Kesavananda Bharati Case Explained

Kesavananda Bharati Case Explanation The landmark judgement in the history of the highest court verdict which provides the supremacy of the basic structure of the constitution. The issue came to the Supreme Court after the Kerala government imposed certain restrictions on the management of the property under Land reforms act to prevent the concentration of wealth and provide equitable distribution of resources to the public. 

 Kesavananda Bharati, ahead of an ashram in the Kasaragod district of Kerala who was affected by the land reforms act. With the legal advice of Nani Palkhivala, the Swamiji moved to Supreme Court to affect the fundamental rights under Article 26 - Right to Manage Religious affairs without government intervention challenging only the certain land reforms in Kerala. Fundamental rights are the rights provided by the Indian constitution to uphold the equality, dignity of the individual, unity and integrity of the nation that are essential for the holistic development of the citizens.

 Kesavananda Bharati challenged the state government with one of the fundamental rights (Right to freedom of Religion)

The case in Supreme Court was heard by the largest bench of 13 judges heard over five months from October 1972 to March 1973 with the 703 pages judgement. In a sharply divided verdict (7-6), the court thus upholds the basic structure of the constitution. The judgement was delivered on April 24, 1973, which alters the existing provisions. 

So the Parliament cannot abridge the fundamental rights of the citizen and restrict the Parliament to alter the basic structure of the constitution. Keshavananda Bharati Case has the legacy of providing "Basic Structure Doctrine" of the Indian Constitution.

There are no definitions of "basic structure" given by Supreme Court but there are elements which need to be incorporated - Supremacy of the Constitution, Sovereign, democratic and Republican nature, Secularism, Separation of power, Federalism, Unity and Integrity of the nation, Welfare State, Judicial review, Freedom and dignity of the individual, parliamentary form of government, Rule of law, Theory of Harmonisation between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy, Equality, Free and Fair elections, Independence of Judiciary, Limited power of parliament to amend the constitution under Article 368, Effective access to justice. etc