“Historically , the judicial branch has often been the sole protector of the rights of minority groups against the will of the popular majority.”
It is quite true in india. Ever since India got independence the tussle between judiciary and legislature was and still quite apparent from the various judgments that we get and followed by the amendments that aimed to dilute these judgments. But the apex court time and again proved that it is called supreme for a reason , they interpret them in such a way that the harmony can be established between these two. One such instance in this glorious history can be seen in the chapter of independent India called by the name of the 4th amendment of the Indian constitution.
The Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955
|Bill proposed||17. december.1954|
|Ruling government||Indian national congress led by P.M. Jawaharlal Nehru.|
|Total number of amendments||5|
|Object of the amendment||to overcome the effect of supreme courts judgments that provided a wide meaning of A31. Achievements of land reforms by abolishing zamindari system and put ceiling limit on land holdings.Absolute ownership of the state on all the minerals and resources of the nation.Temporary take over of management of commercial or industrial undertakings.To dilute the judgment of the supreme court in Saghir Ahmed v. The state of U.P.|
History Behind 4th amendment of constitution
The following judgments of supreme court caused this amendment:
Kameshwar singh v. State of Bihar
AIR 1953 Pat 167
The court declared Bihar Land Reforms Act, 1950 as invalid being in violation of Article 14. The zamindars were classified in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner for the purpose of determination of compensation.
To dilute this the parliament added Article 31A by way of which any law providing for acquisition of estate by state shall not be challenged in court. No such law would be invalid on the ground that it violates Article 14, 19 and 31.
Bhagat Ram v. State of Punjab
AIR 1970 P H 9
The honorable court stated that any person cultivating land personally and is using it for its livelihood should not be deprived of the land under any law protected by Article 31A.
Thus an exception to the infamous and notorious constitution Vault was created in the honor of the right of livelihood of citizens.
State of West Bengal v. Bela banerjee
1954 AIR 170, 1954 SCR 558
The supreme court in this case insisted on the payment of fair compensation in each case of land acquisition made by the state. Compensation must be made in each case of land deprivation by the state. Compensation means just compensation which means ‘what the owner is deprived of’ in terms of money.
So this judgment came in the way of parliament’s idea of land acquisition and made a great deal of 1st amendment futile.
Saghir Ahmad v. The State of U.P.
1954 AIR 728, 1955 SCR 707
A question on the validity of Article 19(6) was raised as whether the Act providing for state monopoly in a specific trade or commerce would be taken as violative of Article 301.
This case was the result of the constitution 1st amendment Act providing for creating reasonable restrictions on exercise of right given under Article 19(1)(g).
The Constitution (Fourth Amendment ) Act, 1955
The parliament made the changes as:
|Amendment in Article 31 Compulsory acquisition of property||The state to determine the amount of compensation on acquisition of state and no such law can be called in question on determination of compensation.|
|Amendment of Article 31A Saving of laws providing for acquisition of estates etc.||Any laws providing for : Compulsory acquisition of estate by state.Taking over of management of any property for limited periodAmalgamation of 2 or more corporations.Extinguishing or modifying rights of directors, managers, MD , shareholders, treasurers, secretaries.Extinguishing and modifying rights of lease and license holders in relation to minerals and resources of the nation.Are put outside the scope of judicial review under Article 13. They are also given immunity against Articles 14, 19 and31.|
|Article 305 is replaced with a new one titled: saving of existing laws and laws providing for state monopoly.||Article 301 and 303 would not challenge any new laws providing for creation of state monopoly.Any law creating a state monopoly enacted before the 4th amendment under Article 19(6)(ii) shall remain valid and operative.|
|Additions in 9th schedule||7 new laws dealing with land acquisition or land reforms and related areas were added after entry 13 bringing the total number of laws to 20.|
Current position of India in respect of 4th Amendment of Constitution.
The judiciary gave their verdicts in such a manner the position and dignity of parliament can be maintained along with protection of fundamental rights of citizens.
1.Golak nath v. state of punjab
1967 AIR 1643, 1967 SCR(2) 762
2.kesavananda bharati v. state of kerala
(1973) 4 SCC 225; AIR 1973 SC 1461
3. I.R. Coelho v. state of tamil nadu
Appeal (civil) 1344-45 of 1976
4. Waman rao v. union of india
(1981) 2 SCC 362, 1981 2 SCR 1
5. Moreover Article 31 has been long repealed in the year of 1979 on 20th june by way of The Constitution (forty fourth Amendment) Act, 1978.
6. The question of compensation on land acquisition was solved by the Act of Right To Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The sum of compensation is just and fair to such an extent that it is said to make a person a partner in the benefits reaped by the government from such acquisition.
So we can say that these historical events established one fact with certainty that
“The citizens’ life and liberty, reputation and property, personal and domestic happiness are all subject to the wisdom of the judges and hang on their decisions. A strong, impartial and capable judiciary is the greatest need of a state.”
-Mr. C.L. Anand.
This article is written by Daman Preet kaur, final year student of LL.B (3 year), pursuing law from punjabi university, patiala.
Universal’s bare Act on constitution of india.
Legal ethics by dr. kailash rai
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