The Kesavananda Bharati Case

The case of Kesavananda Bharati V. State of Kerala[1] decided by the largest ever bench of thirteen judges of the Supreme Court after the largest ever hearing of sixty six days in the Court on 24th April, 1973 is the largest Constitutional case decided by the Supreme Court of India. It introduced in the Constitutional law of India the axiom that Parliament cannot by an amendment of the Constitution alter the basic structure of the Constitution.


As a matter of blending constitutional law with politics, the story of Kesavananda Bharati case also requires to be widely known. In the United States, landmark Supreme Court decision such as Marbury V. Madison, have been commented on for their political and social background as well as for the actual decision made by the judges. Such an exercise has not been done for any leading case of the Supreme Court of India. Kesavananda case is one such case which requires to be related in its political background, the actual decision making and later application of the decision.

Kesavananda Bharati case was the culmination of a struggle for supremacy over the power to amend the Constitution between Parliament and Government on the one hand and the Supreme Court of India on the other.

[1] (1973) 4 SCC 225

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Indian Institute of Legal Studies




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