Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Shruti Viswanathan unpack the enduring impact of the Indian Constitution’s Basic Structure doctrine on India’s socio-political and judicial landscape.
India’s Basic Structure doctrine arose from Supreme Court’s Kesavananda Bharati judgment from 1973. It came about by a wafer-thin judgment with a margin of 7-6, and placed restrictions on the power of the Parliament to amend the Indian Constitution. In effect, this affirmed that the Constitution, not Parliament, was supreme in India. Sudhir and Shruti explore how this case came before the Supreme Court, the broad principles of the doctrine, and its evolution since 1973. The discussion will focus not just on the legal interpretation of the doctrine but also its impact on India’s political history.
Professor Sudhir Krishnaswamy is the Vice-Chancellor of National Law School of India University, Bangalore. His research focus is on constitutional law and politics and the empirical analysis of the legal system. He is also a Founder and Trustee of the Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore.
Shruti Viswanathan is a graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. She has a Masters in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School, Tufts University. Over the past ten years she has been working in law and policy; promoting effective design and delivery of social protection programmes.