Basic Structure doctrine

Basic Structure doctrine

Basic Structure doctrine

#GS-02 Judiciary

For Prelims

Basic Structure doctrine

  • Constitution under Article 368 grants power to the Parliament to amend the constitution in case of a necessity.
  • The doctrine of basic structure is an Indian judicial innovation to maintain the integrity of the constitution and to ensure that the power of amendment is not misused by Parliament.
  • Basic Structure doctrine acts as a limitation on the power of the Parliament to prevent it from turning India into a totalitarian state.
  • The doctrine does not have a textual basis and is purely a judicial innovation.
  • The origins of the basic structure doctrine can be found in the post-Nazi German Constitution which was amended to protect some basic laws.
  • Supreme Court reaffirmed the Basic Structure doctrine in the Minerva mills case.
  • The basic structure has not yet been fully defined by the Supreme Court as it has continued to enhance it with some new contents from time-to-time.

Some of which are

  • Supremacy of the constitution
  • Rule of law
  • Sovereignty, liberty and republic nature of Indian polity.
  • Judicial review
  • Harmony and Balance between fundamental rights and directive principles.
  • Separation of power.
  • Federal character.
  • Parliamentary system.
  • Rule of equality.
  • Unity and integrity of the nation.


For Mains

The Validity of Basic Structure Doctrine

  • The Parliament cannot cease to be a creation of the Constitution and become its master.
  • The basic structure or framework of the Constitution is its living spirit or soul of the Constitution, holding up the body of its text.
  • Y. Chandrachud, the Chief Justice of India compared the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution to the North Star, deeming it an unfailing guide which shows the way when the path appears convoluted.
  • The basic structure of the constitution is inextricably linked to the values enshrined in the Preamble, without which the document and the ideas that make it sacred would collapse.
  • Granville Austin in his book “Working of a Democratic Constitution” calls the basic structure doctrine as “the bedrock of constitutional interpretation in India”.

Source “The basic structure of the Constitution

For more updates, click here