Basic Structure Doctrine

The question has been considered by the Court from time to time, and several such features have been identified, but the matter still remains an open one. In the seminal Keshavananda case, Justice Sikri mentioned the following as the ‘basic foundation and structure’ of the Indian Constitution:-

  • Supremacy of the Constitution;
  • Separation of Powers between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary;
  • Republican and democratic form of Government;
  • Secular character of the Constitution;
  • The dignity of the individual secured by the various Fundamental Rights and the mandate to build a welfare state contained in the directive principles;
  • The unity and integrity of the nation;
  • Parliamentary system.

The features have been mentioned as only illustrative. Whether a feature of the Constitution is ‘basic’ or not is to be determined from time to time by the Court and when the question arises.

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