14 Nov 2016
Declaring the legal position which overrules the position prevailing for various decades now, last week a nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court has pronounced its decision on various aspect of Entry Tax laws. This decision in Jindal Stainless Ltd. v. State of Haryana [Civil Appeal No. 3453/2002 - decision dated 11.11.2016] has a significant bearing on various constitutional aspects; (a) federal nature of the Constitution; (b) freedom of inter-state trade and commerce under Part - XIII of the Constitution; (c) autonomy and sovereignty of States in designing local economy and imposing taxes; (d) principles of constitutional interpretation; etc.
The lead decision has been written by Chief Justice of India, Justice T.S. Thakur (for himself, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar. This decision has been agreed by Justice S.A. Bobde, Justice Shiv Kirti Singh, Justice N.V. Ramana, and Justice R. Bhanumati, who have also written seperate concurring opinions. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan have written seperate dissenting opinions. Thus out of nine judges there are seven opinions. In all a lengthy decision (exceeding 900 pages) but a good backgrounder for those interested in constitutional law.