Decided on December 18,1950

STATE Respondents


- (1.)THIS is an application for action under Article 228 of the Constitution.
(2.)THE applicant is the editor, printer and publisher of a newspaper named Parcham. e-nau at Bhopal. He is being prosecuted for an offence under Section 23, Bhopal State Public Safety Act, 1947, in the Court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Bhopal. He contended that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution the determination of which is necessary for the disposal of the case and prays that this Court should withdraw it and may either dispose of the case itself or determine the said question of law and return the case to the Court from which the case is withdrawn etc. The questions of law stated to have been involved are: (1) Whether Section 23, Bhopal Public Safety Act, 1947 is ultra vires of Article 19 (1) (a) read with Article 13 of the Constitution and (a) Whether Section 5 of the Bhopal (Administration) Order, 1949 is ultra vires or void under Article 13 of the Constitution. The application is opposed by the Govt. Advocate, urging that the essentials under Article 228 of the Constitution are not present in the case on hand.
(3.)THE point for decision is whether the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the constitution, and determination of which is necessary for the disposal of the case. The essentials for the application of this Article, therefore, are; (a) existence of the question of law; (b) such question must be a substantial question and (c) such substantial question shall be as to the interpretation of the constitution. An attempt was made to argue the above stated questions on merits, but in my opinion, all such T argument's and contentions are foreign to the consideration of the present question. It has to be found whether the essentials as stated above are present in the case on hand. It must appear that the presence of a mere question of law under the constitution is not enough. Firstly, the question of law must be substantial and secondly such question must relate to "interpretation of the constitution" and not merely "application of the constitution. " The distinction between "interpretation" and "application" is substantial and significant. "interpretation" is the act of making intelligible what was before not understood, ambiguous, or not obvious. It is the method by which the meaning of language is ascertained. Resort to interpretation is never to be had where the meaning is free from doubt. (The Law Lexicon by P. E. Iyer ). It would thus appear that it is only if the language of the articles referred to by the applicant or the language of the sections of the Act and the Administration Order is ambiguous or is not dear that the question of interpretation would arise. This is not the contention of the petitioner.

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