How did ‘basic structure’ of Indian Constitution emerge?

Q.  Match the cases correctly with the amendments they are related to.
A. Golak Nath case1. Constitutional validity of the 7th Amendment.
B. Shankari Prasad case2. Constitutional validity of the 42nd Amendment.
C. Kesavananda Bharati case3. Constitutional validity of the 1st Amendment.
D. Minerva Mills case4. Constitutional validity of the 24th Amendment.

- Published on 23 Feb 17

a. A-1, B-4, C-2, D-3
b. A-3, B-4, C-2, D-1
c. A-1, B-4, C-2, D-3
d. A-3 ,B-2, C-1, D-4

ANSWER: A-1, B-4, C-2, D-3
  • The constitutional validity of the 1st Amendment Act (1951), which curtailed the right to property, was challenged in the Shankari Prasad case (1951).

  • The Supreme Court ruled that the power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to amend Fundamental Rights.

  • Constitutional validity of the 17th Amendment Act (1964), which inserted certain state acts in the 9th Schedule, was challenged in the Golak Nath case (1967).The Supreme Court said that the Fundamental Rights cannot be amended. The Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights.

  • But, in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 24th Amendment Act (1971) and stated that Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights.

  • It also laid down a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

  • It said that the Parliament under Article 368 can’t alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

  • This means that the Parliament cannot abridge or take away a Fundamental Right that forms a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

  • The Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case (1980) invalidated the provision in 42nd Amendment Act (1976), as it excluded judicial review which is a ‘basic feature’ of the Constitution.

  • In the Waman Rao case (1981), the Supreme Court adhere to the doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ and further clarified that it would apply to constitutional amendments enacted after April 24, 1973 - the date of the judgment in the Kesavananda Bharati case.

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