Basic Feature

The doctrine of Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution was evolved during the landmark judgement in Keshvananda Bharti case 1973. The basic structure concept implies that the Parliament’s power to amend Constitution (Article 368) is not  unfettered. So any law or amendment made is subject to the judicial review and the judiciary has the power to struck it down if found ultra vires. So the Basic Structure reflects the understanding of the thought and wisdom of our founding fathers and seeks to curb any autocracy on the part of the State. It also bolsters the idea that Judiciary is indeed the last resort of a citizen. This judgement can be seen as a precursor to judicial activism.

From the various judgements, the following have emerged as ‘basic features’ of the Constitution:
  • Supremacy of the Constitution
  • Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity
  • Secular character of the Constitution
  • Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary
  • Federal character of the Constitution
  • Unity and integrity of the nation
  • Welfare state (socio-economic justice)
  • Judicial review
  • Freedom and dignity of the individual
  • Parliamentary system
  • Rule of law
  • Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
  • Principle of equality
  • Free and fair elections
  • Independence of Judiciary
  • Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution
  • Effective access to justice
  • Principle of reasonableness
  • Powers of the Supreme Court under Articles 32, 136, 141 and 142
Write a brief note on the basic features of the Indian constitution. If you are asked to alter or replace any of these basic features, what would they be? Justify. (200 Words)



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