Constitution is supreme law of land: SC

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New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) Asserting the supremacy of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is the supreme law of the land and even the highest court of the country cannot deliver a judgement which violates it.

The ruling was handed down by a bench, comprising Justices A K Mathur and Markandey Katju, while dismissing the appeal of the Uttar Pradesh State Electricity Board challenging a judgement of the Allahbad High Court directing the board to regularise the services of 34 daily wagers of the corporative electric supply society which has been taken over by the board.

The petitioners were demanding their regularisation in terms of the decision of the board, dated November 28, 1996, to regularise the service of those daily wagers who have been working prior to May 4, 1990.

The apex court in its judgement noted, ''Thus, the writ petitioners have to be deemed to have been appointed in the service of the electricity board from the date of their original appointments in the society. Since they were all appointed in the society before May 4, 1990, they cannot be denied the benefit of the decision of the electricity board dated November 28, 1996 permitting regularisation of the employees of the electricity board who were working from before May 4, 1990.'' ''To take a contrary view would violate article 14 of the Constitition. We have to read Uma Devi's case in comformity with article 14 of the Constitution and we cannot read it in a manner which will make it in conflict with article 14,'' the court held.

The apex court further naoed that ''The constitution is the supreme law of the land, and any judgement, not even by the Supreme Court, can violate it.'' Referring to the judgement in Maneka Gandhi's case, the apex cort noted that the government must act in a ''reasonable and non-arbitrary'' manner, otherwise article 14 of the Constitution would be violated. It is well settled that a smaller bench decision cannot overrule a larger bench decision of the court.

According to the court, ''the principle of reasonableness in executive action and the law, which it has laid down, in our opinion is of general application.'' UNI

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