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Case Brief: Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala | Important Acts and Laws for Judiciary Exams PDF Download

Facts of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala

  • Parliament's inability to alter the basic structure of the Indian Constitution was established in Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala.
  • Case Name: Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala
  • Citation: AIR 1973 SC 1461: (1973) 4 SCC 225: (1973) Supp SCR 1
  • Judges: Justice S.M Sikri, Justice A.N Grover, Justice A.N Ray, Justice D.G Palekar, Justice H.R Khanna, Justice J.M Shelat, Justice K.K Mathew, Justice K.S Hegde, Justice M.H Beg, Justice P. Jagamohan Reddy, Justice S.N Dwivedi, Justice A.K Mukherjea and Justice Y.V Chandrachud.
  • DATE OF DECISION: 24/04/1973

In the case, the validity of the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971 was contested. This amendment granted Parliament the power to amend the Constitution under Article 368, aiming to counter the impact of the Golak Nath case. The petitioners not only challenged the Kerala Land Reforms Act, 1963 but also the validity of the 24th, 25th, and 29th Constitutional Amendment Acts.

Issue of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala

  • The main concern in the case was the validity of the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act.
  • This validity would influence the validity of subsequent amendments like the 25th, 26th, and 29th Constitutional Amendments.
  • The key question revolved around determining the scope of the amending power granted by Article 368 of the Indian Constitution.

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Judgement of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala

Background

  • The petitioner argued that the amending power granted by Article 368 was broad but not absolute.

Basic Structure Doctrine

  • The Supreme Court of India introduced the concept of the basic structure doctrine within the Constitution.
  • It rejected the stance taken in the Golaknath Case and affirmed that the Preamble forms an integral part of the Constitution.
  • After 68 days of intense deliberation, a majority of 13 Judges in a Constitutional bench, with a split of 7:6, upheld the amending power under the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act.
  • By emphasizing the notion of implied limitations on amending power, the Court ruled that the amending power of the parliament is separate from its legislative authority.
  • It concluded that the parliament lacks the authority to modify the fundamental structure of the Constitution.

Decision of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala

In the case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala, the concept of 'Basic Structure' was defined by the Supreme Court. This includes essential elements such as the Supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, Independence of the Judiciary, Doctrine of Separation of Powers, Federalism, Secularism, Sovereign, Democratic, the parliamentary system of Government, the principle of free and fair elections, and Welfare State. The judgment in this case is considered a significant contribution to Constitutional Jurisprudence in India.

Key Points:

  • Preamble as the source of the Constitution representing the people of India.
  • Declaration of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms that the people of India aimed to safeguard.
  • Preamble being a part of the Indian Constitution but not a source of power or limitation.
  • Addition of features by the Supreme Court including the Power of review by Courts, Dignity of the Individual, and Right to Livelihood.
  • Recognition of the Right to Freedom of Religion.

It was established that the Preamble is integral to the Indian Constitution. The Preamble was used to impose implicit restrictions on amendments under Article 368. While the Preamble itself can be amended, the basic structure of the Constitution remains unalterable. Amendments cannot alter the fundamental features of the Constitution. In this case, the validity of the 24th, 25th, and 29th Amendment Acts was upheld by all thirteen Judges.

Question for Case Brief: Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala
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According to the Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case, what is the concept of basic structure?
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FAQs on Case Brief: Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala - Important Acts and Laws for Judiciary Exams

1. What was the issue in the case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala?
Ans. The issue in the case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala was related to the extent of the Parliament's power to amend the Indian Constitution.
2. What was the judgement in Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala?
Ans. The judgement in Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala was that the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution is not unlimited and that there are certain basic features of the Constitution that cannot be altered.
3. What was the decision of the court in Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala?
Ans. The court decided that while the Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution, it cannot change its basic structure or features.
4. How did the Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case impact Indian constitutional law?
Ans. The Keshavananda Bharati case established the doctrine of basic structure, which limits the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution and protects certain fundamental rights and principles.
5. What is the significance of the Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case in Indian legal history?
Ans. The Keshavananda Bharati case is considered a landmark judgement in Indian legal history as it reaffirmed the supremacy of the Constitution and established important principles regarding the limitations of parliamentary power.
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