploration for a comprehensive understanding. SimranLaw’s team ensures responsive legal counsel that breaks down these complexities for effective public law practice.