KESAVANANDA BHARTI VS. STATE OF KERALA

If you are a law aspirant, then, you must remember the date 24 April, 1973 not only for the birthdate of Sachin Tendulkar but also on the same date this remarkable case was decided, which has been playing a great role between Judiciary and Parliament from then till today. 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. This was the case which made Nani Palkhivala’s career.

BACKGROUND

The Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950 was in Contravention of then Fundamental Right to Property (Article 31). It was hit by 13(3) as it was infringing Article 31 (part III, Fundamental right). Keeping in mind the end goal to ensure the validity of Zamindari Abolition laws, the Government made First Amendment of the Constitution of India which rolled out a few improvements to the Fundamental Rights. Article 31-A and 31 B were included.

FACTS OF THE CASE

 Kesavananda Bharati (hereinafter called as the ‘Petitioner’) was the chief of Edneer Mutt, a devout order within the Kasaragod area of Kerala. The petitioner had certain sections of land which were possessed by him in his title. The Kerala state government introduced the Land Reforms Amendment Act, 1969 which entitled the government to procure a few of the lands within the order of which the Petitioner was the chief. On 21st March, 1970, the Petitioner moved to the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution for requirement of his fundamental right to Articles 25 (Right to practice and propagate religion), Article 26 (Right to manage religious affairs), Article 14 (Right to Equality), Article 19(1)(f) (Freedom to acquire property), and Article 31 (Compulsory Acquisition of Property). After the judgment of the court within the case of Golaknath v. State of Punjab, an arrangement of alterations was passed by the parliament to overrule the judgment of the case. In 1971, parliament passed the 24th amendment and in the subsequent years, 25th and 29th amendment were passed. The following amendments were brought after the Golaknath case which was challenged in the present case. Despite of the fact that the state conjured its power under Article 21, Nani palkhivala persuaded Kesavananda Bharati to file petition under Article 26 of the Constitution. Under Keshavanandan Bharti case, parties had employed their best and most capable lawyers, but, it was Nani Palkhivala who stood tallest at the end of the bitter fight over fundamental rights of an Indian citizen.

24TH AMENDMENT

Through the landmark judgment of the Golaknath case, it was laid down by the apex court of India that each alteration which is brought under Article 368 will be taken as an exemption under Article 13 of the constitution. With the 24th amendment, the Parliament essentially attempted to draw a clear qualification between the strategy of bringing a correction and bringing an standard law through an alteration as given under Article 368(2).

25TH AMENDMENT

Through the 25th alteration, the parliament aimed to make it clear to the citizens that they aren’t bound to provide satisfactory emolument to the landlords in case their property is seized by the state government, and in arrange to do so beneath Article 31 (2) of the structure the word ‘compensation was supplanted with the word ‘amount’. The alteration moreover expelled the interface between Article 19(1) (f) and Article 31(2).

29TH AMENDMENT

The 29th constitutional amendment was introduced in 1972 with the purpose to insert the Kerala Land Reforms Act into the 9th schedule of the constitution. The target of the change was that every one of the issue identified with the land changes act will be outside the extent of the legal executive to engage. Practically every one of the alterations passed by the focal government in a few or alternate manner gave insurance to the corrections passed by the state government from being attempted in the courtroom.

CONTENTION OF THE PARTIES

The Petitioner,  basically battled that the force of the Parliament to alter the Indian Constitution is restricted a lot. The premise of the Petitioner’s contentions on the prohibitive capability of the Parliament is the Doctrine of Basic Structure which was propounded by J. Mudholkar on account of Sajjan Singh. On the other hand, the respondent, Kerala state government, for this situation, fought a similar contention under the watchful eye of the court which it has been fighting since the situation of Shankari Prasad i.e. Parliament’s force as for changing the Indian Constitution is supreme, limitless, and unbound. The counsel of the petitioner argued before the seat to ensure his key right to property as then, at that point ensured under Article 19(1) (f) abused by the sanctioning of the 24th and 25th protected alterations. He additionally fought that it was the Indian Constitution that conceded the residents of this country the independence from the oppression which they have endured because of Colonialism. The established elements of this ensured opportunity will step by step shrink away in case it isn’t shielded from the new course of the Parliament. The contention of the respondent depended on the essential guideline of the general set of laws of India which says there will be the incomparability of the Parliament. The respondent argued that to satisfy the financial commitments of the residents ensured by the association in Preamble, it is vital that there’s no impediment or limitation upon the authority of the Parliament.

JUDGEMENT

It was a 700-page judgement where the Apex Court of India held by a larger part of 7:6 that Parliament has the force and position to correct any arrangement of the Indian Constitution to satisfy its financial commitments ensured to the residents under the introduction, subject to the sole condition that such a revision would not change the essential design of the constitution. On 24th April 1973, this milestone judgment was conveyed in which the Supreme Court completely maintained the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act, however the first and second piece of the 25th amendment was observed to be intra vires and ultra vires separately.

CONCLUSION

This 13-judge bench decision is an exemplary illustration of legal approach. The current case has not just the mistaken decisions of the court in the past decisions of Shankari Prasad, Sajjan Singh, and Golaknath yet additionally eliminated the intrinsic struggle and vagueness in sacred hardware concerning the chance of encroachment of residents’ central rights and checking parliament’s ability to correct the essential construction of the constitution. The choice of the larger part to ensure the major components of the constitution depended on normal and sound thinking and the choice to propound the Doctrine of Basic Structure to keep a mind Parliament’s force and any malignant goals. To close, this judgment had reestablished the confidence of residents of this country in the Judiciary just as in a majority rule government.

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