Monday, February 6, 2023

Days after VP’s criticism, CJI hails ‘basic structure’ doctrine

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Saturday called the basic structure doctrine a North Star that guides and gives certain direction to the interpreters and implementers of the Constitution when the path ahead is convoluted.
The remarks by CJI came against the backdrop of the recent remarks by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar who questioned the landmark 1973 Kesavananda Bharati case verdict that gave the basic structure doctrine. Dhankar had said the verdict set a bad precedent and if any authority questions Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution, it would be difficult to say “we are a democratic nation”.
Delivering the Nani A Palkhivala Memorial Lecture here, CJI said craftsmanship of a judge lies in interpreting the text of the Constitution with the changing times while keeping its soul intact. “The basic structure of our Constitution, like the north star, guides and gives certain direction to the interpreters and implementers of the Constitution when the path ahead is convoluted,” he said.
“The basic structure or the philosophy of our Constitution is premised on the supremacy of the Constitution, rule of law, separation of powers, judicial review, secularism, federalism, freedom and the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the nation.”
He said that from time to time, we require people like Palkhivala, who was an eminent jurist, to hold candles in their steady hands to light the world around us. “Nani told us that our Constitution has a certain identity which cannot be altered.”He said the doctrine of basic structure has shown that it might be beneficial for a judge to look at how other jurisdictions have dealt with similar problems for them. The basic structure principle became the ground for setting aside several Constitutional amendments, including the quashing of the Constitutional amendment and the corresponding NJAC Act on the appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.
In his lecture, Justice Chandrachud said the identity of the Indian Constitution has evolved through the interaction of Indian citizens with the Constitution, and has been accompanied by judicial interpretation.

SourcePTI
Must Read