The Keshavnanda Bharti case was very famous and it was also known as a fundamental rights case and also the serious conflict between the judiciary and the government. under this case, the Supreme Court of India concentrated on the Basic Structure doctrine of the constitution which forms and gives basic powers to the Indian judiciary to review and change the provision of the constitution enacted. The fundamental question dealt in Keshavnanda Bharti vs the state of Kerala is whether the power to change the constitution is unlimited or there are identifiable parameters regarding the power to change the constitution.

The holding of the Case:
There are certain principles within the framework of the Indian Constitution which are absolute and hence cannot be changed by the parliament these principles were commonly termed as the basic structure

Before going to the facts and the judgment of the case let’s discuss the background of the case. The Bihar land reforms act, 1950 which was in contravention of the Fundamental Right to property (Article 31) it was hit by 13(3) as it was infringing Article 31 (part III, Fundamental right) The Act was been tested in High Court which held the demonstration to be unconstitutional for being violative of Article 14 of the constitution.
Gradually keeping in mind the end goal to ensure the validate zamindari abolition laws the government made the first amendment of the constitution of India which made out a few improvements to the Fundamental Rights arrangements of the constitution of India which rolled out a few improvements to the Fundamental Rights arrangements of the constitution. Article 31 A and 31 B was included the ninth schedule was embedded which ensured any legislation embedded inside the schedule from the judicial audit. Henceforth, the development to Keshav Nand was set aside by a progression of cases and choices that set the case for the phase itself At the center of every one of these cases was important.

Facts of the case:

In February 1970 swami HH Shri Kesavnanda Bharti, the senior head of “Edneet Butt” a Hindu Mutt arranged in Edneer it is a town in the Kasaragod region of Kerala challenged that the Kerela governments endeavors, under the two-state land reforms to force limitations on the administration of the property. Even though the state caused its power under Article 21 an Indian legal scholar, Nanabhoy Palkhivala, persuaded the swami into filing his petition under Article 26, concerning the privilege to overseas religiously claimed property without government barrier. The huge battle was foreseen. Real revisions to the constitution ( the 24th, 25th, 26th, 29th) had been sanctioned by Indira Gandhi’s legislature through parliament to get over the judgments of Preeminent court in R.C cooper,(1970) Madahvrao Scindia (1970) and Gorak Nath.
The first had struck down bank nationalization the second had repealed the nullification of privy satchels of previous rulers and the third had held that revising force couldn’t touch principal rights. Every one of these corrections was under test in Keshavnanda. Since Golaknath was chosen by eleven judges a bigger seat was required to test its rightness. Thus 13 judges were to sit on the Keshavnanda case. Even though the hearings expended five months the result would importantly influence India’s popularity based procedures

Analysis of the case:

The Supreme Court of India had revised the decision in Golakh Nath vs the state of Punjab and taken into the consideration the validity of the 24th, 25th, 26th, and amendments. The case was of Keshavnanda was heard by the largest ever constitution bench of 13 judges The bench gave eleven separate judgments which are agreed on some points and disagreed on the others

Effects of the case:
Though Keshavnanda Bharti overruled the Golakh Nath case it did not establish the supremacy of the parliament. As it is said that the fundamental rights of the constitution can be changed by the parliament but not all the rights of the constitution. Those fundamental rights which formed the basic structure of the constitution cannot be shortened In Golak Nath’s case they had given the priority to the fundamental rights only. On the other hand in the Keshavnanda Bharti case, it recognizes some other provisions of the constitution also and said that if such provisions from the basic structure then it can not be changed. It is also stated that under Article 368. They cannot rewrite the whole constitution and bring it in a new form. Keshavnanda Bharti case is an example of judiciary creativity of its first order It protected our Indian constitution by passing a 2/3 majority which may encourage by the narrow party and personal interest The basic feature cannot be altered, removed, or abolished


The 703 pages judgment revealed the different opinions of the judges. There is the wafer-thin majority of 7:6 and it was held that Parliament could change any part of the Indian constitution so long as it did not alter, amend or abridge “the basic structure or essential features or foundation of the constitution” This was a vested and implied limitation on the amending power of the parliament. This basic structure doctrine, as a future event proved, saved Indian democracy and Keshavnanda Bharti will always occupy a hallowed place in constitutional history.

By – Sonali Singh