Question– The doctrine of ‘basic structure’ has curtailed the unlimited power of Parliament to amend the constitution. Explain the evolution and significance of basic structure doctrine.
Answer: Basic structure has not been defined in the constitution but it refers to some important features of the constitution. The Supreme Court for the first time mentioned basic structure doctrine in the Kesavananda Bharti case (1973).
Evolution of basic structure of constitution
- To negate the supreme court decision in Golaknath Case (1967), the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971 was passed, which gave unlimited powers to the Parliament to amend the constitution.
- The decision in Kesavananda Bharti case (1973) upheld the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act but said that amendments could not be made in basic structure of constitution.
Significance of basic structure
- Balance in amendment process
The amendment of constitution process is balanced between rigid and flexible. Before the basic structure principle, the amendment process was too much in favour of ruling dispensation.
- Uphold ethos of constitution
There are several aspects that make up the ethos of constitution. It is important to keep them intact. The basic structure doctrine will prevent changes in basic ethos.
Thus, the doctrine of basic structure has prevented ruling dispensation from misusing their brute majority to make monumental changes in the constitution and upheld its basic values.
Tags: GS 2 ( Constitution)
By – Raghunandan