Why in news?
- The Kerala Government challenges Centre in Supreme Court nearly 15 days after the Assembly unanimously requested the Centre to abrogate the law on December 31, 2019.
- The original suit has been Filed under Article 131 of the Constitution. The SC has “original” jurisdiction in disputes between States or the Centre and State(s).
- The Article allows it to directly take cognisance of such a dispute.
- Kerala said in its suit that it would be compelled under Article 256 to comply with the CAA.
Related Articles in the Constitution
- The Article vests the Supreme Court with original jurisdiction over disputes occurring between states or between states and the Centre.
- The original jurisdiction of a court means the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, in which the court reviews the decision of a lower court.
- Unlike the original jurisdiction under Article 32 (which gives the top court the power to issue writs, etc.), the jurisdiction in Article 131 is exclusive, meaning it is only the Supreme Court which has this authority. Under Article 226, the High Courts too have the power to issue writs, directions etc.
- According to article 256: The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
What kinds of disputes are covered under Article 131?
- In ‘State of Rajasthan vs Union of India’, 1977, the Supreme Court ruled that the existence or extent of a legal right is a precursor before a suit under Article 131 is entertained, and that “mere wrangles between governments have no place in the scheme of that Article”, and upheld its jurisdiction in that case.
- Similarly, in the 1978 case, ‘State of Karnataka vs Union of India’, which involved the Centre’s authority to order an inquiry into a state Chief Minister’s conduct, jurisdiction under Article 131 was held valid.
- In the present case filed by Kerala, central legislation (CAA) is being challenged. In 2011, a two-judge Supreme Court Bench in ‘Madhya Pradesh v Union of India’ had held such a suit was not maintainable