Important Constitutional Cases

Published On : 2016-07-18

Constitution of India can be defined as a body of principles and precedents in accordance to which India is governed. Constitution of India is the source of power to all the agencies of government. Constitution of India was enacted by Constituent Assembly and has been amended by the parliament over time to time. 

Constitution of India is also subject to the various precedents created by Judiciary in various cases. These precedents not only become the guidelines for the future jurists they also act as a mile stone. Some of the important cases related to Constitution have been discussed here. These cases are important for various MCQ based exams like CLAT, UGC NET etc. 

Shankari Prasad vs. Union of India AIR 1951
1st amendment that inserted of Art 31A (Saving of Laws providing for acquisition of estates, etc) and 31B (Validation of certain Acts and Regulations) by was challenged. Supreme Court held that “Law” in Art 13 refers to ordinary law made under legislative power and does not include amendment of the constitution. Further Supreme Court held that Art 368 gives complete power to the parliament to amend the constitution including fundamental rights.

Berubari Union And ... vs Unknown 1960
It was held that preamble is not the part of Indian Constitution. It the key to the minds of the farmers of the Constitution

Sajjan Singh vs. State of Raj 1965
In this case 17th amendment was challenged. SC followed the judgment in Shankari Prasad case and held that “amendment of the constitution” means amendment of all the provisions of the constitution

Golak Nath vs. State of Pun 1967
17th amendment that inserted certain state acts in the 9th schedule was again challenged. SC overruled the previous judgment and held that the parliament does not have the power amend part III so as to take away fundamental rights. It held that art 368 merely describes the procedure of amendment and the actual power of amendment comes from art 245 and entry 97 of List 1. “Amendment” is a “law” with in art 13 (1).

Keshavanand Bharati vs. Union of India AIR 1973
SC overruled Golak Nath case and held the following –
“Law” in Article 13 means ordinary law made under legislative power. 24th amendment is only clarifying that point and so it valid.
Parliament has wide power of amending the constitution but it is not unlimited.
The usage of the word “amendment” in the constitution means that the basic framework of the constitution must survive after the amendment. It does not allow destruction of the basic structure of the constitution.
C J Sikri said that basic features of the constitution include –
o Supremacy of the judiciary
o Republic and democratic character
o Secular character
o Division of powers among judiciary, legislative, executive
o Federal character of the constitution

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