The words “subject to other provisions of the Constitution” mean that if there is an irreconcilable conflict between the pre-existing law and a provision or provisions of the Constitution, the latter shall prevail to the extent of that inconsistency.
An article of the Constitution by its express terms may come into conflict with a pre-Constitution law wholly or in part; the said article or articles may also by necessary implication, come into direct conflict with the pre-existing law.
It may also be that the combined operation of a series of articles may bring about a situation making the existence of the pre-existing law incongruous in that situation. Whatever it may be, the inconsistency must be spelled out from the other provisions of the Constitution and cannot be built upon the supposed political philosophy underlying the Constitution. These observations are necessitated by the reliance of Mr. Nambiar on two decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States of America. In Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Co. v. William McGlinn, (1884) 29 Law Ed 270 the facts, briefly were: The Act of Kansas purported to cede to the United States exclusive jurisdiction over the Fort Leavenworth Military Reservation. In considering the question whether the previous laws continued after the said cession, the Supreme court of the United States of America made a distinction between laws of political character and municipal laws intended for the protection of private rights, but we are not concerned with that question in this case; and indeed the law of India appears to be different from that of America in that regard. But what is relied upon is the effect of cession pre-existing laws which are in conflict with the political character, institution and Constitution of the new Government. Field J., speaking for the Court observed, at page No. 272, as follows:
“As a matter of course, all laws, ordinances and regulations in conflict with the political character, institution and Constitution of the new government are at once displaced. Thus, upon a cession of political jurisdiction and legislative power – and the latter is involved in the former-to the United States, the laws of the country in support of an established religion or abridging the freedom of the press, or authorizing cruel and unusual punishments, and the like, would at once cease to be of obligatory force without any declaration to that effect; and the laws of the country on other subjects would necessarily be superseded by existing laws of the new government upon the same matters.”
16. The same view was reiterated by the Supreme Court of the United States of America in a later decision in Vilas v. City of Manila, (1910) 55 Law Ed 491. We are not concerned in this case with the general principles enunciated by the law of America, but only with the express provisions of Art. 372 of our Constitution. That apart, it may also be inappropriate to rely upon the legal consequences of a cession of a State under the American law for the interpretation of Art. 372 of our constitution, which deals with a different situation and lays down expressly the legal position to meet the same.[South India Corporation (P) Ltd Vs Secretary, Board of Revenue, Trivandrum and another AIR 1964 SC 207]