Basic Structure of Indian Constitution

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Running head: THE BASIC STRUCTURE

THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION
Liji George
Christ University

Abstract

There are certain core parts of the Constitution which cannot be amended, at least not with the normal procedures of amendment. There was a time in the history of India when this particular issue was hotly debated, like the period from 1970s to 1980s. The framers of the constitution wanted the constitution to be a dynamic document rather than a rigid framework, which could be tailored according to the people of the country. However it resulted in a raging war about the supremacy of the Parliament vis-a-vis the power of the courts to interpret and uphold the constitution. The lack of internal integrity laid more focus on the trees rather than the woods. With more than a 100 Amendments today India has come to realize that the framers of the Constitution did not lay down some set of hard core rules to follow. Or they did not declare any superior body to rule. Instead those set of intellectual architects left the Indians with a framework which is as dynamic as the air we breathe. It can take any shape it wants but it maintains its core value.......its basic structure.

Contents

Running head: THE BASIC STRUCTURE1
THE BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION1
Abstract2
Introduction4
The discussion5
Important milestones 6
1.The first amendments......starting 19516
2.1967 The Golaknath verdict6
3.1971 elections:6
4.1973 Kesavananda Bharati verdict7
5.1975 the Indira Gandhi Election case7
6.1976 The 42nd amendment act8
7.The Minerva Mills case9
The aftermath9
Reasons for amendment9

Introduction
If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; And
The irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too. William Somerset Maugham

Basic structure implies to that core part of the constitution that cannot be amended. In today’s point of view this concept stands forgotten by the general public. But there was a time in the history of India when this particular issue was hotly debated, like the period from 1970s to 1980s. In 1971, for the first time Constitution became the electoral issue in India. On the superficial level, it was incongruency over the relative position of The Fundamental Rights vis-a-vis Directive Principles of State Policy. But on the ground level, it was a raging war about the supremacy of the Parliament vis-a-vis the power of the courts to interpret and uphold the constitution.

The framers of the constitution wanted the constitution to be a dynamic document rather than a rigid framework, which could be tailored according to the people of the country. Keeping this in mind Article 368 was incorporated which gives the Parliament the power to make necessary amendments as per the requirement and the rationale. But the issue which arose here was due to the confusion regarding where to draw the line on these powers. This is where the Judiciary comes to the picture. The whole debate is a discussion on the distribution of powers. According to the Doctrine of Separation of Powers, the legislative makes the rights, the Executive implements it and the Judiciary interprets it. But if the Legislative makes any laws which distorts the basic structure in any form or manner the Judiciary has the full authority to declare that law as invalid or ultra vires. So the Constituent power is the area in the history of Indian Constitutional Law which has lead to most serious disagreements between Parliament and Judiciary. The discussion

The term basic structure is not mentioned in the constitution as such. In 1967, in the Golaknath v. State of Punjab case, this term was first used by N.K. Nambiar and other counsels. This case made a classification of the powers of the Parliament: * Constituent Powers

* Legislative powers
Justice P. Subbarao justified in this case...
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