BASIC STRUCTURE DOCTRINE (ARTICLE 13)

by | Sep 4, 2023

The “basic structure doctrine” is a constitutional principle that emerged from the landmark Indian Supreme Court case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973). It holds that while the Parliament has the power to amend any provision of the Constitution, it cannot alter or destroy its basic structure or essential features.

Key Points about the Basic Structure Doctrine:

Origin: 

The basic structure doctrine was formulated by the Supreme Court as a way to safeguard the integrity and core values of the Constitution.

Evolution:

The doctrine was established through the judgement in the Kesavananda Bharati case, which challenged the validity of the 24th Amendment Act of 1971. The court’s ruling ensured that the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution was not unlimited.

Scope: 

The concept of “basic structure” is not explicitly defined in the Constitution, but over time, the courts have identified certain principles and features as part of the basic structure. These include democracy, rule of law, independence of the judiciary, secularism, federalism, and more.

Examples of Basic Structure: 

While not an exhaustive list, some elements commonly considered part of the basic structure include:

  • Supremacy of the Constitution.
  • Sovereign, democratic, and republican nature of the Indian polity.
  • Secular character of the Constitution.
  • Independence of the judiciary.
  • Federalism and the distribution of powers between the Center and States.
  • Protection of fundamental rights.

Limitation on Amendment: 

According to the basic structure doctrine, if any constitutional amendment seeks to alter the basic structure, it can be declared unconstitutional by the judiciary.

Parliamentary Limitations: 

While the Parliament has the authority to amend the Constitution, it cannot use this power to undermine the fundamental principles that form the bedrock of the Constitution’s

 

 

Written By Vishakha Khatri

My name is Vishakha Khatri. I am an engineering graduate and a civil service aspirant with a passion for spreading knowledge about Indian polity. I believe that understanding our political system is crucial for every citizen, and I am committed to making this information accessible to everyone in my own easy way. Through my experiences in civil service preparation and my unique perspective as an engineering graduate, I hope to inspire and educate others on the importance of Indian polity.

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