Basic Structure Of The Constitution

The constitution empowers the parliament and the state legislature to make laws within their respective jurisdiction. Bills to amend the constitution can only be introduced in the parliament, but this power is not absolute. If the Supreme Court finds any law made by the Parliament inconsistent with the constitution, it has the power to declare that law to be invalid. The doctrine of Basic Structure and essentially developed for the German Constitution. The Basic Structure of Constitution is judge-made doctrine were by a certain feature of the constitution are beyond the limits of the amending power of parliament.

The theory of basic structure is based on the concept of constitution identity. The concept of Basic Structure giving coherence and durability to a constitution has a certain intrinsic force.

Thus, to preserve the ideals and philosophy of the original constitution, the Supreme court has laid down the basic structure doctrine. The basic structure of the constitution of India applies only to constitutional amendments, which states that the parliament cannot destroy or alter the basic feature of the constitution.


the word basic structure is not mentioned in the constitution of India. The concept developed gradually with the interference of the judiciary from time to time to protect the basic rights of the people and the ideals and the philosophy of the constitution.

The first amendment act,1951 was challenged in the Shankari Prasad v/s U.O.I case. The amendment challenged on the ground that it violates the Part-III of the constitution and therefore, should be constituted invalid. The Supreme Court held that the parliament, under Article 368, has the power to amend any part of the constitution including fundamental rights. The court gave the same ruling n Sajjan Singh v/s State of Rajashthan case in 1965.

In Golak Nath v/s State of Punjab case in 1967, the Supreme Court overruled its earlier decision. The Supreme Court held that the parliament has no power to amend part –III of the constitution as the fundamental rights are transcendental and immutable. According to the Supreme Court ruling, art-368 only lays down the procedure to amend the constitution and does not give absolute powers to the parliament to amend any part of the constitution.

The parliament in 1971, passed the 24th constitution Amendment Act. The act gave the absolute power to the parliament to make any changes in the constitution including the fundamental rights. It also made it obligatory for the president to give his assent on all the constitution Amendment bills sent to him.

In 1973, in Kesavananda Bharti v/s state of Kerala Case, the Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 24th Constitution Amendment Act by reviewing its decision in Golaknath case. The Supreme Court held that the parliament has the power to amend any provision 0f the c0nstitution, but doing so, the basic structure of the constitution is to be maintained. But the apex Court did not any clear the definition of the basic structure of the constitution could not be abrogated even by a constitutional amendment.

Minerva Mills v/s U.O.I 1980

The concept of basic structure was further developed by adding judicial review and the balance between fundamental rights and directive principles to the basic feature.

Kihoto hollohan v/s zachillhu,1992

Free and fair election was added to the basic structure.

Indira sawhney v/s U.O.I 1992,

Rule of law was added to the basic structure.

S.R Bommai v/s U.O.I 1994,

Federal structure, unity and integrity of India, secularism, socialism, social justice and judicial review were reiterated as the basic structure.

The basic features of the constitution are as follows-

  1. Supremacy of the constitution.

  2. Republican and democratic form of government

  3. Secular character of the constitution

  4. Federal character of the constitution

  5. Separation of power

  6. Unity and sovereignty of India

  7. Individual freedom


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