Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar’s remarks questioning the basic structure doctrine propounded in the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case (1973) does not reflect the correct position of law. In his view, the basic structure doctrine has usurped parliamentary sovereignty and goes against the democratic imperative that the elected legislature should reign supreme.
What are the concerns of Vice President?
His particular concern seems justified: that the Supreme Court prevented the National Judicial Appointments Commission, a body to appoint judges to the superior courts in the country, from coming into existence by striking down the relevant amendment to the Constitution and a parliamentary law to give effect to it.
What are the limitations on parliamentary sovereignty over legislation?
It is fairly well-known that parliamentary legislation is subject to two limitations under the Constitution of India.
Does the ‘Basic Structure’ doctrine undermine parliamentary sovereignty?
Parliamentary majority is transient, but essential features of the Constitution such as the rule of law, parliamentary form of government, separation of powers, the idea of equality, and free and fair elections ought to be perennially protected from legislative excess.
Source – The Hindu
QUESTION – What is the ‘basic structure’ doctrine? Does it violate the supremacy of parliament in law-making? Examine the ongoing debate.