Kesavananda Bharati Passes Away

Published: September 7, 2020

Kesavananda Bharati, who filed a petition in the Supreme court and the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgement that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered, died on September 6.

Who was Kesavananda Bharti?

  • Shri Kesavananda Bharati was the chief pontiffof Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district, Kerala, India.
  • Born on 9 December 1940.
  • He was the petitioner in Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala.
  • He was a follower of Smartha Bhagawatha traditionand the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy.
  • He took Sanyasa at the age of 19 and headed the Edneer Mutt as the Peetadhipathi until his death.
  • Kesavananda Bharati was aCarnatic and Hindusthani vocalist, and master of Yakshagana, an Indian art and theater form.
  • He was a patron of education, Kannada culture and arts, including Yakshagana, music and dramas.

How his role is important?

  • Kesavananda Bharati was a petitioner of a case,Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala.
  • In 1970, He had filed a case challenging theKerala Government’s attempts to acquire the Mutt’s property, through the Kerala Land Reforms Act of 1963 as amended in 1969.
  • He had argued that this action violated his fundamental right to religion (Article 25), freedom of religious denomination (Article 26), and right to property (Article 31).

About Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala. Case

It is a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of India that outlined the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution. Justice Hans Raj Khanna asserted through the Basic Structure doctrine that the constitution possesses a basic structure of constitutional principles and values. The Court overturned the Golaknath v. State of Punjab case. This case had held that constitutional amendments through Article 368 were subject to fundamental rights review only if they affect the ‘basic structure of the Constitution’.

What is Basic structure Doctrine of the constitution?

The doctrine provides safeguards for the basic structure of the Indian Constitution from parliamentary amendments. It propounds that the Constitution of India has certain basic features such as Fundamental Rights cannot be destroyed through amendments by the Parliament of India. The doctrine forms the basis of the power of the Judicial review. It puts down constitutional amendments and acts enacted by the Parliament which conflict with or seek to alter this “basic structure” of the Constitution. The basic features of the Constitution have not been defined by the Judiciary and it is determined by the Court on case by case basis.

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