Golak Nath

In Golak Nath   v. State of Punjab, the Supreme Court overruling its earlier decision in Shankari Prasad and Sajjan Singh, that the Fundamental Rights are non-amendable through the constitutional amending procedure set out in Article 368, while the minority upheld the line of reasoning adopted by the Court in the two earlier cases.

The Chief Justice equated Fundamental Rights with the natural rights and characterized them as “the primordial rights necessary for the development of human personality”. He took the position that the fundamental rights are assigned transcendental place under our constitution and, therefore, they are kept beyond the reach of parliament. The judge took recourse to the doctrine of ‘prospective ruling’ because of two reasons. First, the power of Parliament to amend the Fundamental Rights, and the First and the Seventeenth Amendments specifically had been upheld previously by the Supreme Court in Shankari Prasad and Sajjan Singh. Secondly, during 1950 to 1967, a large body of legislation had been enacted bringing about an agrarian revolution in India.

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