Nanabhoy Palkhiwala was a prominent lawyer who convinced Keshavananda Bharati to file a petition and fight for his rights under Article 26. The said Article gives the freedom to all the citizens of India to manage religious affairs like managing a temple or a trust or the property and land of the religious place. The laws passed by the Kerala government were contradicting the laws written in the Constitution of India. The case was fought in the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court of India.
The Supreme Court looked into the landmark case of 1967, Golaknath Vs State of Punjab and questioned the validity of Constitutional Amendment Acts 24, 25 and 26. A Special Judge Bench of thirteen Judges gave the decision regarding the case. The Court majorly focused on the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971 which gave rights to the Parliament to amend any provision of the Constitution under Article 368 and to amend the Fundamental Rights of the citizens of India.
The Court made the decision that the powers of the Parliament were not beyond the Constitution of India, and it cannot amend the basic structure of the Constitution. The decision made in the Golaknath Case was overruled. The Court explained the powers of Parliament under Article 13(2) of the Constitution of India, explaining that the Parliament has legislative powers and constituent powers. It can make laws by law making powers and can amend the constitution without disturbing the basic structure of the Constitution under the constituent powers.
Out of thirteen Judge Bench, seven Judges supported the decision and explained that the constituent powers of the Parliament have certain limitations. Parliament could not use its amending powers under Article 368 to ‘damage’, ’emasculate’, ‘destroy’, ‘abrogate’, ‘change’ or ‘alter’ the ‘basic structure’ or framework of the Constitution.
The landmark case- Keshavananda Bharati Vs State of Kerala is one of the most important cases in the Indian history and bloomed the judiciary system in India. It is said to be the saviour of democracy. The case brought changes to Indian laws and the powers of the Parliament. It explained the “basic structure doctrine” and included the Preamble as a part of the Constitution.
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