MATERIAL MEMORIAM ON MERGER OF NATIVE STATES OF INDIA
IN THE DOMINION OF INDIA AND 'ACT OF STATE' DURING 1947-50

(1) AIR 1954 S.C. 447 - "Virendra Singh & C. Vs State of U.P."

Native States involved - Charkhari and Sarila;

- The States were in British days independent States under the paramountcy of the British Crown. They acknowledged the British Crown as the suzerain power and owed a modified allegiance to it, but none to the Government of India. (para.2)

Broadly speaking, the effect of accession was to retain to the Rulers their full autonomy and sovereignty except on three subjects: Defence, External Affairs and Communications. These were transferred to the Central Government. (para.4)

By an agreement called the Vindhya Pradesh Merger Agreement the Rulers ceded to the Govt. of the Indian Dominion "full and exclusive authority, jurisdiction and powers for,...." (para.10)

(2) AIR 1958 S.C. 816 "M/s Dalmia Dadri Cement Co. Ltd. Vs. Commr. of IT"

Native State involved - Jind.

- On August 15,1947, India became independent, and on the same date, the Ruler of Jind signed an Instrument of Accession ceding to the Government of India power to legislate with respect to Defence, External Affairs and Communications. On May 5,1948, eight of the Rulers of States in East Punjab including Jind entered into a Covenant for the merger of their territories into one State, called the Patiala and East Punjab States Union. (para.3).

It was a treaty entered into by Rulers of independent States, by which they gave up their sovereignty over their respective territories, and vested it in the Ruler of a new State. (para.11)

That is a matter between independent sovereigns, and any dispute arising therefrom must be settled by recourse not to municipal law of either States but to diplomatic action, and that failing, to force. (para. 13)

A clause in the treaty between high contracting parties (such as Art. XVI of the Covenant under which Union guaranteed ........) does not confer any right on the subjects which could be made the subject-matter of action in the Courts.

(3) AIR 1959 S.C. 1383 "The States of Saurashtra V. Memon Haji Ismai"

Native State involved - Junagadh :

- The position of the ex-Rulers of the former Indian States-

After the lapse of (British) paramountcy by reason of Section 7 of the Indian independence Act, 1947, the Nawab of Junagadh became a sovereign but he did not accede to the new Dominion as did the other Rulers in Saurashtra. (para.17)

Referendum held in Junagadh and the adjoining smaller States in February 1948 and the people voted in favour of accession to India. (para.17)

From 16-11-47 when the Administrator of Junagadh State issued a notification, the administration of that State was centred in the Administrator as the agent of the Dominion of India. The people of Junagadh did not, strictly speaking, become the citizens of the Dominion till much later. During the interval they were aliens even though they desired union with India and had expressed themselves almost unanimously in the Referendum. (para.18)

(4) AIR 1960 S.C. 862 "Sarwarlal V. States of Hyderabad"

Native State involved - Hyderabad.

- H. Exalted H. the Nizam in and before the month of September 1948 was an absolute ruler invested with all authority executive, legislative and judicial in indisputable. (para.8)

The authority of H.E.H. the Nizam as the sovereign ruler to resume the Jagirs and to extinguish the interests of the Jagirdars being by delegation vested in the Military Governor, the legality of the action taken by the latter was not open to challenge on any test of legislative competence. (para.12)

(5) AIR 1959 S.C. 749 "Prem Nath Kaul V. the State of J.& K."

Native State involved - Jammu and Kashmir.

- Under S. 7 (1)(b) of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapsed and with it lapsed all treaties and agreements in force at the date of passing of the Act between His Majesty and the Rulers of the Indian States, all obligations of His Majesty existing at that date towards Indian States or the Rulers thereof, and all powers, rights, authority or jurisdiction exercisable by His Majesty at that date in or in relation to Indian States or Rulers by treaty, grant, usage, sufferance or otherwise ......

Thus, with the lapse of British paramountcy the State of Jammu and Kashmir, like other Indian States, was theoretically free from limitations imposed by the said paramountcy subject to the provisions of proviso(to said Section). (para.8)

As we have indicated this Constitution (J & K Constitution 1939) emphatically brings out the fact that the Maharaja was an absolute monarch and in him vested all the legislative, executive and judicial powers along with the prerogative rights mentioned in Ss.5 and 72.(para.25)

Maharaja Hari Singh continued to be an absolute monarch of the State (after the Indian Independence Act 1947), and in the eyes of international law he might conceivably have claimed the status of a sovereign and independent State. The argument that the sovereignty of the Maharaja was considerably affected by the provisions of the Instrument of Accession which he signed on 25-10-1947 is clearly untenable.... We must, therefore, reject the argument that the execution of the Instrument of Accession affected in any manner the legislative, executive and judicial power in regard to the government of the State which then vested in the Ruler of the State. (para.26)

Since the Maharaja was himself an absolute monarch, there was no fetter or limitation on his power to appoint somebody else to exercise all or any of his powers. (para.28)

(6) AIR 1962 S.C. 1288 "Promod Chandra Deb, etc. V. State of Orissa"

Native State involved - Talcher, Bamra and Kalahandi.

- This accession ( by virtue of the Instrument of Accession ) did not affect the continuance of the sovereignty of the Rulers entering into the agreement, save as provided by or under the Instrument of Accession. (para.11)

(7) AIR 1962 S.C. 1737 "Raja Rajendra Sardar Moloji Nar Singh Rao Shitole V. Shankar Saran, etc."

Native State involved - Gwalior

- The Court at Gwalior being situate beyond the limits of the provinces of British India was a foreign Court and its judgment was a foreign judgment, within definition given in C.P.C.

The United State of Gwalior, Indore and certain other States in Central India formed by a Covenant signed in April, 1948, had not become a part of the Dominion of India despite the various constitutional documents executed by the Rulers of the Indian States ( such as Instruments of Accession ). (para.11)

The various constitutional changes did not affect the position and status of the united State ( Madhya Bharat ) which comprised Gwalior also; it did not become a part of the Dominion of India but continued to retain its status. (para.14).

(8) AIR 1964 S.C. 1043 "State of Gujarat V. Vora Fiddali, etc."

Native State involved - Sant also called Santrampur.

- With the declaration of Independence of India on 15-8-1947, the former Indian States attained independence and sovereignty. (head-note (a) of the Report).

Such rights as the new Sovereign has through his officers recognised can be enforced in the municipal courts established by the new Sovereign. Even if in a treaty of Accession it is stipulated that certain inhabitants could enjoy certain rights, that does not give a title to those inhabitants to enforce these stipulations in the municipal courts. The right to enforce remains only with the High Contracting parties. (- Head-note (b) of the Report).

With the lapse of the paramountcy of the British Government on the enactment of the Indian Independence Act, the Ruler achieved complete sovereignty. (para.4). - Per Ayangar J.

On August 15,1947, India obtained independence. Under S.7 of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, the suzerainty of the British Crown over the Indian States lapsed , with the result that Sant State became a full sovereign State. (para. 65) - Per Subha Rao, J)

Santrampur was an Indian State and the Ruler attained independence and sovereignty on August 15, 1947 on the ceasing of the paramountcy of the British Crown. (para. 84) - Per Hidayatullah, J)

This State (Sant State), along with other ruling States in India, became an independent sovereign State in the year 1947 when the Dominions of India and Pakistan were constituted. (para. 148) - Per Mudholkar J.

(9) A.I.R. 1993 S.C. 1267, "Shri Raghunathrao Ganpatrao, Petitioner, V. Union of India, Respondent" -

On the commencement of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, British Paramountcy lapsed and the Indian States became completely sovereign and independent. (para. 2-3).

The guarantee given (in the Covenant) by the Government of India was in the nature of a treaty obligation contracted with the sovereign rulers of Indian States and cannot be enforced by action in municipal courts. (para. 166).

 


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