29 September 1955
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal Civil 189-193 of 1955






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 29/09/1955


CITATION:  1955 AIR  781            1955 SCR  (2) 589

ACT: Fundamental   Rights,  Infrigement  of  --  Law   void   for inconsistency--’Void’,  Meaning of-Removal of  inconsistency by  amendment  of the Constitution, if revivifies  the  law- Constitution of India as amended by the constitution  (First Amendment) Act, 1951 and the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act,  1955,  Arts.  13,  19(6),  31(2)-C.P.  &  Berar  Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1947 (Act III of 1948).

HEADNOTE:   The  petitioners  who carried on their business  as  stage carriage  operators  of Madhya Pradesh  for  a  considerable number  of years challenged the constitutional  validity  of the  C.P. & Berar Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1947  (Act III  of  1948) which amended the Motor  Vehicles  Act,  1939 (Central  Act IV of 1939) and conferred extensive powers  on the  Provincial Government including the power to  create  a monopoly  of the motor transport business in its  favour  to the exclusion of all motor transport operators.  In exercise of  the powers conferred by new s. 43(1)(iv) a  notification was  issued  on  the 4th of February,  1955,  declaring  the intention of the Government to take up certain routes.   The case  of  the  petitioners  was  that  the  passing  of  the Constitution  and the grant of fundamental  rights  rendered the  Act void under Art. 13(1) being inconsistent  with  the provisions  of  Arts. 19(1)(g) and 31(2), and  reliance  was placed on the decision. of the Supreme Court in Shagir Ahmad v. The State of U.P. & others.  On behalf of the respondents it  was  contended  that although as a result  of  the  said decision the impugned Act was rendered  void,  the Constitution  (First  ’Amendment)  Act, 1951, and the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955, bad the  effect of removing the inconsistency and  the  Amending Act (III of 1948) became operative again.  It was,  however, contended on behalf of the petitioners that the impugned Act being  void  under  Art. 13(1) was dead  and  could  not  be revivified by any subsequent amendment of the  Constitution. It must be re-enacted. Held  that  Shagir Ahmad’s case had no application  and  the



contentions put forward by the respondents were well founded and must be accepted. That  it  is well-settled: that the word ’void’ In  Art.  13 means  void  to  the  extent of  the  inconsistency  with  a fundamental  right and the language of the article makes  it clear  that the entire operation of an inconsistent  Act  is not  wiped  out.  It applies to past  transactions  and  the rights and liabilities accruing therefrom and continues even after the commencement of the Constitution to apply to  non- citizens. Keshavan Madhava Menon v. The State of Bombay [1961]  S.C.R. 288, relied on. The  true  effect  of  Art.  13(1)  is  to  render  an  Act, inconsistent  with a fundamental right, inoperative  to  the extent  of  the’inconsistency.  It is  overshadowed  by  the fundamental  right’  and remains dormant but  is  not  dead. With  the amendment made in cl. (6) of Art. 19 by the  first Amendment  Act  the provisions of the impugned Act  were  no longer  inconsistent therewith and the result was  that  the impugned  Act began to operate once again from the  date  of such  amendment  with this difference that,  unlike  amended clause   (2)   of   Art.  19  which   was   expressly   made retrospective, no rights and obligations could be founded on the  provisions  of the impugned Act from the  date  of  the Commencement  of  the  Constitution till  the  date  of  the amendment.  The notification declaring the intention of  the State  to take over -the bus routes to the exclusion of  all other  motor transport operators was,  therefore,  perfectly valid.    Shagir  Ahmad  v. The State of U.P. &  Others,  [1955]  1 S.C.R.  707  and Behram Khurshed Pesikaka v.  The  State  of Bombay,   [1965]  1  S.C.R.  613,  distinguished  and   held inapplicable. American authorities held inapplicable. Nor  can the impugned Act, on a parity of reasoning be  held to  infringe,  any  longer the  fundamental  rights  of  the petitioners  under  Art.  31(2) in  view  of  the  amendment effectd  there  in by the Constituation  (Fourth  Amendment) Act  of 1956 which came into force on the 27th April,  1955, these  petitions  having  been  filed  thereafter,  and  the petitioners  could not be allowed to challenge  the-validity of the impugned Act on that ground. Semble.  It is not clear at all that the impugned Act was in conflict  with s. 299 of the Government of India Act,  1935, before the advent of the Constitution. 591

JUDGMENT:    ORGINAL  JURISDICTION: Petitions Nos. 189 to 193 of 1955. Petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution of India  for the enforcement of Fundamental Rights. G.   S.  Pathak, (Rameshwar Nath and Rajinder  Narain,  with him) for the petitioners in Petition No. 189 of 1955. Rameshwar  Nath  and  Rajinder Narain,  for  petitioners  in Petition No. 190 of 1955. Sri  Narain Andley and Rajinder Narain, for  petitioners  in Petitions Nos. 191 to 193 of 1955. T.   L. Shevde, Advocate-General of Madhya Pradesh (I.  N. Shroff, with him), for respondents in all petitions. 1955.   September  29.   The  Judgment  of  the  Court   was delivered by DAs ACTG.  C. J.-This judgment will dispose of all the  five petitions  (Nos. 189 to 193 of 1955) which have  been  heard



together  and  which  raise  the same  question  as  to  the constitutional  validity of the C.P. & Berar Motor  Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1947 (Act III of 1948).  The  facts are short and simple.  Each of  the  petitioners has  been ’carrying on business as stage  carriage  operator for  a  considerable number of years under  permits  granted under  section 58 of the Motor Vehicles Act,  1939  (Central Act  IV  of  1939)  as amended by the  C.P.  &  Berar  Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act.$ 1947 (Act III of 1948).  Prior  to the amendment section 58 of the  Motor  tVehicles Act,  1939  was in the following  terms:- "58(1).  A permit other than a temporary permit issued under section  62  shall  be effective without  renewal  for  such period,  not  less than three years and not more  than  five years,  as  the  Regional Transport Authority,  may  in  its discretion specify in the permit. Provided  that  in the case of a permit  issued  or  renewed within two years of the commencement of this Act, the permit shall be effective without renewal 75 for  such period of less than three years as the  Provincial Government may prescribe. (2)  A  permit  may be renewed on an  application  made  and disposed of as if it were an application for a permit:   Provided   that,   other  conditions   being   equal,   an application  for renewal shall be given preference over  new applications for permits".   It will be noticed that under the section as it originally stood the permit granted thereunder was for a period of  not less  than 3 years and not more than 5 years and  a  permit- holder applying for renewal of the permit had, other  things being equal, preference over new applicants for permit  over the same route and would ordinarily get such renewal.   Very far reaching amendments were introduced by the C.P. & Berar Motor.  Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 1947 into the  Motor Vehicles  Act, 1939 in its application to Central  Provinces and  Berar.  By section 3 of the amending Act, item (ii)  of subsection (1) of section 43 of the Central Act was replaced by the following items:   "  (ii)  fix  maximum,  minimum  or  specified,  fares  or freights  for  stage  carriages and public  carriers  to  be applicable throughout the province or within any area or any route within the province, or   (iii)notwithstanding  anything contained in section 58  or section  60  cancel  any permit granted  under  the  Act  in respect,  of  a transport vehicle or class of  such  permits either   generally   or  in  any  area  specified   in   the notification:   Provided that no such notification shall be issued  before the  expiry of a period of three months from the date  of  a notification declaring its intention to do so:   Provided  further  that  when any  such  permit  has  been cancelled,  the  permit-holder  shall be  entitled  to  Such compensation as may be provided in the rules; or   (iv)declare  that  it will engage in the business  o  road transport service either generally or in any area  specified in the notification".                             593 The following subsection (3) was added after subsection  (2) of  section  58  of  the Central Act by  section  8  of  the amending Act, namely:-  "(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection  (1), the  Provincial  Government may order a  Regional  Transport Authority or the Provincial Transport Authority to limit the



period for which any permit or class of permits is issued to any period less than the minimum specified in the Act".   Section 9 of the amending Act added after section 58 a new section reading as follows:-  "58-A.  Notwithstanding. anything herein  before  contained the  Provincial Government may by order direct any  Regional Transport Authority or the Provincial Transport Authority to grant  a stage carriage permit to the Provincial  Government or  any  undertaking in which the Provincial  Government  is financially  interested or a permit-holder whose permit  has been  cancelled  under  section 43 or  any  local  authority specified in the order".   The result of these amendments was that power was given to the  Government (i) to fix fares or freights throughout  the Province  or for any area or for any route, (ii)  to  cancel any permit after the expiry of three months from the date of notification declaring its intention to do so and on payment of  such  compensation as might be provided  by  the  Rules, (iii) to declare its intention to engage in the business  of road  transport  generally or in any area specified  in  the notification,  (iv) to limit the period of the license to  a period less than the minimum specified in the Act and (v) to direct the specified Transport Authority to grant a  permit, inter  alia, to the Government or any undertaking  in  which Government was financially interested.  It may be  mentioned here that in the State of Madhya Pradesh there are two motor transport companies known as C. P. Transport Services  Ltd., and Provincial Transport Co. Ltd., in which, at the date  of these  writ petitions, the State of Madhya Pradesh  and  the Union of India held about 85 per cent. of the share capital. Indeed,  since  the  filing of these  petitions  the  entire undertakings of these 594 companies have been purchased by the State of Madhya Pradesh and the latter are now running the services. on some  routes for which permits had been granted to them.   A cursory perusal of the new provisions introduced by, the amending  Act  will  show that very  extensive  powers  were conferred  on the Provincial Government and the latter  were authorised,  in  exercise  of  these  powers,  not  only  to regulate  or control the fares or freights but also to  take up  the entire motor transport business in the province  and run it in competition with and even to the exclusion of  all motor transport operators.  It was in exercise of the powers under the newly added sub-section (3) of section 58 that the period  of the permit was limited to four months at a  time. It  was  in exercise of powers conferred on it  by  the  new section  43  (1)  (iv)  that  the  Notification  hereinafter mentioned declaring the intention of the Government to  take up  certain  routes was issued.  It is  obvious  that  these extensive powers were given to the Provincial Government  to carry out and implement the policy of nationalisation of the road  transport business adopted by the Government.  At  the date of the passing of the amending Act (III of 1948)  there was no such thing as fundamental rights of the citizens  and it  was  well  within  the  legislative  competency  of  the Provincial  Legislature  to -enact that law.   It  has  been conceded  that  the  amending Act was, at the  date  of  its passing, a perfectly valid piece of legislation.  Then came our Constitution on the 26th January 1950.   Part III  of the Constitution is headed "Fundamental Rights"  and consists  of  articles  12  to 35.   By  article  19(1)  the Constitution guarantees to all citizens the right to freedom under  seven  heads.  Although in article  19(1)  all  these rights are expressed in unqualified language, none of  them,



however,  is  absolute,  for each of them  is  cut  down  or limited  by whichever of the several clauses (2) to  (6)  of that  article is applicable to the particular  right.   Thus the  right  to practise any profession or to  carry  on  any occupation, trade or business conferred by article  19(1)(g) was                             595 controlled  by clause (6) which, prior to its  amendment  to which reference will presently be made, ran as follows:-   "(6)  Nothing in sub-clause (g) of the said  clause  shall affect  the  operation of any existing law in so far  as  it imposes, or prevent the State from making any law  imposing, in   the  interests  of  the  general   public,   reasonable restrictions  on the exercise of the right conferred by  the said  sub-clause,  and, in particular, nothing in  the  said sub-clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so  far  as  it  prescribes or  empowers  any  authority  to prescribe,  or  prevent  the  State  from  making  any   law prescribing  or empowering any authority to  prescribe,  the professional  or  technical  qualifications  necessary   for practising  any  profession or carrying on  any  occupation, trade or business".   The fundamental rights conferred by articles 14 to 35  are protected  by  the  provisions of article  13  the  relevant portions of which are as follows:-   "13.  (1)  All  laws in force in the  territory  of  India immediately  before the commencement of this  "Constitution, in  so far as they are inconsistent with the  provisions  of this  Part, shall, to the extent of such  inconsistency,  be void.   (2)The State shall not make any law which takes away or   abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any    law   made   in contravention  of  this clause shall, to the extent  of  the contravention, be void"    The  amending Act (III of 1948) was, at the  commencement of  the Constitution, an existing law.  The  new  provisions introduced  by the Act authorised the Provincial  Government to  exclude all private motor transport operators  from  the field of transport business.  Prima facie, therefore, it was an infraction of the provisions of article 19 (1) (g) of the Constitution  and would be void under article 13(1),  unless this  invasion by the Provincial Legislature of  the  funda- mental  right  could be justified under  the  provisions  of clause  (6)  of  article 19 on the ground  that  it  imposed reasonable  restrictions on the exercise of the right  under article 19(1)(g) in the interests of the general 596 public.  In Shagir Ahmad v. The State of U.P. & Others(1) it was  held by this Court that if the word  "restriction"  was taken and read in the sense of limitation and not extinction then  clearly  the law there under review  which,  like  the amending  Act  now before us, sanctioned the  imposition  of total prohibition on the right to carry on the business of a motor  transport  operator  could  not  be  justified  under article 19(6).  It was further held in that case that if the word  "restriction"  in  clause (6) of  article  19  of  the Constitution,  as in other clauses of that article, were  to be taken in certain circumstances to include prohibition  as well,  even then, having regard to the nature of  the  trade which  was perfectly innocuous and to the number of  persons who   depended  upon  business  of  this  kind   for   their livelihood,  the  impugned  law could not  be  justifled  as reasonable.  In this view of the matter, there is no  escape from  the conclusion that the amending Act, in so far as  it was  inconsistent with article 19 (1) (g) read  with  clause



(6)  of that article, became, under article 13(1), void  "to the extent of such inconsistency" and if there were  nothing else  in  the  case the matter would  have  been  completely covered by the decision of this Court in that case.   On the 18th June 1951 however, was passed the Constitution (First  Amendment) Act, 1951.  By section 3(1) of  that  Act for   clause  (2)  of  article,19  a  new   sub-clause   was substituted which was expressly made retrospective.   Clause (6)  of  article  19  was also  amended.   That  clause,  so amended, now reads as follows: - "(6)  Nothing  in sub-clause (g) of the  said  clause  shall affect  the  operation of any existing law in so far  as  it imposes, or prevent -the State from making any law imposing, in   the  interests  of,  the  general  public,   reasonable restrictions  on the exercise of the right conferred by  the said  sub-clause,  and, in particular, nothing in  the  said sub-clause shall affect the operation of any existing law in so  far as it relates to, or prevent the State  from  making any law relating to,-- (1)  [1955] 1 S.C.R. 707. 597 (i)  the professional or technical qualifications  necessary for practising any profession or carrying on any occupation, trade or business, or   (ii)  the  carrying on by the State, or by  a  corporation owned  or controlled by the State, of any  trade,  business, industry  or service, whether to the exclusion, complete  or partial, of citizens or otherwise".  It  will  be noticed that clause (6), as amended,  was  not made retrospective as the amended clause (2) had been  made. The contention of the respondents before us is that although the amending Act, on the authority of our decision in Shagir Ahmad’s  case (supra), became on and from the  26th  January 1950  void  as  against the citizens to the  extent  of  its inconsistency  with  the  provisions  of  article  19(1)(g), nevertheless,  after the 18th June 1951 when clause (6)  was amended by the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951  the amending Act ceased to be inconsistent with the  fundamental right guaranteed by article 19(1) (g) read with the  amended clause  (6) of that article, because that clause, as it  now stands,  permits  the creation by law of  State-monopoly  in respect,  inter  alia, of motor transport  business  and  it became  operative again even as against the  citizens.   The petitioners, on the other hand, contend that the law  having become  void for unconstitutionality was dead and could  not be  vitalised by a subsequent amendment of the  Constitution removing  the  constitutional objection, unless it  was  re- enacted,  and reference is made to Prof.  Cooley’s  work  on Constitutional Limitations, Vol.  I, p. 384 Note referred to in  our  judgment  in Shagir Ahmad’s  case  (supra)  and  to similar other authorities.  The question thus raised by  the respondents,   however,  was  not  raised  by  the   learned Advocate-General in that case, although the notification was published by the U. P. Government on the 25th March 1953 and the  proposed scheme was published on the 7th  April,  1953, i.e.,  long  after the Constitution (First  Amendment)  Act, 1951  had been passed.  This question was not considered  by this Court in Shagir Ahmad’s case, for it was there conceded (see  p. 720 of the report) that the validity of the  U.  P. Act which, in this res- 598 pect,  was  similar  to  the C. P.’&  Berar  Act  now  under consideration.,  was  not  to be  decided  by  applying  the provisions of the amendea clause (6).  Nor was this  problem raised before or considered by this Court in Behram Khurshed



Pesikaka  v. The State of Bombay(1) We, therefore,  conceive it to be open to us to go into the new question that has now been  mooted  before  us and to  consider  what  effect  the amended clause (6) has on the impugned Act.  This involves a question of construction of article 13 of the Constitution.   The  meaning to be given to the word "void" in article  13 is no longer res integra, for the matter stands concluded by the  majority  decision of this Court  in  Keshavan  Madhava Menon v. The State of Bombay(1).  We have to apply the ratio decidendi  in  that case to the facts of the  present  case. The  impugned Act was an existing law at the time  when  the Constitution came into force.  That existing law imposed  on the  exercise  of the right guaranteed to  the  citizens  of India by article 19 (1) (g) restrictions which could not  be justified  as reasonable under clause (6) as it  then  stood and  consequently  under article 13 (1)  that  existing  law became  void  "to  the extent of  such  inconsistency".   As explained in Keshavan Madhava Menon’s. case (supra) the  law became void not in toto or for all purposes or for all times or  for  all  persons  but  only  "to  the  extent  of  such inconsiatency",  that  is to say, to the  extent  it  became inconsistent with the provisions of Part III which conferred the  fundamental rights on the citizens.  It did not  become void independently of the existence of the rights guaranteed by Part III.  In other words, on and after the  commencement of  the  Constitution the existing law, as a result  of  its becoming   inconsistent  with  the  provisions  of   article 19(1)(g) read with clause (6) as it then stood, could not be permitted  to  stand  in the. way of the  exercise  of  that fundamental right.  Article 13(1) by reason of its  language cannot be read as having obliterated the entire operation of the inconsistent law or having wiped it out altogether from (1)  (1955] 1 S.C.R. 613. (2)  [1951] S.C.R. 228. 599 the  statute,  book.  Such law existed for  all  past  tran- sactions  and  for  enforcement of  rights  and  liabilities accrued before the date of the Constitution, as was held  in Keghavan Madhava Menon’s case.  The law continued in  force, even  after  the  commencement  of  the  Constitution,  with respect  to  persons who were not citizens  and  could  riot claim  the fundamental right.  In short, article  13(1)  had the effect of nullifying or rendering the existing law which had  become  inconsistent with article 19(1) (g)  read  with clause (6) as it then stood ineffectual, nugatory and devoid of  any legal force or binding effect only with  respect  to the exercise of the fundamental right on and after the  date of the commencement of the Constitution.  Therefore, between the  26th January 1950 and the 18th June 1951  the  impugned Act  could  not  stand in the way of  the  exercise  of  the fundamental  right  of a citizen under article  190(1)  (g). The  true  position,is that the impugned law became,  as  it were,  eclipsed,  for  the time being,  by  the  fundamental right.  The effect of the Constitution (First Amendment) Act 1951 was to remove I the shadow and to make the impugned Act free  from all blemish or infirmity.  If that were not  SO., then  it is not intelligible what "existing law" could  have been  sought  to  be saved from  the  operation  of  article 19(1)(g)  by  the  amended  clause  (6)  in  so  far,as   it sanctioned   the  creation  of  State  monopoly,   for,   ex hypothesi,  all  existing laws creating  such  monopoly  had already  become void at the date of the commencement of  the Constitution  in view of clause (6) as it then  stood.   The American authorities refer only. to post-Constitution  laws, which  were  inconsit  tent  with  the  provisions  of   the



Constitution.   Such laws never came to life but were  still born as it were The American authorities, therefore,  cannot full  apply  to pre-Constitution laws which  were  perfectly valid-before   the  Constitution.   But  apart   from   this distinction  between re-Constitution  and  post-Constitution laws  on which, however, we need not rest on  decision,  it. must,  be held that these American authorities can  have  no application  to  our  Constitution  All  laws,  existing  or future, which are inconsistent 76 with the provision s of Part III of our Constitution are  by the  express provision of article 13, rendered void "to  the extent  of such, inconsistency".  Such ’laws were  not  dead for  all  purposes.  They existed for the purposes  of  pre- Constitution  tights  and  liabilities  and  they   remained operative,  even  after the Constitution,  as  against  non- citizens.   It  is only as against the  citizens  that  they remained  in  a  dormant  or  moribund  condition.   In  our judgment, after the amendment of clause (6) of article 19 on the   18th  June  1951,  the  impugned  Act  ceased  to   be unconstitutional  and  became  revivified  and   enforceable against  citizens  as well as against non-citizens.   It  is true   that  as  the  amended  clause  (6)  was   not   made retrospective  the impugned Act could have no  operation  as against citizens between the 26th January 1950 and the  18th June 1951 and no rights’ and obligations could be founded on the  provisions of the impugned Act during the  said  period whereas  the  amended  clause (2) by  reason  of  its  being expressly made retrospective had effect even during    that period.  But after the amendment of clause (6)    the impugned  Act  immediately became fully  operative  even  as against  the  citizens.   The;  notification  declaring  the intention  of the State to take over the bus routes  to  the exclusion  of  all  other  motor  transport  operators   was published  on  the 4th February 1955 when it  was  perfectly constitutional for the State to, do so.  In our judgment the contentions put forward by the respondents as to the  effect of  the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951  are  well, founded  and  the  objections  urged  against  them  by  the petitioners are untenable and must be negatived. The petitioners then contend that assuming that one impugned Act  cannot be questioned on the ground of  infringement  of their  fundamental  right under article 19(1)(g)  read  with clause   (6)  of  that  article,  there  has  been   another infraction of their fundamental right in that they have been deprived  of their property’ namely, the right to ply  motor vehicle’  s  for gain which is an interest in  a  commercial undertaking  and, therefore, the impugned Act does  Conflict with  the provisions of article 31 (2) of  the  Constitution and 601 again  they   rely on our decision in Shagir  Ahmad’s  case. Here,  too  if  there were nothing else  in  the  case  this contention  may have been unanswerable.   But  unfortunately for  the  petitioners  there  is  the  Constitution  (Fourth Amendment)  Act,  1955 which’ came into farce  on  the  27th April  1955,  By  section 2 of that Act article  31  of  the Constitution was amended and for clause (2) of that  article the following clauses were substituted:- "(2)   No  property  shall  be  compulsorily   acquired   or requisitioned  save  for  a  public  purpose  and  save   by authority  of a law which provides for compensation for  the property  so acquired or requisitioned and either fixes  the amount  of the compensation or specifies the  principles  on which,  and the mariner in which the compensation is  to  be



determined  and  given; and no such law shall be  called  in question  in any :court on the ground that the  compensation provided by that law is not adequate. (2-A) Where a, law does not provide for the transfer of  the ownership  or  right to possession of any  property  to  the State or to a corporation, owned or controlled by the State, it  shall  not  be  deemed to  provide  for  the  compulsory acquisition  or requisitioning of property,  notwithstanding that it deprives any person of his property". Article  31-A of the Constitution was also  amended.   There can  be  no question that the amended  provisions,  if  they apply,  save the impugned law, for it does not  provide  for the transfer of the ownership or right to possession of  any property and cannot, there, fore, be deemed to, provide  for the   compulsory  acquisition  or  requisitioning   of   any property.   But  the petitioners contend, as they  did  with regard to the Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1951, that these  amendments  which came into force on the  27th  April 1955  are not retrospective and can have no  application  to the  present  case.  It is quite true that the  impugned  AN became   inconsistent  with  article  31  as  soon  as   the Constitution  came  into force on the 26th January  1950  as held  by  this  Court in Shagir Ahamad’s  case  (supra)  and continued to be so inconsistent right 602 up  to  the 27th April 1955 and  therefore,  under  article, 13(1)  became void "to the extent of such  inconsistency  ". Nevertheless, that inconsistency was removed on and from the 27th April 1955 by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment)  Act, 1955.  The present writ petitions were filed on the 27th May 1955,  exactly  a  month  after  the  Constitution   (Fourth Amendment)  Act. 1955 came into force, and, on a parity-  of reasoning  here in before mentioned, the petitioners  cannot be  permitted  to  challenge the  constitutionality  of  the impugned  Act  on  and from the 27th  April  1955  and  this objection also cannot prevail. Learned  counsel  for the petitioners sought  to  raise  the question  as  to  the invalidity of the  impugned  Act  even before  the  advent  of  the  Constitution.   Prior  to  the Constitution, when there were no fundamental rights, section 299  of the Government of India Act, 1935 which  corresponds to article 31 had been construed by the Federal Court in Rao Bahadur  Kunwar  Lal  Singh v.  The  Central  Provinces  and Berar(1) and in other cases referred to in Rajah of  Bobbili v.  The  State of Madras(2) and it was held by  the  Federal Court  that the word "acquisition" occurring in section  299 had the limited meaning of actual transference of  ownership and not the wide meaning of deprivation of any kind that has been  given by this Court in Subodh Gopal Bose’s case(3)  to that  word  acquisition appearing in article  31(2)  in  the light  of the other provisions of the Constitution.’ It  is, therefore,  not  clear at all that the impugned Act  was  in conflict  With  section  299  of  the  Government  of  India Act,1935.  Besides,  this objection was not  taken  or  even hinted  at  in the petitions and cannot be permitted  to  be raised at this stage. The  result,  therefore,  is that these  petitions  must  be dismissed.   In  the circumstances of this case we  make  no order as to costs. (1)  [1944]F.C.R. 284. (2)  [1952] 1 M.L.J 174, 193-194". (3)  [1954] B.C.R. 587. 603