Doctrine of Colourable Legislation

In this article we will discuss Doctrine of Colourable Legislation

In this article, we will discuss Doctrine of Colourable Legislation. So, let’s get started.

Doctrine of Colourable Legislation

This Doctrine is also called “Fraud on the Constitution”. The Doctrine of Colourable Legislation comes into play when a Legislature does not possess the power to make law upon a particular subject but nonetheless indirectly makes one. By applying this principle the fate of the Impugned Legislation is decided.

This Doctrine traces its origin to a Latin Maxim which, in this context, implies: “Whatever legislature cannot do directly, it cannot do indirectly”.

Constitutional Provision:
The doctrine is usually applied to Article 246 which has demarcated the Legislative Competence of the Parliament and the State Legislative Assemblies by outlining the different subjects under Union list, State list and Concurrent list.

The doctrine has no application where the powers of a Legislature are not fettered by any Constitutional limitation. It is also not applicable to Subordinate Legislation.

Important Judgement:
In R.S Joshi v. Ajit Mills (1977), the SC observed that “In the statute of force, the colourable exercise of or extortion on administrative force or misrepresentation on the constitution, are articulations which only imply that the assembly is clumsy to authorise a specific law, albeit the mark of competency is struck on it, and afterwards it is colourable enactment.”

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