Article 13 Laws Inconsistent with or in derogation of the Fundamental Rights – Constitution of India
Article 13 Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of the fundamental rights:
(1) All laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void
(2) The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void
(3) In this article, unless the context otherwise requires law includes any Ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usages having in the territory of India the force of law; laws in force includes laws passed or made by Legislature or other competent authority in the territory of India before the commencement of this Constitution and not previously repealed, notwithstanding that any such law or any part thereof may not be then in operation either at all or in particular areas
(4) Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under Article 368 Right of Equality
Article 13 (Draft Article 8) was debated in the Constituent Assembly on the 25th, 26th, and 29th November 1948. It declared that any law inconsistent with Part III would be void. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee moved an amendment to explicitly define the terms ‘law’ and ‘laws in force. One member wanted to delete the words ‘custom or usage’ from the language of this amendment, arguing that it permitted the State, rather than people, to create custom. Although the Chairman clarified that this was not the case, he moved a second amendment to remove any doubts in interpretation.
The amendment was accepted without debate. The amended Draft Article was adopted on 29th November 1948. Article 13 expressly sets the principle of the supremacy of fundamental rights over any other law in the case of inconsistency between the two. This can easily interpret the intention of the constitution-makers to confine the application of fundamental rights to what is stated in this Article. For instance, pre-constitutional laws shall be invalid only to the extent they fall within the category of “law in force”. As uncodified personal laws do not fall within the category, it could be urged that they were not intended to become invalid in the ground of any inconsistency with the fundamental rights.
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