LIVE Online Course on NDPS by Riva Pocha and Adv. Taraq Sayed. Starting from 24th May. Register Now!!
The Indian Constitution Courses

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Basic Structure of the Constitution

Nitya ,
  10 February 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :
By a majority of 4:1, the Court held the Section 4 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 as being unconstitutional on the ground of violation of the basic structure. Similarly, the Section 55 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 was held unconstitutional unanimously.
Citation :
PETITIONER: MINERVA MILLS LTD. & ORS. Vs. RESPONDENT: UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

MINERVA MILLS LTD. VS. UNION OF INDIA

PETITIONER:

MINERVA MILLS LTD. & ORS.

Vs.

RESPONDENT:

UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 31/07/1980

BENCH:

CHANDRACHUD, Y.V. ((CJ)

BENCH: CHANDRACHUD, Y.V. ((CJ)

BHAGWATI, P.N.

GUPTA, A.C.

UNTWALIA, N.L.

KAILASAM, P.S.

SUBJECT : BASIC STRUCTURE OF THE CONSTITUTION

FACTS

1. The Parliament in order to serve general public interest came up with a noble solution by reconstructing bad assets of companies having importance to the general public. Therefore, in accordance with the achievement of the said solution the Parliament enacted The Sick Textile Undertakings (taking over of management) Act, 1974 [Act no. 57 of 1974] on December 24, 1974.

2. Minerva Mills was a textile industry in the State of Karnataka engaged in the mass production of silk clothes and provided market to the general public. The Central Govt. was suspicious that company fulfilled the criteria to be classified as a sick industry. Therefore, the Central Govt. in 1970 appointed a committee under section 15 of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 for making a full detailed report analyzing the affairs of Minerva Mills. Relying on the Committee’s report, on October 19, 1971 the Central govt. empowered National Textile Corporation Limited (a body under the 1951 act) to take over the management of Minerva Mills under section 18A of the 1951 Act.

ISSUE

  1. Whether the amendments introduced by Sections 4 and 55 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 damage the basic structure of the Constitution?
  2. Whether directive principles of State policy contained in Part IV can have primacy over fundamental rights conferred by Part III of the constitution?

JUDGEMENT

By a majority of 4:1, the Court held the Section 4 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 as being unconstitutional on the ground of violation of the basic structure. Similarly, the Section 55 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 was held unconstitutional unanimously.

(1) Validity of Amendments to Article 368

Chandrachud, C.J., discerned the ratio of Keshavanada Bharti’s case as ‘Parliament has the right to make alterations in the Constitution so long as they are within its basic framework’.The aforesaid amendments tend to confer unlimited amending power on to the Parliament extending up to the effacement of the Constitution itself.

Clause 5 of Article 368 demolishes the very pillars on which the preamble rests by empowering the Parliament to exercise its constituent power without any “limitation whatever”. No constituent power can conceivably go higher than the sky high power conferred by Clause 5. Since the Constitution had conferred a limited amending power on the Parliament, it cannot under the exercise of that limited power enlarge that very power into an absolute power. Indeed, a limited amending power is one of the basic features of our Constitution and therefore, the limitations on that power cannot be destroyed.

Since for the reasons above mentioned, clause 5 of Article 368 transgresses the limitations on the amending power, it was held to be unconstitutional.

(2) Validity of Amendments to Article 31C

The majority held the amendment to article 31C unconstitutional as it destroyed the harmony and balance between fundamental rights and directive principles which is an essential or basic feature of the Constitution. The amendment to Article 31C remains a dead letter as it has not been repealed or deleted by Parliament. Nevertheless, cases under it are decided as it existed prior to the Forty-second amendment.

The Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between Parts III and IV. To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution. This harmony and balance between fundamental rights and directive principles is an essential feature of the basic structure of the Constitution.

 
"Loved reading this piece by Nitya?
Join LAWyersClubIndia's network for daily News Updates, Judgment Summaries, Articles, Forum Threads, Online Law Courses, and MUCH MORE!!"



Published in Others
Views : 768




Comments





Latest Judgments


More »


Post a Suggestion for LCI Team
Post a Legal Query