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Report No. 145

5.12. Beneficiaries of the present position.-

In support of the proposed amendment, it has been argued that the main beneficiaries of the present position are contractors or prospective contractors with the public sector and higher level employees. The assumption is that they need not be given such benefits. It seems to us that in making this point, the basic reasoning on which the relevant Articles of the Constitution have come to be regarded as applicable to public sector undertakings have been overlooked. The constitutional rights are meant for every citizen, under Article 19, but the right to equality is available to every person, under Article 14.

It may be that occasionally, frivolous cases are filed by contractors or employees. But the courts are not totally helpless in the matter. They can a ward compensatory as well as exemplary costs. We would also like to emphasise that the beneficiaries of the availability of writ against public sector undertakings are not merely employees or contractors. They could be honest, public-spirited institutions or individuals.

This is illustrated vividly by a recent judgment1 in which the court upheld a Gujarat judgment applying the provisions of Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, so as to require the house magazine of the Life Insurance Corporation to publish the petitioner's rejoinder on a matter of public interest concerning the Corporation. In fact, many of the cases referred to in the earlier Report of the Law Commission, or included in the statistical material mentioned in that Report related to litigation filed against the Life Insurance Corporation (or other public sector undertakings) by persons other than employees and contractors.2

1. L.I.C. v. Manubhai D. Shah, JT 1992 (4) SC 181.

2. Law Commission of India, 126th Report, paras. 4.7 to 4.11. See also 112th Report on section 45 of the Insurance Act, 1938.

Article 12 of the Constitution and Public Sector Undertakings Back

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