INTRODUCTION: The King cannot make a mistake with the literal sense of “Rex Non-Potest Peccare.” This medieval idea of English meant that the King is God’s son and cannot be prosecuted. Furthermore, he cannot be sued for misdemeanors, as he cannot arrange for illegal activity. The idea that the citizen may not be entitled to sue the government for any alleged wrong done by it which is mostly rejected now is based upon that principle. Sometimes this principle is also referred to as the ‘Sovereign Immunity Principle.’

ILLUSTRATION: Due to some State act “A,” he suffered minimal losses but could not sue the State since the concept of ‘Rex Non-Potest Peccare’ protected the state.

INDIAN LAW POSITION: In its very first report, the Law Committee of India proposed that this obsolete theory be abolished. However, the draught bill never was approved for repeal of this concept for different reasons and the courts were left to assess whether the theory was compatible with the Indian constitution.

The State’s vicarious responsibility is enshrined in Article 300 of the Indian Constitution. Article 300 sets out that the Government of India and the State, in cases similar to that which could have been brought before or sued by the Dominion of India and by the corresponding Provinces or the corresponding Indian States, are subject to provisions of the Act of the Parliament or State legislatures and to sue.

Further, the provisions of Article 300 provide that if a legal proceeding is pending at the start of this constitution for which the Indian Dominion is a party, in such proceedings the Union of India will be considered a substitute of the Dominion; if a legal procedure for which a Province or an Indian State is a party is pending, the relevant State will be deemed a substitute for the province or Indian state in that proceeding.

The top court had established the notion that the state is not liable for the wrongs committed by its servant in the performance of the function of a sovereign function, although its servant is liable for the wrong done by the State.

With the emergence of human case law, the concept of sovereign and non-sovereign functions came to an end. The state is now accountable when officials violate people’s fundamental human rights in their work.

State of Rajasthan v. Vidyawati AIR 1962 SC 933– It is the first post-constitution judgment in this matter as far as the Supreme Court is concerned.

Facts– -The jeep driver, owned and maintained by the State for the official use of the collector, pulled a jeep out of the workshop and brought it back to the collector’s apartment after repair and hurt a pedestrian gravely. The state was sued for damages; the state claimed immunity on the ground of its ‘sovereign powers’ being discharged.

Held– The Court rejected the claim of the State for sovereign immunity and concluded that the State was not responsible for the conduct of the Jeep in sovereign capacity. In that decision, the High Court noted that in modern times it has socialist and welfare functions and it is impossible to maintain the defense of State immunity in accordance with the ancient feudal concepts of justice.


Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

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