Art. 13 of the Constitution

Art. 13 of the Constitution has no retrospective effect

It is settled that Art. 13 of the Constitution has no retrospective effect and if, therefore, any action was taken before the commencement of the Constitution in pursuance of the provisions of any law which was a valid law at the time when such action was taken, such action cannot be challenged and the law under which such action was taken cannot be questioned as unconstitutional and void on the score of its infringing the fundamental rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution. (see Keshavan Madhava Menon vs. State of Bombay (1951) SCR 228(R)). The following observations of Das J., as he then was,of that case may be appropriately referred to in this contest:

“As already explained, Art. 13(1) only has the effect of nullifying or rendering all inconsistent existing law ineffectual or nugatory and devoid of any legal force or binding effect only with respect to the exercise of fundamental rights on and after the date of the commencement of constitution. It has no retrospective effect and if therefore, an act was done before the commencement of the Constitution in contravention of any law which, after the, Constitution becomes void with respect to the exercise of any of the fundamental rights, the inconsistent law not wiped out so far as the past act is concerned, for, to say that it is, will be to give the law retrospective effect ……. So far as the past act is concerned the law exists, notwithstanding it does not exist with respect to the future exercise of fundamental rights”.

(See also Qasim Razvi vs. State of Hyderabad, (1953) SCR 589 (S) and Laxmanappa Hanumanthappa Jamkhandi vs. Union of India, (1955) 1 SCR 769.

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