• Ankita Chattopadhyay

The Privy Purse Case : H. H Maharajadhiraja Madhav JiwajiRao Scindia V.Union of India, 1970


Hidayatullah, M. (CJI) Shah, J.C., Sikri, S.M. & Shelat, J.M., Bhargava, Vishishtha & Mitter, G.K., Vaidyialingam, C.A. & Hegde, K.S., Grover, A.N. & Ray, A.N. & Dua, I.D.


The case “PrivyPurse” deals with Article 18 of Indian constitution. The Supreme Court has given landmark judgement in this case.

Idea Behind the Concept of “Privy Purse”

The Indian Independence Act, 1947, the British government granted independence to the areas that were directly under their rule of British and gave it to the princely states. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Ji persuaded all princely states to join Indian union after independence in lieu of such princely state signing the instrument of Accession. The government granted a “Privy purse”, under constitutional provision of article 291 and 362 which was a pension kind or a sum of money to be payable annually to the Rulers of the princely states.


In exercise of the powers vested under Article 366 (22) of the constitution, the President hereby directs that with effect from the date of this order His Highness Maharajadhiraja MadhavJiwaji Rao Scindia seized to be the ruler of Gwalior. Similarly orders were communicated to all other ruler also.


Whether the act of the President in derecognizing rulers from getting privy purse is unconstitutional ,ultra vires and void ?

Judgement /Outcome

It was held at the Order of the President directing Madhavrao Scindia would cease to be recognized as the ruler of Gwalior on an with effect from the date of the said order was ultra vires.

This declaration of law resulted in restoration of Privy Purse received by the Rulers and also ensured continuance of their personal privileges.

Aftermath of the judgement …..

The, Then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, argued the case for abolition of Privy purse. So, by the 26th amendment to the constitution of the India in 1971 “Privy purse” was abolished. The amendment lead to the omission of Articles 291 and 362.

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