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Part VIII The Government’s Legal Personality, Ch.54 Sovereign Immunity

Neelanjan Maitra

From: The Oxford Handbook of the Indian Constitution

Edited By: Sujit Choudhry, Madhav Khosla, Pratap Bhanu Mehta

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2015. All Rights Reserved.date: 13 August 2020

This chapter examines the doctrine of sovereign immunity and the related ‘Sovereign Functions’ doctrine in India. It begins with an overview of the text of Article 300 of the Indian Constitution and proceeds with a brief survey of the case law on sovereign immunity that preceded the adoption of the Constitution. It then revisits some early attempts to revise the law on sovereign immunity in the post-Independence period, before discussing the judicial treatment of sovereign immunity and how the Indian Supreme Court has dealt with the constraints imposed by its own precedents, along with the Court’s difficulties in providing a coherent account of sovereign immunity. In particular, it considers the Supreme Court’s attempt to bypass the constraints that it had placed upon itself through the evolution of new doctrines in fundamental rights cases.

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