Doctrine of Colourable Legislation

Colourable Legislation
Colourable Legislation

The expression “Colourable Legislation” means that “what can’t be done directly, can’t be done indirectly as well”. In this article, we’ll discuss what’s the philosophical system of colourable legislation and therefore the famed Supreme Court Judgements within which this philosophical system is employed to envision the validity of the law.

Separation of powers entails the division or sharing of power. The Constitution states that every one of those organs ought to exercise numerous powers so as to stop the misuse of authority by any of the government’s organs.

As a result, a system of checks and balances emerges. In relation to their several subjects, the Constitution has split powers between the central and therefore the states. However, the legislative body often passes laws that are outside of its compass. This signifies it’s overstepped its bounds and done one thing indirectly that might not be done directly.

This is called a colourable exercise of legislative power or establishing laws indirectly whereas doing thus directly is illegitimate. As a result, the speculation of colourable legislation was created to stop legislative authorities from abusing their powers. For instance, the constitution provides reservation to solely social and educationally backward communities.

So, any conception to declare the socially forward communities as backward communities and extend the reservation becomes colored legislation. Supreme Court Judgements within which philosophical system of Colourable Legislation is employed

K.C. Gajapati Narayan Deo v. State of state

In this case, the constitutional validity of the state Agricultural revenue enhancement (Amendment) Act,1950 was challenged as colourable legislation.

The reason behind this was its real objective was to scale back the net financial gain of intermediaries to stay the compensation paid to a minimum.

The court felt that it was not a colourable piece of legislation as agriculture financial gain may be a state subject and it had the authority to enact the law and reducing the compensation is another part of it.

M.R. Balaji v. The state of Mysore 1962

In this case, the Mysore government has passed a law stating all communities except the Brahmin community are socially and educationally backward communities.

It left solely thirty-two you look after seats for the benefit pool and reserved nearly sixty-two in state medical and engineering schools.

The court control that it desecrated Article 15(4) and so is invalid.


A principle was established within the case of Ram Krishna Dalmia vs. Shri Justice S.R. Tendulkar & Ors., stating:

“That there’s continually associate assumption in favor of the constitutionality of associate enactment and therefore the burden is upon him WHO assaults it to indicate that there has been a transparent dispute of the constitutional doctrines.” that shows that the significantly presented authority to the law-makers defines its capability and with this arises its authority to pass even on supplementary and extra matters.

Therefore, for the appliance of this principle, the dispute by the law-makers of its constitutional authority ought to be supportive, hidden, or covert and not too direct, obvious, or apparent.

So, clearly, not all acts of the legislation shall be subject to the pertinency of the philosophical system of colourable legislation, there are limitations to its pertinency as follows:

It is irrelevant in cases wherever the authority of the lawmakers isn’t in fetters by the constitutional provisions.

It doesn’t apply to cases of subordinate legislation. The intention of the lawmakers whereas determinant associate enactment isn’t relevant to the determinant its validity. There shall continually be a presumption of constitutional validity in favor of the enactment.


Colourable legislation implies that the legislative power has been encroached upon. once one thing isn’t allowed to be done directly, the concept of colourable law firmly bans doing it indirectly.

It determines whether or not the lawmakers have enacted a statute inside its authorized authority. So, if there’s a limitation on the power to enact laws, the lawmakers should adhere to that, or it’ll be thought-about excess vires of legislative power.

We hope that this article helped you In some way or another! For more information, follow us on InstagramFacebookTwitterYoutube, and Telegram, or subscribe to our newsletter.

Also, Get our monthly legal magazine- Law Manthan 4th Edition


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here