• The present position is that the Parliament under Article 368 can amend any part of the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights but without affecting the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
  • However, the Supreme Court is yet to define or clarify as to what constitutes the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
  • From the various judgements, the following have emerged as ‘basic features’ of the Constitution or elements / components / ingredients of the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution:

  1. Supremacy of the Constitution
  2. Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity
  3. Secular character of the Constitution
  4. Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary
  5. Federal character of the Constitution
  6. Unity and integrity of the nation
  7. Welfare state (socio-economic justice)
  8. Judicial review
  9. Freedom and dignity of the individual
  10. Parliamentary system
  11. Rule of law
  12. Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
  13. Principle of equality
  14. Free and fair elections
  15. Independence of Judiciary
  16. Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution
  17. Effective access to justice
  18. Principles (or essence) underlying fundamental rights.
  19. Powers of the Supreme Court under Articles 32, 136, 141 and 142
  20. Powers of the High Courts under Articles 226 and 227

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