What is the basic structure of the Indian Constitution?

Q.  Which of the following are included in the basic structure of the constitution?

1) Judicial review.
2) Special leave to appeal by the Supreme Court.
3) Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution.
4) Free and fair elections.

- Published on 23 Feb 17

a. Only 1 and 4
b. Only 1 and 3
c. Only 1, 3 and 4
d. All of the above

ANSWER: All of the above
Article 368 can amend any part of the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights but without affecting the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

Though unclear about the exact basic structure, from the various SC judgements, the following have emerged as ‘basic features’ of the Constitution -

1. Supremacy of the Constitution.
2. Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity.
3. Secular character of the Constitution.
4. Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
5. Federal character of the Constitution.
6. Unity and integrity of the nation.
7. Welfare state (socio-economic justice).
8. Judicial review.
9. Freedom and dignity of the individual.
10. Parliamentary system.
11. Rule of law.
12. Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles.
13. Principle of equality.
14. Free and fair elections.
15. Independence of Judiciary.
16. Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution.
17. Effective access to justice.
18. Principle of reasonableness.
19. Powers of the Supreme Court under Articles 32, 136, 141 and 142.

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