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Kesavananda Bharati: Seer behind the statute’s ‘basic structure doctrine’ | India News

Kesavananda Bharati, 30, had approached the Supreme Court in 1970 with a judicial petition challenging the contours of Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution, which was championed by livewire and the legendary lawyer Nani Palkhivala, who was then a young man. 53 years old.
Indira Gandhi’s government, who had won a massive mandate in 1971, was interested that through the Kesavananda Bharati case, the SC should override the subtle limitations that the supreme court had imposed on Parliament in amending the Constitution in the case. Golaknath from 1967.
The SC then had 16 judges, yet Chief Justice SM Sikri constituted a bench of 13 judges, the largest to date. The sentence handed down on April 24, 1973 was historic and tumultuous. Historic because 11 of the 13 judges wrote separate rulings.
By a small margin of seven to six, the CS ruled that the ruling party, with its gross majority in Parliament, could not modify the basic features of the Constitution, which became known as the ‘basic structure doctrine’.
The seven judges, with Bharati and Palkhivala, formed the nine pillars that were part of this historic verdict, which became the touchstone on which the supreme court continues to test the validity of the laws.
Tumultuous because it enraged the government of Indira Gandhi, which took revenge on the three highest-ranking judges – Justices J MSelat, KS Hegde and AN Grover – by replacing them and appointing Judge AN Ray, who was part of the minority of six judges, as the successor to then-CJI Sikri, who stepped down a day after the verdict was delivered.
The three substituted judges resigned. Another judge, Judge HR Khanna, was going to pay a price for siding with the majority in the Bharati case and compounding his “crime” against the government by issuing the only dissenting ruling in the ADM Jabalpur case in 1976 to rule that even During the emergency, the right to life cannot be suspended. He was replaced in the position of CJI by Judge MH Beg.
Attorney General KK Venugopal said: “Bharati had approached my father MK Nambiar to discuss the case. But due to his poor health, she had led him to hire Palkhivala as his attorney. Bharati never realized that what he did was going to be so famous and well-known in the country that judges, lawyers and laity would continue to tell about it even half a century later. “His case was the first of the writ requests challenging a constitutional amendment. Nani did a tremendous job and came out with great success. The result is that three judges were replaced. But the supremacy of the judiciary was established by that judgment. ”
Former Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee said: “Kesavananda Bharati rendered an enormous service to the people of India. The SC verdict that strengthened the basic features of the Constitution and put it beyond the amendment powers of Parliament will be remembered as a tremendous contribution in the evolution of constitutional jurisprudence. No tribute can be high for Palkhivala for the way he argued the case. ”
Lead attorney and constitutional expert Abhishek Manu Singhvi said: “Two people made a legal doctrine the pride of India and the envy of the world. They were Bharati and Palkhivala. Their joint contribution in the invention of the basic structure doctrine continues to ensure that India can never become a constitutional dictatorship. ”

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