The Revival of Ray XLVI

In State of Gujarat v. Shri Ambica Mills Ltd., (1974) 4 SCC 656 it was considered, when a definition clause in a provision is under-inclusive and over-inclusive. Mr. Justice Holmes, in urging tolerance of under-inclusive classifications, stated that such legislation should not be disturbed by the Court unless there is clearly no fair reason for the law to not require, with equal force, its extension to those whom it leaves untouched.

A reasonable classification is one which includes all who are similarly situated and none who are not. The question then is: what does the phrase “similarly situated” mean? The answer to the question is that we must look beyond the classification to the purpose of the law. A reasonable classification is one which includes all persons who are similarly situated with respect to the purpose of the law. The purpose of a law may be either the elimination of a public mischief or the achievement of some positive public good.

A classification is under­-inclusive when all who are included in the class are tainted with the mischief but there are others also tainted whom the classification does not include… A classification is over­-inclusive when it includes not only those who are similarly situated with respect to the purpose but others who are not so situated as well. In other words, this type of classification imposes a burden upon a wider range of individuals than are included in the class of those attended with mischief at which the law aims. Herod ordering the death of all male children born on a particular day because one of them would someday bring about his downfall employed such a classification.”

Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra, Pandurang Ganpati Chaugule v. Vishwasrao Patil Murgud Sahakari Bank Limited, [Civil Appeal No. 5674 of 2009].

My Lord, Judges in Shri Ambica Mills Ltd., (1974) 4 SCC 656?

Five. Hon’ble Judges H.R. Khanna, K.K. Mathew, Y.V. Chandrachud, A. Alagiriswami. Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Justice A.N. Ray.