Kanhaiya Lal Aggarwal v. Union of India 2002

State of West Bengal Vs Anwar Ali Sarkar-habib ( Equality before law)

landmark case on article 14 of the constitutional of India,


1. INTRODUCTION (State of West Bengal Vs Anwar Ali Sarkarhabib)
4. Court’s DECISION


The State Of West Bengal vs Anwar All Sarkarhabib …. on 11 January, 1952

Equivalent citations:- 1952 AIR 75, 1952 SCR 284



This case is related to violation of Article 14 of the constitution of India. where the state government has notified a bill to empowerment of the state to establish a special court to trial the offence at its discretionary power and later it was tested with the meaning of preamble and declared this law as unconstitutional.


The West Bengal State Government issued an enactment in section 5(1) of the West Bengal Special Court Act, 1950, where its objective is to provide for the speedier trial of certain offences”. section 5(1)  of the act empowered the state to set up special courts and to direct by a general or special order ” the offences” or the class of offences” or the cases” or “the classes of cases” which were to be tried before the special courts. Respondent, Anwar Ali and others were accused in DUM DUM FACTORY raid case. the west Bengal govt issued notification that their case would be tried by special court.


what is validity of the section 5(1) of the West Bengal Special Court act, 1950 ?


The Hon’ble Court held that section 5(1) of the West Bengal Special Court act, 1950 and notification issued by government were against Article 14 of the Indian constitution and therefore void.

  • The Apex said the the law made by the state government should be keep in mind that the law is not violative nature of the provision of constitution. and in the instance this is against the article 14  if it lays down proper guideline for classifying offences; which could be tried by Special Courts, but the procedure  applied by such law should not be substantially different from the procedure under ordinary rule of law. In the case, section 5(1) of the West Bengal Special Court act, conferred arbitrary power on the government to classify  offences or cases at its own pleasure, so the section contravened article 14  and hence void.
  • Section 5(1) did not lay down any basis for classification and the State govt. was given unguided and uncontrolled discretion to select the cases to be tried by the Special court.
  • The Hon’ble court further observed that the object or the policy behind the setting up of special courts, stated in the preamble to the Act, was too vague and uncertain to form the basis of a valid and reasonable classification, that could be permitted in the provision of article 14 of the Indian constitution.

5. Conclusion

The decision passed by the supreme court has gone in the favor of Anwar Ali and decided the west Bengal Special Court act was void as the ground that its nature is violative of article 14 because this act gave arbitrary, uncontrolled and unguided power to state govt. which can be misused and biased. this is also restricted to equality before law in article 14 .

This act also lack  of reasonable ground of classification of “cases” or “the class of case” or “offences” or “the class of offence”.

Also it was concluded the reasonable ground of classification of cases already done in Code of criminal procedure and such reasonableness ground does not meet in the impugned act. Moreover, the code already provided sufficient ground of classification of cases and no need to of it seen.


The West Bengal Special Courts Act 1950, though gave an arbitrary power to the State Government to refer cases to special court, but it did not reduce the judicial power or authority of judges. therefore, even if the cases had arbitrarily referred to the Special Courts, the justice would be the same as the judiciary was not taken under the control of State Government. error on the behalf of State Government was also seen as they without any modification in the earlier ordinance, re-enacted the Act, without taking into consideration that Ordinance was passed prior 1950 and therefore could be lacking many provisions of Constitution of India

State of West Bengal Vs Anwar Ali Sarkarhabib


Akash Kumar

LL.B (University of Delhi)

[email protected]

for any doubts


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