Basic Structure Doctrine

Basic Structure Doctrine

Context: Recently, Fali S Narman discussed the significance of Basic structure Doctrine.

What is Basic Structure Doctrine?
• The basic structure doctrine is a legal principle that applies to the Constitution of India. It means that the Parliament of India cannot amend the Constitution in a way that would change or destroy its basic features or essential characteristics.
• The doctrine was developed by the Supreme Court of India in a series of cases, especially in the landmark case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala.

What is the significance of Basic Structure Doctrine?
• It safeguards Indian democracy as it limits constituent power to avoid totalitarian regimes.
• It strengthens democracy by allowing for independent judiciary.
• It is dynamic and progressive
• Basic structure recognized the basic identity of the Constitution, which may not be destroyed by any amendment.

Criticism of the Doctrine:
• The most common issue of the basic structure doctrine is that there has been no basis for the doctrine in the language of the Constitution.
• Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran - The power of “unelected judges” to strike down amendments to the Constitution on the basis of this doctrine is “anti-democratic and counter-majoritarian.”
• It is seen that the basic structure doctrine gets defined differently by different judges based on their subjective satisfaction.
• A law made by Parliament can be declared null and void by the Courts if courts consider it against basic structure of the Constitution. It gives power to the judiciary that allows it to impose its philosophy on a government that is formed democratically.
• It leads to Judicial overreach

• The Basic Structure Doctrine is a cornerstone of the Indian Constitution, which has been instrumental in ensuring the preservation of the fundamental principles of democracy and protecting the rights of citizens. Its establishment in the Kesavananda Bharati case is a testament to the strength and resilience of India's democratic institutions and the judiciary's commitment to upholding the Constitution. 

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