New Delhi, September 16
Maintaining that the “Doctrine of Basic Structure” is here to stay, noted jurist Fali S Nariman has called upon people to have faith in the higher judiciary, saying the Supreme Court has used it “very sparingly” to strike down constitutional amendments.
“Individual members of the public may from time to time get worried, as I sometimes am, with orders and decisions given by individual judges of the Supreme Court. But please never lose faith in the higher Judiciary as an institution, as one of the three constitutional organs of good governance,” Nariman said.
In its landmark verdict in the Kesavananda Bharati case in 1973, a 13-judge Constitution Bench had ruled that Parliament had power to amend the Constitution, including fundamental rights, but it could not alter the basic structure of the Constitution.
Delivering the keynote address at the Ram Jethmalani Memorial Lecture in the Capital last evening on the topic, “Has the basic structure doctrine served the nation well”, he said not only had the doctrine gained in importance in India, it had also been acknowledged and embraced by six nations globally — Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uganda, Israel, Malaysia, and Belize in Central America.
Maintaining that the SC had been circumspect in using the doctrine, Nariman said of the 22 reported cases challenging constitutional amendments on the basis of this doctrine, only seven had seen provisions being struck down, while in 15 reported cases, the validity of the challenged constitutional amendments were upheld.
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