G. Basi Reddy v. International Crops Research Institute Case Summary 2003 SC

G. Basi Reddy v. International Crops Research Institute- Case Summary, 2003

G. Basi Reddy v. International Crops Research Institute is a 2003 constitutional law case before the honourable Supreme court of India concerning the construction of the meaning of “state” under Article 12 of the Indian constitution and its applicability to International Crops Research Institute (ICRISAT).

FACTS:

  • ICRISAT is an International organization co-founded by various international organizations under the broad organization of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), including about 50 governments across the world and other international organizations, to help to develop countries in semi-arid tropics to ease rural poverty and hunger in environmentally sustainable ways.
  • It was established in 1972 in Hyderabad, India, as an autonomous, international, philanthropic, non-profit, research, educational, and training organization.
  • The petitioner, in this case, is an employee of ICRISAT.
  • He was terminated from the job on the charges of proven misconduct based on the ICRISAT Personnel Policy Statement, set because of international employment policies.
  • When the petition was initially filed before the High Court of Karnataka, it was dismissed. Hence, this issue came before the Supreme court as an appeal.

ISSUES:

  • Does ICRISAT fall within the ambit of Article 12 of the Indian constitution, within the meaning of “State”?
  • Whether the agreement between the Indian Government and ICRISAT enforceable in domestic courts, especially when the agreement does not form part of any domestic legislation?
  • What type of organization is ICRISA, exactly?

CONTENTIONS:

Petitioner’s contentions:

  • To direct ICRISAT to frame rules regarding the conditions of service which are “nearly approximate to the accepted custom of India” and to fulfill clause 6(a)(2) of the March agreement between the Union of India and CGIAR, which recorded government’s assurance over the governing body of ICRISAT.
  • That ICRISAT cannot be granted immunity against the power of judicial review regarding the employees to take recourse to the municipal courts in connection with the settlement of disputes relating to employment. It extends only to matters related to the functioning of the organization.
  • The agreement between the Indian government and CGAIR is violative of their fundamental and constitutional rights, under articles 14, 21, and 311 of the Indian constitution.

Respondent’s contentions:

  • ICRISAT was not subject to the Municipal Court’s jurisdiction under Article 226 as it was neither the government nor any of its wings, hence not accountable to, subject to, or under any financial or administrative control of the government.

RATIO DECIDENDI:

  • The issue was decided by a two-judge Supreme court bench comprising Justice Ruma Pal and Justice B.N. Sri Krishna
  • The honorable court observed that the aim of setting up ICRISAT was to help to develop countries and ease rural poverty and hunger, but not something for the Union of India.
  • It also found the financial contribution of India to be minimal- just around 0.3% to 2%, hence not financially dependent on the Indian government.
  • All this found that Indian control over ICRISAT is merely regulatory, which renders ICRISAT not a state or authority under Article 12 of the constitution.
  • The agreement between the Indian government and CGAIR is merely contractual, and hence, there is no infringement of constitutional rights.

DECISION:

  • Since none of the petitioner’s claims fulfill the tests of Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, ICRISAT was held not to be a state within the meaning of Article 12 of the Indian constitution.
  • The writ under Article 226 of the constitution, before a High Court, cannot be maintained against ICRISAT as it is not a statutory body performing any public or statutory function.
  • Hence, the petition regarding the termination of the petitioner’s employment was dismissed.

CONCLUSION:

  • The court’s analysis, ruling, and findings are entirely based on the mechanical construction of the Pradeep Kumar Biswas v. Indian Institute of Chemical Biology case, a landmark judgment concerning Article 12 of the Indian constitution.

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Ankit Kumar

Ankit Kumar

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