CIVIL

Section 204 of the Government of India Act 1935

Section 204 of the Government of India Act provides as follows:-

“(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Federal Court shall, to the exclusion of any other Court, have an original jurisdiction in any dispute between any two or more of the following parties, that is to say, the Dominion, any of the Provinces or any of the Acceding States, if and in so far as the dispute involves any question (whether of law or fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends:

Provided that the said jurisdiction shall not extend to –

(a) a dispute to which a State is a party, unless the dispute

(i) concerned the interpretation of this Act or of an Order in Council made thereunder before the date of the establishment of the Dominion, or of an order made thereunder on or after that date, or the interpretation of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, or of any order made thereunder, or the extent of the legislative or executive authority vested in the Dominion by virtue of the Instrument of Accession of that State; or….”

Under this section, the Federal Court was conferred exclusive jurisdiction on disputes between the Dominion, any of the Provinces or the Acceding States, provided that in the case of the Acceding States the conditions laid down in clause (a) cited above were fulfilled. It was contended by the learned Attorney- General that the basic relief claimed in the plaint is that the Instrument of Accession subsists and that in substance the suit is to enforce the terms of the Instrument of Accession on the allegation that these have been contravened, but that the fact is that the Instrument of Accession was superseded by the agreement of the 15th December 1949 and is no longer subsisting, and that being so, the subject-matter of this dispute is outside the scope of the section. It was also argued that unlawful acts by one sovereign State over the sovereignty of another State would be in the nature of political acts (acts of State) and that the municipal courts could have no jurisdiction to give relief concerning them. It was not disputed that in those suits in which the execution of the supplementary agreement of the 15th December 1949 was not denied the controversy raised in the plaint would be within the ambit of the section.

Categories: CIVIL

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