MINERVA MILLS LTD. & ORS.
UNION OF INDIA & ORS.
Y. V. CHANDRACHUD (Chief Justice of India), A. C. GUPTA, N. L. UNTWALIA, P. S. KAILASAM
Date of Judgement:- 31/07/1980
In this case, the Supreme Court provided small explanation on the interpretation of the Doctrine of Basic Structure. The Court ruled that the power of the Parliament is limited to amend the Constitution by the Constitution. The Parliament cannot exercise this limited power to allow an unlimited power itself.
The Majority of the Court also held that the power of the parliament to amend the Constitution not violate the Constitution.
The Parliament cannot weaken the fundamental rights of individuals, and also it includes the right to liberty and right to equality (which is not included the fundamental rights but it includes the Doctrine of Basic Structure of Constitution.
The Ruling Struck Down Article 4 and Article 55 of the Indian Constitution (42nd Amendment, 1976) enacted during the Emergency imposed by the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Fundamental Rights are the basic right of the Constitution and it should be considered more than the Directive Principals of the State Policy because they can be acceptable or enforceable by the Court.
There are three pillars of the Indian Constitution that is Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. It is important for us that it should be a check and balance always between them. There have been example where the legislature and executive have committed action in order to enlarge power over the other organs. To protect the rights of the individual Judiciary have time and again taken steps to protect those rights.
In this case Minerva Mills Vs Union of India, a similar attempt was made in this case and it exploits the power of the Parliament.
Question of Law
1)Whether insertion made under Article 31C and Article 368 through sections 4 and 55 of the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 does hamper the Doctrine of basic structure?
2)Whether the Directive Principals of the State Policy has primacy over Fundamental Right to the Indian Constitution?
The Court held that the parliament can amend the Constitution under Article 368 of the Indian Constitution but without any violation the Doctrine of Basic Structure. The Parliament can amend the Fundamental Rights as long as they are in agreement of the Doctrine of Basic Structure. The Court struck down the part which restricted the Judicial Review.
This Judgement was not well with the Legislation then 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 was passed which mentioned that all the Directive Principal of the State Policy would have the priority over the Fundamental Rights of Article 14 and Article 19.
In addition the inserted clauses (4) and (5) stated that the under article 368 of the Constitutional Amendment is outside the scope of the Judicial Review. This Judgement was passed to void the effect of the Judgement passed in the case of Kesavananda Bharti so that any law can be imposed without the judicial examination. According to Article 368 of the Indian Constitution the parliament has the power to amend the Constitution without any violation the Basic Structure. The Clause (5) of the Indian Constitution is unconstitutional because it viloates the basic structure. The Clause (50) was struck down because it restricted the court’s power of judicial review on and amendment.
After the Judgement of the case of Indira Gandhi Vs Raj Narain, it was a large setback for the Central Government which led to the passing of the 42nd Amendment to restraint the power of the Judiciary on any amendments which is passed by the Parliament.
Through the amendment, the parliament has tried to misbalance the harmony between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principal of State Policy.
Due to this Amendment Directive Principal of State Policy was given absolute power and it is inconsistent with the Part-III (Fundamental Right) of Indian Constitution it cannot be struck down.
They maintained that there should be a right balance struck between there is no one should have an unconditional power over another. Section-5 of the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 was accurate according to the majority opinion of the judges because if Directive Principal held over the Fundamental Rights in the name of welfare various amendments would be passed that would be discriminative and against individual liberty through being unconstitutional will not be struck down.
On the Second Part of the Amendment Section 55 of the 42nd Amendment Act which provided unlimited power to amend the Constitution the full bench of judges were in favour of striking down and in this section again the bench was accurate in their declaration.
The court also held that the limited power is also the part of the basic structure.
The court gives their power to Parliament that it can be change any provision or law but it should be inconsistent with the basic structure.
Author : Yathaarth Raj Khurana
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