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413 at p. 445. All the functionaries, be they legislators, members of the executive or the judiciary take oath of allegiance to the Constitution and derive their authority and jurisdiction from its provisions. The Constitution has entrusted to the judicature in this country the task of construing the provisions of the Constitution and of safeguarding the fundamental rights Ibid p. 446. It is a written and controlled Constitution. It can be amended only to the extent of and in accordance with the provisions contained therein, the principal provision being Article 368. Although our Constitution is federal in its structure it provides a system modelled on the British parliamentary system. It its the executive that has the main responsibility for formulating the governmental policy by “transmitring it into law” whenever necessary. ‘The executive function comprises both the determination of the policy as well as carrying it into execution. This evidently includes the initiation of legislation, the maintenance of order, the promotion of social and economic welfare, the direction of foreign policy, in fact the carrying on or supervision of the general administration of the State.” R.S. Ram Jaway a Kapur and Ors. v. The State of Punjab (1955) 2 S.C.R. 225 at p. 236. With regard to the civil services and the position of the judiciary the British model has been adopted inasmuch as the appointment of judges both of the Supreme Court of India and of the High Courts of the States is kept free from political controversies. Their independence has been assured. But the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty as it obtains in England does not prevail here except to the extent provided by the Constitution. The entire scheme of the Constitution is such that it ensures the sovereignty and integrity of the country as a Republic and the democratic way of life by parliamentary institutions based on free and fair elections.

518. India is a secular State in which there is no State religion. Special provisions have been made in the Constitution guaranteeing the freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion and the freedom to manage religious affairs as also the protection of interests of minorities. The interests of scheduled castes and the scheduled tribes have received special treatment. The Rule of Law has been ensured by providing for judicial review. Adult suffrage, the “acceptance of the fullest implications of democracy” is one of the most striking features of the Constitution.

According to K.M. Pannikar, “it may well be claimed that the Constitution is a solemn promise to the people of India that the legislature will do everything possible to renovate and reconstitute the society on new principles (Hindu Society at crossroads (By K.M.

Pannikar) at pages 63-64).

519. We may now look at the Preamble.

520. It reads:

We, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all;

FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEBMLY this twenty-sixth day of

November 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO

OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

It may be mentioned that this Preamble and indeed the whole Constitution was drafted in the light of and directions contained in the “OBJECTIVES RESOLUTION” adopted on January 22, 1947.

521. According to Granville Austin (Cornerstone of a nation (Indian Constitution) by Granville Austin, p. 75), directive principles of State policy set forth the humanitarian socialist precepts that were the aims of the Indian social revolution. Granville Austin, while summing up the interrelationship of fundamental rights and directive principles, says that it is quite evident that the fundamental rights and the directive principles were designed by the members of the Assembly to be the chief instruments in bringing about the great reforms of the social revolution. He gives the answer to the question whether they have helped to bring the Indian society closer to the Constitution’s goal of social, economic and political justice for all in the affirmative (Indian Constitution (Cornerstone of a nation) by Granville Austin p. 113). Das C.J. in Re : Kerala Education Bill 1957 [1959] S.C.R. 995 at p. 1020 made the following observations with regard to Parts III and IV:

While our Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution, Part IV of it on the other hand, lays down certain directive principles of State policy. The provisions contained in that Part are not enforceable by any court but the principles therein laid down are, nevertheless, fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. Article 39 enjoins the State to direct its policy towards securing, amongst other things, that the citizens, men and women, equally, have the right to an adequate means of livelihood.

Although in the previous decisions of this Court in State of Madras v. Smt. Champdkam Dorairajan [1951] INSC 25; [1951] S.C.R. 525 at p. 531 and Mohd. Hanif Qureshi and Ors. v. The State of Bihar [1958] INSC 46; [1959] S.C.R. 629 it had been held that the directive principles of State policy had to conform to and run subsidiary to the Chapter of Fundamental Rights, the learned Chief Justice was of the view which may be stated in his own words:

Nevertheless in determining the scope and ambit of the fundamental rights relied on by or on behalf of any person or body the court may not entirely ignore these directive principles of State policy laid down in Part IV of the Constitution but should adopt the principle of harmonious construction and should attempt to give effect to both as much as possible.

522. The first question of prime importance involves the validity of the Constitution Amendment Act 1971 (hereinafter called the 24th Amendment). It amended Article 368 of the Constitution for the first time. According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons in the Bill relating to the 24th amendment, the result of the judgment of this Court in Golak Nath’s [1967] INSC 45; [1967] 2 S.C.R. 762 case has been that Parliament is considered to have no power to take away or curtail any of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution even if it becomes necessary to do so for giving effect tot the Directive Principles of State Policy and for attainment of the Objectives set out in the Preamble to the Constitution. It became, therefore, necessary to provide expressly that Parliament has the power to amend any provision of the Constitution including the provisions contained in Part III.

523. Article 368 is in a separate Part i.e. Part XX. Its marginal note before the 24th Amendment was “Procedure for amendment of the Constitution”. It provided in the substantive portion of the Article how the Constitution “shall stand amended” when “An Amendment of this Constitution” was initiated by the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament. The following conditions had to be satisfied:

(i) The Bill had to be passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting.

(ii) The Bill had to be presented for the assent of the President and his assent had to be obtained.

Under the proviso, it was necessary to obtain ratification of legislatures of not less than one half of the States by Resolutions before presenting the Bill to the President for assent if the amendment sought to make any change in the Articles, Chapters etc. mentioned in Clauses (a) to (e) Clause (e) was “the provisions of this Article”.

524. The 24th Amendment made the following changes:

(i) The marginal heading has been substituted by “Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure there-for”.

(ii) Article 368 has been re-numbered as Clause (2).

(iii) Before Clause (2), the following clause has been inserted:

Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may in exercise of the Constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.

(iv) In Clause (2) as renumbered, for the words “it shall be presented to President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill” the words “it shall be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill and thereupon” have been substituted.

(v) A new Clause (3) has been inserted, namely:

(3) Nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any amendment made under this article.

It may be mentioned that by the 24th amendment Clause (4) has been inserted in Article 13 itself. It is:

(4) Nothing in this Article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under Article 368.

525. On behalf of the petitioners, Mr. Palkhivala stated that he need not for the purposes of this case dispute the 24th Amendment in so far as it leads to the following results:

(i) The insertion of the express provision in Article 368 that the source of the amending power is the Article itself.

(ii) The President is bound to give assent to any Bill duly passed under that Article.

The following three results have, however, been the subject of great deal of argument:

(i) The substitution of the words in Article 368 “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal…” in place of the concept ‘amendment’.

(ii) Making it explicit in the said Article that when Parliament makes a Constitutional amendment under the Article it acts “in exercise of its constituent power”.

(iii) The express provision in Article 13 and 368 that the bar in the former Article against abridging or taking away any of the fundamental rights should not apply to an amendment made under the latter Article.

In the judgment of Chief Justice Subba Rao with whom four learned judges agreed in GolaK Nath’s case the source of the amending power was held to reside in Article 248 read with entry 97 of List I to the Seventh Schedule. Whether that view is sustainable or not need not be considered here now owing to the concession made by Mr. Palkhivala that by amendment of Article 368 such a power could be validly located in that Article even if it be assumed that it did not originally reside there. The real attack, therefore, is directed against the validity of the 24th Amendment in so far as the three results mentioned above are concerned. It has been maintained that if the effect of those results is that the Parliament has clothed itself with legal sovereignty which the People of India alone possess, by taking the full constituent power, and if the Parliament can in exercise of that power alter or destroy all or any of the ‘essential features’ of the Constitution, the 24th Amendment will be void. The fundamental rights embodied in Part III are a part of the ‘essential features’ and if their essence or core can be damaged or taken away, the 24th amendment will be void and illegal.

526. The position taken up on behalf of the respondents is that so far as Article 368 is concerned, the 24th Amendment has merely clarified the doubts cast in the majority judgment in Golak Nath. That Article, as it originally stood, contained the constituent power by virtue of which all or any of the provisions of the Constitution including the Preamble could be added to, varied or repealed. In other words, the power of amendment was unlimited and unfettered and was not circumscribed by any such limitations as have been suggested on behalf of the petitioners. Therefore, the crux of the matter is the determination of the true ambit, scope and width of the amending provisions contained in Article 368 before the changes and alterations made in it by the 24th Amendment. If the Article conferred the power of the amplitude now covered by the 24th Amendment nothing new has been done and the amendment cannot be challenged. If, however, the original power though having the constituent quality was a limited one, it could not be increased. In other words the amending body cannot enlarge its own powers.

527. What then is the meaning of the word “amendment” as used in Article 368 of the Constitution. On behalf of the respondents it has been maintained that “amendment” of this Constitution” can have only one meaning. No question, can arise of resorting to other aids in the matter of interpretation or construction of the expression “amendment.” On the other hand, the argument of Mr. Palkhivala revolves on the expression “amendment”

which can have more than one meaning and for that reason it is essential to discover its true import as well as ambit by looking at and taking into consideration other permissible aids of construction. No efforts have been spared on both sides to give us all the meanings of the words “amendment” and “amend” from the various dictionaries as also authoritative books and opinions of authors and writers.

528. It is more proper, however, to look for the true ‘meaning’ of the word “amendment”

in the Constitution itself rather than in the dictionaries. Let us first analyse the scheme of Article 368 itself as it stood before the 24th Amendment.

(i) The expression “amendment of the Constitution” is not defined or explained in any manner although in other Parts of the Constitution the word “amend” as will be noticed later has been expanded by use of the expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal.

(ii) The power in respect of amendment has not been conferred in express terms. It can be spelt out only by necessary implication.

(iii) The proviso uses the words “if such amendment seeks to make any change in”. It does not use the words “change of” or “change” simpliciter.

(iv) The provisions of the Constitution mentioned in the proviso do not show that the basic structure of the Constitution can be changed if the procedure laid down therein is followed. For instance, Clause (a) in the proviso refers to Articles 54 and 55 which relate to the election of the President. It is noteworthy that Article 52 which provides that there shall be a President of India and Article 53 which vests the power of the Union in the President and provides how it shall be exercised are not included in Clause (a). It is incomprehensible that the Constitution makers intended that although the ratification of the legislatures of the requisite number of States should be obtained if any changes were to be made in Articles 54 and 55 but that no such ratification was necessary if the office of the President was to be abolished and the executive power of the Union was to be exercised by some other person or authority.

(v) Another Article which is mentioned in Clause (a) is Article 73 which deals with the extent of the executive power of the Union. So far as the Vice-President is concerned there is no mention of the relevant Articles relating to him. In other words the States have been given no voice in the question whether the office of the Vice-President shall be continued or abolished or what the method of his election would be.

(vi) The next Article mentioned in Clause (a) is 162 which deals with the extent of the executive power of the States. The Articles relating to the appointment and conditions of service of a Governor, Constitution and functions of his council of ministers as also the conduct of business are not mentioned in Clause (a) or any other part of the proviso.

(vii) Along with Articles 54, 55, 73 and 162. Article 241 is mentioned in Clause (a) of the proviso. This Article dealt originally only with the High Courts for States in Part C of the First Schedule.

(viii) Chapter IV of Part V of the Constitution deals with the Union Judiciary and Chapter V of Part VI with the High Courts in the States.

Although these have been included in Clause (b) of the proviso it is surprising that Chapter VI of Part VI which relates to Subordinate Judiciary is not mentioned at all, which is the immediate concern of the States.

(ix) Chapter I of Part XI which deals with legislative relations between the Union and the States is included in Clause (b) of the proviso but Chapter II of that Part which deals with Administrative Relations between the Union and the States and various other matters in which the States would be vitally interested are not included.

(x) The provisions in the Constitution relating to services under the State as also with regard to Trade and Commerce are not included in the proviso.

(xi) Clause (c) of the proviso mentions the lists in the Seventh Schedule.

Clause (d) relates to the representation of States in Parliament and Clause (c) to the provisions of Article 368 itself.

529. The net result is that the provisions contained in Clauses (a) and (b) of the proviso do not throw any light on the logic, sequence or systematic arrangement in respect of the inclusion of those Articles which deal with the whole of the federal structure. These clauses demonstrate that the reason for including certain Articles and excluding other from the proviso was not that all Articles dealing with the federal structure or the States had been selected for inclusion in the proviso. The other unusual result is that if the fundamental rights contained in Part III have to be amended that can be done without complying with the provisions of the proviso. It is difficult to understand that the Constitution makers should not have thought of ratification by the States if such important and material rights were to be abrogated or taken away wholly or partially. It is also interesting that in order to meet the difficulty created by the omission of Articles 52 and 53 which relate to there being a President in whom the executive functions of the Union would vest, the learned Solicitor General sought to read by implication the inclusion of those Articles because according to him, the question of election cannot arise with which Articles 54 and 55 are concerned if the office of President is abolished.

530. We may next refer to the use of the words “amendment” or “amended” in other articles of the Constitution. In some articles these words in the context have a wide meaning and in another context they have a narrow meaning. The group of articles which expressly confer power on the Parliament to amend are five including Article 368. The first is Article 4. It relates to laws made under Articles 2 and 3 to provide for amendment of the First and the Second Schedules and supplemental, incidental and consequential matters. The second Article is 169 which provides for abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States. The third and the fourth provisions are paras 7 and 21 of the 5th and 6th Schedules respectively which have to be read with Article 244 and which deal with the administration of Scheduled Areas and Tribal Areas. The expression used in Articles 4 and 169 is “amendment”. In paras 7 and 21 it is the expanded expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal” which has been employed. Parliament has been empowered to make these amendments by law and it has been expressly provided that no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368.

531. It is apparent that the word “amendment” has been used in a narrower sense in Article 4. The argument that if it be assumed that Parliament is invested with wide powers under Article 4 it may conceivably exercise power to abolish the legislative and the judicial organs of the State altogether was refuted by this Court by saying that a State cannot be formed, admitted or set up by law under Article 4 by the Parliament which does not conform to the democratic pattern envisaged by the Constitution Mangol Singh and Anr. v. Union of India [1966] INSC 251; [1967] 2 S.C.R. 109 at p. 112. 88 at pp. 96-97. Similarly any law which contains provisions for amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of abolition or creation of legislative councils in States is only confined to that purpose and the word “amendment” has necessarily been used in a narrow sense. But in Paras 7 and 21 the expanded expression is employed and indeed an attempt was made even in the Constituent Assembly for the insertion of a new clause before Clause (1) of draft Article 304 (Present Article 368). The amendment (Constituent Assembly Debates Vol. 9, p.

1663) (No. 3239) was proposed by Mr. H.V. Kamath and it was as follows:

Any provision of this Constitution may be amended, whether by way of variation, addition or repeal, in the manner provided in this article.

Mr. Kamath had moved another amendment in draft Article 304 to substitute the words “it shall upon presentation to the President receive his assent”. Both these amendments were negatived by the Constituent Assembly Ibid. It is noteworthy that the 24th amendment as now inserted has introduced substantially the same amendments which were not accepted by the Constituent Assembly.

532. The Constituent Assembly, must be presumed to be fully aware of the expanded expression, as on September 17, 1949 it had substituted the following section in place of the old Section 291 of the Government of India Act 1935 by means of Constituent Assembly Act 4 of 1949:

291. Power of the Governor General to amend certain provisions of the Act and order made thereunder.- (1) The Governor General may at any time by Order make such amendments as he considers necessary whether by way of addition, modification, or repeal, (emphasis supplied) in the provisions of this Act or of any Order made thereunder in relation to any Provincial Legislature with respect to any of the following matters, that is to say,- (a) …

The word “amendment” has also been used in certain Articles like Article 107 dealing with legislative procedure and Article 111 which enables the President to send a message requesting the Houses to consider the desirability of introducing amendments etc., “Amendment” as used in these Articles could only have a limited meaning as is apparent from the context. On behalf of the petitioners a great deal of reliance has been placed on the contrast between the use of the word “amendment” in Article 4 and 169 and paras 7 and 21 of the 5th and 6th Schedules which use the composite expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal.” It is pointed out that in Article 368 it is only the word “amendment” which has been used and if the Constitution makers intended that it should have the expanded meaning then there was no reason why the same phraseology would not have been employed as in paras 7 and 21 or as has been inserted now by the 24th amendment. The steps in this argument are:

(i) The contrast in the language employed in the different provisions of the Constitution in respect of amendment;

(ii) conferment of the wider power for the purpose of the 5th and 6th Schedules which empower the Parliament to alter and repeal the provisions of those Schedules relating to the institutions contemplated by them, the law making authority set up under them and the fundamental basis of administration to be found in the two Schedules.

(iii) the wide language used in paras 7 and 21 of the two Schedules was meant for the purpose that at a proper time in the future or whenever considered necessary the entire basic structure of the Schedules could be repealed and the areas and tribes covered by them could be governed and administered like the rest of India.

(iv) the use of the word “amendment” simpliciter in Article 368 must have a narrower meaning than the composite expression “amend” or “amendment” by way of addition, variation or repeal and must correspond to the meaning of the word “amend” or “amendment” in Articles 4 and 169.

(v) The power of amending the Constitution is not concentrated in Article 368 alone but it is diffused as it is to be found in the other Articles and provisions mentioned. The reason why it was added that no law passed by the Parliament under those provisions shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purpose of Article 368 was only meant to clarify that the form and manner prescribed by Article 368 was not to be followed and the Parliament could, in the ordinary way, by following the procedure laid down for passing legislative enactments amend the Constitution to the extent mentioned in those Articles and provisions.

533. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra, who appears for respondent No. 1, has laid a great deal of emphasis on the fact that Article 368 is the only Article which is contained in a separate Part having the title “Amendment of the Constitution”. It is under that article that all other provisions including Aricles 4, 169 and paras 7 and 21 of the 5th and 6th Schedules respectively can be amended. The latter group of articles contain a limited power because those Articles are subordinate to Article 368. This is illustrated by the categorical statement contained in each one of those provisions that no such law amending the Constitution shall be deemed to be an amendment there of for the purpose of Article 368. As regards the composite expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal” employed in paras 7 and 21 of the two Schedules, it has been pointed out that Clause (2), in which the words “Amendment of this Constitution” are used clearly shows that addition, variation or repeal of any provision would be covered by the word “amendment”. According to the learned Attorney General the word “amendment” must mean, variation addition or repeal. He has traced the history behind paras 7 and 21 of Schedules 5 and 6 to illustrate that the expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal” has no such significance and does not enlarge the meaning of the word “amendment”. Our attention has been invited to a number of Articles in the Constitution itself out of which mention may be made of Articles 320(5) and 392(1) where the expressions used were “such modification, whether by way of repeal or amendment” and “such adoption whether by way of modification, addition or omission”. It has been urged that the expression “amendment of this Constitution” has acquired substantive meaning over the years in the context of a written Constitution and it means that any part of the Constitution can be amended by changing the same either by variation, addition or repeal.

534. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who was not only the Chairman of the Drafting Committee but also the main architect of the Constitution made it clear (Constituent Assembly Debates Vol. 9, page 1661) that the articles of the Constitution were divided into different categories; the first category was the one which consisted of articles which could be amended by the Parliament by a bare majority; the second set of articles were such which required the two-third majority. This obviously had reference to the group of articles consisting of Articles 4, 169 and paras 7 and 21 of the two Schedules and Article 368 respectively. The scheme of the amending provisions outlined by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar seems to indicate that the Constitution makers had in mind only one distinction between the amending power conferred by the other Articles and Article 368. No such distinction was present to their mind of the nature suggested by the learned Advocate General that the amending power conferred by Articles other than Article 368 was of a purely subordinate nature. In one sense the power contained in the first group of Articles can be said to be subordinate in those Articles themselves could be amended by the procedure prescribed by Article 368. But that Article itself could be amended by the same procedure. It would not, therefore, be wrong to say that the amending power was of a diffused kind and was contained in more than one provision of the Constitution. It appears that the statement in the articles and provisions containing the amending power other than Article 368 that any amendment made under those articles would not amount to an amendment under Article 368 merely embodied the distinction emphasised by Dr.

B.R. Ambedkar that one category could be amended by the Parliament by a bare majority and all the other articles could be amended by the said body but only by following the form and manner prescribed by Article 368. Although prima facie it would appear that the Constitution makers did not employ the composite expression in Article 368 for certain reasons and even rejected Mr. Kamath’s amendment which pointedly brought to their notice that it was of material importance that the expanded expression should be used, it may not be possible to consider this aspect as conclusive for the purpose of determining the meaning of the word “amendment” in Article 368.

535. According to Mr. Palkhivala there can be three possible meanings of amendment:

(i) to improve or better; to remove an error, the question of improvement being considered from the standpoint of the basic philosophy underlying the Constitution but subject to its essential features.

(ii) to make changes which may not tall within (i) but which do not alter or destroy any of the basic features, essential elements or fundamental principles of the Constitution.

(iii) to make any change whatsoever including changes falling outside (ii).

He claims that the preferable meaning is that which is contained in (i) but what is stated in (ii) is also a possible construction. Category (iii) should be ruled out altogether.

Category (i) and (ii) have a common factor, namely that the essential features cannot be damaged or destroyed.

536. On behalf of the respondents it is not disputed that the words “amendment of this Constitution” do not mean repeal or abrogation of this Constitution. The amending power, however, is claimed on behalf of the respondents to extend to addition, alteration, substitution, modification, deletion of each and every provision of the Constitution. The argument of the Attorney General is that the amending power in Article 368 as it stood before the 24th amendment and as it stands now has always been and continues to be the constituent power, e.g., the power to deconstitute or reconstitute the Constitution or any part of it. Constitution at any point of time cannot be so amended by way of variation, addition or repeal as to leave a vacuum in the government of the country. The whole object and necessity of amending power is to enable the Constitution to continue and such a constituent power, unless it is expressly limited in the Constitution itself, can by its very nature have no limit because if any such limit is assumed, although not expressly found in the Constitution, the whole purpose of an amending power will be nullified. It has been pointed out that in the Constitution First Amendment Act which was enacted soon after the Constitution of India came into force, certain provisions were inserted, others substituted or omitted and all these were described as amendments of the article mentioned therein. In the context of the Constitution, amendment reaches every provision including the Preamble and there is no ambiguity about it which may justify having resort to either looking at the other Articles for determining the ambit of the amendatory power or taking into consideration the Preamble or the scheme of the Constitution or other permissible aids to construction.

537. A good deal of reliance has been placed on behalf of the respondents on Article 5 of the Constitution of the United States hereinafter called the ‘American Constitution’ which deals with amendment and its interpretation by the American courts. Reference has been made to the writings of authors and writers who have dealt with the meaning of the word “amendment” in the American Constitution. It has been argued that in Article 5 of that Constitution the word used is “amendments” and our Constitution makers had that word in mind when they employed the expression “amendment of this Constitution” in Article 368. We propose to refer to the decision from other countries including those of the Supreme Court of the United States later. We wish to observe, at this stage, that our founding fathers had primarily the Constitutions of Canada, Australia, Eire, U.S.A. and Switzerland in view apart from that of Japan. The whole scheme and language of Article 368 is quite different from the amending provisions in Constitutions of those countries.

For instance, in U.S.A., Eire, Australia, Switzerland and Japan the people are associated in some manner or the other directly with the amending process. It would be purely speculative or conjectural to rely on the use of the word “amend” or “amendment” in the Constitution of another country unless the entire scheme of the amending section or article is also kept in mind. In India Parliament is certainly representative of the people but so are similar institutions in the countries mentioned above and yet there is a provision for ratification by convention or referendum or submission of the proposed law to electors directly. Another way of discovering the meaning on which both sides relied on is to refer to the various speeches in the Constituent Assembly by the late Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and late Dr. B.R. Ambedkar the Chief Architects of the Constitution. The position which emerges from an examination of their speeches does not lead to any clear and conclusive result. Their Speeches show that our Constitution was to be an amendable one and much rigidity was not intended. Pandit Nehru time and again emphasised that while the Constitution was meant to be as solid and as permanent a structure as it could be, nevertheless there was no permanence in the Constitution and there should be certain flexibility; otherwise it would stop a nation’s growth. Dr.

Ambedkar, while dealing with draft Article 25 corresponding to the present Article 32, said that the most important Article without which the Constitution would be a nullity and which was the very soul of the Constitution and the heart of it was that Article. But what he said at a later stage appears to suggest that that article itself could be amended and according to the respondents even abrogated. This illustration shows that nothing conclusive can emerge by referring to the speeches for the purpose of interpretation of the word “amendment”.

538. It is not possible to accept the argument on behalf of the respondents that amendment can have only one meaning. This word or expression has several meanings and we shall have to determine its true meaning as used in the context of Article 368 by taking assistance from the other permissible aids to construction. We shall certainly bear in mind the Well known principles of interpretation and construction, particularly, of an instrument like a Constitution. A Constitution is not to be construed in any narrow and pedantic sense. A broad and liberal spirit should inspire those whose duty it is to interpret it Gwyer C.J. In Re. C.P. & Berar Sales of Motor Spirit & Motor Lubricants Taxation Act 1938 [1939] F.C.R. 18 adopted the words of Higgins J., of the High Court of Australia from the decision in Attorney General for New South Wales v. The Brewery Employees Union of New South Wales etc. [1908] HCA 94; [1908] 6 C.L.R. 469 at pp. 611-612 according to which even though the words of a Constitution are to be interpreted on the same principles of interpretation as are applied to any ordinary law, these very principles of interpretation require taking into account the nature and scope of the Act remembering that “it is a Constitution, a mechanism under which laws are to be made and not a mere Act which declares what the law is to be”. [1939] F.C.R. 18, 37. The decision must depend on the words of the Constitution as provisions of no two Constitutions are in identical terms.

The same learned Chief Justice said that the “grant of the power in general terms standing by itself would no doubt be construed in the wider sense, but it may be qualified by other express provisions in the same enactment, by the implication of the context, and even by considerations arising out of what appears to be the general scheme of the Act.” ibid p.

42. The observations of Lord Wright in fames v. Commonwealth of Australia [1936] A.C. 578 at p. 613 were also quoted in the aforesaid judgment of the Federal Court of India at page 73:

The question, then, is one of construction and in the ultimate resort must be determined upon the actual words used read not in a vacuo but as occurring in a single complex instrument, in which one part may throw light on another. The Constitution has been described as the federal compact, and the construction must hold a balance between all its parts.

Apart from the historical background and the scheme of the Constitution the use of the Preamble has always been made and is permissible if the word “amendment” has more than one meaning. Lord Green in Bidis v. General Accident, Fire and Life Assurance Corporation [1948] 2 All. E.R. 998 pointed out that the words should never be interpreted in vacuo because few words in the English language have a natural or ordinary meaning in the sense that they must be so read that their meaning is entirely independent of their context. The method which he preferred was not to take the particular words and attribute to them a sort of prima facie meaning which may have to be displaced or modified. To use his own words “it is to read the statute as a whole and ask oneself the question.

In this state, in this context, relating to this subject matter, what is the true meaning of that word?”

We shall first deal with the Preamble in our Constitution. The Constitution makers gave to the preamble the pride of place. It embodied in a solemn form all the ideals and aspirations for which the country had struggled during the British regime and a Constitution was sought to be enacted in accordance with the genius of the Indian people.

It certainly represented an amalgam of schemes and ideas adopted from the Constitutions of other countries. But the constant strain which runs throughout each and every article of the Constitution is reflected in the Preamble which could and can be made sacrosanct. It is not without significance that the Preamble was passed only after draft articles of the Constitution had been adopted with such modifications as were approved by the Constituent Assembly. The preamble was, therefore, meant to embody in a very few and well defined words the key to the understanding of the Constitution.

539. It would be instructive to advert to the various stages through which the Preamble passed before it was ultimately adopted by the Constituent Assembly. In the earlier draft of the Union Constitution the Preamble was a somewhat formal affair. The one drafted by B.N. Rau said:

We, the People of India, seeking to promote the common good, do hereby, throughout chosen representatives, enact, adopt and give to ourselves this Constitution.

The Union Constitution Committee provisionally accepted the draft Preamble of B.N.

Rau and reproduced it in its report of July 4, 1947 without any change with the tacit recognition, at that stage, that the Preamble would finally be based on the Objectives Resolution.

540. On July 18, 1947, Pandit Nehru in a statement observed that the Preamble was covered more or less by the Objectives Resolution which it was intended to incorporate in the final Constitution. Three days later, while moving the report of the Union Constitution Committee, he suggested that it was not at that stage necessary to consider the Preamble since the Assembly stood by the basic principles laid down in the Objectives Resolution and these could be incorporated in the Preamble later. The suggestion was accepted and further consideration of the Preamble was held over.

541. The Drafting Committee considered the Preamble at a number of its meetings in February 1948. The Committee omitted that part of the Objectives Resolution which declared that the territories of India would retain the status of automonous units with residuary powers. By this time the opinion had veered round for a strong centre with residuary powers. The Drafting Committee felt that the Preamble should be restricted “to defining the essential features of the new State and its basic socio-political objectives and that the other matters dealt with in the Resolution could be more appropriately provided in the substantial parts of the Constitution”. Accordingly it drafted the Preamble, which substantially was in the present form.

542. Meanwhile important developments had taken place in regard to the Indian States.

With the completion of the process of merger and integration of the Indian States the principle had been accepted (i) of sovereign powers being vested in the people, and (ii) that their Constitutions should be framed by the Constituent Assembly and should form integrated part of the new Constitution. On October 12, 1949, Sardar Patel declared in the Assembly that the new Constitution was “not an alliance between democracies and dynasties, but a real union of the Indian people, built on the basic concept of the sovereignty of the people.

543. The draft preamble was considered by the Assembly on October 17, 1949. The object of putting the Preamble last, the President of Assembly explained, was to see that it was in conformity with the Constitution as accepted. Various amendments were at this stage suggested, but were rejected. One of such was the proposal to insert into it the words “In the name of God”. That was rejected on the ground that it was inconsistent with the freedom of faith which was not only promised in the Preamble itself but was also guaranteed as a fundamental right (Constituent Assembly Debates Vol. 10, pp. 432-442).

544. An amendment was moved in the Constituent Assembly to make it clear beyond all doubt that sovereignty vested in the people. It was not accepted on the short ground that “the Preamble as drafted could convey no other meaning than that the Constitution emanated from the people and sovereignty to make this Constitution vested in them (The Framing of India’s Constitution by B. Shiva Rao, p. 131) 545. The history of the drafting and the ultimate adoption of the Preamble shows:

(1) that it did not “walk before the Constitution” as is said about the preamble to the United States Constitution;

(2) that it was adopted last as a part of the Constitution:

(3) that the principles embodied in it were taken mainly from the Objectives Resolution;

(4) the Drafting Committee felt, it should incorporate in it “the essential features of the “new State”:

(5) that it embodied the fundamental concept of sovereignty being in the people.

546. In order to appreciate how the preamble will assist us in discovering the meaning of the word “amendment” employed in Article 368 we may again notice the argument presented by the respondents that the amending body can alter, vary or repeal any provision of the Constitution and enact it and apply that process to the entire Constitution short of total repeal and abrogation. It is maintained on behalf of the Respondents that by virtue of the amending power even the preamble can be varied, altered or repealed. Mr.

Palkhivala, however, relics a great deal on the preamble for substantiating the contention that “amendment” does not have the widest possible meaning as claimed by the respondents and there are certain limitations to the exercise of the amending power and, therefore, the expression “amendment” should be construed in the light of those limitations. All the elements of the Constitutional structure, it is said, are to be found in the preamble and the amending body cannot repeal or abrogate those essential elements because if any one of them is taken away the edifice as erected must fall.

547. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra, says that the preamble itself is ambiguous and it can be of no assistance in that situation. It has further been contended that the concepts recited in the preamble, e.g., human dignity, social and economic justice are vague; different schools of thought hold different notions of their concepts. We are wholly unable to accede to this contention. The preamble was finalised after a long discussion and it was adopted last so that it may embody the fundamentals underlying the structure of the Constitution It is true that on a concept such as social and economic justice there may be different schools of thought but the Constitution makers knew what they meant by those concepts and it was with a view to implement them that they enacted Parts III (Fundamental Rights) and Part IV (Directive Principles of State Policy) – both fundamental in character-on the one hand, basic freedoms to the individual and on the other social security, justice and freedom from exploitation by laying down guiding principles for future governments.

548. Our court has consistently looked to the preamble for guidance and given it a transcedental position while interpreting the Constitution or other laws. It was so referred in Behram Khurshid Pesikaka’s [1955] 1 S.C.R. 613 at p. 653 case. Bhagwati J., in Basheshar Nath v. Commissioner of Income-tax [1959] Suppl. 1 S.C.R. 528 Rajasthan when considering the question of waiver of a fundamental right referred to the preamble and to the genesis of declaration of fundamental rights which could be traced to the report of the Nehru Committee of 1928. He proceeded to say “the object sought to be achieved was, as the preamble to the Constitution states….” In Re Kerala Education Bill 1957 [1959] S.C.R. 995 this Court referred to the preamble extensively and observed that the fundamental rights were provided for “to implement and fortify the supreme purpose set forth in the preamble”. The court also made use of the “inspiring and nobly expressed preamble to our Constitution” while expressing opinion about the legality of the various provisions of the Kerala Education Bill 1957. It is unnecessary to multiply citations from judgments of this Court in which the preamble has been treated almost as sacrosanct and has been relied on or referred to for the purpose of interpreting legislative provisions. In other countries also following the same system of jurisprudence the preamble has been referred to for finding out the Constitutional principles underlying a Constitution. In Rex v. Hess [1949] Dom. L.R. 199 at p. 208 it was said:

I conclude further that the opening paragraph of the preamble to the B.N.A. Act 1867, which provided for a “Constitution similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom” thereby adopted the same Constitutional principles and hence Section 1025A is contrary to the Canadian Constitution and beyond the competence of Parliament or any provincial legislature to enact so long as our Constitution remains in its present form of a Constitutional democracy.

In John Switzman v. Freda Elbling & Attorney General of the Province of Quebec [1957] Canada L.R. 285 at p. 326 (Supreme Court), Abbot J., relied on the observations of Duff C.J., in an earlier decision in Re Alberta Statutes [1938] S.C.R. 100 (Canada) which was affirmed in Attorney General for Alberta v. Attorney General for Canada [1939] A.C.

117-that view being that the preamble of the British North America Act showed plainly enough that the Constitution of the Dominion was to be similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom. The statute contemplated a Parliament working under the influence of public opinion and public discussion. In McCawley v. The King Lord Birkenhead [1920] A.C. 691 at p. 711 (Lord Chancellor) while examining the contention that the Constitution Act of 1867 (Queensland, Australia) enacted certain fundamental organic provisions of such a nature which rendered the Constitution sterotyped or controlled proceeded to observe at page 711:

It may be premised that if a change so remarkable were contemplated one would naturally have expected that the legislature would have given some indication, in the very lengthy preamble of the Act, of this intention. It has been seen that it is impossible to point to any document or instrument giving to, or imposing upon the Constitution of Queensland this quality before the year 1867. Yet their Lordships discern nowhere in the preamble the least indication that it is intended for the first time to make provisions which are sacrosanct or which at least can only be modified by methods never previously required.

549. In re. Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves [1960] 3 S.C.R. 250 an argument had been raised that the preamble clearly postulated that the entire territory of India was beyond the reach of Parliament and could not be affected either by ordinary legislation or even by Constitutional amendment. The Court characterized that argument as extreme and laid down the following propositions:

1. A preamble to the Constitution serves as a key to open the minds of the makers, and shows the general purposes for which they made the several provisions in the Constitution;

2. The preamble is not a part of our Constitution;

3. It is not a source of the several powers conferred on government under the provisions of the Constitution;

4. Such powers embrace those expressly granted in the body of the Constitution “and such as may be implied from those granted”;

5. What is true about the powers is equally true about the prohibitions and limitations;

6. The preamble did not indicate the assumption that the first part of preamble postulates a very serious limitation on one of the very important attributes of sovereignty, viz., ceding territory as a result of the exercise of the sovereign power of the State of treaty-making and on the result of ceding a part of the territory.

550. On behalf of the respondents reliance has been placed on this case for the proposition that no limitation was read by virtue of the preamble. A careful reading of the judgment shows that what was rejected was the contention that the preamble was the source of power. Indeed, it was held that the preamble was not even a part of the Constitution and that one must seek power and its scope in the provisions of the Constitution. The premise for the conclusion was that a preamble is not the source of power since it is not a part of the Constitution. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra has himself disputed the conclusion in the aforesaid judgment that the preamble is not a part of the Constitution. It is established that it was adopted by the Constituent Assembly after the entire Constitution had been adopted.

551. Mr. Palkhivala has given an ingenious explanation as to why the preamble cannot be regarded as a part of our Constitution. He makes a distinction between the concept of the Constitution and the concept of the Constitution’s statutes. The last words in the preamble “This Constitution is the Constitution which follows the preamble, “according to Mr.

Palkhivala. It starts with Article 1 and ended originally with the Eighth Schedule and now ends with the Ninth Schedule after the First Amendment Act 1951. It is sought to be concluded from this that the way in which the preamble has been drafted, indicates that what follows or is annexed to the preamble is the Constitution of India. It is further argued that:

The Constitution statute of India consist of two parts-one, the preamble and the other the Constitution: The preamble is a part of the Constitution statute, but is not a part of the Constitution. It precedes it; The preamble came into force on Nov. 26, 1949 and not 26th January 1950 as contended on behalf of Respondent No. 1 552. There is a clear recital in the preamble that the people of India gave to themselves this Constitution on the 26th day of November 1949. Even if the preamble was actually adopted by the Constitutent Assembly at a later date, no one can question the statement made in the Preamble that the Constitution came into force on the date mentioned therein.

The preamble itself must be deemed by a legal fiction to have come into force with effect from 26th November 1949. Even if this is a plausible conclusion, it does not appear to be sufficient to support the observation in the Berubari case that the preamble was not a part of the Constitution. To our mind, it hardly makes any substantial difference whether the preamble is a part of the Constitution or not. The preamble serves several important purposes. Firstly, it indicates the source from which the Constitution comes viz. the people of India. Next, it contains the enacting clause which brings into force the Constitution. In the third place, it declares the great rights and freedoms which the people of India intended to secure to all citizens and the basic type of government and polity which was to be established. From all these, if any provision in the Constitution had to be interpreted and if the expressions used therein were ambiguous, the preamble would certainly furnish valuable guidance in the matter, particularly when the question is of the correct ambit, scope and width of a power intended to be conferred by Article 368.

553. The stand taken up on behalf of the respondents that even the preamble can be varied, altered or repealed, is an extraordinary one. It may be true about ordinary statutes but it cannot possibly be sustained in the light of the historical background, the Objectives Resolution which formed the basis of the preamble and the fundamental position which the preamble occupies in our Constitution. It constitutes a land-mark in India’s history and sets out as a matter of historical fact what the people of India resolved to do for moulding their future destiny. It is unthinkable that the Constitution makers ever conceived of a stage when it would be claimed that even the preamble could be abrogated or wiped out.

554. If the preamble contains the fundamentals of our Constitution, it has to be seen whether the word amendment in Article 368 should be so construed that by virtue of the amending power the Constitution can be made to suffer a complete loss of identity or the basic elements on which the Constitutional structure has been erected, can be eroded or taken away. While dealing with the preamble to the United States, Constitution it was observed by Story (Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833 edition, Volume I), that the preamble was not adopted as a mere formulary; but as a solemn promulgation of a fundamental fact, vital to the character and operations of the Government. Its true office is to expound the nature and extent and application of the powers actually conferred by the Constitution and not substantially to create them Story, para 462 at p. 445.

555. Now let us examine the effect of the declarations made and the statements contained in the preamble on interpretation of the word “amendment” employed in Article 368 of the Constitution. The first thing which the people of India resolved to do was to constitute their country into a Sovereign Democratic Republic. No one can suggest that these words and expressions are ambiguous in any manner. Their true import and connotation is so well known that no question of any ambiguity is involved. The question which immediately arises is whether the words “amendment or amended” as employed in Article 368 can be so interpreted as to confer a power on the amending body to take away any of these three fundamental and basic characteristics of our polity. Can it be said or even suggested that the amending body can make institutions created by our Constitution undemocratic as opposed to democratic; or abolish the office of the President and, instead, have some other head of the State who would not fit into the conception of a “Republic” The width of the power claimed on behalf of the respondents has such large dimension that even the above part of the preamble can be wiped out from which it would follow that India can cease to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic and can have a polity denuded of sovereignty, democracy and Republican character.

556. No one has suggested-it would be almost unthinkable for anyone to suggest-that the amending body acting under Article 368 in our country will ever do any of the things mentioned above, namely change the Constitution in such a way that it ceases to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic. But while examining the width of the power, it is essential to see its limits, the maximum and the minimum; the entire ambit and magnitude of it and it is for that purpose alone that this aspect is being examined. While analysing the scope and width of the power claimed by virtue of a Constitutional provision, it is wholly immaterial whether there is a likelihood or not of such an eventuality arising.

557. Mr. Palkhivala cited example of one country after another in recent history where from a democratic Constitution the amending power was so utilized as to make that country wholly undemocratic resulting in the negation of democracy by establishment of rule by one party or a small oligarchy. We are not the least impressed by these instances and illustrations. In the matter of deciding the questions which are before us, we do not want to be drawn into the political arena which, we venture to think, is “out of bounds”

for the judiciary and which tradition has been consistently followed by this Court. [See Wanchoo J, as he then was in Golak Nath [1967] INSC 45; [1967] 2 S.C.R. 762 at p. 850].

558. Since the respondents themselves claim powers of such wide magnitude that the results which have been briefly mentioned can flow apart from others which shall presently notice, the consequences and effect of suggested construction have to be taken into account as has been frequently done by this Court. Where two constructions are possible the court must adopt that which will ensure smooth and harmonious working of the Constitution and eschew the other which will lead to absurdity or give rise to practical inconvenience or make well-established provisions of existing law nugatory State of Punjab v. Ajaib Singh and Anr. [1952] INSC 57; [1953] S.C.R. 254 at page 264; Director of Customs, Baroda v. Dig Vijay Singhji Spining & Weaving Mills Ltd. [1962] 1 S.C.R. p. 896.

559. In Don John Francis Douglas Liyange and Ors. v. The Queen [1967] (I) A.C. 259, Lord Pearson declined to read the words of Section 29(1) of the Ceylon Constitution as entitling the Parliament to pass legislation which usurped the judicial power of the judicature by passing an Act of Attainder against some persons or instructing a judge to bring in a verdict of guilty against someone who is being tried-if in law such usurpation would otherwise be contrary to the Constitution.

560. In Maxwell’s Interpretation of Statutes (12th Edition), Chapter 5 deals with restrictive construction and the very first section contains discussion on the question whether the consequences of a particular construction being adopted can be considered and examples have been given from cases decided in England with reference to the consequences. According to American Jurisprudence, Vol. 50, 1962 Reprint at pp. 372, 373 there are cases in which consequences of a particular construction are in and of themselves, conclusive as to the correct solution of the question.

561. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra has contended that the proper way of construing an amending provision is not to take into consideration any such speculation that the powers conferred by it, would be abused. It has also been said that any court deciding the validity of a law cannot take into consideration extreme hypothetical examples or assume that a responsible legislature would make extravagant use of the power The Bank of Toronto v. Lambe (1887) 12 A.C. 575 at pp. 586-587.

562. According to Mr. Palkhivala, the test of the true width of a power is not how probable it is that it may be exercised but what can possibly be done under it; that the abuse or misuse of power is entirely irrelevant; that the question of the extent of the power cannot be mixed up with the question of its exercise and that when the real question is as to the width of the power, expectation that it will never be used is as wholly irrelevant as an imminent danger of its use. The court does not decide what is the best what is the worst. It merely decides what can possibly be done under a power if the words conferring it are so construed as to have an unbounded and limitless width, as claimed on behalf of the respondents.

563. It is difficult to accede to the submission on behalf of the respondents that while considering the consequences with reference to the width of an amending power contained in a Constitution any question of its abuse is involved. It is not for the courts to enter into the wisdom or policy of a particular provision in a Constitution or a statute.

That is for the Constitution makers or for the parliament or the legislature. But that the real consequences can be taken into account while judging the width of the power is well settled. The Court cannot ignore the consequences to which a particular construction can lead while ascertaining the limits of the provisions granting the power. According to the learned Attorney General, the declaration in the preamble to our Constitution about the resolve of the people of India to constitute it into a Sovereign, Democratic Republic is only a declaration of an intention which was made in 1947 and it is open to the amending body now under Article 368 to change the Sovereign Democratics Republic into some other kind of polity. This by itself shows the consequence of accepting the construction sought to be put on the material words in that article for finding out the ambit and width of the power conferred by it.

564. The other part of the Preamble may next be examined. The Sovereign Democratic Republic has been constituted to secure to all the citizens the objectives set out. The attainment of those objectives forms the fabric of and permeates the whole scheme of the Constitution. While most cherished freedoms and rights have been guaranteed the government has been laid under a solemn duty to give effect to the Directive Principles.

Both Parts III and IV which embody them have to be balanced and harmonised-then alone the dignity of the individual can be achieved. It was to give effect to the main objectives in the Preamble that Parts III and IV were enacted. The three main organs of government legislative, executive and judiciary and the entire mechanics of their functioning were fashioned in the light of the objectives in the Preamble, the nature of polity mentioned therein and the grand vision of a united and free India in which every individual high or low will partake of all that is capable of achievement. We must, therefore, advert to the background in which Parts III and IV came to be enacted as they essentially form a basic element of the Constitution without which its identity will completely change.

565. It is not possible to go back at any length to the great struggle for freedom from British Rule and the attainment of independence. The British executive’s arbitrary acts, internments and deportations without trial and curbs on the liberty of the press and individuals are too well known to every student of Indian history to be specifically mentioned. This was before some essential rights based on British Common law and jurisprudence came to be embodied in various Parliamentary enactments. According to B.N. Rau Year Book of Human Rights 1947, human rights, with few exceptions, were not guaranteed by the Constitution (Government of India Act). Shiva Rao has in his valuable study Framing of India’s Constitution (B. Shiva Rao) given the various stages beginning with 1895 Constitution of India Bill framed by the Indian National Congress which envisaged a Constitution guaranteeing a number of freedoms and rights. Two events at a later stage exercised a decisive influence on the Indian leaders. One was the inclusion of a list of fundamental rights in the Constitution of Irish Free State in 1921 and the other, the problem of minorities. Ibid p. 172.

566. The next steps were the report of the Nehru Committee in 1928, the reiteration of the resolve at the session of the Indian National Congress at its Karachi Session in March 1931 and omitting some details, the deliberations of the Sapru Committee appointed by the All India Parties Conference (1944-45). The British Cabinet Mission in 1946 recommended the setting up of an Advisory Committee for reporting inter alia on fundamental rights. Before reference is made to the Objectives Resolution adopted in January 22, 1947 it must be borne in mind that the post war period in Europe had witnessed a fundamental orientation in juristic thinking, particularly in West Germany, characterized by a farewell to positivism, under the influence of positivist legal thinking.

During the pre-war period most of the German Constitutions did not provide for judicial review which was conspicuously absent from the Weimar Constitution even though Hugo Preuss, often called the Father of that Constitution, insisted on its inclusion. After World War II when the disastrous effects of the positivist doctrines came to be realized there was reaction in favour of making certain norms immune from amendment or abrogation.

This was done in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany. The atrocities committed during Second World War and the world wide agitation for human rights ultimately embodied in the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights on, which a number of the provisions in Parts III and IV of our Constitution are fashioned must not be forgotten while considering these matters. Even in Great Britain, where the doctrine of the legal sovereignty of Parliament has prevailed since the days of Erskinc, Blackstone, Austin and lastly Dicey, the new trend in judicial decisions is to hold that there can be at least procedural limitations (requirement of form and manner) on the legislative powers of the legislature. This follows from the decisions in Moore v. The Attorney General for the Irish Free State (1935) A.C. 484; Attorney General for New South Wales v. Trethowan [1932] UKPC 1; (1932) A.C. 526. The Objective’s Resolution declared, inter alia, the firm, and the solemn resolve to proclaim India as Independent Sovereign Republic and to draw up for her future governance a Constitution. Residuary powers were to vest in the States. All power and authority of the Sovereign Independent India, its constituent parts and organs of government, were derived from the people and it was stated:

(5) wherein shall be guaranteed and secured to all the people of India, justice, social, economic and political; equality of status, of opportunity, and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to law and public morality; and (6) wherein adequate safeguards shall be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes; and (7) whereby shall be maintained the integrity of the territory of the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea, and air according to justice and the law of civilised nations, and 567. It may be recalled that as regards the minorities the Cabinet Mission had recognised in their report to the British Cabinet on May 6, 1946 only three main communities;

general, muslims and sikhs. General community included all those who were non- muslims or non-sikhs. The Mission had recommended an Advisory Committee to be set up by the Constituent Assembly which was to frame the rights of citizens, minorities, tribals and excluded areas. The Cabinet Mission statement had actually provided for the cession of sovereignty to the Indian people subject only to two matters which were; (1) willingness to conclude a treaty with His Majesty’s Government to cover matters arising out of transfer of power and (2) adequate provisions for the protection of the minorities.

Pursuant to the above and paras 5 and 6 of the Objectives Resolution the Constituent Assembly set up an Advisory Committee on January 24, 1947. The Committee was to consist of representatives of muslims, the depressed classes or the scheduled castes, the sikhs, christains, parsis, anglo-Indians, tribals and excluded areas besides the Hindus Constituent Assembly Debates Vol. 2 pages 330-349. As a historical fact it is safe to say that at a meeting held on May 11, 1949 a resolution for the abolition of all reservations for minorities other than the scheduled castes found whole hearted support from an overwhelming majority of the members of the Advisory Committee. So far as the scheduled castes were concerned it was felt that their peculiar position would necessitate special reservation for them for a period of ten years. It would not be wrong to say that the separate representation of minorities which had been the feature of the previous Constitutions and which had witnessed so much of communal tension and strife was given up in favour of joint electorates in consideration of the guarantee of fundamental rights and minorities rights which it was decided to incorporate into the new Constitution.

The Objectives Resolution can be taken into account as a historical fact which moulded its nature and character. Since the language of the Preamble was taken from the resolution itself the declaration in the Preamble that India would be a Sovereign, Democratic Republic which would secure to all its citizens justice, liberty and equality was implemented in Parts III and IV and other provisions of the Constitution. These formed not only the essential features of the Constitution but also the fundamental conditions upon and the basis on which the various groups and interests adopted the Constitution as the Preamble hoped to create one unified integrated community. The decision of the Privy Council in the Bribery Commissioner v. Pedrick Ranasinghe [1964] UKPC 1; [1965] A.C. 172 at pp. 193-194 will require a more detailed discussion in view of the elaborate arguments addressed on both sides based on it. But for the present all that need be pointed out is that the above language is borrowed mainly from the judgment of Lord Pearce who, after setting out Section 29 of the Ceylon Constitutional Order which gave Parliament the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the island, said with regard to Clause (2) according to which no law could prohibit or restrict the free excrcise of any religion, There follow (b), (c) and (d), which set out further entrenched religious and racial matters, which shall not be the subject of legislation. They represent the solemn balance of rights between the citizens of Ceylon, the fundamental conditions on which inter se they accepted the Constitution;

and these are therefore unalterable under the Constitution.

Another opposite observation in this connection was made in In re the Regulation and Control of Aeronautics in Canada [1932] A.C. 54 at p. 70 while interpreting the British North America Act 1867. It was said that inasmuch as the Act embodied a compromise under which the original provinces agreed to federate, it is important to keep in mind that the preservation of the rights of minorities was a condition on which such minorities entered into the federation and the foundation upon which the whole structure was subsequently erected.

568. Our Constitution is federal in character and not unitary. In a federal structure the existence of both the Union and the States is indispensable and so is the power of judicial review. According to Dicey: Law of the Constitution by A.V. Dicey p. 144.

A federal State derives its existence from the Constitution, just as a corporation derives its existence from the grant by which it is created.

Hence every power, executive, legislative or judicial, whether it belong to the nation or to the individual States, is subordinate to and controlled by the Constitution. Law of the Constitution by A.V. Dicey p. 144.

The object for which a federal State is formed involves a division of authority between the national government and the separate States. Ibid p. 151. Federalism can flourish only among communities imbued with a legal spirit and trained to reverence the law. Swiss federalism, according to Dicey, “fails, just where one would expect it to fail, in maintaining that complete authority of the courts which is necessary to the perfect federal system”. Ibid p. 180. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra while relying a great deal on Dicey’s well known work in support of his other points, has submitted that although he was one of the greatest writers on the law of English Constitution, his book was concerned with two or three guiding principles which pervade the modern Constitution of England. The discussion of federal government in his book was a subordinate part and the discussion was designed to bring out sharply the two or three guiding principles of the English Constitution by contrast with the different principles underlying the Constitution of the federal government. Reliance has been placed on Professor Wheare’s statement in his book Federal Government, 4th Edn. (1963) that the Swiss Courts are required by the Constitution to treat all laws passed by the federal assembly as valid though they may declare Cantonal laws to be void and that does not constitute such a departure from the federal principle that the Swiss people cannot be regarded as having a federal Constitution and a federal government. Switzerland is probably the only country having a federal Constitution where full-fledged right of judicial review is not provided. We are unable to understand how that can have any relevancy in the presence of judicial review having been made an integral part of our Constitution.

569. It is pointed out on behalf of the petitioners that the scheme of Article 368 itself contains intrinsic pieces of evidence to give a limited meaning to the word “amendment”.

Firstly, Article 368 refers to “an amendment of this Constitution”, and the result of the amendment is to be that “the Constitution shall stand amended”. As the Constitution has an identity of its own, an amendment, made under a power howsoever widely worded cannot be such as would render the Constitution to lose its character and nature. In other words, an amendment cannot be such as would denude the Constitution of its identity.

The amending power is conferred on the two Houses of Parliament, whose identity is clearly established by the provisions in the Constitution. It must be the Parliament of the Sovereign Democratic Republic. It is not any Parliament which has the amending power, but only that Parliament which has been created by the Constitution. In other words, it must continue to be the Parliament of a sovereign and democratic republic. The institution of States must continue to exist in order that they may continue to be associated with the amending power in the cases falling under the proviso. If the respondents are right, the proviso can be completly deleted since Article 368 itself can be amended. This would be wholly contrary to the scheme of Article 368 because two agencies are provides for amending the provisions covered by the proviso. One agency cannot destroy the other by the very exercise of the amending power. The effect of limitless amending power in relation to amendment of Article 368 cannot be conducive to the survival of the Constitution because the amending power can itself be taken away and the Constitution can be made literally unamendable or virtually unamendable by providing for an impossible majority.

570. While examining the above contentions, it is necessary to consider the claim of the respondents that the amending body under Article 368 has the full constituent power. It has been suggested that on every occasion the procedure is followed as laid down in Article 368 by the two Houses of Parliament and the assent of the President is given there is the reproduction of the functions of a Constituent Assembly. In other words, the Parliament acts in the same capacity as a Constituent Assembly when exercising the power of amendment under the said Article. This argument does not take stock of the admission made on behalf of the respondents that the entire Constitution cannot be repealed or abrogated by the amending body. Indisputably, a Constituent Assembly specially convened for the purpose would have the power to completely revise, repeal or abrogate the Constitution. This shows that the amending body under Article 368 cannot have the same powers as a Constituent Assembly. Even assuming that there is reference on the nature of power between enacting a law and making an amendment, both the powers are derived from the Constitution. The amending body has been created by the Constitution itself. It can only exercise those powers with which it has been invested.

And if that power has limits, it can be exercised only within those limits.

571. The respondents have taken up the position that even if the power was limited to some extent under Article 368, as it originally stood, that power could be enlarged by virtue of Clause (e) of the proviso. It must be noted that the power of amendment lies in the first part of Article 368. What Clause (e) in the proviso does is to provide that if Article 368 is amended, such an amendment requires ratification by the States, besides the larger majority provided in the main part. If the amending power under Article 368 has certain limits and not unlimited Article 368 cannot be so amended as to remove these limits nor can it be amended so as to take away the voice of the states in the amending process. If the Constitution makers were inclined to confer the full power of a Constituent Assembly, it could have been easily provided in suitable terms. If, however, the original power was limited to some extent, it could not be enlarged by the body possessing the limited power. That being so, even where an amending power is expressed in wide terms, it has to be exercised within the framework of the Constitution. It cannot abrogate the Constitution or frame a new Constitution or alter or change the essential elements of the Constitutional structure. It cannot be overlooked that the basic theory of our Constitution is that “Pouvoir Constituent”, is vested in the people and was exercised, for and on other behalf by the Constituent Assembly for the purpose of framing the Constitution.

572. To say, as has been said on behalf of the respondents, that there are only two categories of Constitutions, rigid or controlled and flexible or uncontrolled and that the difference between them lies only in the procedure provided for amendment is an over- simplification. In certain Constitutions there can be procedural and or substantive limitations on the amending power. The procedural limitations could be by way of a prescribed form and manner without the satisfaction of which no amendment can validly result. The form and manner may take different forms such as a higher majority either in the houses of the concerned legislature sitting jointly or separately or by way of a convention, referendum etc. Besides these limitations, there can be limitations in the content and scope of the power. To illustrate, although the power to amend under Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution resides ultimately in the people, it can be exercised in either of the modes as might be prescribed by the Congress viz. through ratification by the State legislatures or through conventions, specially convened for the purpose. The equal suffrage in the Senate granted to each of the States, cannot be altered without the consent of the State. The true distinction between a controlled and an uncontrolled Constitution lies not merely in the difference in the procedure of amendment, but in the fact that in controlled Constitutions the Constitution has a higher status by whose touch-stone the validity of a law made by the legislature and the organ set up by it is subjected to the process of judicial review. Where there is a written Constitution which adopts the preamble of sovereignty in the people there is firstly no question of the law-making body being a sovereign body for that body possesses only those powers which are conferred on it. Secondly, however representative it may be, it cannot be equated with the people. This is especially so where the Constitution contains a Bill of Rights for such a Bill imposes restraints on that body, i.e. it negates the equation of that body with the people.

573. Before concluding the topic on the interpretation or construction of the words “amendment of this Constitution” in Article 368, it is necessary to deal with some American decisions relating to Article 5 of the American Constitution on which a great deal of reliance was placed on behalf of the respondents for establishing that the’ word “amendment” has a precise and definite meaning which is of the widest amplitude. The first relates to the 18th amendment, known as the National Prohibition cases in the State of Rhode Island v. A. Mitchel Palmer [1920] USSC 144; 64 L. Ed. 946. In that case and other cases heard with it, elaborate arguments were addressed involving the validity of the 18th amendment and of certain features of the National Prohibition Law, known as Volstead Act, which was adopted to enforce the amendment. The relief sought in each case was an injunction against the execution of that Act. The Court merely stated its conclusions and did not give any reasons-a matter which was profoundly regretted by Chief Justice White. From, the conclusions stated and the opinion of the Chief Justice it appears that a good deal of controversy centered on Section 2 of the amendment which read “Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this Article by appropriate legislation”. In the dissenting opinion of Mr. Justice Mckenna it was said that the Constitutional validity of the 18th amendment had also been attacked and although he dissented in certain other matters he agreed that the 18th amendment was a part of the Constitution of the United States. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra has placed a great deal of reliance on this decision. His argument is that though the judgment in the Rhode Island case gives no reasons, yet it is permissible to look at the elaborate briefs filed by the counsel in several cases and their oral arguments in order to understand what was argued and what was decided. One of the main contentions raised was that the 18th amendment was not in fact an amendment, for an amendment is an alteration or improvement of that which is already there in the Constitution and that term is not intended to include any addition of a new grant of power. The judgment shows that this argument was not regarded even worth consideration and was rejected outright. Now it is significant that most of the justices including the Chief Justice who delivered judgments dealt only with the questions which had nothing to do with the meaning of the word “amendment”. It is not possible to derive much assistance from this judgment.

574. In J.J. Dhillon v. R.W. Gloss [1921] USSC 118; 65 L. Ed. 994 it was observed that an examination of Article 5 discloses that it was intended to invest Congress with a wide range of power in proposing amendments. However, the following observations are noteworthy and have been relied upon in support of the case of the petitioners that according to the United States Constitution it is the people who get involved in the matter of amendments. “A further mode of proposal-as yet never invoked-is provided, which is, that on application of two-third of the States, Congress shall call a convention for the purpose. When proposed in either mode, amendments, to be effective must be ratified by the legislatures or by convention in three fourths of the States as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress”. Thus the people of the United States, by whom the Constitution was ordained and established, have made it a condition for amending that instrument that the amendment be submitted to representative assemblies in the several States and be ratified in three-fourths of them. The plain meaning of this is (a) that all amendments must have the sanction of the people of the United States, the original fountain of power, acting through representative assemblies, and (b) that ratification by these assemblies in three-fourths of the States shall be taken as a decisive expression of the people’s will and be binding on all.

575. Although all the amendments were made by the method of ratification by the requisite number of State legislatures, the convention mode was adopted when the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment Another case, United States of America v. William H. Sprague and William J. Howey [1931] USSC 53; 75 L. Ed. 640, 644, will be discussed more fully while considering the question of implied limitations. All that it establishes for the purpose of meaning of amendment is that one must look to the plain language of the Article conferring the power of amendment and not travel outside it. Article 5, it was said, contained procedural provisions for Constitutional change by amendment without any present limitation whatsoever except that no State might be deprived of equal representation in the Senate without its consent. Mr. Justice Douglas while delivering the opinion of the court in Howard Joseph Whitehill v. Wilson Elkins [1967] USSC 234; 19 L. Ed. 2d. 228 stated in categorical terms that the Constitution prescribes the method of “alteration” by amending process in Article 5 and, while the procedure for amending it is restricted there is no restraint on the kind of amendment that may be offered. Thus the main submission on behalf of the counsel for the respondents has been that Article 5 of the United States Constitution served as model for Article 368 of our Constitution.

576. Article V provides different modes of amendment These may be analysed as follows:

577. The proposals can be made-, (1) By two thirds of both Houses of the Congress or (2) By a Convention for proposing amendments to be called by the Congress on the application of legislatures of two-thirds of the States.

578. The ratification of the proposals has to be made by (1) Legislatures of three fourths of the States or (2) by Conventions in three fourths thereof (as one of the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress) In Hawke v. Smith [1920] USSC 127; 64 L. Ed. 871, the question raised was whether there was any conflict between Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution which gave power to the Congress to provide whether the ratification should be by State Legislatures or Conventions and the Constitution of Ohio as amended. The Supreme Court held that Article 5 was grant of authority by the people to Congress. The determination of the method of ratification was the exercise of the national power specifically granted by the Constitution and that power was limited to two methods, by the State Legislatures or by Conventions. The method of ratification, however, was left to the choice of Congress. The language of the Article was plain and admitted of no doubt in its interpretation. In that case the Constitution of Ohio even after amendment which provided for referendum vested the legislative power primarily in a General Assembly consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives.

Though the law making power of a State was derived from the people the power to ratify a proposed amendment to the Federal Constitution had its source in that Constitution. The act of ratification by the State derived its authority from the federal Constitution.

Therefore, in order to find out the authority which had the power to ratify, it was Article 5, to which one had to turn and not to the State Constitution. The choice of means of ratification was wisely withheld from conflicting action in the several States.

579. On behalf of the respondents it is claimed that these decisions establish that the power of amendment conferred by Article 5 was of the widest amplitude. It could be exercised through the representatives of the people, both in the Congress and the State Legislatures. In the case of Article 368 also Parliament consists of representatives of the people and the same analogy can be applied that it is a grant of authority by the people to the Parliament. This argument loses sight of the fact that under the American theory of government, power is inherent in the people including the right to alter and amend the organic instrument of government. Indeed, practically all the State Constitutions associate the people with the amending process. The whole basis of the decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States and of some of the State Supreme Courts is that it is the people who amend the Constitution and it is within their power to make the federal Constitution or unmake it. The reason is quite obvious. So far as Article 5 of the American Constitution is concerned, out of the alternative methods provided for amendment, there is only one in which the people cannot get directly associated, whereas in the others they are associated with the amending process, e.g., proposal of amendment by two-thirds of both Houses of Congress and its ratification by conventions in three-fourths of the States or a proposal of amendment by a convention called on the application of two-thirds of the State Legislatures and its ratification by either convention in three-fourths of the States or by the Legislature of the same number of States.

580. The meaning of the words “amendment of this Constitution” as used in Article 368 must be such which accords with the true intention of the Constitution makers as ascertainable from the historical background, the Preamble, the entire scheme of the Constitution, its structure and framework and the intrinsic evidence in various Articles including Article 368. It is neither possible to give it a narrow meaning nor can such a wide meaning be given which can enable the amending body to change substantially or entirely the structure and identity of the Constitution. Even the concession of the learned Attorney General and the Advocate General of Maharashtra that the whole Constitution cannot be abrogated or repealed and a new one substituted supports the conclusion that the widest possible meaning cannot be given to it.

581. Coming to the question of what has been called ‘inherent and implied limitations’ to the amending power in Article 368 of our Constitution. Mr. Palkhivala has maintained that inherent limitations are those which inhere in any authority from its very nature, character and composition whereas implied limitations are those which are not expressed but are implicit in the scheme of the Constitution conferring the power. He maintains that the “rule is established beyond cavil that in construing the Constitution of the United States, what is implied is as much a part of the instrument as what is expressed”, American Jurisprudence (2d), Vol. 16, p. 251 Although the courts have rejected in various cases a plea that a particular inherent or implied limitation should be put upon some specific Constitutional power, no court, says Mr. Palkhivala, has ever rejected the principle that such limitations which are fairly and properly deducible from the scheme of the Constitution should be read as restrictions upon a power expressed in general terms.

Several decisions of our court, of the Privy Council, Irish courts, Canadian and Australian courts have been cited in support of the contention advanced by him. The approach to this question has essentially to be to look at our own decisions first. They fall in two categories. In one category are those cases where limitations have been spelt out of Constitutional provisions; the second category consists of such decisions as have laid down that there is an implied limitation on legislative power.

582. Taking up the cases of the first category, before 1955, Article 13(2) was read as containing an implied limitation that the State could acquire property only for a public purpose. (The Fourth Amendment expressly enacted this limitation in 1955). It was observed in Chiranjit Lal Chowdhauri v. The Union of India and Ors. [1950] INSC 38; [1950] S.C.R. 869 at p. 902 that one limitation imposed upon acquisition or taking possession of private property which is implied in the clause is that such taking must be for a public purpose.

Mahajan J., (later Chief Justice) said in the State of Bihar v. Maharajadhiraja Sir Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga and Ors. [1952] S.C.R. 889 at p. 934 that the existence of a public purpose is undoubtedly an implied condition of the exercise of compulsory power of acquisition by the State. The power conferred by Articles 3 and 4 of the Constitution to form a new State and amend the Constitution for that purpose has been stated to contain the implied limitation that the new State must conform to the democratic pattern envisaged by the Constitution and the power which Parliament can exercise is not the power to override the Constitution Mangal Singh and Anr. v. Union of India [1966] INSC 251; [1967] 2 S.C.R. 109 at p. 112 scheme. It may be mentioned that so far as Article 368 is concerned there seems to have been a good deal of debate in Golak Nath’s case on the question whether there were any inherent or implied limitations. Dealing with the argument that in exercise of the power of amendment Parliament could not destroy the structure of the Constitution but it could only modify the provisions thereof within the framework of its original instrument for its better effectuation, Subba Rao C.J. observed that there was no necessity to express any opinion on this all important question owing to the view which was being taken with regard to the meaning of the word “law” in Article 13(2). But it was recognised that the argument had considerable force. Wanchoo J. (as he then was) considered the question of implied limitations at some length but felt that if any implied limitation that basic features of the Constitution cannot be changed or altered, were to be put on the power of amendment, the result would be that every amendment made in the Consitution would involve legal wrangle. On the clear words of Article 368 it was not possible to infer any implied limitation on the power of amendment Hidayatullah J., (later Chief Justice) discussed the question of implied limitations and referred to the spate of writings on the subject. He expressed no opinion on the matter because he felt that in our Constitution Article 13(2) took in even consitutional amendments. Bachawat J., disposed of the matter by saying that the argument overlooked the dynamic character of the Constitution. Ramaswami J., clearly negatived the argument based on implied limitations on the ground that if the amending power is an adjunct of sovereignty it does not admit of any limitation.

583. The cases which fall in the second category are decidedly numerous. It has been consistently laid down chat there is an implied limitation on the legislative power; the legislature cannot delegate the essentials of the legislative function. Mukherjea J. (who later became Chief Justice) in Re. Delhi Laws Act 1912 case [1951] INSC 35; (1951) S.C.R. 747 at pp.

984-985 stated in clear language that the right of delegation may be implied in the exercise of legislative power only to the extent that it is necessary to make the exercise of the power effective and complete. The same implied limitation on the legislature, in the field of delegation, has been invoked in Raj Narain Singh v. Patna Administration [1955] INSC 30; [1955] 2 S.C.R. 290; Hari Shankar Bagla v. State of Madhya Pradesh [1955] 1 S.C.R. 380;

Vasantlal Sanjanwala v. State of Bombay [1960] INSC 129; [1961] 1 S.C.R. 341; The Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Birla Cotton Mills [1968] INSC 48; [1968] 3 S.C.R. 251 and Grewal D.S. v. State of Punjabi [1959] Supp. 1 S.C.R. 792. Implied limitations have also been placed upon the legislature which invalidates legislation usurping the judicial power : See for instance Shri Prithvi Cotton Mills Ltd. v. Broach Borough Municipality and Ors. (1970) 1 S.C.R.

388 at pp. 392-393 and Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad Etc. v. New Shorock Spg. and Wvg. Co. Ltd. etc. [1970] INSC 95; (1971) 1 S.C.R. 288 at pp. 294-297.

584. Before we go to cases decided by the courts in other countries it may be useful to refer to some of the Constitutional provisions which are illustrative of the concept of implications that can be raised from the language and context thereof. The first provision in point is Article 368 itself. It has been seen at the stage of previous discussion that the power to amend is to be found in that Article only by implication as there is no express conferment of that power therein. The learned Solicitor General made a concession that various Articles are included by implication in the clauses of the provision by reason of the necessity for giving effect to the express power contained therein, e.g., Articles 52 and 53 must be so read as to impliedly include the power to amend Articles 54 and 55 which are not expressly mentioned in Clause (a) of the proviso. It has been implied that the President has been made a formal or a Constitutional head of the executive and the real executive power vests in the council of ministers and the Cabinet R.S. Ram Jawaya Kapur and Ors. v. The State of Punjab [1955] 2 S.C.R. 225. Article 53 declares that the executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President; Article 74 provides for a council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President in exercise of his functions. Article 75 says that the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other ministers shall be appointed by him on the advice of the Prime Minister. The ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President and the council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.

Although the executive power of the President is apparently expressed in unlimited terms, an implied limitation has been placed on his power on the ground that he is a formal or Constitutional head of the executive and that the real executive power vests in the council of ministers. This conclusion which is based on the implications of the Cabinet System of government can be said to constitute an implied limitation on the power of the President and the GovernOrs.

585. It may be mentioned in all fairness to the Advocate General of Maharashtra that the court did not desire him to address in detail about the President or the Governor being a Constitutional head and the implications arising from the system of Cabinet Government.

The decisions thereon are being referred to for the purpose of noticing that according to them the President or the Governor though vested with full executive powers cannot exercise them personally and it is only the council of ministers which exercises all the executive functions. This is so, notwithstanding the absence of any express provisions in the Constitution to that effect.

586. Next, reference may be made to the decisions of the Privy Council relied on by one side or the other for deciding the question under consideration. The Advocate General of Maharashtra laid much stress on the principle enunciated in Queen v. Burah (1878) 3 A.C. 889 at pp. 904-5, which according to him, has been consistently followed by the Federal Court and this Court. The principle is that when a question arises whether the prescribed limits have been exceeded the court must look to the terms of the instrument “by which affirmatively, the legislative powers were created and by which, negatively, they were restricted. If what has been done is legislation within the general scope of the affirmative words which give the power, and if it violates no express condition or restriction by which that power is limited…it is not for any court of justice to inquire further, or to enlarge constructively those conditions or restrictions”. The ratio of that decision is that conditional legislation is to be distinguished from delegation of legislative power and that conditional legislation is within the power of the legislature in the absence of any express words prohibiting conditional legislation. The oft-quoted words about the affirmative conferment of power and absence of express restriction on the power are used only to repel the contention that conditional legislation was barred by implication. It is significant that if Queen v. Burah (1878) 3 A.C. 889 at pp. 904-5 is to be treated as laying down the principle that the powers in a Constitution must be conferred only in affirmative words the argument of the respondents itself will suffer from the infirmity that it is only by necessary implication from the language of Article 368 (before the 24th Amendment) that the source of the amending power can be said to reside in that Article. There were no such words in express or affirmative terms which conferred such a power. Indeed in Golak Nath’s [1967] INSC 45; (1967) 2 S.C.R. 762 case there was a sharp divergence of opinion on this point. Subba Rao C.J. with whom four other judges agreed held that the source of the amending power was to be found in the provisions conferring residuary provisions, namely, Article 248 read with Entry 97 in the Seventh Schedule. The other six judges including Hidayatullah J. were of the view that the power was to be found in Article 368 itself.

587. In The Initiative and Referendum Act [1919] A.C. 935 the position briefly was that the British North America Act 1867, Section 92, head I, which empowered a Provincial Legislature to amend the Constitution of the Province, “excepting as regards the office of the Lieutenant-Governor,” excluded the making of a law which abrogated any power which the Crown possessed through the Lieutenant Governor who directly represented the Crown. The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba passed the Initiative and Referendum Act. It compelled the Lieutenant Governor to submit a proposed law to a body of voters totally distinct from the legislature of which he was the Constitutional head. The Privy Council was of the opinion that under the provisions of that law the Lieutenant Governor was rendered powerless to prevent a proposed law when passed in accordance with the Act from becoming actual law. The language of the Act could not be construed otherwise than as intended, seriously affecting the position of the Lieutenant Governor as an integral part of the legislature and to detract from the rights which were important in the legal theory of that position. Section 92 of the Act of 1867 entrusted the legislative power in a Province to its legislature and that legislature only. A body that has power of legislation on the subjects entrusted to it, the power being so ample as that enjoyed by a Provincial legislature in Canada, could while “preserving its own capacity intact seek the assistance of a subordinate agency…but it does not follow that it can create and endow with its own capacity a new legislative power not created by the Act to which it owes own existence” Ibid at p. 945.

588. This case is more in point for consideration of validity of that part of the 25th Amendment which inserted Article 31-C but it illustrates that an implied limitation was spelt out from the Constitutional provisions of the British North America Act 1867 which conferred legislative power on the legislatures of provinces as constituted by that Act.

589. McCawley v. The King (1920) A.C. 691 was another case involving Constitutional questions. The legislature of Queensland (Australia) had power to include in an Act a provision not within the express restrictions contained in the Order in Council of 1959.

But inconsistent with the term of the Constitution of Queensland, without first amending the term in question under the powers of amendments given to it, the Industrial Arbitration Act of 1916 contained provisions authorising the Government in Council to appoint any Judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland. After explaining the distinction between a controlled and an uncontrolled Constitution, their Lordships proceeded to examine the contention that the Constitution of Queensland could not be altered merely by enacting legislation inconsistent with its article; it could only be altered by an Act which in plain and unmistakable language referred to it; asserted the intention of the legislature to alter it, and consequentially gave effect to that intention by its operative provisions. That argument was repelled by saying Ibid p. 706.

It was not the policy of the Imperial Legislature at any relevant period to shackle or control in the manner suggested, the legislative power of the Nascent Australian Legislations.

Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 was held to have clearly conferred on the colonial legislatures a right to establish courts of judicature and to abolish and reconstitute them. A question had been raised that the Constitution Act of 1867 enacted certain fundamental organic provisions of such a nature as to render the Constitution controlled. It was said that if a change of that nature was contemplated, there would have been some indication in the very lengthy preamble of the Act, of that intention. Their Lordships could observe nowhere in the preamble the least indication that it was intended for the first time to make provisions which were sacrosanct, or which at least could only be modified by methods never previously required. It was finally held that the legislature of Queensland was the master of its own household except in so far as its power had in special cases been restricted. No such restriction had been established and none in fact existed.

590. The Advocate General of Maharashtra has sought to deduce the following propositions from the dissenting judgment of Issacs and Rich JJ of the Australian High Court which was approved by the Privy Council in the above case:

(1) Unless there is a special procedure prescribed for amending any part of the Constitution, the Constitution is uncontrolled and can be amended by the manner laid down for enacting ordinary law and, therefore, a subsequent law inconsistent with the Constitution would pro-tanto repeal the Constitution.

(2) A Constitution largely or generally uncontrolled may contain one or more provisions which prescribe a different procedure for amending them.

In that case an ordinary law cannot amend them and the procedure must be strictly followed if the amendment is to be effected.

(3) The implication on limitation of power ought not to be imported from general concepts but only from express or necessarily implied limitations (emphasis supplied).

(4) While granting powers to the colonial legislatures, the British Parliament as far back as 1865 refused to put limitations of vague character, but limited those limitations to objective standards e.g., statutes, statutory regulations, etc. to objective standards.

591. We have already repelled at an earlier stage Pp. 70-71 the contention that the only distinction between a controlled and an uncontrolled Constitution is that in the former the procedure prescribed for amending any part of the Constitution has to be strictly followed. The second proposition is of a similar nature and can hardly be disputed. As regards the third and fourth proposition all that need be said is that implied limitation which was sought in McCawley’s case by counsel for the respondents was that the Queensland legislature should first amend the Constitution and then pass an Act which would otherwise have been inconsistent, for the Constitution had not been amended. That contention in terms was rejected. The Constitution in McCawley’s case was uncontrolled and therefore the Queensland legislature was fulley empowered to enact any Constitution breaking law. Moreover Lord Birkenhead in an illuminating passage in McCawley’s [1920] A.C. 691 at pp. 703-704 case has himself referred to the difference of view among writers upon the subject of Constitutional law which may be traced “mainly to the spirit and genius of the nation in which a particular Constitution has its birth”. Some communities have “shrunk from the assumption that a degree of wisdom and foresight has been conceded to their generation which will be, or may be, wanting to their successors”. Those who haw adopted the other view probably believed that “certainty and stability were in such a matter the supreme desiderata”. It was pointed out that different terms had been employed by the text book writers to distinguish between those who contrasted forms of Constitution. It was added:

Their special qualities may perhaps be exhibited as clearly by calling the one a controlled and the other an uncontrolled Constitution as by any other nomenclature.

592. Lord Birkenhead did not make any attempt to define the two terms “controlled” and “uncontrolled” as precise legal terms, but merely used them as convenient expressions.

593. The next case of importance is Attorney General for New South Wales v.

Trethowan. [1932] UKPC 1; (1932) A.C. 526 The Constitution Act, 1902 enacted by the legislature of New South Wales, was amended in 1929 by adding Section 7-A which provided that no Bill for abolishing the Legislative Council should be presented to the Governor for His Majesty’s assent until it had been approved by a majority of the electors voting upon a submission made in accordance with the section. The same provision was to apply to a Bill for repealing that section. In 1930 two Bills were passed by the Legislature. One was to repeal Section 7-A and the other to abolish the Legislative Council. Neither of the two Bills had been approved in accordance with Section 7-A. Reference was made to Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865, which conferred on the Legislature of the State full power to make laws inter alia in respect of the Constitution in such “manner and form” as might from time to time be provided by any Act of Parliament Letters Patent, Colonial law in force in the colony etc. It was held that the whole of Section 7-A was within the competence of the legislature of the State under Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act. The provision that the Bills must be approved by the electors before being presented was a provision as to form and manner and accordingly the Bills could not lawfully be presented unless and until they had been approved by a majority of the electors voting. A number of contentions were raised, out of which the following may be noted:

(a) The Legislature of New South Wales was given by the Imperial Statutes plenary power to alter the Constitution, powers and procedure of such Legislature.

(b) When once the Legislature had altered either the Constitution or powers and procedure, the Constitution and powers and procedure as they previously existed ceased to exist and were replaced by the new Constitution and powers.

594. According to their lordships the answer depended entirely upon a consideration of the meaning of Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act read with Section 4 of the Constitution statute assuming that the latter section still possessed some operative effect.

The whole of Section 7-A was held to be competently enacted. The Privy Council, however, held that the repealing Bill after its passage through both Chambers could not be lawfully presented for the Royal assent without having first received the approval of the electors in the prescribed manner. In order to be validly passed, the law must be passed in the manner prescribed by Section 7-A which was in force for the time being.

Trethowan’s case (supra) fully illustrates how the Privy Council enforced such limitations even though they were of a procedural nature which had been provided in a Constitutional statute relating to the form and manner in which any such statute could be altered or repealed.

595. These decisions, in particular, (Trethowan’s case) illustrate that the Privy Council has recognised a restriction on the legislative powers of a sovereign legislature even though that is confined only to the form and manner laid down in a Constitution for amending the Constitution Act In a country which still sticks to the theory of Parliamentary sovereignty, limitations of any other nature would be regarded as somewhat non-conformist and unorthodox.

596. The decision of the Privy Council in the Bribery Commissioner v. Pedrick Ranasinghe [1964] UKPC 1; [1965] A.C. 172 has been heavily relied on by both sides. On behalf of the petitioners support has been sought from the observations relating to rights regarded as fundamental, being unalterable. What had happened there was that by virtue of Section 41 of the Bribery Amendment Act 1956, a provision was made for the appointment of a Bribery Tribunal which was in conflict with the requirement in Section 55 of the Ceylon Constitution (Order in Council 1946), hereinafter called the ‘Ceylon Constitution Act’, according to which the appointment of Judicial Officers was vested in the Judicial Service Commission. Section 29 of the Ceylon Constitution Act provided by Sub-section (1) that subject to the provisions of the Order, the Parliament had the power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the island. By Sub-section (2) it was provided that no such law shall (a) prescribe or restrict the free exercise of any religion etc. This was followed by Clauses (b), (c) and (d) which set out further religious and racial matters, which according to their Lordships, could not be the subject of legislation.

In the words of their Lordships “they represent the solemn balance of rights between the citizens of Ceylon, the fundamental conditions on which inter se they accepted the Constitution; and these are therefore unalterable under the Constitution”. By Sub-section (3) any law made in contravention of Sub-section (2) was to be void to the extent of such contravention. Sub-section (4) may be reproduced below:

(4) In the exercise of its powers under this section, Parliament may amend or repeal any of the provisions of this Order, or of any other Order of Her Majesty in Council in its application to the Island:

Provided that no Bill for the amendment or repeal of any of the provisions of this Order shall be presented for the Royal Assent unless it has endorsed on it a certificate under the hand of the Speaker that the number of votes cast in favour thereof in the House of Representatives amounted to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members of the House (including those not present).

Every certificate of the Speaker under this sub-section shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be questioned in any court of law.

597. The Bribery Amendment Act 1958 had not been enacted in accordance with the provisions contained in Sub-section (4) of Section 29 of the Ceylon Constitution Act. As it involved a conflict with the Constitution, it was observed that a certificate of the Speaker as required by Sub-section (4) was a necessary part of the Act making process.

The point which engaged the serious attention of the Privy Council was that when a sovereign Parliament had purported to enact a Bill and it had received the Royal, Assent, could it be a valid Act in course of whose passing there was a procedural defect, or was it an invalid Act which Parliament had no power to pass in that manner ? A distinction was made while examining the appellant’s arguments between Section 29(3) ‘which expressly made void any Act passed in respect of the matters entrenched in and prohibited by Section 29(2); whereas Section 29(4) made no such provisions, but merely couched the prohibition in procedural terms. Reliance had been place on behalf of the appellant Bribery Commissioner on the decision in McCawley’s case. It was pointed out that McCawley’s case, so far as it was material, was in fact opposed to the appellant’s reasoning. It was distinguished on the ground that the Ceylon legislature had purported to pass a law which being in conflict with Section 55 of the Ceylon Constitution Act, must be treated, if it was to be valid, as an implied alteration of the Constitutional provisions about the appointment of judicial officers. It was held that such alterations, even if expressed, could only be made by laws which complied with the special legislative procedure laid down in Section 29(4). The Ceylon Legislature did not have the general power to legislate so as to amend its Constitution by ordinary majority resolutions such as the Queensland Legislature was found to have under Section 2 of its Constitution Act.

598. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra has referred to the arguments in Ranasinghe’s case and has endeavoured to explain the observations made about the entrenched provisions being unalterable by saying that the same were obiter. According to him it was not the respondent’s case that any provision was unamendable. The references to the solemn compact etc. were also obiter because the appeal did not raise any question about the rights of religion protected by Sub-section (2) or Section 29 and the issues were entirely different. It is claimed that this decision supports the position taken up on behalf of the respondents that it is only the form and manner which is material in a controlled Constitution and that the above decision is an authority for the proposition that in exercise of the amending power a controlled Constitution can be converted into an uncontrolled one. Any implied limitations on Parliament’s amending power here can be abrogated by an amendment of Article 368 itself and the amending power can be enlarged by an exercise of that very power. According to Mr. Palkhivala this argument is wholly fallacious. Firstly, the observations of the Privy Council Ibid p.

198 is merely on the form and manner of amendment and has nothing to do with substantive limitations on the power of amendment. Placing limits on the amending power cannot be confused with questions of special legislative process which is also referred to by their Lordships. Ibid portions D to E Secondly, the Ceylon Constitution authorised the Parliament to amend or repeal the Constitution, which power is far wider than the power of amendment simpliciter conferred by Article 368. It is suggested that Ranasinghe’s case is a direct authority against the respondents since it held the religious and racial rights to be unalterable, which clearly implies that Parliament had no competence to take away those rights even in exercise of its power to amend the Constitution by following the prescribed form and manner in Sub-section (4) of Section 29 of the Ceylon Constitution Act. The material importance of this case is that even though observations were made by the Lordships which may in a sense be obiter those were based on necessary implications arising from Section 29 of the Ceylon Constitution Act and were made with reference to interpretation of Constitutional provisions which had a good deal of similarity (even on the admission of the Advocate General of Maharashtra) with some parts of our Constitution, particularly those which relate to fundamental rights.

599. Don John Francis Douglas Liyange v. The Queen [1967] 1 A.C. 259 is another decision on which strong reliance has been placed on behalf of the petitioners. The Ceylon Parliament passed an Act which substantially modified the Criminal Procedure Code inter alia by purporting to legalise an ex-post facto detention for 60 days of any person suspected of having committed an offence against the State. This class of offences for which trial without a jury by three Judges nominated by the Minister for Justice could be ordered was widened and arrest without a warrant for waging war against the Queen could be effected. New minimum penalties for that offence were provided. The Privy Council held that the impugned legislation involved a usurpation and infringement by the legislature of judicial powers inconsistent with the written Constitution of Ceylon which, while not in terms vesting judicial functions in the judiciary, manifested an intention to secure in the judiciary a freedom from political, legislative and executive control and in effect left untouched the judicial system established by the Charter of Justice of 1833.

The legislation was struck down as void. Their Lordships observed inter alia that powers in case of countries with written Constitutions must be exercised in accordance with the terms of the Constitution from which they were derived. Reference was made to the provisions in the Constitution for appointment of Judges by the Judicial Service Commission and it was pointed out that these provisions manifested an intention to secure in the judiciary a freedom from political, legislative and executive control. It was said that these provisions were wholly appropriate in a Constitution which intended that judicial power shall vest only in the judicature. And they would be inappropriate in a Constitution by which it was intended that judicial power should be shared by the executive or the legislature.

600. There seems to be a good deal of substance in the submission of Mr. Palkhivala that the above decision is based on the principle of implied limitations; because otherwise under Section 29(1) of the Ceylon Constitution Act Parliament was competent to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the island subject to the provisions of the Order. Strong observations were made on the true nature and purpose of the impugned enactments and it was said that the alterations made by them in the functions of the judiciary constituted a grave and deliberate incursion in the judicial sphere. The following passage is noteworthy and enlightening:

If such Acts as these were valid the judicial power could be wholly absorbed by the legislature and taken out of the hands of the judges. It is appreciated that the legislature has no such general intention. It was beset by a grave situation and it took grave measures to deal with it, thinking, one must presume, that it had power to do so and was acting rightly. But that consideration is irrelevant, and gives no validity to acts which infringe the Constitution. What is done once, if it be allowed, may be done again and in a lesser crisis and less serious circumstances. And thus judicial power may be eroded. Such an erosion is contrary to the clear intention of the Constitution.

601. Mohamed Samsudden Kariapper v. S.S. Wijesinha and Anr. [1968] Appeal Cases 717 has been cited on behalf of the State of Kerala for the proposition that judicial power could, by an amendment of our Constitution, be transferred to the legislature thus negativing the principle of implied limitation. In that case a report had been made under the Commission of Inquiry Act about certain allegations of bribery having been proved against some members of the Parliament of whom the appellant was one. Under a certain Act civil disabilities on persons to whom the Act applied were imposed. It also contained a provision that in the event of inconsistency with existing law, the Act should prevail.

The appellant challenged the validity of that Act on the ground that it was inconsistent with the Constitution and was usurpation of the judicial power. It may be mentioned that the Speaker had, in accordance with the proviso to Section 29(4) of the Constitution of Ceylon, endorsed a certificate under his hand on the bill for imposition of civic disabilities (Special Provisions) Act. The Privy Council held that the said Act was an exercise of legislative power and not the usurpation of judicial power. The Constitution of Ceylon was a controlled Constitution and the Act was an inconsistent law; the Act was to be regarded as amending the Constitution unless some provisions denying the Act Constitutional effect was to be found in the Constitutional restrictions imposed on the power of amendment. Apart from the proviso to Section 29(4) of the Constitution Act, there was no reason for not construing the words “amend or repeal” in that provision as extending to amendment or repeal by inconsistent law. The Act, therefore, amended the Constitution. Finally upon the merits it was observed that in view of the conclusion that the Act was a law and not an exercise of judicial power it was not necessary to consider the question whether Parliament could, by a law passed in accordance with the proviso to Section 29(4), both assume judicial power and exercise it in the one law.

602. The above decision can certainly be invoked as an authority for the proposition that even in a controlled Constitution where the form and manner had been followed of amending it, an Act, which would be inconsistent with it and which did not in express terms state that it was an amending Act, would have the effect of altering the Constitution. But it does not support any suggestion, as has been made on behalf of the respondents, that judicial power could, by an amendment of our Constitution, be transferred to the legislature. Moreover, as expressly stated by their lordships, the Ceylon Constitution empowered the Parliament “to amend or repeal” the Constitution and, therefore, there can be no comparison between the scope of the Ceylon Parliament’s amending power and that of the amending body under Article 368.

603. We may next deal with the Australian decisions because there has been a good deal of discussion in them about implied limitations which can arise in the absence of express limitations. The subject matter of most of the decisions has been the Commonwealth’s taxing power. Section 51 of the Australian Constitution grants power to legislate with regard to taxation to the Commonwealth in wide terms but with certain express reservations, viz., that duties of customs should be uniform, that the taxing laws must not discriminate between States, nor must revenue laws give preference to one State over another State. Section 114 bars the Commonwealth from taxing property of any kind belonging to a State. In Amalgamated Society of Engineers v. Adelaide Steamship Co.

Ltd. [1920] HCA 54; [1920] 28 C.L.R. 129 the High Court of Australia accepted the principles of construction of a Constitution laid down by the Privy Council in Reg v. Burah [1878] 3 A.C. 889 and Att. Gen. of Ontario v. Att. Gen. of Canada [1912] A.C. 571 viz., that the only way in which a court can determine whether the prescribed limits of legislative power had been exceeded or not was “by looking to the terms of the instrument by which affirmatively, the legislative powers are created, and by which negatively, they are restricted”; nothing was to be read into it on ground of policy of necessity arising or supposed to arise from the nature of the federal form of government nor were speculations as to the motives of the legislature to be entered into by the Court. These words would apparently appear to reject any proposition as to implied limitations in the Constitution against an exercise of power once it is ascertained in accordance with the ordinary rules of construction. Such an interpretation of the Engineers’ case [1920] HCA 54; [1920] 28 C.L.R. 129 supposed to have buried for ever the principle of implied limitations, has not been unanimously accepted nor has the above criterion laid down been adhered to. In Att.

Gen. of New South Wales v. Brewery Employees Union [1908] HCA 94; [1908] 6 C.L.R. 469 at pp. 611- 612, Higgins, J. cautioned that “although the words of the Constitution are to be interpreted on the same principles of interpretation as are applied to any ordinary law, these very principles of interpretation compel us to take into account the nature and scope of the Act-“to remember that it is a Constitution, a mechanism under which laws are to be made, and not a mere Act which declares what the law is to be”. Sir Owen Dixon in Australian Railways Union v. Victorian Railway Commissioners [1930] HCA 52; [1930] 44 C.L.R. 319, 390 and later in West v. Commissioner of Taxation [1937] HCA 26; [1937] 56 C.L.R. 657, 682 formulated what in his view was the basic principle laid down in Engineers’ case (Supra) and made observations relating to reservations of qualifications, which he thought had been made, concerning the prima facie rule of interpretation which that decision laid down. In Ex-parte Professional Engineers Association [1959] HCA 47; [1959] 107 C.L.R. 208, 239 he once again adverted to the Engineers’ case and suggested that perhaps “the reservations and qualifications therein expressed concerning the federal power of taxation and laws dircted specially to the states and also perhaps the prerogative of the Crown received too little attention.” The question as to implied limitations was directly raised and decided in the Melbourne Corporation v. Commonwealth. [1947] HCA 26; [1947] 74 C.L.R. 31 It was held that Section 48 of the Banking Act, 1945, prohibiting banks from conducting banking business for a state and for any authority of the state, including a local government authority was invalid. Two contentions were raised in that case : (1) that the impugned Act was not a law on banking within Section 51(xiii) because it was not a law with respect to banking, and (2) that the grant of power in Section 51(xiii) must be read subject to limitations in favour of the State because it appears in a federal Constitution, so that even if Section 48 could be treated as a law with respect to banking, it was stall invalid since its operation interfered with the states in the exercise of their governmental functions. The second contention was accepted by the majority. Latham C.J. stated that laws which discriminated against states or which unduly interfered with states in the exercise of their functions of government were not laws authorised by the Constitution, even if they were laws with respect to a subject matter within the legislative power of the Commonwealth Parliament. Rich J., held that the Constitution expressly provided for the continued existence of the States and that, therefore, any action on the part of the Commonwealth, in purported exercise of its Constitutional powers, which would prevent a State from continuing to exist or function as such was necessarily invalid because of inconsistency with the express provisions of the Constitution. Stark, J. said that the federal character of the Australian Constitution carried implications of its own, that the government was a dual system based upon a separation of organs and of powers and, consequently, maintenance of the States and their powers was as much the object of the Constitution as maintenance of the Commonwealth and its powers. Therefore, it was beyond the power of either to abolish or destroy the other.

604. The same contention was raised in a recent case of Victoria v. The Commonwealth [1971] 45 A.L.J. 251, where the Pay-roll Tax Act, 1941 and the Pay-roll Tax Assessment Act, 1941-1969 were impugned. These Acts were passed by the Commonwealth Parliament for financing the provisions of the Child Endowment Act, 1941 and casting the burden on employers by taxing wages paid by them. The Crown in right of a State was in each State a considerable employer of labour, and in some States of industrial labour. The Crown in right of a State was included in the definition of ’employer’ for the purpose of the Act. The question raised for decision was about the Constitutional validity of the Act in so far as it purported to impose upon the State of Victoria an obligation to payroll tax rated to the amount of salaries and wages paid to its public servants employed in certain department named in its statement of claim.

605. The contention raised by the State of Victoria as summarised by Barwick, C.J. was that though the impugned Act fell under the enumerated power of taxation in Section 51 of the Constitution Act, that section did not authorise the imposition of a tax upon the Crown in the right of a State because there was an implied Constitutional limitation upon that Commonwealth power operating universally, that is to say, as to all the activities of a State. The point most pressed, however, was in a somewhat limited form, viz., that the legislative power with respect to taxation did not extend to authorise the imposition of a tax upon “any essential governmental activity” of a State and therefore, at the least, the power under Section 51 did not authorise a tax upon the State in respect of wages paid to its civil servants. In other words such a limitation, whether of universal or of limited operation, was derived by implication from the federal nature of the Constitution, and therefore, to levy a tax rated to the wages paid to its servants employed in departments of governments, so trenched upon the governmental functions of the State as to burden, impair and threaten the independent exercise of those functions. All the seven judges agreed, firstly, that the Act was valid, and secondly, upon the proposition laid down in the Engineers’ case (Supra) as also in certain other decisions that where a power was granted to the Commonwealth by a specific provision such as Section 51(ii), the Commonwealth could pass a law which would bind the States as it would bind individuals. The difference amongst the judges, however, arose as regards the question of implied limitation on such a power, however, expressly granted. Barwick C.J. and Owen J. were of the view that a law which in substance takes a State or its powers or functions of government as its subject matter is invalid because it cannot be supported upon any granted legislative power but there is no implied limitation on a Commonwealth legislative power under the Constitution arising from its federal nature. McTiernan J. was also of the view that there was no necessary implication restraining the Commonwealth from making the law. However, Menzies, Windeyer, Walsh and Gibbs JJ. held in categorial terms that there is an implied limitation on Commonwealth legislative power under the Constitution on account of its federal nature. According to Menzies J. a Constitution providing for indissoluble federal Commonwealth must protect both Commonwealth and States. The States were not outside the Constitution. Accordingly although the Constitution clearly enough subjected the States to laws made by Commonwealth Parliament it did so with some limitation. Windeyer J., read the Melbourne Corporation case (Supra) as confirming the principle of implication and added that the court in reading the Constitution “must not shy away from the word `implication’ and disavow every concept that it connotes.” Walsh J. rejected the contention that it was inconsistent with the principles of construction laid down in Engineers’ case that the ambit of power with respect to enumerated subject matter should be restricted in any way otherwise than by an express provision specially imposing some defined limitation upon it and observed:

there is a substantial body of authority for the proposition that the federal nature of the Constitution does give rise to implications by which some limitations are imposed upon the extent of the power of the Commonwealth Parliament to subject the States to its legislation.

According to Gibbs J., the ordinary principles of statutory interpretation did not preclude the making of implications when they were necessary to give effect to the intention of the legislature as revealed in the statute as a whole. The intention of the Imperial Parliament in enacting the Constitution was to give effect to the wishes of the Australian people to join in a federal union and to establish a federal and not a unitary system. In some respects the Commonwealth was placed in a position of supremacy as the national interest required but it would be inconsistent with the very basis of federation that the Commonwealth’s power should extend to reducing the states to such a position of subordination that their very existence as independent units would be dependent upon the manner in which the Commonwealth exercises its powers, rather than on the legal limits of the powers themselves. He proceeded to say:

Thus, the purpose of the Constitution, and the scheme by which it is intended to be given effect, necessarily give rise to implications as to the manner in which the Commonwealth and the States respectively may exercise their powers, vis-a-vis each other.

606. The Advocate General of Maharashtra does not dispute that there are necessary implications in a federal Constitution such as, for example, that any law violating any provision of the Constitution is void even in the absence of an express declaration to that effect. Again it is a necessary implication of a republican Constitution that the sovereign of a foreign State-United Kingdom cannot place Indian territory in groups by Orders in Council as provided in the Fugutive Offenders Act, and, therefore, that Act is inconsistent with the Republican Constitution of India, and is not continued in force by Article 372;

see State of Madras v. G.C. Menon [1954] INSC 67; [1955] 1 S.C.R. 280. But he maintains that the principle of Queen v. Burah is not in any way displaced. Burah’s case, according to him, laid down principles of interpretation and in doing so the Privy Council itself enunciated the doctrine of ultra vires which is a necessary implication of an Act of the British Parliament creating bodies or authorities with limited powers. An attempt has been made to show that the judgment of Chief Justice Barwick in the above Australian decision stated the basic principle of construction correctly and those principles are applicable to our Constitution also since the decision was based on Queen v. Burah [1878] 3 A.C. 889 which has been consistently followed by this Court. We have already dealt with that decision and we are unable to agree that Queen v. Burah stands in the way of drawing implications where the purpose of the Constitution and the scheme by which it is intended to be given effect, necessarily give rise to certain implications.

607. Turning to the Canadian decisions we need refer only to those which have a material bearing on the questions before us. In The Attorney General of Nova Scotia v. The Att.

Gen. of Canada [1951] Can. L. Rep. 31 the Constitutionality of an Act respecting the delegation of jurisdiction from the Parliament of Canada to the Legislature of Nova Scotia and vice versa was canvassed. The Supreme Court of Canada held that since it contemplated delegation by Parliament of powers exclusively vested in it by Section 91 of the British North America Act to the Legislature of Nova Scotia; and delegation by that Legislature of powers, exclusively vested in Provincial Legislature under Section 92 of the Act to Parliament, it could not be Constitutionally valid. The principal ground on which the decision was based was that the Parliament of Canada and each Provincial Legislature is a sovereign body within its sphere, possessed of exclusive jurisdiction to legislate with regard to the subject matter assigned to it under Section 91 or Section 92 as the case may be. Neither is capable, therefore, of delegating to the other the powers with which it has been vested nor of receiving from the other the power with which the other has been vested. The learned Chief Justice observed that the Constitution of Canada “does not belong either to the Parliament or to the Legislatures; it belongs to the country and it is there that the citizens of the country will find the protection of the rights to which they are entitled.

608. Although nothing was expressly mentioned either in Section 91 or Section 92 of the British North America Act a limitation was implied on the power of Parliament and the Provincial Legislatures to delegate legislative power. Mention may also made of John Switzman v. Freda Elbling (1957) Can. L.R. (Supreme Court) 285 at p. 327 (to which we have already referred while dealing with the question of the use of the preamble.) In that case the validity of the Act respecting communistic propaganda of the Province of Quebec was held to be ultra vires of the Provincial Legislature. Abbot J., after referring to various decisions of the Privy Council as also the Supreme Court of Canada See in particular the observation of Duff C.J. in Alberta Statutes Case (1938) SCR (Canada) 100 at pages 132-133 said that the Canada Election Act, the provisions of the British North America Act which provided for Parliament meeting at least once a year and for the election of a new Parliament at least every five years and the Senate and House of Commons Act, were examples of enactments which made specific statutory provisions for ensuring the exercise of the right of public debate and public discussion. “Implicit in all such legislation is the right of candidates for Parliament or for a Legislature and of citizens generally, to explain, to criticize, debate and discuss in the freest possible manner such matters as the qualifications, the policies, and the political, economic and social principles advocated by such candidates or by the political parties or groups of which they may be member”. That right could not be abrogated by a Provincial Legislature and its power was limited to what might be necessary to protect purely private rights. He was further of the opinion that according to the Canadian Constitution, as it stood, Parliament itself could not abrogate this right of discussion and debate.

609. The Advocate General of Maharashtra has pointed out that these decisions relate to the legislative competence of provicial legislatures to effect civil liberties like freedom of speech, religion or to legislate in respect of criminal matters. They are not relevant for the purpose of determining the amending power under the Constitution. So far as the civil rights are concerned in Canada it is noteworthy, according to the Advocate General, that the Canadian Bill of Rights 1960 makes the rights therein defeasible by an express declaration that an Act of Parliament shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill of Rights. It has also been submitted that the well known writers of Constitutional law both of Australia and Canada have not attached any signficance or accepted the principle of implied limitations. See W.A. Wynes, Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers in Australia and Bora Laskin, The Canadian Constitutional Law. The opinions of authors and writers have been cited before us so extensively, by both sides, that we find a great deal of conflict in their expression of opinion and it will not be safe to place any reliance on them. The judges who have read limitations by implication are well known and of recognised eminence and it is not fair to reject their views for the reasons suggested by the Advocate General.

610. We need hardly deal at length with the Irish decisions. The principle emerging from the majority decision in The State (at the prosecution of Jermiah Ryan v. Captain Michael Lenons and Ors. (1935) Irish Reports 170 that under Section 50 of the 1922 Constitution (which provided for Constitutional amendment by ordinary legislation during the first period of 8 years which was subsequently extended to 16 years) an ordinary law inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution had the effect of amendment of the Constitution, caused considerable debate. During the controversy it was strongly urged that the power of Constitutional amendment was not identical with pouvoir constitutent;

that it was not within the competence of agencies invested with the power of Constitutional amendment to drastically revise the structural organisation of a State, to change a monarchical into a republican and a representative into a direct form of government. The argument was based on the conception underlying Article 2 of the French Law of 1884 which provided that the republican form of government could not be made subject of Constitutional amendment. Section 50 of that Constitution, in particular, was criticized as being too pliant for the first period of 8 years and too rigid for the period following it Leo Kohn, The Constitution of the Irish Free State pp. 257-259. After the 1937 Constitution which became a model for our Constitution makers the trend of judicial thinking underwent a transformation and instead of treating an Act inconsistent with the Constitution as having the effect of impliedly amending the Constitution such an Act was regarded as invalid to the extent of its inconsistency with the Constitution. See Edmund Burke v. Lenon (1940) Ir. Reports 136 and Margaret Buckley v. Att. Gen. of Eire (1950) Ir. Reports 67. The 1922 Constitution was considered to be of such “light weight” that there were no fewer than 27 Acts expressed to be Acts impliedly amending that Constitution See generally J.M. Kelly, Fundamental Rights on the Irish Law and Constitution (1968) 1-17 within a period of 15 years. During the period 1922-27 the judges were used to the British idea of sovereignty of Parliament and notions of fundamental; law were foreign to their training and tradition. The 1937 Constitution is more rigid than its predecessor though Article 51 permits the Oireachtas to amend the Constitution during the first three years by ordinary legislation. Such legislation, however, is expressly excepted unlike Article 50 of the 1922 Constitution from the amending power. Mention may be made of The State v. The Minister for Justice etc.

[1967] Ir. Rep. 106 in which it was held that the provisions of Section 13 of the Lunatic Asylums (Ireland) Act 1875 which prevented an accused person from appearing before the District Court on the return date of his remand constituted interference with an exercise of judicial power to administer justice. This case and similar cases e.g., Margaret Buckley v. Att. Gen. of Eire [1950] Ir. Rep. 67 may not afford much assistance in determining the question about implied limitation to the amending power in a Constitution because they deal with the question mostly of repugnancy of ordinary legislation to Constitutional provisions. The main decision however, was in Ryan’s [1935] Ir. Rep. 170 case in which Kennedy C.J. drew various implications from the Constitution but the majority of judges declined to do so and read the word “amendment”

as wide enough to allow the repeal of a number of articles, however important in substance they might be.

611. It is equally unnecessary to deal with the argument on behalf of the respondents that the Privy Council in Moore v. Attorney General of Irish Free State [1935] A.C. 484 rejected the contention of the counsel based on the reasoning of Kennedy C.J. Moore’s case was decided principally on the effect of the passing of the statute of Westminster as is clear from the summing up of the position by their Lordships. Ibid p. 498 612. As regards the position in the United States of America a great deal of reliance has been placed on behalf of the respondents on United States of America v. William H.

Sprague. [1931] USSC 53; 75 L. Ed. 640. According to that decision the choice between submission of a proposed amendment to the federal Constitution to State Legislatures and submission to State Conventions under Article 5 of the Constitution was in the sole discretion of Congress irrespective of whether the amendment was one dealing with the machinery of government or with matters affecting the liberty of the citizen. It was argued that amendments may be of different kinds, e.g., mere changes in the character of federal means of machinery on the one hand, and matters affecting the liberty of the citizen, on the other. It was said that the framers of the Constitution accepted the former sort to be ratified by the legislature whereas they intended that the latter must be referred to the people because not only of lack of power in the legislature to ratify but also because of doubt as to their truly representing the people. The Court observed that where the intention was clear there was no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation or addition and it had been repeatedly and consistently declared in earlier decisions that the choice of mode rested solely in the discretion of the Congress. It is sought to be concluded from this decision that the Supreme Court of the United States refused to read any implications of the nature argued in that case.

613. Mr. Palkhivala says that the decision in U.S. v. W.H. Sprague (Supra) has no relevance to the questions before us. All that it laid down was that the Congress had the sole discretion to decide whether a proposed amendment should be submitted to State Legislatures or to the State conventions. The language of Article 5 itself shows that sole discretion in this matter is conferred on the Congress irrespective of whether the amendment deals with the machinery of government or with matters affecting the rights and liberties of the citizen. Sprague’s case it is suggested, was merely a fresh attempt after the decision of the Supreme Court in the State of Rhode Island v. A. Mitchell Palmer [1920] USSC 144; 64 L. Ed. 946 to argue that the 18th amendment which introduced prohibition was unConstitutional since it was ratified by the State Legislatures and the attempt rightly failed. For the reasons suggested by Mr. Palkhivala which appear to have a good deal of substance we are unable, to derive any help from U.S. v. W.H. Sprague.

614. The Advocate General of Maharashtra has invoked another principle to the effect that unless the power of amendment is co-extensive with the judicial power of invalidating laws made under the Constitution the judiciary would be supreme; therefore, the power of amendment should be co-extensive with judicial power. This follows from what has been repeatedly held by this Court that under our Constitution none of the three great departments of the State is supreme and it is only the Constitution which is supreme and which provides for a government of laws and not of men. The reply of Mr.

Palkhivala is that if the Constitution is supreme, as it is, it necessarily follows that there must be limitation on the amending power because if there are ‘no limitations the legislature would be supreme and not the Constitution. If the legislature’s power of amending Constitution were coextensive with the judicial power of invalidating laws made under the Constitution, the legislature can bend the Constitution to its wheel in every way which will lead to a result contrary to what has been provided in the Constitution, namely, that there are three great departments of the State and no one can have supremacy over the other. When the judiciary places a limitation on the amending powers, says, Mr. Palkhivala, only as a matter of true construction the consequence is not that the judiciary is supreme but that the Constitution is supreme. It is claimed that on his arguments, the legislature, executive and judiciary remain coordinate which is the correct position under the Constitution. If the respondent’s argument is accepted the amending power is absolute and limitless. It can make the judiciary and the executive completely subordinate to it or take over their powers.

615. We are unable to see how the power of judicial review makes the judiciary supreme in any sense of the word. This power is of paramount importance in a federal Constitution. Indeed it has been said that the heart and core of a democracy lies in the judicial process; (per Bose J., in Bidi Supply Co. v. The Union of India [1956] S.C.R.

267). The observations of Patanjali Sastri C.J. in State of Madras v. V.G. Row [1952] INSC 19; [1952] S.C.R. 597 which have become locus classicus need alone be repeated in this connection.

Judicial review is undertaken by the courts “not out of any desire to tilt at legislative authority in a crusador’s spirit, but in discharge of a duty plainly laid upon them by the Constitution.” The respondents have also contended that to let the court have judicial review over Constitutional amendments would mean involving the court in political questions. To this the answer may be given in the words of Lord Porter in Commonwealth of Australia v. Bank of New South Wales [1950] A.C. 235 at 310:

The problem to be solved will often be not so much legal as political, social or economic, yet it must be solved by a court of law. For where the dispute is, as here, not only between Commonwealth and citizen but between Commonwealth and intervening States on the one hand and citizens and States on the other, it is only the Court that can decide the issue, it is vain to invoke the voice of Parliament.

There is ample evidence in the Constitution itself to indicate that it creates a system of checks and balances by reason of which powers are so distributed that none of the three organs it sets up can become so pre-dominant as to disable the others from exercising and discharging powers and functions entrusted to them. Though the Constitution does not lay down the principle of separation of powers in all its rigidity as is the case in the United Constitution but it envisages such a separation to a degree as was found in Ranasinghe’s case. The judicial review provided expressly in our Constitution by means of Article 226 and 32 is one of the features upon which hinges the system of checks and balances. Apart from that, as already stated, the necessity for judicial decision on the competence or otherwise of an Act arises from the very federal nature of a Constitution (per Haldane, L.C. in Att. Gen. for the Commonwealth of Australia v. Colonial Sugar Refining Co. [1914] A.C. 237 and Ex parte Walsh and Johnson, In re Yates. [1925] HCA 53; (1925) 37 C.L.R. 36 at p. 58. The function of interpretation of a Constitution being thus assigned to the judicial power of the State, the question whether the subject of a law is within the ambit of one or more powers of the legislature conferred by the Constitution would always be a question of interpretation of the Constitution. It may be added that at no stage the respondents have contested the proposition that the validity of a Constitutional amendment can be the subject of review by this Court. The Advocate General of Maharasthra has characterised judicial review as undemocratic. That cannot, however, be so in our Constitution because of the provisions relating to the appointment of judges, the specific restriction to which the fundamental rights are made subject, the deliberate exclusion of the due process clause in Article 21 and the affirmation in Article 141 that judges declare but not make law. To this may be added the none two rigid amendatory process which authorises amendment by means oft 2/3 majority and the additional requirement of ratification.

616. According to the learned Attorney General the entire argument on the basis of implied limitations is fundamentally wrong. He has also relied greatly on the decision in Burah’s case and other similar decisions. It is pointed out that there can be no inherent limitation on the power of amendment having regard to the purpose for which the power is needed. The argument about the non-amendability of the essential framework of the Constitution is illusive because every part of a Constitutional document admits of the possibility of imperfect drafting or ambiguity. Even basic concepts or ideals undergo progressive changes. It has been strenuously urged that the Constitution read as a whole did not contemplate the perpetuation of the existing social and economic inequalities and a duty has been cast on the State to organise a new social order. The Attorney General quoted the opinion of several writers and authors in support of his contention that there must be express words of limitation in a provision which provides for amendment of the Constitution from which it follows that no implied limitations can be read therein.

617. The correct approach to the question of limitations which may be implied in any legislative provisions including a Constitutional document has to be made from the point of view of interpretation. It is not a novel theory or a doctrine which has to be treated as an innovation of those who evolve heterodox methods to substantiate their own thesis.

The argument that there are no implied limitations because there are no express limitations is a contradiction in terms. Implied limitations can only arise where there are no express limitations. The contention of the learned Attorney General that no implications can be read in an amending power in a Constitution must be repelled in the words of Dixon J. in West v. Commissioner of Taxation (N.S.W.) [1936-37] 56 C.L.R.

657:

Since the Engineers’ case a notion seems to have gained currency that in interpreting the Constitution no implications can be made. Such a method of construction would defeat the intention of any instrument, but of all instruments a written Constitution seems the last to which it could be applied 618. We are equally unable to hold that in the light of the Preamble, the entire scheme of the Constitution the relevant provisions thereof and the context in which the material expressions are used in Article 368 no implied limitations arise to the exercise of the power of amendment. The respondents do not dispute, that, certain limitations arise by necessary implication e.g., the Constitution cannot be abrogated or repealed in its entirety and that the India’s polity has to be a Sovereign Democratic Republic, apart from several other implications arising from Article 368 which have been noticed.

619. The argument that the Nation cannot grow and that the objectives set out in the Preamble cannot be achieved unless the amending power has the ambit and the width of the power of a Constitutent Assembly itself or the People themselves appears to be based on grounds which do not have a solid bask The Constitution makers provided for development of the country in all the fields social, economic and political. The structure of the Constitution has been erected on the concept of an egalitarian society. But the Constitution makers did not desire that it should be a society where the citizen will not enjoy the various freedoms and such rights as are the basic elements of those freedoms, e.g., the right to equality, freedom of religion etc., so that his dignity as an individual may be maintained. It has been strongly urged on behalf of the respondents that a citizen cannot have any dignity if he is economically or socially backward. No one can dispute such a statement but the whole scheme underlying the Constitution is to bring about economic and social changes without taking away the dignity of the individual. Indeed, the same has been placed on such a high pedestal that to ensure the freedoms etc. their infringement has been made justiciable by the highest court in the land. The dictum of Das C.J. in Kerala Education Bill case paints the true picture in which there must be harmony between Parts III and IV; indeed the picture will get distorted and blurred if any vital provision out of them is cut out or denuded of its identity.

620. The basic structure of the Constitution is not a vague concept and the apprehensions expressed on behalf of the respondents that neither the citizen nor the Parliament would be able to understand it are unfounded. If the historical background, the Preamble, the entire scheme of the Constitution, the relevant provisions thereof including Article 368 are kept in mind there can be no difficulty in discerning that the following can be regarded as the basic elements of the Constitutional structure. (These cannot be catalogued but can only be illustrated).

1. The supremacy of the Constitution.

2. Republican and Democratic form of Government and sovereignty of the country.

3. Secular and federal character of the Constitution.

4. Demarcation of power between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

5. The dignity of the individual (secured by the various freedoms and basic rights in Part III and the mandate to build a welfare State contained in Part IV.

6. The unity and the integrity of the nation.

621. The entire discussion from the point of view of the meaning of the expression “amendment” as employed in Article 368 and the limitations which arise by implications leads to the result that the amending power under Article 368 is neither narrow nor unlimited. On the footing on which we have proceeded the validity of the 25th amendment can be sustained if Article 368, as it originally stood and after the amendment, is read in the way we have read it. The insertion of Articles 13(4) and 368(3) and the other amendments made will not affect the result, namely, that the power in Article 368 is wide enough to permit amendment of each and every Article of the Constitution by way of addition, variation or repeal so long as its basic elements are not abrogated or denuded of their identity.

622. We may next deal with the validity of the Constitution (25th Amendment) Act.

Section 2 of the Amending Act provides:

2. In Article 31 of the Constitution,- (a) for Clause (2), the following clause shall be substituted, namely:

(2) No property shall be compulsorily acquired or requisitioned save for a public purpose and save by authority of a law which provides for acquisition or requisitioning of the property for a amount which may be fixed by such law or which may be determined in accordance with such principles and given in such manner as may be specified in such law; and no such law shall be called in question in any court on the ground that the amount so fixed or determined is not adequate or that the whole or any part of such amount is to be given otherwise than in cash:

Provided…

(b) after Clause (2A), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:

(2B) Nothing in Sub-clause (f) of Clause (1) of Article 19 shall affect any such law as is referred to in Clause (2).

As stated in the Statement of Objects and Reasons to the Bill (No. 106 of 1971) the word “compensation” was sought to be omitted from Article 31(2) and replaced by the word “amount”. It was being clarified that the said “amount” may be given otherwise than in cash. It was also provided that Article 19(1)(f) shall not apply to any law relating to acquisition or requisitioning of property for a public purpose. The position of the respondents is that “compensation” had been given the meaning of market value or the just equivalent of what the owner had been deprived of according to the decisions of this Court. See State of West Bengal v. Mrs. Bela Bannerji and Ors. [1953] INSC 81; (1954) S.C.R. 558. That had led to the 4th Amendment Act 1955. The later decisions (2) Vajravelu Mudaliar v.

Special Deputy Collector, Madras [1964] INSC 214; (1965) S.C.R. 614 and Union of India v. Metal Corporation of India and Anr. [1966] INSC 154; [1967] 1 S.C.R. 255 had continued to uphold the concept of “compensation” i.e. just equivalent of the value of the property acquired in spite of the amendments made in 1955. In State of Gujarat v. Shantilal Mangaldas and Ors. [1969] INSC 8; [1969] 3 S.C.R. 341 the decision in Metal Corporation of India [1966] INSC 154; [1967] 1 S.C.R. 255 was overruled which itself was virtually overruled by R.C. Cooper v. Union of India. [1970] 3 S.C.R.

530. According to the Advocate General of Maharashtra, if Shantilal Mangaldas etc. had not been overruled by R.C. Cooper v. Union of India there would have been no necessity of amending Article 31(2).

623. The first question that has to be determined is the meaning of the word “amount”.

Unlike the word “compensation” it has no legal connotation. It is a neutral, colourless word. The dictionary meanings do not help in arriving at its true import as used in a Constitutional provision. It can be anything from one paisa to an astronomical figure in rupees. Its meaning has, therefore, to be ascertained by turning to the context in which it is used and the words preceding it as well as following it.

624. The scheme of Article 31(2) now is:

(1) The property has to be compulsorily acquired or requisitioned.

(2) It has to be for a public purpose.

(3) It has to be by a law.

(4) The law must provide for an amount which may be- (i) fixed by such law or (ii) which may be determined in accordance with such principles as may be specified in such law.

(5) The law shall not be questioned in a Court on the ground:

(i) The amount so fixed or determined is not adequate or (ii) the whole or any part of such amount is to be given otherwise than in cash.

It is significant that the amount can be determined in accordance with specified principles, if it is not fixed by the law itself. Moreover, its adequacy cannot be questioned in a court. The use of the word “principles” and the question of inadequacy can only arise if the amount has some norm. If it has no norm no question of specifying any principles arises nor can there be any occasion for the determination of its adequacy. The very fact that the court is debarred from going into the question of adequacy shows that the “amount” can be adequate or inadequate. Even if it is inadequate, the fixation or determination of that amount is immune from any challenge. It postulates the existence of some standard or norm without which any enquiry into adequacy becomes wholly unnecessary and irrelevant Moreover, either method of giving an amount must bring about the same result In other words, if Rs. 1000 is the amount to be given for acquisition of a property, it must be either fixed or must be determinable by the principles specified in the event of its not being fixed. It could not be intended that the two alternative modes should lead to varying results, i.e., it could be fixed at Rs. 1000 but if the principles are specified they do not yield that figure.

625. The Advocate General of Maharashtra says that the right of the owner is just what the government determines it to be. It can give what it pleases and when it choses to do so. Such an argument is untenable and introduces an element of arbitrariness which cannot be attributed to the Parliament.

626. In Shantilal Mangal Das, which, on the submission of the Advocate General, enunciated the correct principles relating to Article 31(2) as it then stood, it was laid down that something fixed or determined by the application of specified principles which was illusory or could in no sense be regarded as compensation was not bound to be upheld by the Courts, “for to do so would be to grant a charter of arbitrariness and permit a device to defeat the Constitutional guarantees”. It was added that the principles could be challenged on the ground that they were irrelevant to the determination of compensation but not on the plea that what was awarded was not just or fair compensation. Thus it was open to the courts to go into the question of arbitrariness of the amount fixed or its being illusory even under the law laid down in Shantilal Mangaldas (supra). The relevance of the principles had also been held to be justiciable. R.C. Cooper’s case did not lay down different principles. But the observations made therein were understood to mean that the concept of just equivalent not accepted in Shantilal’s case was restored. The amendment now made is apparently aimed at removing that concept and for that reason the word “amount” has been substituted in place of “compensation”. This is particularly so as we find no reason for departing from the well-settled rule that in such circumstances the Parliament made the amendment knowing full well the ratio of the earlier decisions.

627. The Advocate General of Maharashtra has submitted that the fixing of the amount or alternatively specifying the principles for determining that amount is entirely within the judgment of the legislature and the whole object of the amendment is to exclude judicial review which had been introduced by the courts on the basis of the concept of compensation. But even then the members of the legislature must have some basis or principles before them to fix the amount as the same cannot be done in an arbitrary way.

He, however, gave an unusual explanation that in the Cabinet system of government it is for the government to determine the amount or specify such principles as it choses to do.

The legislators belonging to the ruling party are bound to support the measure whether the basis on which the amount has been determined is disclosed to them or not. It is wholly incomprehensible how there can be any legislative judgment or decision unless there is room for debate and discussion both by members of the ruling party and the opposition. For any discussion on the “amount” fixed or the principles specified the entire basis has to be disclosed. There can be no basis if there is no standard or norm.

628. The learned Solicitor General agrees that Article 31(2) after amendment still binds the legislature to provide for the giving to the owner a sum of money either in cash or otherwise. In fixing the “amount”, the legislature has to act on some principle. This is not because of any particular obligation arising out of Article 31(2), but from the general nature of legislative power itself. Whatever, the subject or the nature of legislation it always proceeds on a principle it is based on legislative policy. The principle may include considerations of social justice: Judicial review on the ground of inadequacy of the “amount” and the manner of payment is excluded by express language. No other question is excluded. The expropriated owner still continues to have a fundamental right. This argument is not quite the same as that of the learned Solicitor General.

629. It is true that the “amount” to be paid to an owner may not be the market value. The price of the property might have increased owing to various factors to which no contribution has been made by the owner. The element of social justice may have to be taken into consideration. But still on the learned Solicitor General’s argument, the right to receive the “amount” continues to be a fundamental right That cannot be denuded of its identity. The obligation to act on some principle while fixing the amount arises both from Article 31(2) and from the nature of the legislative power. For, there can be no power which permits in a democratic system an arbitrary use of power. If an aggrieved owner approaches the court alleging that he is being deprived of that right on the grounds now open to him, the Court cannot decline to look into the matter. The Court will certainly give due weight to legislative judgment. But the norm or the principles of fixing or determining the “amount” will have to be disclosed to the Court. It will have to be satisfied that the “amount” has reasonable relationship with the value of the property acquired or requisitioned and one or more of the relevant principles have been applied and further that the “amount” is neither illusory nor it has been fixed arbitrarily, nor at such a figure that it means virtual deprivation of the right under Article 31(2). The question of adequacy or inadequacy, however, cannot be gone into.

630. As to the mode of payment, there is nothing to indicate in the amended Article that any arbitrary manner of payment is contemplated. It is well known that a discretion has to be exercised reasonably.

631. As regards Clause (2B) inserted in Article 31 which makes Article 19(1)(f) inapplicable, there is no reason for assuming that a procedure will be provided which will not be reasonable or will be opposed to the rules of natural justice. Section 2 of the 25th amendment can be sustained on the construction given to it above.

632. We now come to the most controversial provision of 25th Amendment, namely, Section 3 which inserted the following Article:

31C Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13, no law giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Article 39 shall be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with, or takes way or abridges any of the rights conferred by Article 14, Article 19 or Article 31; and no law containing a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy shall be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy:

Provided that where such law is made by the Legislature of a State, the provisions of this Article shall not apply thereto unless such law, having been reserved for the consideration of the President, has received his assent.

According to the Statement of Objects and Reasons contained in Bill No. 106 of 1971, the new Article has been introduced to provide that if any law is passed to give effect to the Directive Principles contained in Clauses (b) and (c) of Article 39 and contains a declaration to that effect, such law shall not be deemed to be void on the ground that it takes away or abridges any of the rights contained in Articles 14, 19 or 31 and shall not be questioned on the ground that it does not give effect to these principles. For this provision to apply in case of laws made by State legislatures, it is necessary that the relevant Bill should be reserved for the consideration of the President and receive his assent.

633. Article 39 contains certain principles of policy to be followed by the State. It enjoins the State inter alia to direct its policy towards securing:

39 (b) that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good;

(c) that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment;

634. These provisions together with the other provisions of the Constitution contain one of the main objectives, namely, the building of A welfare State and an egalitarian social order in our country. As stated before, the fundamental rights and the directive principles have been described as the “conscience of our Constitution”. The Constitution makers had, among others, one dominant objective in view and that was to ameliorate and improve the lot of the common man and to bring about a socio-economic transformation based on principles of social justice. While the Constitution makers envisaged development in the social, economic and political fields, they did not desire that it should be a society where a citizen will not have the dignity of the individual. Part III of the Constitution shows that the founding fathers were equally anxious that it should be a society where the citizen will enjoy the various freedoms and such rights as are the basic elements of those freedoms without which there can be no dignity of individual. Our Constitution makers did not contemplate any disharmony between the fundamental rights and the directive principles. They were meant to supplement one another. It can well be said that the directive principles prescribed the goal to be attained and the fundamental rights laid down the means by which that goal was to be achieved. While on behalf of the petitioners greater emphasis has been laid on the fundametal rights, counsel for the respondents say that the fundamental rights should be subordinate to the directive principles. The Constituent Assembly did not accept such a proposal made by B.N. Rau.

It has been suggested that a stage has been reached where it has become necessary to abrogate some of the basic freedoms and rights provided the end justifies the means. At an earlier stage in the development of our Constitutional law a view was taken that the Directive Principles of State Policy had to conform and run subsidiary to the Chapter on Fundamental Rights, but Das C.J. in Kerala Education Bill, 1957, laid down the rule of harmonious construction and observed that an attempt should be made to give effect to both the fundamental rights and the directive principles.

635. According to Mr. Palkhivala, Article 31C destroys several essential features of the Constitution. He says that there is a vital distinction between two cases (a) where fundamental rights are amended to permit laws to be validly passed which would have been void before the amendment and (b) the fundamental rights remain unamended, but the laws which are void as offending those rights are validated by a legal fiction that they shall not be deemed to be void. He further points out that on the analogy of Article 31(C) it would be permissible to have an omnibus Article that notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution no law passed by Parliament or any State legislature shall be deemed to be void on any ground whatsoever. Article 31(C) according to him, gives a blank charter not only to Parliament but all the State Legislatures to amend the Constitution. On the other hand, the argument on behalf of the respondents is that Article 31(C) is similar to Articles 31(A) and 31(B) and that the object of inserting the Article is to free certain kinds of laws from the limitation on legislative power imposed by conferment of fundamental rights by Part III of the Constitution. As those rights were justiciable under Article 32, says the Advocate General of Maharashtra, the only way of doing so was to exclude judicial review of legislation in respect of those laws. If Article 31(A) is valid, there is no reason or justification for saying that Article 31(C) suffers from all the vices pointed out by Mr. Palkhivala.

636. According to the Solicitor General, Article 31(C) protects only law and not mere executive action. Law can be made by either Parliament or the State Legislatures. Article 31(C) has been enacted for the purpose of achieving the objectives set out in Clauses (b) and (c) of Article 39. The law enacted under it will operate on “material resources”, concentration of wealth and “means of production”. The legislative effort would generally involve (i) nationalisation of material resources of the community and (ii) imposition of control on the production, supply and distribution of the products of key industries and essential commodities. It, therefore, impinges on a particular kind of economic system only.

637. The question of the validity of Article 31(C) to our mind has to be examined mainly from two points of view; the first is its impact on the various freedoms guaranteed by Article 19, the abrogation of the right of equality guaranteed by Article 14 and the right to property contained in Article 31. The second is whether the amending body under Article 368 could delegate its amending power to the legislatures of the Union and the States. Alternatively, whether the Parliament and the State Legislatures can, under Article 31(C), amend the Constitution without complying with the form and manner laid down in Article 368. Now it is quite obvious that under Article 31(C) a law passed by the Parliament or the State Legislatures shall not be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Articles 14, 19 and 31 so long as the law is declared to be one for giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles specified in Clause (b) and Clause (c) of Article 39.

If Article 31(C) is aimed at the removal of a particular economic system, as suggested by the Solicitor General, it is difficult to understand why the freedoms contained in Clauses (a) to (d) of Article 19 as also the right of equality under Article 14 had to be taken away.

The power of enacting Constitution breaking laws has been entrusted even to a small majority in a State Legislature. Mr. Palkhivala points out that the freedom of the Press, for instance, can be destroyed under Article 31(C) as the respondents claim the right to nationalise any industrial or economic activity. Moreover, a person can be put in prison for commending a policy contrary to the government’s policy. Such legislation cannot be challenged as Article 19(1)(a) will not apply and Article 21 permits deprivation of personal liberty according to procedure established by law. The case in the State of Bombay and Anr. v. F.N. Balsara [1951] INSC 38; [1951] S.C.R. 682 is in point. Commending the use of an intoxicant had been made an offence. It was struck down by this Court as violative of Article 19(1)(a). If Article 31(C) is Constitutional, such a provision made in a law enacted under it relating to matters falling within Article 39(a) and (b) would be valid. As a matter of fact no cogent or convincing explanation has been given as to why it was necessary to take away all the freedoms guaranteed by Article 19 and for the abrogation of the prized right of equality under Article 14 of which has been described as the basic principle of republicanism. State of West Bengal v. Anwar Ali Sarkar (per Patanjali Sastri C.J.) [1952] INSC 1; [1952] S.C.R. 284 at pp. 293, (Ibid p. 313 Mahajan J.). This Article combines the English doctrine of the rule of law and the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the American Constitution. Basheshar Nath v. The Commissioner of Income Tax, Delhi and Rajasthan (per Das C.J.) [1959] Supp. 1 S.C.R. 528 at 551. It follows, therefore, that Article 31(C) impinges with full force or several fundamental rights which are enabled to be abrogated by the Parliament and the State Legislatures.

638. As regards the question of delegation of amending power, it is noteworthy that no amendment has been made in Article 368 itself to enable delegation of constituent power.

The delegation of such power to the State Legislatures, in particular, involves serious consequences. It is well settled that one legislature cannot create another legislative body.

This has been laid down very clearly in two decisions of the Privy Council. In the Initiative and Referendum Act [1919] A.C. 935 which has already been discussed See page 88 by us no doubt was entertained that a body that had the power of legislation on the subjects entrusted to it, even though, the power was so ample as that enjoyed by a provincial legislature in Canada, could not create and endow with its own capacity a new legislative power not created by the Act to which it owed its own existence. Attorney General of Nova Scotia v. The Attorney General of Canada [1951] Can. L.R. 31 is another direct authority for the view that the Parliament of Canada or any of the legislatures could not abdicate their powers and invest for the purpose of legislation bodies, which by the very terms of the British North American Act were not empowered to accept such delegation and to legislate on such matters. The distinction made by counsel on behalf of the respondents and the cases relied on by them have been fully discussed in the judgment of the learned Chief Justice and we need not go over the same ground.

639. The only way in which the Constitution can be amended, apart from Articles 4, 169 and the relevant paras in Schedules V and VI of the Constitution, is by the procedure laid down by Article 368. If that is the only procedure prescribed, it is not possible to understand how by ordinary laws the Parliament or the State Legislatures can amend the Constitution, particularly, when Article 368 does not contemplate any other mode of amendment or the setting up of another body to amend the Constitution. The other difficulty which immediately presents itself while examining Article 31(C) is the effect of the declaration provided for in the Article. It is possible to fit in the scheme of Article 31(C) any kind of social or economic legislation. If the courts are debarred from going into the question whether the laws enacted are meant to give effect to the policy set out in Article 39(b) and (c), the Court will be precluded from enquiring even into the incidental encroachment on rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 31. This is not possible with regard to laws enacted under Article 31(A). Those laws can be sustained if they infringe the aforesaid Articles only to the extent necessary for giving effect to them. Although on behalf of the respondents it is said that the Court can examine whether there is any nexus between the laws made under Article 31(C) and Article 39(b) and (c), there would hardly be any law which can be held to have no nexus with Article 39(b) and (c), the ambit of which is so wide.

640. The essential distinction between Article 31(A) and 31(C) is that the former is limited to specified topics; whereas the latter does not give the particular subjects but leaves it to the legislatures to select any topic that may purport to have some nexus with the objectives in Article 39(b) and (c). In other words, Article 31(C) deals with objects with unlimited scope.

641. The argument that Article 31(C) lifts the ban placed on State Legislature and Parliament under Articles 14, 19 and 31 and further that it may be considered as an amendment of Article 368, has been discussed by the learned Chief Justice in his judgment delivered today and we adopt, with respect, his reasoning for repelling them.

642. In our judgment Article 31(C) suffers from two kinds of vice which seriously affect its validity. The first is that it enables total abrogation of fundamental rights contained in Articles 14, 19 and 31 and, secondly, the power of amendment contained in Article 368 is of special nature which has been exclusively conferred on the Parliament and can be exercised only in the manner laid down in that Article. It was never intended that the same could be delegated to any other legislature including the State Legislatures.

643. The purpose sought to be achieved by Article 31(C) may be highly laudable as pointed out by the learned Solicitor General, but the same must be achieved by appropriate laws which can be Constitutionally upheld. We have no option, in view of what has been said except to hold that the validity of Article 31(C) cannot be sustained.

644. The last matter for determination is the validity of the 29th Amendment Act, 1972.

The challenge is only against the inclusion of two Acts, namely, the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act 1969 and a similar Kerala Act of 1971 in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution.

645. The main argument on behalf of the petitioners haw been confined to the relationship between Article 31(A) and Article 31(B). It has been contended that Article 31(B) is intimately linked with Article 31(A) and, therefore, only those legislative enactments which fall under Article 31(A) can be included in the 9th Schedule under Article 31(B). This matter is no longer open to argument as the same stands settled by a series of decisions of this Court See State of Bihar v. Maharajadhiraj Sir Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga and Ors.; [1952] S.C.R. 889 Visweshwar Rao v. The State of Madhya Pradesh [1952] S.C.R. 1020 and N.B. Jeejeebhoy v. Assistant Collector, Thana Prant, Thana. [1964] INSC 213; [1965] 1 S.C.R. 636. In all these cases it was held that Article 31 (B) was independent of Article 31(A). A matter which has been settled for all these years cannot be re-opened now. It will still be open, however, to the Court to decide whether the Acts which were included in the Ninth Schedule by 29th Amendment Act or any provision thereof abrogates any of the bask elements of the Constitutional structure or denudes them of their identity.

646. Our conclusions may be summarised as follows:

1. The decision in Golak Nath has become academic, for even if it be assumed that the majority judgment that the word ‘law’ in Article 13(2), covered Constitutional amendments was not correct, the result on the questions, wider than those raised in Golak Nath, now raised before us would be just the same.

2. The discussion on the 24th Amendment leads to the result that- (a) the said amendment does no more than to clarify in express language that which was implicit in the unamended Article 368 and that it does not or cannot add to the power originally conferred thereunder;

(b) though the power to amend cannot be narrowly construed and extends to all the Articles it is not unlimited so as to include the power to abrogate or change the identity of the Constitution or its basic features;

(c) even if the amending power includes the power to amend Article 13(2), a question not decided in Golak Nath, the power is not so wide so as to include the power to abrogate or take away the fundamental freedoms; and (d) the 24th Amendment Act, read as aforesaid, is valid.

3. Clause (2) of Article 31, as substituted by Section 2 of the 25th Amendment, does not abrogate any basic element of the Constitution nor does it denude it of its identity because- (a) the fixation or determination of “amount” under that Article has to be based on some norm or principle which must be relevant for the purpose of arriving at the amount payable in respect of the property acquired or requisitioned;

(b) the amount need not be the market value but it should have a reasonable relationship with the value of such property;

(c) the amount should neither be illusory nor fixed arbitrarily; and (d) though the courts are debarred from going into the question of adequacy of the amount and would give due weight to legislative judgment, the examination of all the matters in (a), (b) and (c) above is open to judicial review.

4. As regards Clause (2B) inserted in Article 31 which makes Article 19(1)(f) inapplicable, there is no reason to suppose that for determination of the amount on the principles laid down in the law any such procedure will be provided which will be unreasonable or opposed to the rules of natural justice.

5. On the above view Section 2 of the 25th Amendment is valid.

6. The validity of Section 3 of the 25th Amendment which introduced Article 31C in the Constitution cannot be sustained because the said Article suffers from two vices. The first is that it enables abrogation of the basic elements of the Constitution inasmuch as the fundamental rights contained in Articles 14, 19 and 31 can be completely taken away and, secondly, the power of amendment contained in Article 368 is of a special nature which has been exclusively conferred on Parliament and can be exercised only in the manner laid down in that Article. The same could not be delegated to any other legislature in the country. Section 3, therefore, must be declared to be unConstitutional and invalid.

7. The 29th Amendment is valid. However, the question whether the Acts included in the Ninth Schedule by that amendment or any provision of those Acts abrogates any of the basic elements of the Constitutional structure or denudes them of their identity will have to be examined when the validity of those Acts comes up for consideration.

647. The petitions are remitted to the Constitution Bench to be decided in accordance with this judgment and the law. The Constitution Bench will also decide the validity of the 26th Amendment in the light of our judgment.

K.S. Hegde and A.K. Mukherjea, JJ.

648. In these writ petitions questions of great Constitutional importance have arisen for consideration. Herein we are called upon to decide the Constitutional validity of the 24th, 25th, 26th and 29th Amendments to the Constitution. We have had the advantage of hearing long and illuminating arguments covering over 65 working days. We have been referred to numerous decisions of this Court and of the courts in England, United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, Ireland and Ceylon. Our attention has also been invited to various writings of jurists, present and past, of several countries. For paucity of time, we have not taken up the question of the validity of the 26th Amendment. That question can be conveniently considered later after this bench decides certain fundamental questions of law arising for decision. For the same reason we have also refrained from going into the merits of various writ petitions at this stage. At present we are merely deciding the scope and validity of the 24th, 25th and 29th Amendments to the Constitution.

649. In order to decide the validity of the Amendments referred to earlier, it is necessary to go into the scope of the power conferred on Parliament under Article 368 of the Constitution as it stood prior to its amendment by the 24th Amendment Act which came into force on November 5, 1971. Article 368 is the only article found in Part XX of the Constitution. The title of that part is “Amendment of the Constitution.” Its marginal note as it originally stood read “Procedure for amendment of the Constitution”. The Article read thus:

An amendment of this Constitution may be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament, and when the Bill is passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting, it shall be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill, the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill:

Provided that if such amendment seeks to make any change in- (a) Article 54, Article 55, Article 73, Article 162 or Article 241, or (b) Chapter IV of Part V, Chapter V of Part VI, or Chapter I of Part XI, or (c) any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule, or (d) the representation of States in Parliament, or (e) the provisions of this article, the amendment shall also require to be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one half of the States by resolutions to that effect passed by those Legislatures before the Bill making provision for such amendment is presented to the President for assent.

650. The petitioners’ learned Counsel, Mr. Palkhivala, advanced twofold arguments as to the scope of that Article. His first contention was that in the exercise of its powers under.

Article 368 as it stood before its amendment, it was impermissible for Parliament to take away or abridge any of the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution. His second and more comprehensive argument was that the power conferred on the Parliament under Article 368 did not permit it to damage or destroy any of the basic or fundamental features or essential elements of the Constitution. The arguments on these two aspects naturally ran into each other. But for a proper legal approach, it is necessary to keep them apart as far as possible. Hence while considering the correctness of the first contention, we shall not take into consideration the importance of the Fundamental Rights. On this aspect, our approach to Article 368 will be purely based on the language of Article 368 and Article 13. The importance or transcendental character of the Fundamental Rights as well as the implied or inherent limitations on the amending power, if any, will be considered While dealing with the second of the two alternative contentions advanced by Mr. Palkhivala.

651. We shall first take up the question whether by the exercise of the power of amendment conferred by Article 368, as it originally stood, Parliament could have taken away any of the Fundamental Rights conferred by Part III. According to Mr. Palkhivala, Article 368 as it stood before its amendment merely laid down the procedure for amendment; the power to amend the Constitution must be found somewhere else in the Constitution; the power to be exercised by Parliament under Article 368 in legislative in character and the resulting product is ‘law’, hence such a law, in view of Article 13(2) which says “The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void”, cannot validly take away or abridge any of the Fundamental Rights. He further contended that the word ‘law’ in Article 13(1) means and includes not merely legislative enactments but also Constitutional measures. The Counsel urged, there is no reason why a different meaning should be given to the word ‘law’ in Article 13(2). A more important argument of his was that the power to amend the Constitution, even if, it is assumed to be contained in Article 368, is by no means an exclusive power because in certain respects and subject to certain conditions, the Constitution can also be amended by Parliament by a simple majority by enacting a law in the same manner as other legislative measures are enacted. In this connection he drew our attention to Articles 4, 169, Paragraph 7 of the Vth Schedule and Paragraph 21 of the VIth Schedule. Counsel urged that if the amendment of the provisions of the Constitution referred to therein is considered as the exercise of constituent power and consequently such an amendment is not a “law” within the meaning of that expression in Article 13, then Parliament by a simple majority of the members present and voting if the rule regarding the quorum is satisfied, can take away or abridge any of the Fundamental Rights of certain sections of the public in this country.

652. On the other hand, the learned Attorney General, the learned Advocate General for the State of Maharashtra, appearing for the State of Kerala and the other Counsel appearing for the various States contended that a plain reading of Article 368 shows that the power to amend the Constitution as well as the procedure of amendment are both contained in that Article; once the form and the manner laid down in that Article have been complied with, the result is the amendment of the Constitution. According to them, the expression “an amendment of this Constitution” in Article 368 means an amendment of each and every provision or part of the Constitution; once the form and manner provided in Article 368 have been complied with, the amended Article is as effective as the original Article itself; and, therefore, as in the case of the original Article, the validity of the amended Article also cannot be challenged. They further contended that ‘law’ in Article 13 means only legislative enactments or ordinances, or orders or bye-laws or rules or regulations or notifications or customs or usages having the force of law in the territory of India and that expression does not include a Constitutional law, though in a comprehensive sense, a Constitutional law is also a law. They further contended that the word ‘law’ in Article 13 must be harmoniously construed with Article 368 and, if ‘it is so construed, there is no room for doubt that the expression ‘law’ in Article 13 does not include a Constitutional law. They repudiated the contention of Mr. Palkhivala that there was any Constitutional law as such in force when the Constitution came into force. Hence according to them the expression ‘law’ in Article 13(2) does not take in the amendment of the Constitution. According to them, laws enacted under Article 4, Article 169, Paragraph 7 of Schedule V and Paragraph 21 of Schedule VI are not to be deemed as amendments to the Constitution as is laid down in those provisions, though in fact they do amend the Constitution in certain respects and they are no different from the other legislative measures enacted by Parliament; hence the laws enacted under those provisions cannot take away or abridge any of the Fundamental Rights. We have now to see which one of those lines of reasoning is acceptable.

653. The question whether Fundamental Rights can be abridged by Parliament by the exercise of its power under Article 368 in accordance with the procedure laid down therein came up for consideration before this Court very soon after the Constitution came into force. The validity of the Constitution (1st Amendment) Act 1951 came up for the consideration of this Court in Sankari Prasad Singh Deo v. Union of India and State of Bihar [1951] INSC 45; [1952] S.C.R. 89. In that case the scope of Article 368 vis-a-vis Article 13(2) was debated. This Court rejecting the contention of the petitioners therein that it was impermissible for Parliament to abridge any of the Fundamental Rights under Article 368, held that “although ‘law’ must ordinarily include Constitutional law, there is a clear demarcation between ordinary Jaw which is made in exercise of legislative power, and Constitutional law, which is made in exercise of constituent power”. This Court held that “in the context of Article 13, ‘law’ must be taken to mean rules or regulations made in exercise of ordinary legislative power and not amendments to the Constitution made in exercise of constituent power, with the result that Article 13(2) does not affect the amendments made under Article 368”. In the case this Court also opined that the power to amend the Constitution was explicitly conferred on Parliament by Article 368 and the requirement of a different majority was merely procedural. It rejected the contention that Article 368 is a complete code by itself and upheld the contention of the Government that while acting under Article 368, Parliament can adopt the procedures to be adopted, except to the extent provided in Article 368, in enacting other legislative measures.

654. The power of Parliament to abridge Fundamental Rights under Article 368 was again considered by this Court in Sajjan Singh v. State of Rajasthan [1964] INSC 246; [1965] 1 S.C.R. 933.

In that case two questions were considered viz. (1) Whether the amendment of the Constitution in so far as it purported to take away or abridge the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution was within the prohibition of Article 13(2) and (2) Whether Articles 31-A and 31-B (as amended by the 17th Amendment Act) sought to make changes in Article 132, Article 136 and Article 226 or any of the Lists in the VIIth Schedule and therefore the conditions prescribed in the proviso to Article 368 had to be satisfied. It is clear from the judgment of the Court that the first question was not debated before the Court though the majority judges as well as the minority judges did consider that question evidently without any assittance from the bar. On both those questions Chief Justice Gajendragadkar speaking for himself and Wanchoo and Raghubar Dayal JJ.

concurred with the view taken by this Court in Sankari Prasad’s case. But Hidayatullah J.

(as he then was) and Mudholkar J. doubted the correctness of that decision on the first question but concurred with the view taken by the majority of judges on the second question. Hidayatullah and Mudholkar JJ. agreed in dismissing the writ petitions as the petitioners had not challenged the correctness of the decision of this Court in Sankari Prasad’s case on the first question.

655. The question whether any of the Fundamental Rights can be abridged or taken away by Parliament in exercise of its power under Article 368 again came up for consideration before this Court in I.C. Golaknath and Ors. v. State of Punjab (1957) 2 S.C.R. 762. This case was heard by a full court of eleven judges. In that case by a majority of six to five this Court came to the conclusion that Sankari Prasad’s case as well as Sajjan Singh’s case were not correctly decided. The majority held that the expression ‘law’ in Article 13(2) includes Constitutional amendments as well. The minority agreeing with the earlier decisions held that the expression ‘law’ in Article 13(2) does not include Constitutional amendments. Five of the majority judges namely Subba Rao C.J., Shah, Sikri, Shelat and Vaidialingam JJ. held that Article 368 in terms only prescribes the various steps in the matter of amendment and that the Article assumes the existence of the power to amend somewhere else in the Constitution. According to them the mere completion of the procedural steps mentioned in Article 368 cannot bring about a valid amendment of the Constitution. In their opinion, the power to amend cannot be implied from Article 368.

They declined to infer such a power by implication in Article 368 as they thought it was not necessary since Parliament has under Article 248 read with Item 97 of List I of the VIIth Schedule plenary power to make any law including the law to amend the Constitution subject to the limitations contained therein. They observed that the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution may be derived from Article 245, Article 246 and Article 248 read with Item 97 of List I. The remaining six judges held that the power of amendment is not derived from Article 248 read with Entry 97 of List I of the VIIth Schedule. Wanchoo J. (as he then was) and Bhargava, Mitter and Bachawat JJ. held that the power to amend is to be found in Article 368 and Ramaswami J. held that Article 368 confers on Parliament the right (power) to amend the Constitution. Hidayatullah J. (as he then was) held that Article 368 outlines a process, which, if followed strictly, results in the amendment of the Constitution; that article gives the power to no particular person or persons, and that the power of amendment, if it can be called a power at all, is a legislative power but it is sui generis and exists outside the three Lists in Schedule VII of the Constitution. This reasoning of Hidayatuulah J. may be reasonably read to suggest that the power of amendment] is necessarily implied in Article 368. The majority of the judges who held that it was impermissible for Parliament to take away or abridge any of the Fundamental Rights by an amendment of the Constitution did not proceed to strike down the the 1st, 4th and 17th Amendments. Five of them relied on the doctrine of “Prospective Overruling” (Subba Rao C.J., Shah, Sikri, Shelat and Vaidialingam JJ.) and Hidayatullah J. relied on the doctrine of acquiescence to save those amendments.

Evidently in an attempt to get over the effect of the decision in Golak Nath’s case, Parliament has enacted the 24th Amendment Act, 1971, and the same has been ratified by more than one half of the Legislatures of the States.

656. Now, turning back to the contentions advanced on behalf of the parties, we shall first deal with the contention of the Union and some of the States that once the “form and manner” prescribed in Article 368 are complied with, the Constitution stands amended and thereafter the validity of the amendment is not open to challenge. This contention does not appear to be a tenable one. Before a Constitution can be validly amended, two requirements must be satisfied. Firstly, there must be the power to amend the provision sought to be amended; and secondly, the “form and the manner” prescribed in Article 368 must be satisfied. If the power to amend the Article is wanting, the fact that Parliament has adhered to the form and manner prescribed in Article 368 becomes immaterial. Hence the primary question is whether Parliament has power to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights prescribed in Part III of the Constitution ? 657. In order to find out whether Parliament has the power to take away or abridge any of the Fundamental Rights in exercise of its power under Article 368, we must first ascertain the true scope of that Article. As seen earlier in Sankari Prasad’s case, this Court ruled that the power to amend the Constitution is to be found in Article 368. The same view was taken by the majority of judges in Sajjan Singh’s case as well as in Golak Nath’s case. We respectively hold that view to be the correct view. As mentioned earlier, Part XX of the Constitution which purports to deal with amendment of the Constitution contains only one Article, i.e. Article 368. The title of that Part is “Amendment of the Constitution.” The fact that a separate part of the Constitution is reserved for the amendment of the Constitution is a circumstance of great significance-see Don John Francis Douglas Liyanage and Ors. v. The Queen [1967] 1 A.C. 259 at 287 and State of U.P. v. Manbodhan Lal Srivastava [1957] INSC 75; [1958] S.C.R. 533 at 544. The provisions relating to the amendment of the Constitution are some of the most important features of any modern Constitution. All modern Constitutions assign an important place to the amending provisions. It is difficult to accept the view expressed by Subba Rao C.J. and the learned judges who agreed with him that the power to amend the Constitution is not to be found even by necessary implication in Article 368 but must be found elsewhere. In their undoubtedly difficult task of finding out that power elsewhere they had to fall back on Entry 97 of List I. Lists I to III of the VIIth Schedule of the Constitution merely divide the topics of legislation among the Union and the States. It is obvious that these lists have been very carefully prepared. They are by and large exhaustive. Entry 97 in List I was included to meet some unexpected and unforeseen contingencies. It is difficult to believe that our Constitution-makers who were keenly conscious of the importance of the provision relating to the amendment of the Constitution and debated that question for several days, would have left this important power hidden in Entry 97 of List I leaving it to the off chance of the courts locating that power in that Entry. We are unable to agree with those learned judges when they sought to place reliance on Article 245, Article 246 and Article 248 and Entry 97 of List I for the purpose of locating the power of amendment in the residuary power conferred on the Union. Their reasoning in that regard fails to give due weight to the fact that the exercise of the power under those articles is “subject to the provisions of this Constitution”. Hardly few amendments to the Constitution can be made subject to the existing provisions of the Constitution. Most amendments of the Constitution must necessarily impinge on one or the other of the existing provisions of the Constitution. We have no doubt in our minds that Article 245 to Article 248 as well as the Lists in the VIIth Schedule merely deal with the legislative power and not with the amending power.

658. Now corning back to Article 368, it may be noted that it has three components;

firstly, it deals with the amendment of the Constitution; secondly, it designates the body or bodies which can amend the Constitution, and lastly, it prescibes the form and the manner in which the amendment of the Constitution can be effected. The Article does not expressly confer power to amend; the power is necessarily implied in the Article. The Article makes it clear that the amendment of the Constitution can only be made by Parliament but in cases falling under the proviso, ratification by legislatures of not less than one-half of the States is also necessary. That Article stipulates various things. To start with, the amendment to the Constitution must be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill for that purpose in either House of Parliament. It must then be passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting and if the amendment seeks to make any change in the provisions mentioned in the proviso, it must be ratified by not less than one-half of the State Legislatures. Thereafter, it should be presented to the President for his assent It further says that upon such assent being given to the Bill “the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill”. To restate the position, Article 368 deals with the amendment of the Constitution. The Article contains both the power and the procedure for amending the Constitution. No undue importance should be attached to the marginal note which says “Procedure for amendment of the Constitution”. Marginal note plays a very little part in the construction of a stautory provision. It should have much less importance in construing a Constitutional provision. The language of Article 368 to our mind is plain and unambiguous. Hence we need not call into aid any of the rules of construction about which there was great deal of debate at the hearing. As the power to amend under the Article as it originally stood was only implied, the marginal note rightly referred to the procedure of amendment. The reference to the procedure in the marginal note does not negative the existence of the power implied in the Article.

659. The next question is whether the power conferred under Article 368 is available for amending each and every provision of the Constitution. The Article opens by saying “An amendment of this Constitution” which means an amendment of each and every provision and part of the Constitution. We find nothing in that Article to restrict its scope.

If we read Article 368 by itself, there can be no doubt that the power of amendment implied in that Article can reach each and every Article as well as every part of the Constitution.

660. Having ascertained the true scope of Article 368, let us now turn to Article 13. A great deal of reliance was placed by the learned Counsel for the petitioners on the expression ‘law’ found in Article 13(1) and (2). As seen earlier, the two judges in Sajjan Singh’s case as well as the majority of judges in Golak Nath’s case opined that ‘law’ in Article 13(2) also includes Constitutional law i.e. law which amends the Constitution and we see no substance in the contention that the amendment of a Constitution is not ‘law’.

The Constitution is amended by enacting Amendment Acts. The Constitution is not only a law but the paramount law of the country. An amendment of that law must necessarily be a law. The fact that the word ‘law’ is not used in Article 368 is of little significance.

For that matter Article 110 also does not provide that a Bill when assented to by the President becomes law. The amendment of a Constitution is initiated by a Bill and it goes through the procedure laid down in Article 368, supplemented wherever necessary by the procedure prescribed in Article 107; see Sankari Prasad’s case. The Bill when passed by both the Houses of Parliament and, in matters coming under the proviso to Article 368, after securing the necessary ratification by the State Legislatures, is presented to the President for his assent The procedure adopted is the same as that adopted in enacting an ordinary statute except to the extent provided in Article 368. Even if it had been different, there can be hardly any doubt that the amendment of a Constitution is ‘law’. In Sankari Prasad’s case, Patanjali Sastri J. (as he then was) speaking for the Court had no doubt in ruling that the expression ‘law’ must ordinarily include ‘Constitutional law’. The same view was taken by all the judges in Sajjan Singh’s case and also by most of the judges in Golak Nath’s case.

661. But the question still remains whether our Constitution makers by using the expression ‘law’ in Article 13(2) intended that that expression should also include the exercise of Parliament’s amending power under Article 368. We have earlier explained the scope and extent of Article 368. In understanding the meaning of the word ‘law’s in Article 13(2) we should bear in mind the scope of Article 368. The two Articles will have to be construed harmoniously. The expression ‘law’ may mean one of two things, namely, either those measures which are enumerated in Article 13(3) as well as statutes passed by legislatures or in addition thereto Constitutional laws (amendments) as well. In this connection reference may be made to a passage in Corpus Juris Secundum (Vol. XVI- Title Constitutional Law Article 1, p. 20), which says:

The term ‘Constitution’ is ordinarily employed to designate the organic law in contradistinction to the terms ‘law’ which is generally used to designate statutes or legislative enactments. Accordingly, the term ‘law’ under this distinction does not include a Constitutional amendment. However, the term ‘law’ may, in accordance with the context in which it is used, comprehend or include the Constitution or a Constitutional provision or amendment 662. It is true that Article 13(3) contains an inclusive definition of the term ‘law’ and, therefore, the question whether it includes Constitutional amendment also cannot be answered with reference to that clause. All the same, since the expression ‘law’ can have two meanings, as mentioned earlier, we must take that meaning which harmonises with Article 368. As mentioned earlier, Article 368 is unambiguous, whereas Article 13 is ambiguous because of the fact that the word ‘law’ may or may not include Constitutional amendment. Further, when we speak of ‘law’ we ordinarily refer to the exercise of legislative power. Hence, law’ in Article 13(2) must be construed as referring to the exercise of an ordinary legislative power.

663. An examination of the various provisions of our Constitution shows that it has made a distinction between “the Constitution” and “the laws”. The two are invariably treated separately-see Article 60, 61, proviso to Article 73(1), Article 75(4) read with the Third Schedule, Article 76(2); Article 124(6) read with the Third Schedule, Article 148(5), Article 159 and Article 219 read with the Third Schedule. These provisions clearly establish that the Constitution-makers have not used the expression ‘law’ in the Constitution as including Constitutional law.

664. Mr. Palkhivala contended that the term ‘law’ in Article 13(1) includes Constitutional law also. Wanchoo J. speaking for himself and on behalf of two other judges in Golaknath’s case held that on the day the Constitution came into force, no Constitutional law was in force. Therefore in his view, the term ‘law’ in Article 13(1) can only refer to legislative measures or ordinances or bye-laws, rules, regulations, notifications, customs and usages. Mr. Palkhivala contended that the said finding is not correct. In that connection he referred to the treaties and agreements entered into between the former Rulers of the Indian States and the Central Government as well as to certain other measures which were in force when the Constitution came into force which, according to him, are ‘Constitutional law’ and, on that basis, he contended that certain Constitutional laws were in force on the day when the Constitution came into force. We are not satisfied that this contention is correct. Under Article 395, the Indian Independence Act, 1947 as well as the Government of India Act, 1935, were repealed. The laws which were continued under Article 372 after the Constitution came into force did not operate on their own strength. For their validity they had to depend on Article 372 and that Article made it clear that those laws will continue to be in force “subject to the other provisions of the Constitution”. Anyway it is not necessary to decide the question whether those laws are Constitutional laws. Article 13(1) does not refer to ‘laws’ as such. It refers to “laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution”. It identifies certain laws and determines the extent of their validity. The scope of Article 13(1) does not bear on the interpretation of the expression ‘law’ in Article 13(2).

665. We shall now examine the contention of Mr. Palkhivala based on Articles 4, 169, Paragraph 7 of Schedule V and Paragraph 21 of Schedule VI. He contended and we have no doubt that he did so rightly,-that the Constitution can be amended not only under Article 368 but also under Article 4, Article 169, Paragraph 7 of Schedule V and Paragraph 21 of Schedule VI. Amendments under these provisions can be effected by Parliament by a simple majority vote of the members present in the House and voting, if the prescribed quorum is there. If the two Houses do not agree on any amendment under those provisions, the same has to be decided by a Joint sitting of the two Houses as provided in Article 108. That is because of the express exclusion of the application of Article 368 to the amendments made under those provisions. According to Mr.

Palkhivala, by the exercise of its power under the aforementioned provisions, Parliament can in certain respects take away or abridge the Fundamental Rights of a section of the people of this country. He painted a gloomy picture as to what can happen by the exercise of power by Parliament under those provisions. It is true that the power conferred under the aforementioned provisions is amending power but those provisions make it clear that the exercise of the power under those provisions shall not be “deemed to be the amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368”.

666. This brings us to a consideration, what exactly is the intent of the expression “No such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purpose of Article 368”. There can be little doubt that these words merely mean that the form and manner prescribed in Article 368 need not be compiled with. Once this position is accepted any law made under those provisions takes the character of an ordinary law and that law becomes subject to the other provisions of the Constitution including Article 13(2).

667. Counsel either side took us through the debates of the Constituent Assembly relating to Article 368. Naturally each one of them relied on those passages from the speeches of the various members who took part in the debate and, in particular, on the speeches of late Prime Minister Nehru and the then Law Minister Dr. Ambedkar, which supported their contention. Having gone through those speeches, we feel convinced that no conclusive inference can be drawn from those speeches as to the intention of those speakers. Hence, we need not go into the question at this stage whether it is permissible for us to place reliance on those speeches for finding out the true scope of Article 368.

668. Mr. Palkhivala placed a great deal of reliance on the stages through which the present Article 13 passed. It is seen from the Constituent Assembly records that when the Constituent Assembly was considering the provision which resulted in Article 13(2), Mr.

Santhanam one of the members of the Constituent Assembly moved an amendment to make it clear that the expression ‘law’ in Article 13(2) does not include an amendment of the Constitution under draft Article 304 (present Article 368) and that the amendment was accepted by Sardar Patel, Chairman of the Advisory Committee. On the basis of that decision, Sir B.N. Rau, the Constitutional Adviser redrafted the concerned provision by specifically excluding from its operation amendments of the Constitution. When this matter went before the Drafting Committee consisting of emient lawyers, they redrafted the clause thus:

The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this part and any law made in contravention of this clause shall to the extent of contravention be void.

669. In other words, the drafting committee deleted from Sir B.N. Rau’s draft those words which specifically excluded from the operation of the clause amendments of the Constitution. From these circumstances, Mr. Palkhivala seeks to draw the inference that the Constituent Assembly finally decided to bring within the scope of Article 13(2) Constitutional amendments also. We are unable to accept this contention. It is not clear why the drafting committee deleted the reference to the amendment of the Constitution in Article 13(2). It is possible that they were of the opinion that in view of the plain language of the provision relating to the amendment of the Constitution i.e. draft Article 304, it was unnecessary to provide in Article 13(2) that the amendment of the Constitution does not come within its scope.

670. It is true that this Court has characterised the Fundamental rights as “paramount” in A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras [1950] INSC 14; [1950] S.C.R. 88 at 198, as “sacrosanct” in State of Madras v. Smt. Champakam Dorairajan, [1951] INSC 25; [1951] S.C.R. 525, as “rights served by the people” in Pandu M.S.M. Sharma v. Shri Sri Krishna Sinha, [1959] Supp. 1 S.C.R. 806 as “inalienable and inviolable” in Smt. Ujjam Bhai v. State of U.P. [1963] 1 S.C.R. 778 and as “transcendental” in several other cases. In so describing the Fundamental Rights in those cases, this Court could not have intended to say that the Fundamental Rights alone are the basic elements or fundamental features of the Constitution. Mr. Palkhiwala conceded that the basic elements and fundamental features of the Constitution are found not merely in Part III of the Constitution but they are spread out in various other parts of the Constitution. They are also found in some of the Directive Principles set out in Part IV of the Constitution and in the provisions relating to the sovereignty of the country, the Republic and the Democratic character of the Constitution. According to the Counsel, even the provisions relating to the unity of the country are basic elements of the Constitution.

671. It was urged that since even amendment of several provisions of minor significance requires the concurrence of the legislatures of the majority of the States it is not likely that the Constitution makers would have made the amendment of the provisions relating to Fundamental Rights a plaything of the Parliament This argument, however, does not lead to any definite conclusion. It is not unlikely that the Constitution-makers thought that the states are specially interested in the provisions mentioned in the proviso to Article 368, so that the amendment of those provisions should require ratification by the legislatures of the majority of the States. When the language of Article 368 is plain, as we think it is, no question of construction of that Article arises. There is no need to delve into the intention of the Constitution-makers.

672. Every Constitution is expected to endure for a long time. Therefore, it must necessarily be elastic. It is not possible to place the society in a straight jacket. The society grows, its requirements change. The Constitution and the laws may have to be changed to suit those needs. No single generation can bind the course of the generation to come. Hence every Constitution wisely drawn up provides for its own amendment. We shall separately consider the contention of Mr. Palkhivala that our Constitution embodies certain features which are so basic that no free and civilised society can afford to discard them and in no foreseeable future can those features become irrelevant in this country.

For the present we shall keep apart, for later consideration. Mr. Palkhivala’s contention that the Parliament which is only a constituted body cannot damage or destroy the essential features of the Constitution. Up till now we have merely confined our attention to the question as to the scope and reach of Article 368. This Court has always attached great importance to the Fundamental Rights guaranteed under our Constitution. It has given no less imporotance to some of the Directive Principles set out in Part IV. The Directive Principles embodied in Part IV of the Constitution or at any rate most of them are as important as the rights of individuals. To quote the words of Graville Austin (The Indian Constitution-Corner Stone of a Nation, page 50):

The Indian Constitution is first and foremost a social document. The majority of its provisions are either directly aimed at furthering the goals of social revolution by establishing the conditions necessary for its achievement yet despite the permeation of the entire Constitution by the aim of national renaissance, the core of the commitment to the social revolution lies in Parts III and IV, in the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy. These are the conscience of the Constitution.

673. Therefore to implement the duties imposed on the States under Part IV, it may be necessary to abridge in certain respects the rights conferred on the citizens or individuals under Part III, as in the case of incorporation of Clause 4 in Article 15 to benefit the backward classes and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the amendment of Article 19(2) with a view to maintain effectively public order and friendly relations with foreign States. Hence we are unable to construe the amending power in a narrow or pedantic manner. That power, under any circumstance, must receive a broad and liberal interpretation. How large it should be is a question that requires closer examination. Both on principle as well as on the language of Article 368, we are unable to accede to the contention that no right guaranteed by Part III can be abridged.

674. This Court is always reluctant to overrule its earlier decisions. There must be compelling reasons for overruling an earlier decision of this Court. As seen earlier, there are already conflicting decisions as to the scope of Article 368. As far back as 1951, in Sankari Prasad’s case, this Court took the view that the power of amendment conferred under Article 368 included within itself the power to abridge and take away the Fundamental Rights incorporated in Part III of the Constitution. The correctness of that view was not challenged in several other decisions. The same view was taken in Sajjan Singh’s case. That view was negatived in Golakhnath’s case by a very narrow majority.

Bearing in mind the disastrous effect that decision would have had on many important laws that had been enacted by the Union and the States between the years 1951 to 1967, this Court by relying on the doctrines of prospective overruling and the doctrine of acquiescence did not invalidate those laws.

675. One other circumstance of great significance is that the 1st Amendment to the Constitution was carried out by the provisional Parliament which consisted of the very members who were the members of the Constituent Assembly. It should be remembered that members of the Constituent Assembly continued as the members of the provisional Parliament till the General Election in 1952. They must have been aware of the intention with which Article 368 was enacted. These are important circumstances. The interpretation we place on a Constitutional provision, particularly on a provision of such great importance as Article 368 must subserve national interest. It must be such as to further the objectives intended to be achieved by the Constitution and to effectuate the philosophy underlying it. To quote the memorable words of Chief Justice Marshall we must not forget that we are expounding a Constitution.

676. We now come to the second contention of Mr. Palkhivala that the word ‘amendment’ has a limited meaning and Article 368 does not permit any damage to or destruction of the basic or fundamental features or essential elements of the Constitution. Mr.

Palkhivala urged that the word “amendment” or “amend” ordinarily means ‘to make certain changes or effect some improvements in a text’. Those words do not, according to him, except under special circumstances mean the widest power to make any and every change in a document, including a power to abrogate or repeal the basic features of that document. The same, he contended, is true of a power to amend a statute or a Constitution. In support of his contention, he invited our attention to the various meanings given to the word “amendment” or “amend” in several dictionaries. He further urged that in construing the meaning of the word “amendment” in Article 368, we must take into consideration the donee to whom the power to amend the Constitution is granted, the atmosphere in which the Constitution came to be enacted, the consequences of holding that power is unlimited in scope as well as the scheme of the Constitution. He urged that in the final analysis, the duty of the Court is to find out the true intention of the founding fathers and therefore the question before us is whether the founding fathers intended to confer on Parliament, a body constituted under the Constitution, power to damage or destroy the very basis on which our Constitution was erected. On the other hand it was contended on behalf of the Union of India, State of Kerala as well as the other States that the power of amendment conferred under Article 368 is of the widest amplitude. It brooks no limitation. It is a power which can be used to preserve the Constitution, to destroy the Constitution and to re-create a new Consitution. It was contended that the society can never be static, social ideals and political and economic theories go on changing and every Constitution in order to preserve itself needs to be changed now and then to keep in line with the growth of the society. It was further contended that no generation can impose its Will permanently on the future generations.

Wise as our founding fathers were, wisdom was not their sole monopoly. They themselves realised it. They knew that in a changing world, there can be nothing permanent and, therefore, in order to attune the Constitution to the changing concepts of politics, economics and social ideas, they provided in Article 368 a machinery which is neither too flexible nor too rigid and makes it possible to so reshape the Constitution as to meet the requirements of the time. According to them by following the form and manner prescribed in Article 368, Parliament can exercise the same power which the Constituent Assembly could have exercised. We have now to consider which one of the two contentions is acceptable.

677. While interpretating a provision in a statute or, Constitution the primary duty of the court is to find out the legislative intent. In the present case our duty is to find out the intention of the founding fathers in enacting Article 368. Oridnarily the legislative intent is gathered from the language used. If the language employed is plain and unambiguous, the same must be given effect to irrespective of the consequences that may arise. But if the language employed is reasonably capable of more meanings than one, then the Court will have to call into aid various well settled rules of construction and in particular, the history of the legislation-to find out the evil that was sought to be remedied and also in some cases the underlying purpose of the legislation-the legislative scheme and the consequences that may possibly flow from accepting one or the other of the interpretations because no legislative body is presumed to confer a power which is capable of misuse.

678. It was conceded at the bar that generally speaking, the word “amendment” like most words in English or for that matter in any language, has no precise meaning. Unlike “sale” or “exercise”, it is not a term of law. It is capable of receiving a wide meaning as well as a narrow meaning. The power to amend a Constitution in certain context may include even a power to abrogate or repeal that Constitution. It may under certain circumstances mean a power to effect changes within narrow limits. It may sometime mean a power that is quite large but yet subject to certain limitations. To put it shortly, the word “amendment” without more, is a colourless word. It has no precise meaning. It takes its colour from the context in which it is used. It cannot be interpreted in vacuo.

Few words in English language have a natural, or ordinary meaning in the sense that they must be so read that their meaning is entirely independent of the context. As observed by Holmes J. in Towne v. Eiser. 215 U.S. 418 at 425 “A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in colour and content according to circumstances and the time in which it is used”. We must read the word “amendment” in Article 368 not in isolaion but as occurring in a single complex instrument, Article 368 is a part of the Constitution. The Constitution confers various powers on legislatures as well as on other authorities. It also imposes duties on those authorities. The power conferred under Article 368 is only one such power. Unless it is plain from the Constitutional scheme that the power conferred under Article 368 is a super power and is capable of destroying all other powers, as contended on behalf of the Union and the States, the various parts of the Constitution must be construed harmoniously for ascertaining the true purpose of Article 368.

679. In our Constitution unlike in the Constitution of the United States of America the words “amendment” and “amend” have been used to convey different meanings in different places. In some Articles they are used to confer a narrow power, a power merely to effect changes within prescribed limits-see Articles 4, 107(2), 111, 169(2), 196(2), 197(2) and 200. Under Paragraph 7 of the Fifth Schedule as well as Paragraph 21 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution, a much larger power to amend those Schedules has been conferred on Parliament. That power includes power to amend “by way of addition, variation or repeal”. Similar is the position under the repealed Article 243(2), Article 252(2) and 350(5). It is true that the power to amend conferred under the Fifth and Sixth Schedules is merely a power to amend those Schedules but if the Constitution-makers were of the opinion that the word “amendment” or “amend” included within its scope, unless limited otherwise, a power to add, vary, or repeal, there was no purpose in mentioning in those Articles or parts “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal”. In this connection it may also be remembered that the Constituent Assembly amended Section 291 of the Government of India Act, 1935 on August 21, 1949 just a few days before it approved Article 368 i.e. on September 17, 1949. The amended Section 291 empowered the Governor-General to amend certain provisions of the 1935 Act “by way of addition, modification or repeal”. From these circumstances, there is prima facie reason to believe that our Constitution makers made a distinction between a mere power to amend and a power to amend by way of “addition, modification or repeal”. It is one of the accepted rules of construction that the courts should presume that ordinarily the legislature uses the same words in a statute to convey the same meaning. If different words are used in the same statute, it is reasonable to assume that, unless the context otherwise indicates, the legislature intended to convey different meanings by those words. This rule of interpretation is applicable in construing a Constitution as well.

680. Now that we have come to the conclusion that the word “amendment” in Article 368 is not a word of precise import and has not been used in the various Articles and parts of the Constitution to convey always the same precise meaning, it is necessary to take the aid of the other relevant rules of construction to find out the intention of the Constitution makers.

681. The question whether there is any implied limitation on the amending power under Article 368 has not been decided by this Court till now. That question did not come up for consideration in Sankari Prasad’s case. In Sajjan Singh’s case neither the majority speaking through Gajendragadkar C.J. nor Hidayatullah J. (as he then was) went into that question. But Mudholkar J. did foresee the importance of that aspect. He observed in the course of his judgment:

We may also have to bear in mind the fact that ours is a written Constitution. The Constituent Assembly which was the repository of sovereignty could well have created a sovereign Parliament on the British model. But instead it enacted a written Constitution, created three organs of State, made the Union executive responsible to Parliament and the State executive to the State legislatures, erected a federal structure and distributed legislative power between Parliament and the State Legislatures; recognised certain rights as fundamental and provided for their enforcement, prescribed forms of oaths of office or affirmations which require those who subscribe to them to owe true allegiance to the Constitution and further require the members of the Union Judiciary and of the Higher judiciary in the States, to uphold the Constitution. Above all, it formulated a solemn and dignified preamble which appears to be an epitome of the basic features of the Constitution. Can it not be said that these are indicia of the intention of the Constituent Assembly to give a premanency to the basic features of the Constitution ? It is also a matter for consideration whether making a change in a basic feature of the Constitution can be regarded merely as an amendment or would it be, in effect, rewriting a part of the Constitution; and if the latter, would it be within the purview of Article 368 ? 682. For the first time in Golak Nath’s case, the contention that the power of amendment under Article 368 is subject to certain inherent and implied limitations was urged. Subba Rao C.J. speaking for himself and four of his colleagues, while recognising the force of that contention refrained from pronouncing on the same. Wanchoo J. (as he then was) speaking for himself and two other judges opined that the power under Article 368 is a very wide power but it may not include a power to abrogate the Constitution. He did explain what he meant by “abrogate the Constitution”. Hidayatullah J. (as he then was) did not address himself to that question. Bachawat J. side-stepped that question by saying that the impugned amendments did not destroy any, basic feature of the Constitution, The only judge who rejected the contention that there are inherent or implied limitations on the amending power was Ramaswami J. >From the above discussion it is seen that in cases that came up for consideration before this Court in the past several judges did consider the possibility of having some limitation on the amending power under Article 368 though they did not definitely pronounce on that question.

683. One of the well-recognised rules of construction is the rule laid down in Heydon’s case. What was the mischief that the Constitution-makers intended to remedy? What was the purpose intended to be achieved by the Constitution? To answer this question it is necessary to make a brief survey of our Nationalist movement ever since 1885 and the objectives sought to be achieved by that movement.

684. The objectives underlying our Constitution began to take their shape as a result of the forces that operated in the national struggle during the British rule when the British resorted to arbitrary acts of oppression such as brutal assaults on unarmed satyagrahis, internments, deportations, detention without trial and muzzling of the press. The harshness with which the executive operated its repressive measures strengthened the demand for Constitutional guarantees of Fundamental Rights. As far back as 1895, the Constitution of India Bill, prepared by some eminent Indians, envisaged for India a Constitution guaranteeing to everyone of our citizens freedom of expression, inviolability of one’s house, right to property, equality before the law, equal opportunity of admission to public offices, right to present claims, petitions and complaints and right to personal liberty. After the publication of the Montague-Chelmsford Report, the Indian National Congress at its special session held in Bombay in August 1918 demanded that the new Government of India Act should contain “Declaration of Rights of the people of India as British citizens”. The proposed declaration was to embody among other things, guarantees in regard to equality before the law, protection in respect of life and liberty, freedom of speech and press and right of association. In its Delhi Session in December of the same year, the Congress passed another resolution demanding the immediate repeal of all laws, regulations and ordinances restricting the free discussion of political questions and conferring on the executive the power to arrest, detain, intern, extern or imprison any British subject in India outside the process of ordinary Civil or Criminal law and the assimilation of the law of sedition to that of England. The Commonwealth of India Bill, finalised by the National Convention in 1926 embodied a specific declaration of rights visualising for every person certain rights in terms practically identical with the relevant provisions of the Irish Constitution. The problems of minorities in India further strengthened the general argument in favour of inclusion of Fundamental Rights in the Indian Constitution. In its Madras Session in 1927, the Indian National Congress firmly laid down that the basis of the future Constitution must be a declaration of Fundamental Rights. In 1928, the Nehru Committee in its report incorporated a provision for enumeration of such rights, recommending their adoption as a part of the future Constitution of India. The Simon Commission, rejected the demand on the plea that an abstract declaration of such rights was useless unless there existed “the will and the means to make them effective”. In 1932, in its Karachi Session, the Indian National Congress reiterated its resolve to regard a written guarantee of Fundamental Rights as essential in any future Constitutional set up in India. The demand for the incorporation of the Fundamental Rights in the Constitutional document was reiterated by the Indian leaders at the Round Table Conferences. The Joint Select Committee of the British Parliament rejected those demands. The Sapru Committee (1944-45) was of the opinion that in the peculiar circumstances of India, the Fundamental Rights were necessary not only as assurance and guarantees to the minorities but also prescribing a standard of conduct for the legislatures, governments and the courts. The Committee felt that it was for the Constitution-making body to enumerate first the list of Fundamental Rights and then to undertake their further division into justiciable and non-justiciable rights and provide a suitable machinery for their enforcement.

685. The atrocities committed during the Second World War and the world wide agitation for human rights, the liberties guaranteed in the Atlantic Charter, the U.N. Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights by the Human Rights’ Commission strengthened the demand for the incorporation of Fundamental Rights in our Constitution. The British Cabinet Mission in 1946 recognised the need for a written guarantee of Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of India. It accordingly recommended the setting up of an advisory committee for reporting, inter alia, on Fundamental Rights. By the Objectives Resolution adopted on January 22, 1947, the Constituent Assembly solemnly pledged itself to draw up for India’s future governance a Constitution wherein “shall be guaranteed and secured to all the people of India justice, social, economic and political, equality of status, of opportunity and before the law; freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action subject to law and public morality and wherein adequate safeguard would be provided for minorities, backward and tribal areas and depressed and other backward classes”. The close association between political freedom and social justice has become a common concept since the French Revolution.

Since the end of the first World War, it was increasingly recognised that peace in the world can be established only if it is based on social justice. The most modern Constitutions contain declaration of social and economic principles, which emphasise, among other things, the duty of the State to strive for social security and to provide work, education and proper condition of employment for its citizens. In evolving the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles, our founding fathers, in addition to the experience gathered by them from the events that took place in other parts of the world, also drew largely on their experience in the past. The Directive Principles and the Fundamental Rights mainly proceed on the basis of Human Rights. Representative democracies will have no meaning without economic and social justice to the common man. This is a universal experience. Freedom from foreign rule can be looked upon only as an opportunity to bring about economic and social advancement. After all freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better. It is this liberty to do better that is the theme of the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV of the Constitution.

686. The Objectives Resolution passed by the Constituent Assembly in January 1947, is a definite landmark. It is a precursor to the preamble to our Constitution. It sets out in detail the objectives that were before our Constitution-makers. Those objectives have now been incorporated in the preamble to our Constitution which reads:

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;

and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of

November, 1949 do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO

OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

687. From the preamble it is quite clear that the two primary objectives that were before the Constituent Assembly were (1) to constitute India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic and (2) to secure to its citizens the rights mentioned therein. Our founding fathers, at any rate, most of them had made immense sacrifices for the sake of securing those objectives. For them freedom from British rule was an essential step to render social justice to the teeming millions in this country and to secure to one and all in this country the essential human rights. Their Constitutional plan was to build a welfare state and an egalitarian society.

688. Now that we have set out the objectives intended to be achieved by our founding fathers, the question arises whether those very persons could have intended to empower the Parliament, a body constituted under the Constitution to destroy the ideals that they dearly cherished and for which they fought and sacrificed.

689. If the nature of the power granted is clear and beyond doubt the fact that it may be misused is wholly irrelevant. But, if there is reasonable doubt as to the nature of the power granted then the Court has to take into consideration the consequences that might ensue by interpreting the same as an unlimited power. We have earlier come to the conclusion that the word “amendment” is not an expression having a precise cannotation.

It has more than one meaning. Hence it is necessary to examine the consequence of accepting the contention of the Union and the States. Therefore let us understand the consequences of conceding the power claimed. According to the Union and the States that power inter alia, includes the power to (1) destroy the sovereignty of this country and make this country a satellite of any other country; (2) substitute the democratic form of government by monarchical or authoritarian form of government; (3) break up the unity of this country and form various independent States; (4) destroy the secular character of this country and substitute the same by a theocratic form of government; (5) abrogate completely the various rights conferred on the citizens as well as on the minorities; (6) revoke the mandate given to the States to build a Welfare State; (7) extend the life of the two Houses of Parliament indefinitely; and (8) amend the amending power in such a way as to make the Constitution legally or at any rate practically unamendable. In fact, their contention was that the legal sovereignty, in the ultimate analysis rests only in the amending power. At one stage, Counsel for the Union and the States had grudgingly conceded that the power conferred under Article 368 cannot be used to abrogate the Constitution but later under pressure of questioning by some of us they changed their position and said that by ‘abrogation’ they meant repeal of the Constitution as a whole.

When they were asked as to what they meant by saying that the power conferred under Article 368 cannot be used to repeal the Constitution, all that they said was that while amending the Constitution, at least one clause in the Constitution must be retained though every other clause or part of the Constitution including the preamble can be deleted and some other provisions substituted. Their submission in short was this that so long as the expression the “Constitution of India” is retained, every other article or part of it can be replaced. They tried to tone down the effect of their claim by saying that, though legally, there is no limitation on the amending power, there are bound to be political compulsions which make it impermissible for Parliament to exercise its amending power in a manner unacceptable to the people at large. The strength of political reaction is uncertain. It depends upon various factors such as the political consciousness of the people, their level of education, strength of the various political organizations in the country, the manner in which the mass media is used and finally the capacity of the government to suppress agitations. Hence the peoples’ will to resist an unwanted amendment cannot be taken into consideration in interpreting the ambit of the amending power. Extra legal forces work in a different plane altogether.

690. We find it difficult to accept the contention that our Constitution-makers after making immense sacrifices for achieving certain ideals made provision in the Constitution itself for the destruction of those ideals. There is no doubt as men of experience and sound political knowledge, they must have known that social, economic and political changes are bound to come with the passage of time and the Constitution must be capable of being so adjusted as to be able to respond to those new demands. Our Constitution is not a mere political document. It is essentially a social document. It is based on a social philosophy and every social philosophy like every religion has two main features, namely, basic and circumstantial. The former remains constant but the latter is subject to change. The core of a religion always remains constant but the practices associated with it may change. Likewise, a Constitution like ours contains certain features which are so essential that they cannot be changed or destroyed. In any event it cannot be destroyed from within. In other words, one cannot legally use the Constitution to destroy itself. Under Article 368 the amended Constitution must remain ‘the Constitution’ which means the original Constitution. When we speak of the ‘abrogation’ or ‘repeal’ of the Constitution, we do not refer to any form but to substance. If one or more of the basic features of the Constitution are taken away to that extent the Constitution is abrogated or repealed. If all the basic features of the Constitution are repealed and some other provisions inconsistent with those features are incorporated, it cannot still remain the Constitution referred to in Article 368. The personality of the Constitution must remain unchanged.

691. It is also necessary to bear in mind that the power to amend the Constitution is conferred on Parliament, a body constituted under the Constitution. The people as such are not associated with the amendment of the Constitution. From the preamble we get that it is the people of this country who conferred this Constitution on themselves. The statement in the preamble that the people of this country conferred the Constitution on themselves is not open to challenge before this Court. Its factual correctness cannot be gone into by this Court which again is a creature of the Constitution. The facts set out in the preamble have to be accepted by this Court as correct. Anyone who knows the composition of the Constituent Assembly can hardly dispute the claim of the members of that Assembly that their voice was the voice of the people. They were truly the representatives of the people, even though they had been elected under a narrow franchise. The Constitution framed by them has been accepted and worked by the people for the last 23 years and it is too late in the day now to question, as was sought to be done an one stage by the Advocate-General of Maharashtra, the fact, that the people of this country gave the Constitution to themselves.

692. When a power to amend the Constitution is given to the people, its contents can be construed to be larger than when that power is given to a body constituted under that Consitution. Two-thirds of the members of the two Houses of Parliament need not necessarily represent even the majority of the people of this country. Our electoral system is such that even a minority of voters can elect more than two-thirds of the members of the either House of Parliament. That is seen from our experience in the past. That apart, our Constitution was framed on the basis of consensus and not on the basis of majority votes. It provides for the protection of the minorities. If the majority opinion is taken as the guiding factor then the guarantees given to the minorities may become valueless. It is well known that the representatives of the minorities in the Constituent Assembly gave up their claim for special protection which they were demanding in the past because of the guarantee of Fundamental Rights. Therefore the contention on behalf of the Union and the States that the two-thirds of the members in the two Houses of Parliament are always authorised to speak on behalf of the entire people of this country is unacceptable.

693. The President of India under Article 60 of the Constitution is required to take an oath before he assumes his office to the effect that he will “to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution”. Somewhat similar oaths have to be taken by the Governors of States, Ministers at the Centre and in the States, Judges of the superior courts and other important functionaries. When the President of India is compelled to give assent to a Constitutional amendment which might destroy the basic features of the Constitution, can it be said that he is true to his oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” or does his oath merely mean that he is to defend the amending power of Parliament ? Can the amending power of Parliament be considered as the Constitution? The whole scheme and the structure of our Constitution proceeds on the basis that there are certain basic features which are expected to be permanent.

694. Implied limitations on the powers conferred under a statute constitute a general feature of all statutes. The position cannot be different in the case of powers conferred under a Constitution. A grant of power in general terms of even in absolute terms may be qualified by other express provisions in the same enactment or may be qualified by the implications of the context or even by considerations arising out of what appears to be the general scheme of the statute. In Re The Central Provinces and Berar (Central Provinces and Berar Act No. XIV of 1938 [1939] F.C.R. p. 18, Sir Maurice Gwyer C.J. observed at p. 42:

A grant of the power in general terms, standing by itself, would no doubt be construed in the wider sense; but it may be qualified by other express provisions in the same enactment, by the implications of the context, and even by considerations arising out of what appears to be the general scheme of the Act.

695. Lord Wright in James v. Commonwealth of Australia [1936] A.C. 578 at 613 stated the law thus:

The question, then, is one of construction, and in the ultimate resort must be determined upon the actual words used, read not in vacuo but as occurring in a single complex instrument, in which one part may throw light on another. The Constitution has been described as the federal compact, and the construction must hold a balance between all its parts.

696. Several of the powers conferred under our Constitution have been held to be subject to implied limitations though those powers are expressed in general terms or even in absolute terms. The executive power of the Union is vested in the President and he is authorised to exercise the same either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution. Under Article 75, it is the President who can appoint the Prime Minister and the Ministers are to hold office during his pleasure. Despite this conferment of power in general and absolute terms, because of the scheme of the Constitution, its underlying principles and the implications arising from the other provisions in the Constitution, this Court has held in several cases that the President is a Constitutional head and the real executive power vests in the Cabinet. Similarly though plenary powers of legislation have been conferred on the Parliament and the State legislatures in respect of the legislative topics allotted to them, yet this Court has opined that by the exercise of that power neither Parliament nor the State legislatures can delegate to other authorities their essential legislative functions nor could they invade on the judicial power. These limitations were spelled out from the nature of the power conferred and from the scheme of the Constitution. But, it was urged on behalf of the Union and the States that, though there might be implied limitations on other powers conferred under the Constitution, there cannot bo any implied limitations on the amending power. We see no basis for this distinction. The amending power is one of the powers conferred under the Constitution whatever the nature of that power might be. That apart, during the course of hearing the learned Solicitor-General had to concede that there are certain implied limitations on the amending power itself. The amending power of Parliament in certain respects is subject to the express limitations placed on it by the proviso to Article 368. Article 368 prescribes that if Parliament wants to amend Article 54, the Article dealing with the election of the President, the amendment in question must be ratified by the legislatures of not less than one half of the States. No such express limitation is placed on the amending power of Parliament in respect of Article 52 which provides that there shall be a President of India. If it be held that Article 52 can be amended without complying with the requirements of the proviso to Article 368, the limitation placed on Parliament in respect of the amendment of Article 54 becomes meaningless. When this incongruity was pointed out to the learned Solicitor-General, he conceded that in view of the fact that before Article 54 can be amended, the form and the manner laid down in proviso to Article 368 has to be followed, it follows as a matter of implication that the same would be the position for the amendment of Article 52. The only other alternative inference is that Article 52 can never be amended at all. It is not necessary to go into the other implications that may arise from the language of Article 368.

697. From what has been said above, it is clear that the amending power under Article 368 is also subject to implied limitations. The contention that a power to amend a Constitution cannot be subject to any implied limitation is negatived by the observations of the Judicial Committee in The Bribery Commissioner v. Rana Singhe [1964] UKPC 1; [1965] A.C. 172.

The decision of the Judicial Committee in Liyange’s case (supra) held that Ceylon Parliament was incompetent to encroach upon the judicial power also lends support to our conclusion that there can be implied limitations on the amending power.

698. In support of the contention that there can be no implied limitations on the amending power, our attention was invited to writings of various jurists of eminence. Most of the writings relate to the amending power under Article 5 of the United States Constitution. It is true that in the United States most of the writers are of opinion that there is no implied limitation on the amending power under the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court of the United States has not specifically pronounced on this question. The only case in which the question of implied limitation on the amending power under the United States Constitution came up for consideration was Rhode Island v. Palmer 64 L. Edn.

946. In that case the Supreme Court of United States rejecting the contention that the 18th Amendment-National Prohibition Amendment-was outside the amending power under Article 5 because of implied limitations on that power, held that the Amendment was valid. The Supreme Court, however, did not discuss the question of implied limitations on the amending power as such. In fact the judgment that was rendered in that case gave no reasons. Only certain questions were formulated and answered. It is not clear from the judgment whether the particular limitation pleaded was rejected’ or whether the plea of implied limitation on the amending power was rejected though writers of most text books have taken the view that the court rejected the plea of implied limitations on the amending power. It may be noted that in the United States not a single human right has been taken away or even its scope narrowed. There the controversy centred round two questions viz. (1) abolition of slavery and (2) prohibition of sale and consumption of liquor. We will not be justified in expounding our Constitution on the basis of the controversies relating to those issues. Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution is not similar to Article 368 of our Constitution. In the former Article, there is an express limitation on the amending power i.e. regarding the representation of the States in the Senate. Further the amendment under Article 5 of the United States Constitution can be proposed either by the Congress or by State Conventions. They may be ratified either by a minimum of 3/4th of the State Legislatures or by Conventions held in at least 3/4th of the States. Whether a particular amendment should be ratified by the State Legislatures or by the State Conventions is entirely left to the discretion of the Congress. As held by the United States Supreme Court, the decision of the Congress on that question is final. The Constitution makers must have proceeded on the basis that the Congress is likely to require the amendment of basic elements or fundamental features of the Constitution to be ratified by State Conventions. The scheme of no two Constitutions is similar. Their provisions are not similar. The language employed in the amending clauses differ from Constitution to Constitution. The objectives lying behind them also are bound to differ. Each country has its own needs, its own philosophy, its own way of life and above all its own problems.

Hence in our opinion, we will be clouding the issues, if we allow ourselves to be burdened either by the writings of the various writers on other Constitutions or by the decisions rendered on the basis of the provisions of the other Constittuions, though Counsel on either side spared no efforts to place before us various opinions expressed by various writers as well as the decisions rendered by several courts including the State Courts in United States of America.

699. The rule laid down by the Judicial Committee in R. v. Burah (1878) I.A. 178 that “if what has been done is legislation, within the general scope of the affirmative words which give the power, and if it violates no express condition or restriction by which that power is limited it is not for any court of Justice to inquire further, or to enlarge constructively those conditions and restrictions” was heavily relied on by Mr. Seervai.

That decision, however, has been confined to the interpretation of conditional legislations and the rule that it laid down has not been applied while considering the question whether there are any implied limitations on any of the powers conferred under a statute or Constitution.

700. It was strenuously urged on behalf of the Union and the States that if we come to the conclusion that there are implied or inherent limitations on the amending power of Parliament under Article 368, it would be well nigh impossible for Parliament to decide before hand as to what amendments it could make and what amendments it is forbidden to make. According to the Counsel for the Union and the States, the conceptions of basic elements and fundamental features are illusive conceptions and their determination may differ from judge to judge and therefore we would be making the task of Parliament impossible if we uphold the contention that there are implied or inherent limitations on the amending power under Article 368. We are unable to accept this contention. The broad contours of the basic elements or fundamental features of our Constitution are clearly delineated in the preamble. Unlike in most of the other Constitutions, it is comparatively easy in the case of our Constitution to discern and determine the basic elements or the fundamental features of our Constitution. For doing so, one has only to look to the preamble. It is true that there are bound to be border line cases where there can be difference of opinion. That is so in all important legal questions. But the courts generally proceed on the presumption of Constitutionality of all legislations. The presumption of the Constitutional validity of a statute will also apply to Constitutional amendments. It is not correct to say that what is difficult to decide does not exist at all.

For that matter, there are no clear guidelines before the Parliament to determine what are essential legislative functions which cannot be delegated, what legislations do invade on the judicial power or what restrictions are reasonable restrictions in public interest under Article 19(2) to 19(6) and yet by and large the legislations made by Parliament or the State legislatures in those respects have been upheld by courts. No doubt, there were occasions when courts were constrained to strike down some legislations as ultra vires the Constitution. The position as regard the ascertainment of the basic elements or fundamental features of the Constitution can by no means be more difficult than the difficulty of the legislatures to determine before hand the Constitutionality of legislations made under various other heads. Arguments based on the difficulties likely to be faced by the legislatures are of very little importance and they are essentially arguments against judicial review.

701. Large number of decisions rendered by courts in U.S.A., Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Ceylon and Ireland, dealing with the question of implied limitations on the amending power and also as regards the meaning of the word “amendment” were read to us at the hearing. Such of those that are relevant have been considered by the learned Chief Justice in the judgment just now delivered. We entirely agree with the views expressed by him and we cannot usefully add to the same.

702. It was contended on behalf of the Union and the States that, the Constitution should not be treated as something sacred. It should be regarded just in the same way as we regard other human institutions. It should be possible to alter every part of it from time to time so as to bring it in harmony with the new and changed conditions. In support of this contention we were invited to the writings of the various writers such as Burgess, Bryce, Willis, Orfield, Weaver Livingston etc. It was further urged that the Constituent Assembly knowing that, it will disperse, had arranged for the recreation of a Constituent Assembly, under Article 368 in order to so shape the Constitution as to meet the demands of the time. However, attractive these theories may sound in the abstract, on a closer examination, it will be seen that they are fallacious, more particularly in a Constitutionals set up like ours. We have earlier noticed chat under our electoral system, it is possible for a party to get a 2/3rd majority in the two Houses of Parliament even if that party does not get an absolute majority of votes cast at the election. That apart, when a party goes to election, it presents to the electorate diverse programmes and holds out various promises.

The programmes presented or the promises held out need not necessarily include proposals for amending the Constitution. During the General Elections to Parliament in 1952, 1957, 1962 and 1967, no proposal to amend the Constitution appears to have been placed before the electorate. Even when proposals for amendment of the Constitution are placed before the electorate as was done by the Congress Party in 1971, the proposed amendments are not usually placed before the electorate. Under these circumstances, the claim that the electorate had given a mandate to the party to amend the Constitution in any particular manner is unjustified. Further a Parliamentary Democracy like ours functions on the basis of the party system. The mechanics of operation of the party system as well as the system of Cabinet government are such that the people as a whole can have little control in the matter of detailed law-making. “…on practically every issue in the modern State, the serried millions of voters cannot do more than accept or reject the solutions; offered. The stage is too vast to permit of the nice shades of quantitative distinction impressing themselves upon the public mind. It has rarely the leisure, and seldom the information, to do more than indicate the general tendency of its will. It is in the process of law-making that the subtler adjustments must be effected.” (Laski : A Grammar of Politics; Fifth Edn. pp. 313-314).

703. The assertion that either the majority of members of Parliament or even 2/3rd members of Parliament speak on behalf of the nation has no basis in fact. Indeed it may be possible for the ruling party to carry through important Constitutional amendments even after it has lost the confidence of the electorate. The members of Lok Sabha are elected for a term of five years. The ruling party or its members may or may not enjoy the confidence of the electorate throughout their terms of office. Therefore it will not be correct to say that whenever Parliament amends the Constitution, it must be held to have done it as desired by the people.

704. There is a further fallacy in the contention that whenever Constitution is amended, we should presume that the amendment in question was made in order to adapt the Constitution to respond to the growing needs of the people. We have earlier seen that by using the amending power, it is theoretically possible for Parliament to extend its own life indefinitely and also, to amend the Constitution in such a manner as to make it either legally or practically unamendable ever afterwards. A power which is capable of being used against the people themselves cannot be considered as a power exercised on behalf of the people or in their interest.

705. On a careful consideration of the various aspects of the case, we are convinced that the Parliament has no power to abrogate or emasculate the basic elements or fundamental’ features of the Constitution such as the sovereignty of India, the democratic character of our polity, the unity of the country, the essential features of the individual freedoms secured to the citizens. Nor has the Parliament the power to revoke the mandate to build a Welfare State and egalitarian society. These limitations are only illustrative and not exhaustive. Despite these limitations, however, there can be no question that the amending power is a wide power and it reaches every Article and every part of the Constitution. That power can be used to reshape the Constitution to fulfil the obligations imposed on the State. It can also be used to reshape the Constitution within the limits mentioned earlier, to make it an effective instrument for social good. We are unable to agree with the contention that in order to build a Welfare State, it is necessary to destroy some of the human freedoms. That, at any rate is not the perspective of our Constitution.

Our Constitution envisages that the States should without delay make available to all the citizens of this country the real benefits of those freedoms in a democratic way. Human freedoms are lost gradually and imperceptibly and their destruction ‘is generally followed by authoritarian rule. That is what history has taught us. Struggle between liberty and power is eternal. Vigilance is the price that we like every other democratic society have to pay to safeguard the democratic values enshrined in our Constitution. Even the best of governments are not averse to have more and more power to carry out their plans and programmes which they may sincerely believe to be in public interest. But a freedom once lost is hardly ever regained except by revolution. Every encroachment on freedoms sets a pattern for further encroachments. Our Constitutional plan is to eradicate poverty without destruction of individual freedoms.

706. In the result we uphold the contention of Mr. Palkhivala that the word “amendment”

in Article 368 carries with it certain limitation and, further, that the power conferred under Article 368 is subject Co certain implied limitations though that power is quite large.

707. Next, we shall take up for consideration the contentions of Mr. Palkhivala regarding the validity of the 24th, 25th and 29th Amendments.

708. It was contended on behalf of the petitioners that in enacting the 24th Amendment Act, the Parliament has exceeded its powers. It has purported to enlarge its limited power of amendment into an unlimited power, by the exercise of which it can damage or destroy the basic elements or fundamental features of the Constitution. It was said that such an exercise is an unlawful usurpation of power. Consequently, the 24th Amendment Act is liable to be struck down. To pronounce on that contention, it is necessary to examine at the very outset whether the 24th Amendment Act has really enlarged the powers of the Parliament. If we come to the conclusion that it has not enlarged the power of the Parliament, as we think it has not, the various contentions of Mr. Palkhivala do not arise for consideration.

709. Now let us see what is the true effect of the Constitution 24th Amendment Act, 1971. That Act amended Article 13 and Article 368. By that Act one more sub-article has been added to Article 13 viz. Sub-article (4) which reads thus:

Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under Article 368.

710. Section 3 of that Act which amends Article 368 reads.

Article 368 of the Constitution shall be renumbered as Clause (2) thereof, and- (a) for the marginal heading to that article the following marginal heading shall be substituted, namely:

Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor”.

(b) before Clause (2) as so-renumbered, the following clause shall be inserted, namely:

Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.

(c) in Clause (2) as so re-numbered, for the words “it shall be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill”, the words “It shall be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill and thereupon” shall be substituted;

(d) after Clause (2) as so re-numbered, the following clause shall be inserted, namely- (3) Nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any amendment made under this Article.

711. The material changes effected under this Act are:

1. Addition of Clause (4) to Article 13 and Clause (3) to Article 368;

2. Change in the marginal heading;

3. Specific mention of the fact that the power is conferred on the Parliament to amend the Constitution;

4. The power conferred on the Parliament is claimed to be a constituent power;

5. That power is described as a power to “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal of any provision of this Constitution” and

6. Making it obligatory for the President to give assent to the Bill amending the Constitution.

712. In our opinion the 24th Amendment has not made any material change in Article 368 as it stood originally. It is true the original Article did not say specifically that the power to amend rested with Parliament. On the other hand, while setting out the procedure of amendment, it referred to the functions of the two Houses of Parliament and the President. Because of the fact that Parliament was not specifically referred to in Article 368, as it originally stood, the learned Advocate General of Maharashtra wanted us to spell out that the power conferred under Article 368, as it originally stood was not conferred on Parliament as such but on the two Houses of Parliament. We have earlier rejected that contention. We agree with the learned Attorney General that the power in question had been conferred on Parliament. Article 79 says that “There shall be a Parliament for the Union, which shall consist of the President and two Houses to be known respectively as the Council of States and the House of the People”. Whether an enactment refers to the three components of Parliament separately or whether all the three of them are compendiously referred to as Parliament, in law it makes no difference. In Sankari Prasad’s case, in Sajjan Singh’s case as well as in Golaknath’s case, each one of the Judges who delivered judgments specifically mentioned that the power to amend the Constitution was vested in Parliament though there was difference of opinion on the question whether that power could be traced to Article 368 or Article 248 read with Entry 97 of List I. There is no ground for taking a different view.

713. We have already come to the conclusion that Article 368 as it originally stood comprehended both power as well as procedure to amend the Constitution. Hence the change effected in the marginal note has no significance whatsoever. The marginal note as it stood earlier was in a sense incomplete. The expression ‘constituent power’ is used to describe only the nature of the power of amendment. Every amending power, however large or however small it might be, is a fact of a constituent power. The power, though described to be ‘constituent power’, still continues to be an ‘amending power’. The scope and ambit of the power is essentially contained in the word ‘amendment’. Hence, from the fact that the new article specifically refers to that power as a constituent power, it cannot be understood that the contents of the power have undergone any change. The power conferred under the original Article being a limited power to amend the Constitution, the constituent power to amend the Constitution referred to in the amended Article must also be held to carry with it the limitation to which that power was subject earlier. There is also no significance in the substitution of the expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal of any provision of this Constitution” found in the amended Article in the place of the expression “amendment of the Constitution” found in the original Article.

Every power to amend a statute must necessarily include within itself some power to make addition, variation or repeal of any provision of the statute. Here again, the power conferred under the original Article being a limited one, that limitation will continue to operate notwithstanding the change in the phraseology. The words ‘addition, variation or repeal’ only prescribe the modes or manner by which an ‘amendment’ may be made, but they do not determine the scope of the power of ‘amendment’. The original Article 368 mentioned that after the bill for amendment of the Constitution is passed by the two Houses of Parliament in the manner prescribed in Article 368 “it shall be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill, the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the bill”. The amended Article makes a change. It prescribes that when the Bill is presented to the President, he “shall give his assent to the Bill”. Some comment was made at the bar about the inappropriateness of commanding the President to give his assent to the Bill. That is a question of propriety. The substance of the matter is that when the Bill is presented to the President, he shall not withhold his assent. This change cannot be said to have damaged or destroyed any basic element of the Constitution. In fact Article 111 which deals with the assent to the Bills specifically prescribes that when a money Bill, after having been passed by the Houses of Parliament is presented to the President he “shall not withhold assent therefrom”. Hence it cannot be said that the change made in Article 368 relating to the assent of the President has any great importance in the scheme of our Constitution. In fact under our Constitution the President is only a Constitutional head. Ordinarily he has to act on the advice of the cabinet. There is no possibility of the Constitution being amended in opposition to the wishes of the cabinet.

714. The only change that remains to be considered is as to the exclusion of the application of Article 13 to an amendment of the Constitution. We have earlier come to the conclusion that Article 13 as it stood earlier did not bar the amendment of the Constitution. Article 13(4) and 368(3) make explicit what was implicit.

715. It was contended that by means of the 24th Amendment Parliament intended to and in fact purported to enlarge its amending power. In this connection reliance was placed on the statement of objects and reasons attached to the Bill which resulted in the 24th Amendment. The power of Parliament does not rest upon its professed intention. It cannot acquire a power which it otherwise did not possess. We are unable to accept the contention that Clause (e) to the proviso to Article 368 confers power on Parliament to enlarge its own power. In our judgment the power to amend the Constitution as well as the ordinary procedure to amend any part of the Constitution was and is contained in the main part of the Article. The proviso merely places further restrictions on the procedure to amend the articles mentioned therein. Clause (e) to the proviso stipulates that Article 368 cannot be amended except in the manner provided in the proviso. In the absence of that clause, Article 368 could have been amended by following the procedure laid down in the main part. At best Clause (e) of the proviso merely indicates that Article 368 itself comes within its own purview. As we have already seen, the main part of Article 368 as it stood earlier, expressly lays down only the procedure to be followed in amending the Constitution. The power to amend is only implied therein.

716. It is difficult to accept the contention that an implied power was impliedly permitted to be enlarged. If that was so, there was nomeaning in limiting that power originally.

Limitation on the power to amend the Constitution would operate even when Article 368 is amended. A limited power cannot be used to enlarge the same power into an absolute power. We respectfully agree with the observation of Hidayatullah J. (as he then was) in Golaknath’s case that what Parliament cannot do directly, it also cannot do indirectly. We have earlier held that the “amendment of this Constitution” means the amendment of every part of the Constitution. It cannot be denied that Article 368 is but a part of the Constitution. Hence, the mere fact that the mover of the 24th Amendment Act, in the Statement of Objects and Reasons laid claim to certain power does not go to show that Parliament either endorsed that claim or could have conferred on itself such a power. It must be deemed to have exercised only such power as it possessed. It is a well-accepted rule of construction that if a provision is reasonably capable of two interpretations the Court must accept that interpretation which makes the provsion valid. If the power conferred on Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 as it stood originally is a limited power, as we think it is, Parliament cannot enlarge the scope of that power-see Attorney General for the State of New South Wales v. The Brewery Employees Union of New South Wales; [1908] HCA 94; 6, C.L.R. 469 Ex Parte Walsh and Johnson; In Re Yates; [1925] HCA 53; 37, C.L.R. 36 at p. 67 and Australian Communist Party v. The Commonwealth 83, C.L.R. p 1.

717. For the reasons mentioned heretofore, the scope of Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution or any part thereof must be held to have remained as it was before the 24th Amendment notwithstanding the alterations made in the phraseology of Article 368. The 24th Amendment made explicit, what was implicit in the unamended Article 368. In this view of the matter the 24th Amendment must be held to be valid.

718. This takes us to the validity of the Constitution 25th Amendment Act. It is necessary to examine the scope and effect of that Act for deciding the question whether that Act or any one of its provisions can be held to be outside the amending power of the Parliament.

That Act has three sections. We are not concerned with the first section which sets out the short title. Clause (a) of the second section amends Article 31(2). Clause (b) of that section incorporates into the Constitution Article 31(2B). Section 3 introduces into the Constitution a new Article viz. Article 31C.

719. Let us first take up the newly substituted Article 31(2) in the place of the old Article 31(2) and examine its scope. To do so, it is necessary to examine the history of that Article.

720. Article 31(2) has undergone several changes. As originally enacted it read thus:

No property, movable or immovable, including any interest in, or in any company owning, any commercial or industrial undertaking, shall be taken possession of or acquired for public purposes under any law authorising the taking of such possession or such acquisition, unless the law provides for compensation for the property taken possession of or acquired and either fixes the amount of the compensation, or specifies the principles on which, and the manner in which, the compensation is to be determined and given.”

721. That Article was amended first by the Fourth Amendment Act 1955 and, thereafter by the Twenty-fifth Amendment Act, 1971. At a later stage, it will be necessary for us to compare Article 31(2) as it stood after the Fourth Amendment Act and as it stands after the Twenty-fifth Amendment Act. Hence we shall quote them side by side.

Article 31(2) as substituted by Article 3(2) as susbtituted by the 4th Amendment Act 1955 the 25th Amendment Act 1971 No property shall be compulsorily No property shall be compulsorily acquired or requisitioned save for acquired or requisitioned save for a public purpose and save by a public purpose and save by authority of a law which provides for authority of a law which provides compensation for the property so for acquisition or requisitioning acquired or requisitioned and either of the property for an amount fixes the amount of the compensation which may be fixed by such law or specifies the principles on or which may be determined in which and the manner in which, accordance with such principles the compensation is to be determined and given in such manner as may mined and given; and no such law be specified in such law; and shall be called in question in any no such law shall be called court on the ground that the in question in any court on the compensation provided by that law is ground that the amount so fixed not adequate. or determined is not adequate or that the whole or any part of such amount is to be given otherwise than in cash:

Provided that in making any law providing for the compulsory acquisition of any property of an educatioanl institution established and administered by a minority, referred to Clause (1) of Article 30, the State shall eusure that the amount fixed by or determined under such law for the acquisition of such property is Such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed uder that clause.

722. For finding out the true scope of Article 31(2), as it stands now, the learned Advocate General of Maharashtra as well as the Solicitor General has taken us through the history of this Article. According to them the Article as it stands now truly represents the intention of the Constitution makers. In support of that contention, we were asked to go through the Constituent Assembly debates relating to that article. In particular, we were invited to go through the speeches made by Pandit Nehru, Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, Dr. Munshi and Dr. Ambedkar. In our opinion, it is impermissible for us to do so.

It is a well settled rule of construction that speeches made by members of a legislature in the course of debates relating to the enactment of a statute cannot be used as aids for interpreting any of the provisions of the statute. The same rule is applicable when we are called upon to interpret the provisions of a Constitution. This Court ruled in State of Travancore Cochin and Ors. v. Bombay Co. Ltd. [1952] S.C.R. 113 that speeches made by the members of the Constituent Assembly in the course of the debates on the draft Constitution cannot be used as aid for interpreting the Constitution. In the course of his judgment Patanjali Sastri C.J. speaking for the Constitution Bench observed at p. 1121 of the Report:

It remains only to point out that the use made by the learned Judges below of the speeches made by the members of the Constituent Assembly in the course of the debates on the draft Constitution is unwarranted. That this form of extrinsic aid to the interpretation of statutes is not admissible has been generally accepted in England, and the same rule has been observed in the construction of Indian Statutes-see Administrator-General of Bengal v. Prem Nath Mallick [(1895 22 I.A. 107, 118]. The reason behind the rule was explained by one of us in Gapalan’s case [1950] INSC 14; [1950] S.C.R. 88, at 144 thus:

A speech made in the course of the debate on a bill could at best be indicative of the subjective intent of the speaker, but it could not reflect the inarticulate mental process lying behind the majority vote which carried the Bill. Nor is it reasonable to assume that the minds of all those legislators were in accord”, or as it is more tersely put in a American case- Those who did not speak may not have agreed with those who did; and those who spoke might differ from each other-United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Association 169 U.S. 290, 318.

723. No decision of this Court dissenting from the view taken in the above case was brought to our notice. But it was urged that this Court had ignored the rule laid down in Bombay Co.’s case (supra) in Golaknath’s case as well as in what is popularly known as the Privy Purse [1970] INSC 253; (1971) 3, S.C.R. 9 case. We do not think that this statement is accurate. In Golaknath’s case, Subba Rao C.J. referred to certain portions of speeches made by Pandit Nehru and Dr. Ambedkar. But he made it clear at p. 792 of the Report, the specific purpose for which he was referring to those speeches. This is what he stated:

We have referred to the speeches of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Dr.

Ambedkar not with a view to interpret the provisions of Article 368 which we propose to do on its own terms, but only to notice the transcendental character given to the fundamental rights by two of the important architects of the Constitution.

724. Bachawat J. in the course of his judgment also referred to some of the speeches made during the debates on Article 368. But before doing so this is what he observed at p. 922 of the report:

Before concluding this judgment I must refer to some of the speeches made by the members of the Constituent Assembly in the course of debates on the draft Constitution. These speeches cannot be used as aids for interpreting the Constitution-see State of Travancore Cochin and Ors.

v. The Bombay Co. Ltd. Accordingly I do not rely on them as aids to construction. But I propose to refer to them, as Shri A.K. Sen relied heavily on the speeches of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar. According to him, the speeches of Dr. Ambedkar show that he did not regard the fundamental rights as amendable. This contention is not supported by the speeches.

725. From these observations, it is clear that the learned judges were not referring to the speeches as aids for interpreting any of the provisions of the Constitution.

726. Now, let us turn to this Court’s Judgment in the Privy Purse case. Shah J. (as he then was) in the course of his judgment (at p. 83 of the report) quoted a portion of the speech of the Home Minister Sardar Patel not for the purpose of interpreting any provision of the Constitution but for showing the circumstances which necessitated the giving of certain guarantees to the former ruler. That speech succinctly sets out why certain guarantees had to be given to the rulers. Hence it is not correct to say that Shah J. speaking for himself and six other Judges had used the speech of Sardar Patel in aid of the construction of any of the articles of the Constitution It is true Mitter J. in his dissenting judgment (at p. 121 of the report) used the speech of Shri T.T. Krishnamachari in aid of the construction of Article 363 but the learned judge no where in his judgment discussed the question whether the speeches made by the members of the Constituent Asembly were admisible in aid of interpreting any provision of the Constitution.

727. Before concluding the discussion on this topic, it is necessary to refer to one more decision of this Court i.e. Union of India v. H.S. Dhillon. [1971] INSC 292; [1972] 2 S.C.R. 33 In that case this Court was called upon to decide whether the provision in the Wealth Tax Act, 1957 providing for the levy of tax on the capital value of agricultural property were Constitutionally sustainable. By a majority of four against three, this Court upheld the levy. Sikri C.J. who spoke for himself and two other judges after sustaining the validity of the provision on an examination of the relevant provisions of the Constitution as well as the decided cases referred to some of the speeches made during the debates in the Constituent Assembly in support of the conclusion already reached by him. Before referring to those speeches this is what the learned judge observed at p. 58:

We are, however, glad to find from the following extracts from the debates that our interpretation accords with what was intended.

728. From this it is clear that the learned Judge did not seek any aid from the speeches for the purpose of interpreting the relevant provision. It is necessary to note that the learned judge did not dissent from the view earlier taken by the Court in Bombay Co. Ltd.’s case (supra). Hence the law as laid down in Bombay Co.’s case is binding on us and its correctness was not challenged before us.

729. The learned Advocate General of Maharashtra is right in his contention that for finding out the true scope of Article 31(2), as it stands at present, it is necessary for us to find out the mischief that was intended to be remedied by the present amendment. In other words, we must find out what was the objective intended to be achieved by that amendment. The original Article 31(2) first came up for consideration by this Court in State of West Bengal v. Mrs. Bela Bannerjee and Ors., [1953] INSC 81; [1954] S.C.R. 558 wherein Patanjali Sastri C.J. speaking for the Court observed:

While it is true that the legislature is given the discretionary power of laying down the principle which should govern the determination of the amount to be given to the owner for the property appropriated, such principles must ensure that what is determined as payable Must be compensation, that is, a just equivalent of what the owner has been deprived of. Within the limits of this basic requirement of full indemnification of the expropriated owner, the Constitution allows free play to the legislative judgment as to what principles should guide the determination of the amount payable. Whether such principles take into account all the elements which make up the true value of the property appropriated and exclude matters which are to be neglected is a justiciable issue to be adjudicated by the Court. This, indeed, was not disputed.

730. We are told that Article 31(2) came to be amended by means of the 4th Amendment Act in view of the decision of this Court in Mrs. Bela Banerjee’s case. The scope of the article as amended by the 4th Amendment Act was considered by this Court in P.

Vairayelu Mudaliar v. Special Deputy Collector, Madras and Anr. [1964] INSC 214; [1965] 1 S.C.R. 614.

Therein Subba Rao J. (as he then was) speaking for a bench consisting of himself, Wanchoo, Hidayatullah, Raghubar Dayal and Sikri JJ. observed (at p. 626):

The fact that Parliament used the same expressions namely “compensation” and “Principles” as were found in Article 31 before the Amendment is a clear indication that it accepted the meaning given by this Court to those expressions in Mrs. Bela Banerjee’s case. It follows that a Legislature in making a law of acquisition or requisition shall provide for a just equivalent of what the owner has been deprived of or specify the principles for the purpose of ascertaining the “just equivalent” of what the owner has been deprived of. If Parliament intended to enable a Legislature to make such a law without providing for compensation so defined, it would have used other expressions like “price”, “consideration” etc.

731. Proceeding further the learned judge observed:

The real difficulty is, what is the effect of ouster of jurisdiction of the court to question the law on the ground that the “compensation” provided by the law is not adequate ? It will be noticed that the law of acquisition or requisition is not wholly immune from scrutiny by the Court. But what is excluded from the court’s jurisdiction is that the said law cannot be questioned on the ground that the compensation provided by that law is not adequate. It will further be noticed that the clause excluding the jurisdiction of the Court also used the word “compensation” indicating thereby that what is excluded from the court’s jurisdiction is the adequacy of the compensation fixed by the legislature. The argument that the word “compensation” means a just equivalent for the property acquired and, therefore, the court can ascertain whether it is a “just equivalent” or not makes the amendment of the Constitution nugatory. It will be arguing in a circle. Therefore, a more reasonable interpretation is that neither the principles prescribing the “just equivalent” nor the “just equivalent” can be questioned by the court on the ground of the inadequacy of the compensation fixed or arrived at by the working of the principles. To illustrate; a law is made to acquire a house, its value at the time of acquisition has to be fixed; there are many modes of valuation namely estimate by the engineer, value reflected by comparable sales, capitalisation of rent and similar others. The application of different principles may lead to different results. The adoption of one principle may give a higher value and the adoption of another principle may give a lesser value. But nonetheless they are principles on which and the manner in which compensation is determined. The court cannot obviously say that the law should have adopted one principle and not the other, for it relates only to the question of adequacy. On the other hand, if a law lays down principles which are not relevant to the property acquired or to the value of the property at or about the time it is acquired, it may be said that they are not principles contemplated by Article 31(2) of the Constitution…. In such cases the validity of the principles can be scrutinized. The law may also prescribe a compensation which is illusory it may provide for the acquisition of a property worth lakhs of rupees for a paltry sum of Rs. 100.

The question in that context does not relate to the adequacy of the compensation for it is no compensation at all. The illustrations given by us are not exhaustive. There may be many others falling on either side of the line. But this much is clear. If the compensation is illusory or if the principles prescribed are irrelevant to the value of the property at or about the time of its acquisition, it can be said that the legislature committed a fraud on power, and therefore, the law is bad. It is a use of the protection of Article 31 in a manner which the Article hardly intended.

(emphasis supplied) 733. The principles that emerge from the decision in Vajravelu’s case are: (1) compensation means just equivalent of the value of the property acquired; (2) principles prescribed must be principles which provide for compensation; (3) adequacy of compensation fixed or to be determined on the basis of the principles set out cannot be gone into by the court; (4) the principles fixed must be relevant to the property acquired or to the value of the property at about the time it is acquired; (5) the compensation fixed should not be illusory and (6) courts have power to strike down a law on the ground of fraud on power if the principles fixed are irrelevant or if the compensation granted is illusory.

734. The next decision cited to us is the decision of this Court in Union of India v. Metal Corporation of India Ltd. and Anr. (1967) 1, S.C.R. p. 255. It is a decision of a Division Bench consisting of Subba Rao C.J. and Shelat J. As that decision was overruled by this Court in State of Gujarat v. Shantilal Mangaldas and Ors. [1969] INSC 8; (1969) 3, S.C.R. 341 it is not necessary to refer to its ratio.

735. This takes us to the decision of this Court in Shantilal’s case. This case related to the acquisition of some landed property on behalf of the Borough Municipality of Ahmedabad for making town planning scheme under the Bombay Town Planning Act, 1955. Sections 53 and 57 of that Act fixed certain principles for the determination of compensation for the land acquired. The High Court of Gujarat declared that those provisions were ultra vires in so far as they authorised the local authority to acquire land under a Town Planning Scheme and as a corollary to that view declared invalid the City Wall Improvement Town Planning Scheme No. 5 framed in exercise of the powers conferred under the Act. In doing so they purported to follow the decision of this Court in Vajravelu Mudaliar’s case. A Constitution Bench of this Court reversed the decision of the Gujarat High Court. In that case Shah J. speaking for the Court elaborately reviewed the earlier decisions of this Court bearing on Article 31(2). After doing so, he observed at p. 365 of the report:

Reverting to the amendment made in Clause (2) of Article 31 by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955, it is clear that adequacy of compensation fixed by the Legislature or awarded according to the principles specified by the Legislature for determination is not justiciable.

It clearly follows from the terms of Article 31(2) as amended that the amount of compensation payable if fixed by the Legislature, is not justiciable, because the challenge in such a case, apart from a plea of abuse of legislative power, would be only a challenge to the adequacy of compensation. If compensation fixed by the Legislature-and by the use of the expression “compensation” we mean what the legislature justly regards as proper and fair recompense for compulsory expropriation of property and not something which by abuse of legislative power though called compensation is not a recompense at all or is something illusory-is not justiciable, on the plea that it is not a just equivalent of the property compulsorily acquired is it open to the courts to enter upon an enquiry whether the principles which are specified by the Legislature for determining compensation do not award to the expropriated owner a just equivalent ? In our view, such an enquiry is not open to the Court under the statutes enacted after the amendments made in the Constitution by the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act. If the quantum of compensation fixed by the Legislature is not liable to be canvassed before the Court on the ground that it is not a just equivalent, the principles specified for determination of compensation will also not be open to challenge on the plea that the compensation determined by the application of those principles is not a just equivalent. The right declared by the Constitution guarantees that compensation shall be given before a person is compulsorily expropriated of his property for a public purpose. What is fixed as compensation by statute, or by the application of principles specified for determination of compensation is guaranteed; it does not mean however that something fixed or determined by the application of specified principles which is illusory or can in no sense be regarded as compensation must be upheld by the Courts, for, to do so, would be to grant a charter of arbitrariness and permit a device to defeat the Constitutional guarantee. But compensation fixed or determined on principles specified by the Legislature cannot be permitted to be challenged on the somewhat indefinite plea that it is not a just or fair equivalent. Principles may be challenged on the ground that they are irrelevant to the determination of compensation, but not on the plea that what is awarded as a result of the application of those principles is not just or fair compensation. A challenge to a statute that the principles specified by it do not award a just equivalent will be in clear violation of the Constitutional declaration that inadequacy of compensation provided is not justicable.

(emphasis supplied) 736. The Advocate General of Maharashtra contended that if only this decision had not been indirectly overruled by the Bank Nationalisation case R.C. Cooper v. Union of India [1970] INSC 18; [1970] 3 S.C.R. 530 there would have been no occasion to further amend Article 31(2).

That being so, it is necessary to find out clearly as to what are the principles enunciated in this decision. This decision firmly laid down that any arbitrary fixation of recompense is liable to be struck down by the court as an abuse of legislative power. It further laid down that the principles laid down may be challenged on the ground that they are not relevant for the purpose of determining the recompense payable to the owner of the property acquired. If the recompense fixed or determined is either not arbitary or illusory or if the principles fixed are relevant to the purpose of acquisition or requisition of the property in question, the courts cannot go into the question of adequacy of the payment.

737. Then came the Bank Nationalisation case. The majority judgment in that case was delivered by Shah J. (as he then was). In that judgment he referred somewhat extensively to the decision in Shantilal Mangaldas’s case and other cases rendered by this Court. He did not purport to deviate from the rule laid down in Shantital’s case. The ratio of that decision relating to Article 31(2) is found at p. 598 of the report. The learned judge observed:

Both the lines of thought (in Vajravelu’s case and Shantilal’s case) which converge in the ultimate result, support the view that the principle specified by the law for determination of compensation is beyond the pale of challenge, if it is relevant to the determination of compensation and is a recognised principle applicable in the determination of compensation for property compulsorily acquired and the principle is appropriate in determining the value of the class of property sought to be acquired. On the application of the view expressed in P. Vajravelu Mudaliar’s case or in Shantilal Mangaldas’s case, the Act in our judgment is liable to be struck down as it fails to provide Co the expropriated banks compensation determined according to relevant principles.

738. Proceeding further the learned judge observed at p. 599:

We are unable to hold that a principle specified by the Parliament for determining compensation of the property to be acquired is conclusive. If that view be expressed, the Parliament will be invested with a charter of arbitrariness and by abuse of legislative process, the Constitutional guarantee of the right to compensation may be severely impaired. The principle specified must be appropriate to the determination of compensation for the particular class of property sought to be acquired. If several principles are appropriate and one is selected for determination of the value of the property to be acquired, selection of that principle to the exclusion of other principles is not open to the challenge for the selection must be left to the wisdom of the Parliament.

739. It is clear from the passages we have quoted above that this case also emphasised that the power of the Parliament to fix the compensation for the property acquired is not an arbitrary power. Further, the principles prescribed for determining the compensation must be relevant to the subject matter of acquisition or requisition. That decision also laid down that both the questions whether the compensation has been fixed arbitrarily or whether the principles laid down are irrelevant are open to judicial review.

740. Let us now examine Article 31(2) as it stands now in the light of the decisions already referred to. The only material changes made in that Article under the 25th Amendment Act are:

(1) in place of the word ‘compensation’, the word ‘amount’ has been used and (2) an additional clause viz. “or that the whole or any part of such amount is to be given otherwise than in cash” has been added.

741. We are not concerned in this case as to the effect of the additional clause. No arguments were advanced on that aspect. All that we are concerned with is as to what is the effect of the substitution of the word “amount” in place of the word “compensation”.

As seen earlier, the word “compensation” has been interpreted in the various decisions referred to earlier as “just equivalent” of the value of the property taken. That concept has now been removed. In other respects, the Article has not been altered. It remains what it was. We have earlier noticed that the decisions of this Court have firmly laid down that while examining the validity of law made under Article 31(2) as it stood after it was amended under the 4th Amendment Act, it was open to the Court to go into the questions whether the compensation had been fixed arbitrarily and whether the same was illusory.

Those decisions further ruled that the Court can go into the relevant of the principles fixed. Parliament would have undoubtedly known the ratio of those decisions. That is also the legal presumption. Hence if the Parliament intended to take away the judicial review in any respect other than relating to the adequacy of the amount fixed, it would have expressed its intention by appropriate words. We find no such words in the Article as it stands. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that it has accepted the interpretation placed by this Court in all respects except as regards the concept of compensation. That this is the mischief which the 25th Amendment seeks to remedy by amending Article 31(2) is also clear from the language of the amended Article itself. It says that the law shall not be called in question on the ground that the amount fixed or determined is not adequate. What is an adequate amount ? An amount can be said to be adequate only when the owner of the property is fully compensated, that is when he is paid an amount which is equivalent in value to the property acquired or requisitioned. And that is also what is connoted by the concept of ‘compensation’ as interpreted by this Court. Therefore, stated briefly, what the 25th Amendment makes non-justiciable is an enquiry into the question whether the amount fixed or determined is an equivalent value of or ‘compensation’ for the property acquired or requisitioned.

742. The word “amount” is a neutral word. Standing by itself, it has no norm and is completely colourless. The dictionary meaning of the word appropriate to the present context is “sum total or a figure”. We have to find out its connotation from the context. In so doing, we have to bear in mind the fact that Article 31(2) still continues to be a fundamental right. It is not possible to accept the contention of the learned Advocate General of Maharashtra and the learned Solicitor General that the right of the owner at present is just to get whatever the Government pleases to give, whenever it pleases to give and however it pleases to give. A position so nebulous as that cannot be considered as a right much less a fundamental right, which Article 31(2) still claims to be.

743. It is difficult to believe that Parliament intended to make a mockery of the fundamental right conferred under Article 31(2). It cannot be that the Constitution while purporting to preserve the fundamental right of the citizens to get an “amount” in lieu of the property taken for public purpose has in fact robbed him of all his right.

744. Undoubtedly Article 31 empowers the legislature to acquire or requisition the property of a citizen for an “amount”. What does the word “amount” mean in that Article ? As we have already said, that word by itself does not disclose any norm. But then the word “amount” is followed by the words “which may be fixed by such law or which may be determined in accordance with such principles and given in such manner as may be specified in such law and no such law shall be called in question in any court on the ground that the amount so fixed or determined is not adequate.

745. If the expression “amount” has no norm and is just what the Parliament stipulates, there can be no question of prescribing principles for determining that “amount”; nor is there any scope for finding out its adequacy. The legislatures are permitted under the amended Article 31(2) either to fix the “amount” to be paid in lieu of the property acquired or to lay down the principles for determining that “amount”. These two alternative methods must bring about nearly the same result. If the relevancy of the principles fixed can be judicially reviewed-as indeed they must be-in view of the dicisions referred to earlier, we fail to see how the fixation of the “amount” which is the alternative method of determining the recompense to be paid in lieu of the property taken is excluded from judicial review.

746. The word “fixed” in Article 31(2) connotes or postulates that there must be some standard or principle by the application of which the legislature calculates or ascertains definitely the amount. In Bouviar’s Law Dictionary (1946) at p. 421, the word ‘fix’ is defined thus: “To determine; to settle. A Constitutional provision to the effect that the General Assembly shall fix the compensation of officers means that it shall prescribe or ‘fix’ the rule by which such compensation is to be determined”. (See also Fraser Henlein Pvy. Ltd. v. Cody [1945] HCA 49; (1945) 70, C.L.R. 100 at 128 cited in Saunders, Words and Phrases:

Legally Defined Vol. 2, p. 258 (1969). This being the meaning of the word ‘fix’ it would be necessary for the legislature to lay down in the law itself or otherwise indicate the principles on the basis of which it fixes the amount for the acquisition or requisitioning of the property. If this construction is placed on the first mode of determining the amount, then there would be no difference between this method, and the other method whereby the legislature lays down the principles and leaves it for any other authority to determine the amount in accordance with such principles. Whether the legislature adopts one or the other method, the requirement of Article 31(2) would be the same, namely, there must be principles on the basis of which the amount is determined. Such an amount may be determined either by the legislature or by some other authority authorised by the legislature. The content of the right in Article 31(2) is not dependent upon whether the legislature chooses one or the other method of determining the amount. There is no contradiction between these two methods. It is true that in both cases, the judicial review is necessarily limited because it cannot extend to the examination of the adequacy of the amount fixed or to be determined. It was conceded on behalf of the contesting respondents that the court can go into the question whether the “amount” fixed is illusory.

This very concession shows the untenability of the contention advanced on behalf of the Union. For determining whether the “amount” fixed is illusory or not, one has first to determine the value of the property because without knowing the true value of the property, no court can say that the “amount” fixed is illusory. Further, when Article 31(2) says that it is not open to the court to examine whether the “amount” fixed or determined is adequate or not, it necessarily means that the “amount” payable has to be determined on the basis or principles relevant for determining the value of the property acquired or requisitioned. There can be no question of adequacy unless the “amount” payable has been determined on the basis of certain norms and not arbitrarily, without having regard to the value of the property.

748. Further, Article 31(2) provides for fixing or determining the amount for the acquisition or requisitioning of the property. The State action is still described as ‘acquisition or requisition’ and not ‘confiscation’. Therefore, the principles for fixing or determining the amount must be relevant to the ‘acquisition or requisition’, and not to ‘confiscation’. The amount fixed or determined should not make it appear that the measure is one of confiscation. The principles for fixing or determining the amount may be said to be relevant to the acquisition or requisition when they bear reasonable relationship to the value of the property acquired or requisitioned.

749. Further there is practical difficulty in accepting the contention that the word “amount” in the context in which it is used, has no norm. The amount has to be fixed by the legislatures which means by the members of the legislatures. When a law for acquisition of certain types of property is enacted, it is not as if the members of the legislature-each and every one of them who participates in the making of the law would first go and inspect the property to be acquired and then assess the value of that property.

In the very nature of things, the “amount” payable has to be determined on the basis of certain principles. If that be so, as it appears to us to be obvious, then the legislators must have some principles before them to determine the amount. In this connection the Advocate-General of Maharashtra tried to give an explanation, which appears to us to be unsatisfactory and unacceptable. His contention was that our democracy is worked on the basis of party system. The ruling party has the majority of the members of the legislature behind it. Therefore, the members of the opposition party need not know the basis of fixation of the value of the property acquired. Even the members of the ruling party need not be told about the basis on which the value is fixed. The option before them is either to accept the amount fixed by the cabinet or by the Minister concerned or to reject the proposal and face the consequences. If this is the true position, it is, in our opinion, a negation of parliamentary democracy. Our democracy like all true parliamentary democracies is based on the principles of debate and discussion. As far as possible, decisions in the legislatures are arrived at on the basis of consensus. Our Constitution does not provide for one party rule where there is no room for opposition. Opposition parties have an important role to play under our Constitution. Members belonging to the opposition parties have as much right to participate in making laws as the members belonging to the ruling party. Further the learned Advocate General is not correct in his assumption that the function of the members belonging to the ruling party is to blindly support a measure sponsored by the executive. They also have a right, nay, a duty to mould every measure by debate and discussion. If the question of fixation of “amount”

under Article 31(2) is considered as the exclusive function of the executive, then, not only the judicial review will be taken away, even the legislature will not have the opportunity of examining the correctness or appropriateness of the “amount” fixed. A power so arbitrary as that can speedily degenerate into an instrument of oppression and is likely to be used for collateral purposes. Our Constitution has created checks and balances to minimise the possibility of power being misused. We have no doubt that the theory propounded by the Advocate General of Maharashtra will be repudiated by our legislatures and the cabinets as something wholly foreign to our Constitution.

750. If we bear in mind the fact that the “amount” in question is to be paid in lieu of the property taken, then, it follows that it must have a reasonable relationship with the value of the property taken. It may not be the market value of the property taken. The market value of a property is the result of an inter-action of various forces. It may not have any reasonable relationship with the investment made by its successive owners. The price of the property acquired might have shot up because of various contributions made by the society such as improvements effected by the State in the locality in question or the conversion of a rural area into an urban area. It is undoubtedly open to the State to appropriate to itself that part of the market value of a property which is not the result of any contribution made by its owners. There may be several other relevant grounds for fixing a particular “amount” in a given case or for adopting one or more of the relevant principles for the determination of the price to be paid. In all these matters the legislative judgment is entitled to great weight. It will be for the aggrieved party to clearly satisfy the Court that the basis adopted by the legislature has no reasonable relationship to the value of the property acquired or that the “amount” to be paid has been arbitrarily fixed or that the same is an illusory return for the property taken. So long as the basis adopted for computing the value of the property is relevant to the acquisition in question or the amount fixed can be justified on any such basis, it is no more open to the court to consider whether the amount fixed or to be determined is adequate. But it is still open to the court to consider whether “amount” in question has been aribtrarily determined or whether the same is an illusory return for the property taken. It is also open to the court to consider whether the principles laid down for the determination of the amount are irrelevant for the acquisition or requisition in question. To put it differently, the judicial review under the amended Article 31(2) lies within narrow limits. The court cannot go into the question whether what is paid or is payable is compensation. It can only go into the question whether the “amount” in question was aribtrarily fixed as illusory or whether the principles laid down for the purpose of determining the “amount” payable have reasonable relationship with the value of the property acquired or requisitioned.

751. If the amended Article 31(2) is understood in the manner as laid down above, the right to property cannot be said to have been damaged or destroyed. The amended Article 31(2) according to us fully protects the interests of the individual as well as that of the society. Hence its validity is not open to challenge.

752. Now, let us rurn to Article 31(2B). It says that “Nothing in Sub-clause (f) of Clause (1) of Article 19 shall affect any such law as is referred to in Clause (2)”. This provision has no real impact on the right conferred under Article 31(2). Article 31(2) empowers the State to compulsorily acquire or requisition property for public purpose. When property is acquired or requisitioned for public purpose, the right of the owner of that property to hold or dispose of that property is necessarily lost. Hence there is no anti-thesis between Article 19(1)(f) and Article 31(2). That being so, the only assistance that the owner of the property acquired or requisitioned would have obtained from Article 19(1)(f) read with Sub-article (5) of that Article would be the right to insist that the law made under Article 31(2) as it stood before its recent amendment, should have to conform to some reasonable procedure both in the matter of dispossessing him as well as in the matter of determining the “amount” payable to him. In a way, those rights are protected by the principles of natural justice.

753. For the reasons mentioned above, we are unable to accept the contention urged on behalf of the petitioners that Section 2 of the 25th Amendment Act, 1971 is invalid.

754. This takes us to Section 3 of the 25th Amendment Act which now stands as Article 31C of the Constitution. This Article empowers the Parliament as well as the Local Legislatures to enact laws giving effect to, the policy of the State towards securing the principles specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Article 39, completely ignoring in the process, Articles 14, 19 and 31. Further it lays down that if the law in question contains a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy, that Jaw shall not be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy. The proviso to that Article prescribes that where such law is made by the legislature of a State, the provisions of Article 31C shall not apply thereto unless such law, having been reserved for the consideration of the President has received his assent. This Article has two parts. The first part says that laws enacted by Parliament as well as by the Local Legislatures for giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Article 39 shall not be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Articles 14, 19 and 31 notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13 and the second part provides that no law containing a declaration that is for giving effect to such policy shall be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy. Clauses (b) and (c) of Article 39 do not prescribe any subject matter of legislation.

They contain certain objectives to be achieved. The methods to be adopted to achieve those objectives may be numerous. Those clauses cover a very large field of social and economic activities of the Union and the States. Clause (b) of Article 39 says that the State shall direct its policy towards securing that the ownership and control of the material resources of the community are so distributed as best to subserve the common good and Clause (c) of that Article says that the State shall direct its policy towards securing that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment. These two provisions lay down a particular political philosophy. They in conjunction with some other provisions of the Constitution direct the State to build a Welfare State.

755. No one can deny the importance of the Directive Principles. The Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles constitute the ‘conscience’ of our Constitution. The purpose of the Fundamental Rights is to create an egalitarian society, to free all citizens from coercion or restriction by society and to make liberty available for all. The purpose of the Directive Principles is to fix certain social and economic goals for immediate attainment by bringing about a non-violent social revolution. Through such a social revolution the Constitution seeks to fulfil the basic needs of the common man and to change the structure of bur society. It aims at making the Indian masses free in the positive sense.

756. Part IV of the Constitution is designed to bring about the social and economic revolution that remained to be fulfilled after independence. The aim of the Constitution is not to guarantee certain liberties to only a few of the citizens but for all. The Constitution visualizes our society as a whole and contemplates that every member of the society should participate in the freedoms guaranteed. To ignore Part IV is to ignore the substance provided for in the Constitution, the hopes held out to the Nation and the very ideals on which our Constitution is built Without faithfully implementing the Directive Principles, it is not possible to achieve the Welfare State contemplated by the Constitution. A society like ours steeped in poverty and ignorance satisfying the minimum economic needs of every citizen of this country. Any Government which fails to fulfil the pledge taken under the Constitution cannot be said to have been faithful to the Constitution and to its commitments.

757. Equally, the danger to democracy by an over emphasis on duty cannot be minimised. Kurt Reizler, a German Scholar, from his experience of the tragedy of the Nazi Germany warned:

If…these duties of man should be duties towards the “public welfare” of the “society” and the State, and rights are made conditional on the fulfilment of these duties, the duties will uproot the rights. The rights will wither away…(the) State can use the allegedly unfulfilled duties to shove aside rights.-Any Bill of Rights that makes the rights conditional on duties towards society or the State, however strong its emphasis on human dignity, freedom, God or whatever else, can be accepted by any totalitarian leader. He will enforce the duties while disregarding the right.

758. Indeed the balancing process between the individual rights and the social needs is a delicate one. This is primarily the responsibility of the “State” and in the ultimate analysis of the courts as interpreters of the Constitution and the laws.

759. Our founding fathers were satisfied that there is no anti-thesis between the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles. One supplements the other. The Directives lay down the end to be achieved and Part III prescribes the means through which the goal is to be reached. Our Constitution does not subscribe to the theory that end justifies the means adopted. The Counsel for the petitioners urged that the Fundamental Rights are not the cause of our failure to implement the Directive Principles. According to him, it is not the Constituion that has failed as; but we have failed to rise up to its expectations. He urged that the attack against Fundamental Rights is merely an alibi and an attempt to find a scape-goat on the part of those who were unable or willing to implement the Directives. These allegations are ‘denied on behalf of the Union and the States. It was urged on their behalf that interpretations placed by the courts on some of the Articles in Part III of the Constitution have placed impediments in the way of States, in implementing the Directives. These controversies are not capable of being decided by courts.

760. There is no doubt that the power conferred under Article 31C, if interpreted in the manner contended on behalf of the Union and the States would result in denuding substantially the contents of the right to equality, the right to the seven freedoms guaranteed under Article 19 and the right to get some reasonable return by the person whose property is taken for public purpose. Unlike Article 31A, Article 31C is not confined to some particular subjects. It can take in a very wide area of human activities.

The power conferred under it, is an arbitrary power. It is capable of being used for collateral purposes. It can be used to stifle the freedom of speech, freedom to assemble peaceably, freedom to move freely throughout India, freedom to reside and settle in any part of India, freedom to acquire, hold and dispose of property and freedom to practise any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business. The power conferred under that provision is a blanket power. Even a small majority in a legislature can use that power to truncate or even destroy democracy. That power can be used to weaken the unity and integrity of this country. That Article is wholly out of tune with our Constitution. Its implications are manifold. There is force in the contention of the petitioners that this Article has the potentiality of shaking the very foundation of our Constitution.

761. What is the nature of the power conferred under Article 31C ? It is claimed to have empowered Parliament and the State Legislatures to enact laws pro tanto abrogating Articles 14, 19 and 31. A power to take away directly or indirectly a right guaranteed or a duty imposed under a Constitution, by an ordinary law, is a power to pro tanto abrogate the Constitution. If the legislature is empowered to amend the Constitution by ordinary legislative procedure, any law enacted by it, even if it does not purport to amend the Constitution, but all the same, is inconsistent with one or more of the provisions of the Constitution has the effect of abrogating the Constitution to the extent of inconsistency.

That position is clear from the judgment of the Judicial Committee in McCawley v. The King [1920] A.C. 691. In other words, the power conferred under the Article is a power to amend the Constitution in certain essential respects while enacting legislations coming within the purview of that Article. It is a power not merely to abridge but even to take away the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 31 by ordinary law. Further that power is conferred not only on the Parliament but also on the State Legislatures.

762. Article 368 specifically provides that amendment of the Constitution can be done only in the manner provided therein. It is true that there are provisions in the Constitution under which the Parliament can amend some parts of the Constitution by ordinary law- see Article 2 to 4, Article 169, Paragraph 7 of Schedule V and Paragraph 21 of Schedule VI. But these provisions clearly provide that the laws enacted under those provisions “are not to be deemed as amendments to the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368”.

There are also some transitional provisions in the Constitution which can be changed by the Parliament by law. Leaving aside for separate consideration Article 31-A, which was first introduced by the 1st Amendment Act, 1951, there is no provision in the Constitution apart from Article 31(4) which permitted the State Legislatures to enact laws contravening one or more of the provisions in Part III. Article 31(4) relates to legislations pending before the State Legislatures at the time the Constitution came into force. Their scope was known to the Constitution-makers. That provision was enacted to protect certain Zamindari Abolition laws which were on the anvil. But it must be remembered that the original provisions in the Constitution were not controlled by Article 368. That Article is as much a creature of the Constitution as the other Articles are. The form and manner prescribed in Article 368 did not govern the procedure of the Constituent Assembly. The mandates contained in Article 368 are applicable only to the amendments made to the Constitution. The power to amend the Constitution was exclusively given to the Parliament and to no other body. The manner of exercising that power is clearly prescribed. Article 31C gives a very large power to the State Legislatures as well as to Parliament to pro tanto amend the Constitution by enacting laws coming within its ambit.

To put it differently, Article 31C permits the State Legislatures and the Parliament to enact Constitution-breaking laws by a simple majority vote of the members present and voting, if the rule regarding quorum is satisfied.

763. It cannot be said that Article 31C is similar to Articles 4, 169, Paragraph 7 of Schedule V and Paragraph 21 of Schedule VI. Each one of those Articles makes it clear that the laws passed under those Articles are not to be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368. Those laws cannot affect the basic features of the Constitution. They operate within narrow fields.

764. The learned Advocate-General of Maharashtra contended that Article 31C lifts the ban placed on the State Legislatures and Parliament under Articles 14, 19 and 31. It is true that there are several provisions in the Constitution which lift the ban placed by one or the other Article of the Constitution on the legislative power of the State Legislatures and Parliament e.g. Articles 15(4), 16(3), 16(4), 16(5), 19(2) to 19(6), 22(3), 22(6), 23(2), 28(2), 31(4), 31(6) etc. Each one of these Articles lifts the limitations placed on the legislative power of the legislatures by one or more of the provisions of the Constitution particularly those contained in Part III. But when the limitation is so lifted, there will be no conflict between the law enacted and Article 13. In such a situation, there is no occasion for providing that the law enacted will not be deemed to be void notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13. The laws made under the provisions set out earlier cannot in their very nature take away any of the fundamental features of the Constitution. They can merely modify one or other of those features. Article 31C proceeds on the basis that the laws enacted under that Article are in conflict with Article 13 and are prima facie void. Otherwise there was no purpose in providing in that Article “Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13, no law giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Article 39 shall be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any rights conferred by Article 14, Article 19 or Article 31….” Hence the contention that limitations imposed by Articles 14, 19 and 31 on the legislative power of the Union and the States are lifted to the extent provided in Article 31C cannot be accepted.

765. It is true that there is some similarity between the laws made under Article 31A and those made under Article 31C. The scope of the latter article is much wider than that of the former. The character of the laws made under both those Articles is somewhat similar. It was urged that if laws made under Article 31-A, without more, are valid even if they take away or abridge the rights conferred under Articles 14, 19 and 31, for the same reason, laws made under Article 31C must also be held valid. It was contended, now that this Court has upheld the validity of Article 31-A, we should also uphold the validity of Article 31C. In that connection, reliance was placed on the following observations of Brandies J. of the United States Supreme Court in Lesser v. Garnett : 66 L. Ed. p. 595(511)=258 U.S.13.

This Amendment (19th Amendment) is in character and phraseology precisely similar to the 15th. For each the same method of adoption was pursued. One cannot be valid and the other invalid. That the 15th is valid…has been recognised and acted upon for half a century…. The suggestion that the 15th was incorporated in the Constitution not in accordance with law, but practically as a war measure which has been validated by acquiescence cannot be entertained.

766. These observations do not lay down any principle of law. The validity of the 19th Amendment was upheld on various grounds and not merely because the 15th amendment was upheld.

767. The laws enacted under Article 31A by their very nature can hardly abrogate the rights embodied in Articles 14, 19 and 31. Those laws can encroach upon the rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 31 only to the extent necessary for giving effect to them. The laws made must be those made under the topics of legislation mentioned in Article 31A. Hence the encroachment of the rights guaranteed under Article 14, 19 and 31 must necessarily be incidental. If the encroachment is found to be excessive, the same can be struck down. In this connection reference may be usefully made to the decision of this Court in Akadasi Padhan v. State of Orissa [1963] Supp. 2 S.C.R. 691. Therein the validity of a provision of a statute enacted under Article 19(6)(ii) i.e. law providing for State monopoly in Kendu Leaves, came up for consideration. The question for decision before the Court was whether that law can unreasonably encroach upon the right guaranteed under Article 19(1)(g). That question was answered by Gajendragadkar J. (as he then was) speaking for the Court, thus:

“A law relating to” a State monopoly cannot, in the context include all the provisions contained in the said law whether they have direct relation with the creation of the monopoly or not. In our opinion, the said expression should be construed to mean the law relating to the monopoly in its absolutely essential feature. If a law is passed creating a State monopoly, the Court should enquire what are the provisions of the said law which are basically and essentially necessary for creating the State monopoly. It is only those essential and basic provisions which are protected by the latter part of Article 19(6). If there are other provisions made by the Act which are subsidiary, incidental or helpful to the operation of the monopoly, they do not fall under the said part and their validity must be judged under the first part of Article 19(6). In other words, the effect of the amendment made in Article 19(6) is to protect the law relating to the creation of monopoly and that means that it is only the provisions of the law which are integrally and essentially connected with the creation of the monopoly that are protected. The rest of the provisions which may be incidental do not fall under the latter part of Article 19(6) and would inevitably have to satisfy the test of the first part of Article 19(6).

768. The same principle was reiterated by the full Court in the Bank Nationalisation case.

769. As far back as in 1951 this Court ruled in State of Bombay and Anr. v. F.N. Balsara [1951] INSC 38; [1951] S.C.R. 682 that merely because law was enacted to implement one of the Directive Principles, the same cannot with impunity encroach upon the Fundamental Rights. The ratio of Akadasi Padhan’s case would be equally applicable in respect of the laws made under Article 31A which speaks of the “law providing for the” topics mentioned therein. But that ratio cannot be effectively applied when we come to laws made under Article 31C. The reach of Article 31C is very wide. It is possible to fit into the scheme of that Article almost any economic and social legislation. Further, the Court cannot go into the question whether the laws encted do give effect to the policy set out in Article 39(b) and (c). We were told on behalf of the Union and the States that it is open to the courts to examine whether there is a nexus between the laws made under Article 31C and Article 39(b) and (c) and all that the courts are precluded from examining is the effectiveness of the law in achieving the intended purpose. But, such a power in its very nature is tenuous. There can be few laws which can be held to have no nexus with Article 39(b) and (c). At any rate, most laws may be given the appearance of aiming to achieve the objectives mentioned in Article 39(b) and (c). Once that facade is projected, the laws made can proceed to destroy the very foundation of our Constitution. Encroachment of valuable Constitutional guarantees generally begins imperceptibly and is made with the best of intentions but, once that attempt is successful further encroachments follow as a matter of course, not perhaps with any evil motives, and may be, out of strong convictions regarding the righteousness of the course adopted and the objectives intended to be achieved but they may all the same be wholly unConstitutional. Lord Atkin observed in Proprietary Articles Traders Association and Ors. v. Attorney General for Canada and Ors. [1931] A.C. 311 at 317.

Both the Act and the sections have a legislative history which is relevant to the discussion. Their Lordships entertain no doubt that time alone will not validate an Act which when challenged is found to be ultea vires; nor will a history of a gradial series of advances till this boundary is finally crossed avail to protect the ultimate encroachment.

770. The observation of Lord Atkin “nor will a history of a gradual series of advances till this boundary is finally crossed avail to protect the ultimate encroachment” is extremely apposite for our present purpose. The First Amendment Act permitted enactment of Constitution breaking laws in respect of one subject; the Fourth Amendment Act enlarged that field and permitted the Legislatures to make laws ignoring Articles 14, 19 and 31 in respect of five subjects. Now the Twenty-Fifth Amendment has finally crossed the boundary.

771. It cannot be said that under Article 31C Parliament merely delegated its own amending power to State Legislatures and such a delegation is valid. The power conferred on Parliament under Article 368 in its very nature is one that cannot be delegated. It is a special power to be exclusively exercised by Parliament and that in the manner prescribed in Article 368. The State Legislatures are not institutions subordinate to Parliament. Parliament as well as State Legislatures in their respective allocated fields are supreme. Parliament cannot delegate its legislative powers-much less the amending power-to the State Legislatures. The question whether the legislatures can confer power on some other independent legislative body to exercise its legislative power came up for consideration before the Judicial Committee in re The Initiative and Referendum Act [1919] A.C. p. 935 at 945 P.C. Therein Viscount Haldane speaking for the Board observed:

Section 92 of the Act of 1867 (British North American Act) entrusts the legislative power in a Province to its legislature and to that legislature only. No toubt a body with a power of legislation on the subjects entrusted to it so ample as that enjoyed by a Provincial Legislature in Canada, could, while preserving its own capacity intact, seek the assistance of subordinate agencies, as had been done in Hodge v. The Queen 19 App. Cas. 117 the Legislature of Ontario was held entitled to entrust to a Board of Commissioners authority to enact regulations relating to Tavernes; but it does not follow that it can create and endow with its own capacity a new legislative power not created by the Act to which it owes its own existence. Their Lordships do no more than draw attention to the gravity of the Constitutional questions which thus arise.

772. In Queen v. Burah, (1878) 5 I.A. 178 at 194 the Judicial Committee observed:

Their Lordships agree that the Governor General in Council could not, by any form of enactment, create in India, and arm with general legislative authority, a new legislative power, not created or authorised by the Councils’ Act.

773. We respectfully agree with these observations. From these observations it follows that Parliament was incompetent to create a new power-a power to ignore some of the provisions of the Constitution-and endow the same on the State Legislatures. That power was exclusively conferred on Parliament so that the unity and integrity of this country may not be jeopardised by parochial considerations. The Constitution makers were evidently of the opinion that the sovereignty of the country, the democratic character of the polity, and the individual liberties etc. would be better safeguarded if the amending power is exclusively left in the hands of the Parliament. This exclusive conferment of amending power on the Parliament is one of the basic features of the Constitution and the same cannot be violated directly or indirectly. Article 31A made a small dent on this feature and that went unnoticed. That provision is now protected by the principle of stare decisis. Public interest will suffer if we go back on these decisions and take away the protection given to many statutes. Now, to use the words of Lord Atkin in the Proprietary Articles Traders Association’s case, the ‘boundary line has been crossed’ and a challenge to the very basic conceptions of the Constitution is posed. Hence the neglect or avoidance of the question in previous cases cannot be accepted as a sound argument.

774. In Queen v. Kirby and Ors. (1956) 94, C.L.R. 295 Dixon C.J. observed:

These cases, and perhaps other examples exist, do no doubt add to the weight of the general considerations arising from lapse of time, the neglect or avoidance of the question in previous cases and the very evident desirability of leaving undisturbed assumptions that have been accepted as to the validity of the provisions in question. At the same time, the Court is not entitled to place very great reliance upon the fact that, in cases, before it where occasions might have been made to raise the question for argument and decision, this was not done by any member of the Court and that on the contrary all accepted the common assumption of the parties and decided the case accordingly. Undesirable as it is that doubtful questions of validity should’ go by default, the fact is that, the court usually acts upon the presumption of validity until the law is specifically challenged.

775. Similar was the view expressed by Viscount Simonds speaking for the Judicial Committee in Attorney-General of Commonwealth of Australia v. The Queen and Ors.

[1957] HCA 12; 95, C.L.R. 529 at 547 It is therefore asked and no one can doubt that it is a formidable question, why for a quarter of a century no litigant has attacked the validity of this obviously illegitimate unions. Why in Alexannder’s case (1918) 25, C.L.R.

434) itself was no challenge made ? How came it that in a series of cases, which are enumerated in the majority and the dissentient, judgments it was assumed without question that the provisions now impugned were valid ? It is clear from the majority judgment that the learned Chief Justice and the Judges who shared his opinion were heavily pressed by this consideration. It could not be otherwise. Yet they were impelled to their conclusion by the clear conviction that consistently with the Constitution the validity of the impugned provision could not be sustained. Whether the result would have been different if their validity had previously been judicially determined after full argument directed to the precise question and had not rested on judicial dicta and common assumption it is not for their Lordships to say. Upon a question of the applicability of the doctrine of stare decisis to matters of far reaching Constitutional importance they would imperatively require the assistance of the High Court itself. But here no such question arises. Whatever the reason may be, just as there was a patent invalidity in the original Act which for a number of years went unchallenged, so far a greater number of years an invalidity which to their Lordships as to the majority of the High Court has been convincingly demonstrated, has been disregarded. Such clear conviction must find expression, in the appropriate judgment.

776. The contention that Article 31C may be considered as an amendment of Article 368 is not tenable. It does not purport to be so. That Article does not find a place in Part XX of the Constitution. It is not shown as a proviso to Article 368, the only Article which deals with the amendment of the Constitution as such. Article 31C does not say that the powers conferred under that Article are available “notwithstanding anything contained in Article 368” or “notwithstanding anything in this Constituion”. There is no basis for holding that the Parliament intended that Article 31C should operate as an amendment of Article 368. We have earlier come to the conclusion that the State Legislatures cannot be invested with the power to amend the Constitution.

777. If the purpose of Article 31C is to secure for the Government, the control of means of production in certain economic spheres exclusively or otherwise, the same can be achieved by the exercise of legislative power under Article 31(2) or under Article 31(2) read with Article 19(6)(ii). If on the other hand, the object is to reduce the existing economic disparity in the country, that object can be achieved by exercising the various powers conferred on the legislatures under the Constitution, in particular by the exercise of the power to tax, a power of the largest amplitude. That power can be exercised without discriminating against any section of the people. One of the basic underlying principles of our Constitution is that every governmental power, which includes both the power of the executives as well as of the legislatures, must be so exercised as to give no room for legitimate complaint, that it was exercised with an evil eye or an uneven hand.

778. For the reasons mentioned above, we hold that Article 31C permits the destruction of some of the basic features of our Constitution and consequently, it is void.

779. Lastly, we come to the validity of the 29th Amendment Act, 1972. Contentions relating to the 29th Amendment Act of the Constitution lie within narrower limits. The only plea taken was that if any of the provisions in the two Acts included in the IXth Schedule to the Constitution by means of the 29th Amendment Act does not satisfy the requirements of Article 31A(1)(a), the said provision does not get the protection of Article 31-B.

780. As a result of the 29th Amendment Act, the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969, (Kerala Act 33 of 1969) and Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1971 (Kerala Act 25 of 1971) were added as items 65 and 66 in the IXth Schedule of the Constitution. The IXth Schedule is an appendage to Article 31-B, which says:

Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in Article 31A none of the Acts and Regulations specified in the Ninth Schedule nor any of the provisions thereof shall be deemed to be void, or ever to have become void, on the ground that such Act, Regulation or provision is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by, any provisions of this Part and notwithstanding any judgment, decree or order of any court or tribunal to the contrary, each-of the said Acts and Regulations shall, subject to the power of any competent Legislature to repeal or amend it, continue in force.

781. The learned Counsel for the petitioners did not challenge the validity of Article 31B.

Its validity has been accepted in a number of cases decided by this Court. His only contention was that before any Act or any provision in an Act, included in the IXth Schedule can get the protection of Article 31B, the Act or the provision in question must satisfy the requirements of one or the other of the provisions in Article 31A. For this contention of his, he relied on the opening words of Article 31B namely “without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in Article 31A”. He urged that, if Article 31B had been an independent provision having no connection whatsoever with Article 31A as contended on behalf of the contesting respondents, there was no occasion for using the words referred to earlier in Article 31B. He also attempted to trace the history of Articles 31A and 31B and establish that there is link between those two Articles. Though there is some force in those contentions, the question of law raised is no more res integra. It Is concluded by a scries of decisions of this Court and we see no justification to reopen that question.

782. In State of Bihar v. Maharajadhiraja Sir Kameshwar Singh of Darbhanga and Ors.

[1952] S.C.R. 889 a contention similar to that advanced by Mr. Palkhivala was advanced by Mr. Somayya. That contention was rejected by Patanjali Sastri C.J. speaking for the Court with these observations:

Mr. Somayya, however, submitted that the opening words of Article 31-B, namely “Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in Article 31A” showed that the mention of particular statutes in Article 31-B read with the Ninth Schedule was only illustrative, and that, accordingly, Article 31-B could not be wider in scope.. Reliance was placed in support of this argument upon the decision of the Privy Council in Sibnath Banerji’s case. (1945) F.C.R. 195). I cannot agree with that view. There is nothing in Article 31-B to indicate that the specific intention of certain statutes was only intended to illustrate the application of the general words of Article 31-A. The opening words of Article 31-B are only intended to make clear that Article 31-A should not be restricted in its application by reason of anything contained in Article 31-B and are in no way calculated to restrict the application of the latter article or of the enactments referred to therein to acquisition of “estates”.

783. In Vishweshwar Rao v. The State of Madhya Pradesh (1952) S.C.R. 1020 Mahajan J. (as he then was) reiterated the same view. He observed:

It was contended that Article 31-B was merely illustrative of the rule stated in Article 31-A and if Article 31-A had no application, that article also should be left out of consideration….

On the basis of the similarity of the language in the opening part of Article 31-B with that of Sub-section (2) of Section 2 of the Defence of India Act “without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in Article 31-A”, it was urged that Article 31-B was merely illustrative of Article 31- A and as the latter was limited in its application to estates as defined therein, Article 31-B was also so limited. In my opinion, the observations in Sibnath Bannerjee’s case far from supporting the contention raised, negatives it. Article 31-B specifically validates certain Acts mentioned in the Schedule despite the provisions of Article 31-A, but stands independent of it. The impugned Acts in this situation qua the acquisition of the eight malguzari villages cannot be questioned on the ground that it contravenes the provisions of Article 31(2) of the Constitution or any of the other provisions of Part III.

784. A similar view was expresed by this Court in N.B. Jeejeebhoy v. Assistant Collector, Thana Prant. Thana [1964] INSC 213; [1965] 1, S.C.R. 636 Therein Subba Rao J. (as he then was) speaking for the Court observed thus:

The learned Attorney General contended that Article 31-A and Article 31- B should be read together and that if so read Article 31-B would only illustrate cases that would otherwise fall under Article 31-A and, therefore, the same construction as put upon Article 31-B should also apply to Article 31-A of the Constitut on. This construction was sought to be based upon the opening words of Article 31-B, namely “without prejudice to the generality of the provisions contained in Article 31-A”. We find it difficult to accept this argument. The words “Without prejudice to the generality of the provisions” indicate that the Acts and regulations specified in the Ninth Schedule would have the immunity even if they did not attract Article 31-A of the Constitution. If every Act in the 9th Schedule would be covered by Article 31-A, this article would become redundant. Indeed, some of the Acts mentioned therein, namely, items 14 to 20 and many other Acts added to the 9th Schedule, do not appear to relate to estates as defined in Article 31-A(2) of the Constitution. We, therefore, hold that Article 31-B is not governed by Article 31A and that Article 31B is a Constitutional device to place the specified statutes beyond any attack on the ground that they infringe Part III of the Constitution….

785. Several other decisions of this Court proceed on the basis that Article 31-B is independent of the Article 31A. It is too late in the day to reopen that question. Whether the Acts which were brought into the IXth Schedule by the 29th Amendment Act or any provision in any of them abrogate any of the basic elements or essential features of the Constitution can be examined when the validity of those Acts is gone into.

786. For the foregoing reasons, we reject the contention of the petitioners that before an Act can be included in the IXth Schedule, it must satisfy the requirements of Article 31- A.

787. In the result we hold:

(1) The power to amend the Constitution under Article 368 as it stood before its amendment empowered the Parliament by following the form and manner laid down in that Article, to amend each and every Article and each and every Part of the Constitution.

(2) The expression “law” in Article 13(2) even before Article 13 was amended by the 24th Amendment Act, did not include amendments to the Constitution.

(3) Though the power to amend the Constitution under Article 368 is a very wide power, it does not yet include the power to destroy or emasculate the basic elements or the fundamental features of the Constitution.

(4) The 24th Amendment Act did not enlarge the amending power of the Parliament It merely made explicit what was implicit in the original Article. Hence it is valid.

(5)(A) The newly substituted Article 31(2) does not destroy the right to property because- (i) the fixation of “amount” under that Article should have reasonable relationship with the value of the property acquired or requisitioned;

(ii) the principles laid down must be relevant for the purpose of arriving at the “amount” payable in respect of the property acquired or requisitioned;

(iii) the “amount” fixed should not be illusory and (iv) the same should not be fixed arbitrarily.

5(B) The question whether the “amount” in question has been fixed arbitrarily or the same is illusory or the principles laid down for the determination of the same are relevant to the subject matter of acquisition or requisition at about the time when the property in question is acquired or requisitioned are open to judicial review. But it is no more open to the court to consider whether the “amount” fixed or to be determined on the basis of the principles laid down is adequate.

(6) Clause 2(b) of the 25th Amendment Act which incorporated Article 31 (2B) is also valid as it did not damage or destroy any essential features of the Constitution.

(7) Clause (3) of the 25th Amendment Act which introduced into the Constitution Article 31C is invalid for two reasons i.e. (1) it was beyond the amending power of the Parliament in so far as the amendment in question permits destruction of several basic elements or fundamental features of the Constitution and (2) it empowers the Parliament and the State Legislatures to pro tanto amend certain human freedoms guaranteed to the citizens by the exercise of their ordinary legislative power.

(8) The 29th Amendment Act is valid but whether the Acts which were brought into the IXth Schedule by that Amendment or any provision in any of them abrogate any of the basic elements or essential features of the Constitution will have to be examined when the validity of those Acts is gone into.

In the circumstances of the case we direct the parties to bear their own costs in these cases uptill this stage.

A.N. Ray, J.

788. The validity of the Constitution 24th, 25th and 29th Amendment Acts is challenged.

The Constitution 24th Amendment Act amended Article 368. Article 368 in the unamended form speaks of “Amendment of this Constitution” and how the Constitution shall stand amended. The Constitution 24th Amendment Act enacts that Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in that Article.

The other part of the amendment is that nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any amendment under Article 368. The Constitution 25th Amendment Act has amended Article 31(2) and also Article 31(2A). The effect of these two amendments with regard to Articles 31(2) and 31 (2A) is two-fold. First, no property shall be compulsorily acquired or requsitioned save for a public purpose and save by authority of law which provides for an amount which may be fixed by law or which may be determined in accordance with such principles. Secondly, nothing in Article 19(1)(f) shall affect any law as is referred to in Article 31(2). The second part of the Constitution 25th Amendment Act is introduction of Article 31C which enacts that notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13 no law giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing principles prescribed in Clauses (b) and (c) of Article 39 shall be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Articles 14, 19 and 31; and no law containing a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy shall be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy. By the Constitution 29th Amendment Act the Kerala Land Reforms Amendment Act 1969 and the Kerala Land Reforms Amendment Act 1971 have been introduced into the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution.

789. The principal question which falls for determination is whether the power to amend is under any express limitation of Article 13(2). Another question is whether there are implied and inherent limitation on the power of amendment. Can there be any implied or inherent limitation in the face of any express power of amendment without any exception? Question have been raised that essential features of the Constitution cannot be amended. Does the Constitution admit of distinction between essential and non-essential features ? Who is to determine what the essential features are? Who is the authority to pronounce as to what features are essential? The preeminent question is whether the power of amendment is to be curtailed or restricted, though the Constitution does not contain any exception to the power of amendment. The people gave the Constitution to the people. The people gave the power of amendment to Parliament. Democracy proceeds on the faith and capacity of the people to elect their representatives and faith in the representatives to represent the people. Thoroughout the history of man-kind if any motive power has been more potent than another it is that of faith in themselves. The ideal of faith in ourself is of the greatest help to us. Grote the historian of Greece said that the diffusion of Constitutional morality, not merely among the majority of any community but throughout the whole, is the indispensible condition of a government at once free and peaceful. By Constitutional morality Grote meant a paramount reverence for the forms of the Constitution, with a perfect confidence in the bosom of every citizen amidst the bitterness of party contest that the forms of the Constitution will not be less sacred in the eyes of opponents than in his own. The question is “He that planted the car, shall he nor hear? or he that made the eye, shall he no see”.

790. The real question is whether there is any power to amend the Constitution and if so whether there is any limitation on the power. The answer to this question depends on these considerations. First, what is the correct ratio and effect of the decision in I.C.

Golak Nath and Ors. v. State of Punjab and Anr. [1967] INSC 45; (1967) 2 S.C.R. 762. Second, should that ratio be upheld. Third, is there any limitation on the power to amend the Constitution. Fourth, was the 24th Amendment validly enacted. If it was, is there any inherent and implied limitation on that power under Article 368 as amended.

791. The scope and power under Article 368 as it stood prior to the Constitution (24th) Amendment Act to amend the Constitution falls for consideration.

792. Two principal questions arise. First, is the Constitution as well as an amendment to the Constitution law within the meaning of Article 13(2). Second, is there any implied and inherent limitation on the power of amendment apart from Article 13(2).

793. Mr. Palkhivala contends that the unamended Article 368 was subject to Article 13(2). It is said that amendment of the Constitution is law, and, therefore, any law which contravenes fundamental rights is void. It is also said that Article 368 does not prevail over or override Article 13. The four bars under Article 13 are said to be these. The bar is imposed against the State, that is to say the totality of all the forces of the State. Second, all categories of law are covered by the bar, whether they are Constitutional amendments or bye-laws or executive Orders and Notifications. Third, all laws in force under Article 372 and all laws to be brought into force at any future date are brought within the scope of this bar. Fourth, the effect of the bar is to render the law void.

794. Mr. Palkhivala said that the preamble makes it clear that the object of the Constitution is to secure basic human freedom, and this guarantee will be meaningless if the Legislature against whom the guarantee is to operate is at liberty to abrogate the guarantees. It is said that law is comprehensive enough to include both ordinary law and Constitutional law. The various forms of oath in the Third Schedule of the Constitution refer to “Constitution as by law established”. It is, therefore, submitted by the petitioner that the Constitution itself was originally established by law and every amendment has likewise to be established by law in order to take effect. It is emphasised that the Constitutional amendment is a law, and, therefore, the word “law” in Article 13(2) includes Constitutional amendments.

795. The Attorney General and Mr. Seervai said that the Constitution is the supreme higher law. An amendment to the Constitution is in exercise of constituent power. The amending power is not a legislative power. Law in Article 13(2) embodies the doctrine of ultra vires to render void any law enacted under the Constitution.

796. This Court in Shankari Prasad Singh Deo v. Union of India and State of Bihar [1951] INSC 45; (1952) S.C.R. 89 and Sajjan Singh v. State of Rajasthan [1964] INSC 246; (1965) 1 S.C.R. 933 examined the power to amend the Constitution.

797. In Shankari Prasad case the Constitution First Amendment Act was challenged. The principal contention was that the First Amendment in so far as it purported to take away or abridge the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution fell within the prohibition of Article 13(2) of the Constitution.

798. The unanimous view of this Court in Shankari Prasad case was that although law must ordinarily include Constitutional law there is a clear demarcation between ordinary law which is made in exercise of legislative power and Constitutional law which is made in exercise of constituent power. In the absence of a clear indication to the contrary it is difficult to hold that the framers of the Constitution intended to make the fundamental rights immune of Constitutional amendment The terms of Article 368 are general to empower Parliament to amend the Constitution without any exception. Article 13(2) construed in the context of Article 13 means that law in Article 13(2) would be relateable to exercise of ordinary legislative power and not amendment to the Constitution.

799. The Constitution Fourth Amendment Act came into existence on 5 October, 1963.

The Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act came into force on 20 June, 1964. By the Seventeenth Amendment Act Article 31A Clause (1) was amended by inserting one more proviso. A fresh Sub-clause (a) was substituted for original Sub-clause (a) of Clause (2) of Article 31 retrospectively. 44 Acts were added in the Ninth Schedule. The validity of the Seventeenth Amendment was challenged before this Court in Sajjan Singh case.

800. The main contention in Sajjan Singh case was that the power prescribed by Article 226 was likely to be affected by the Seventeenth Amendment, and, therefore, it was necessary that the special procedure laid down in the proviso to Article 368 should have been followed. The Seventeenth Amendment Act was said to be invalid because that procedure was not followed.

801. The majority view of this Court in Sajjan Singh case was that Article 368 plainly and unambiguously meant amendment of all the provisions of the Constitution. The word “law” in Article 13(2) was held not to take in the Constitution Amendment Acts passed under Article 368. It was also said that fundamental rights in Article 19 could be regulated as specified in Clauses (2) to (6) and, therefore, it could not be said to have been assumed by the Constitution makers that fundamental rights were static and incapable of expansion. It was said that the concept of public interest and other important considerations which are the basis of Clauses (2) to (6) in Article 19 “may change and may even expand”. The majority view said that “The Constitution makers knew that Parliament could be competent to make amendments in those rights (meaning thereby fundamental rights) so as to meet the challenge of the problem which may arise in the course of socio economic progress and the development of the country”.

802. The minority view in Sajjan Singh case doubted the correctness of the unanimous view in Shankari Prasad case. The doubt was on a question as to whether fundamental rights could be abridged by exercise of power under Article 368. The minority view in Sajjan Singh case was that the rights of society are made paramount and are placed above those of the individual. But the minority view was also that though fundamental rights could be restricted under Clause (2) to (6) of Article 19 there could be no “removal or debilitation” of such rights.

803. In Golak Nath case the Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act, 1953 was challenged as violative of fundamental rights and as not being protected by the Constitution First Amendment Act, 1951, the Constitution Fourth Amendment Act, 1955 and the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act, 1964. The validity of the Mysore Reforms Act, 1962 as amended by Act 14 of 1965 was also challenged on the same grounds. The Punjab Act and the Mysore Act were included in the Ninth Schedule. It was common case that if the Seventeenth Amendment Act adding the Punjab Act and the Mysore Act in the Ninth Schedule was valid the two Acts could not be impugned on any ground.

804. The majority decision of this Court in Golak Nath case was that an amendment of the Constitution was law within the meaning of Article 13(2). There were two reasonings in the majority view arriving at the same conclusion. The majority view where Subba Rao, C.J., spoke was as follows: The power to amend the Constitution is derived from Articles 245, 246 and 248 of the Constitution and not from Article 368. Article 368 deals only with procedure. Amendment is a legislative process. Amendment is law within the meaning of Article 13. Therefore, if an amendment takes away or abridges rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution it is void. The Constitution First Amendment Act, the Constitution Fourth Amendment Act and the Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act abridged the scope of fundamental rights. On the basis of earlier decisions of this Court the Constitution Amendment Acts were declared to be valid. On the application of the doctrine of prospective over-ruling the amendments will continue to be valid. Parliament will have no power from the date of this decision (meaning thereby the decision in Golak Nath case) to amend any of the provisions of Part III of the Constitution so as to take away or abridge the fundamental rights. The Constitution Seventeenth Amendment Act holds the field. Therefore, the Punjab Act and the Mysore Act cannot be questioned.

805. The concurring majority view of Hidayatullah, J. was this. The fundamental rights are outside the amendatory process if the amendment seeks to abridge or take away any of the rights. The First, the Fourth and the Seventh Amendment Acts being Part of the Constitution by acquiescence for a long time cannot be chellenged. These Constitution Amendment Acts contain authority for the Seventeenth Amendment Act. Any further inroad into fundamental lights as they exist on the date of the decision will be illegal and unConstitutional unless it complies with Part III in general and Article 13(2) in particular.

The constituent body will have to be Convened for abridging or taking away fundamental rights. The Punjab Act and the Mysore Act are valid not because they are included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution but because they are protected by Article 31A and the assent of the President.

806. The two views forming the majority arrived at the same conclusion that an amendment of the Constitution being law within the meaning of Article 13(2) would be unConstitutional if such an amendment abridged any fundamental right. The leading majority view did not express any final opinion as to whether fundamental rights could be abridged by Parliament exercising its residuary power and calling a Constituent Assembly “for making a new Constitution or radically changing it”. The concurring majority view held that the fundamental rights could be abridged by suitably amending Article 368 to convoke Constituent Assembly. The concurring majority view was that a Constituent Assembly could be called by passing a law under Entry 97 of List I and then that Assembly would be able to abridge or take away fundamental rights.

807. The minority view of five learned Judges expressed in 3 judgments as against the majority view of six learned Judges in Golak Nath case was this.

808. Wanchoo, J. spoke for himself and two concurring learned Judges as follows.

Article 368 contains both the power and the procedure for amendment of the Constitution. It is incomprehensible that the residuary power of Parliament will apply to amendment of the Constitution when the procedure for amendment speaks of amendment by ratification by the States. When an entire part of the Constitution is devoted to amendment it will be more appropriate to read Article 368 as containing the power to amend because there is no specific mention of amendment in Article 248 or in any Entry of List I. The Constitution is the fundamental law and without express power to affect change legislative power cannot effect any change in the Constitution. Legislative Acts are passed under the power conferred by the Constitution. Article 245 which gives power to make law for the whole or any part of India is subject to the provisions of the Constitution. If, however, power to amend is in Article 248 read with the residuary Entry in List I that power is to be exercised subject to the Constitution and it cannot change the Constitution which is the fundamental law. It is because of the difference between the fundamental law and the legislative power under the Constitution that the power to amend cannot be located in the Residuary Entry which is law making power under the Constitution.

809. Article 368 confers power on Parliament subject to the procedure provided therein for amendment of any provision of the Constitution, It is impossible to introduce in the concept of amendment, any idea of improvement. The word “amendment” must be given its full meaning. This means that, by amendment an existing Constitution or law can be changed. This change can take the form either of addition to the existing provisions, or alteration of existing provisions and their substitution by others or deletion of certain provisions altogether. An amendment of the Constitution is not an ordinary law made under the powers conferred under Chapter I of Part XI of the Constitution, and therefore, it cannot be subject to Article 13(2). It is strange that the power conferred by Article 368 will be limited by putting an interpretation on the word “law” in Article 13(2) which will include Constitutional law also. The possibility of the abuse of any power has no relevance in considering the question about the existence of the power itself. The power of amendment is the safety valve which to a large extent provides for stable growth and makes violent revolution more or less unnecessary.

810. The two other supporting minority views were these. Bachawat, J. arrived at these conclusions. No limitation on the amending power can be gathered from the language of Article 368. Therefore, each and every part of the Constitution may be amended under Article 368. The distinction between the Constitution and the laws is so fundamental that the Constitution is not regarded as a law or a legislative Act. It is because a Constitution Amendment Act can amend the Constitution that it is not a law and Article 368 avoids all reference to law making by Parliament. As soon as a Bill is passed in conformity with Article 368 the Constitution stands amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill.

Amendment or change in certain Articles does not mean necessarily improvement.

811. Ramaswami, J. expressed these views. The definition of law in Article 13(3) does include in terms a Constitutional amendment though it includes any ordinance, order, bye-law, rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage. The language of Article 368 is perfectly general and empowers Parliament to amend the Constitution without any exception whatever. If it had been intended by the Constitution makers that the fundamental righto guaranteed under Part III should be completely outside the scope of Article 368 it is reasonable to assume that they would have made an express provision to that effect. The expression “fundamental” does not lift the fundamental rights above the Constitution itself. In a matter of Constitutional amendment it is not permissible to assume that there will be abuse of power and then utilise it as a test for finding out the scope of amending power.

812. The majority view in Golak Nath case was that an amendment of the Constitution pursuant to Article 368 is law within the meaning of Article 13(2), and, therefore, an amendment of the Constitution abridging fundamental rights will be void. The majority view was on the basis that there was conflict between Article 13(2) and Article 368 and this basis was the result of the nature and quality of fundamental rights in the scheme of the Constitution.

813. It is, therefore, to be seen at the threshold as to whether there is any conflict between Article 13(2) and Article 368, namely, whether amendment of Constitution is law within the meaning of law in Article 13(2). Article 368 provides in clear and unambiguous terms that an amendment bill after compliance with the procedure stated therein and upon the President giving assent to such bill the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the bill. This Constitutional mandate does not admit or provide any scope for any conflict with any other Article of the Constitution. This is the fundamental law. No other Article of the Constitution has limited its scope. The moment the President gives his assent to an amendment bill the amendment becomes a part of the Constitution.

There cannot be a law before the assent of the President. Therefore, the validity of any such supposed law cannot arise. An amendment of the Constitution becomes a part of the fundamental law. The legality of an amendment is no more open to attack than of the Constitution itself. The opening part of amended Article 368, viz., “An Amendment of this Constitution may be initiated” and its concluding part before the proviso, viz., “The Constitution shall stand amended” show clearly that the whole Constitution can be amended and no part of the Constitution is excluded from the amendment. Herein lies the vital distinction between the Constitution and the ordinary law.

814. The distinction lies in the criterion of validity. The validity of an ordinary law can be questioned. When it is questioned it must be justified by reference to a higher law. In the case of the Constitution the validity is inherent and lies within itself. The validity of Constitutional law cannot be justified by reference to another higher law. Every legal rule or norm owes its validity to some higher legal rule or norm. The Constitution is the basic norm. The Constitution generates its own validity. It is valid because it exists. The Constitution is binding because it is the Constitution. Any other law is binding only if and in so far as it is in conformity with the Constitution. The validity of the Constitution lies in the social fact of its acceptance by the community. The Constitutional rules are themselves the basic rules of the legal system. The Constitution prevails over any other form of law not because of any provision to that effect either in the Constitution or else where but because of the underlying assumption to that effect by the community. If Parliament passes a law under any of the items in the Union List abridging a fundamental right and also provides in that law itself that it shall not be invalid notwithstanding anything in Article 13 or Part III of the Constitution, yet the law made by Parliament will be invalid to the extent of its inconsistency with Part III of the Constitution. It will be invalid because Article 13 occurs in the Constitution which is supreme. The impugned Act cannot enact that it will be valid notwithstanding the Constitution.

815. The real distinction is that Constitutional law is the source of all legal validity and is itself always valid. Ordinary law on the other hand must derive its validity from a higher legal source, which is ultimately the Constitution. Law in Article 13(2) of the Constitution could only mean that law which needs validity from a higher source and which can and ought to be regarded as invalid when it comes in conflict with higher law.

It cannot possibly include a law which is self validating and which is never invalid. The definition of law in Article 13 enumerates more or less exhaustively all forms of law which need validation from higher source and which are invalid when they are in conflict with the Constitution. The definition does not mention Constitutional amendment. It is because an amendment being the Constitution itself can never be invalid. An amendment is made if the procedure is complied with. Once the procedure is complied with it is a part of the Constitution, 816. The expression “law” has been used in several Articles in Part III of the Constitution. These are Articles 17, 19 Clauses (2) to (6), 21, 22, 25, 26, 31, 33, 34 and

35. To illustrate, Article 17 states that untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. Article 17 also states that the enforcement of any disability arising out of untouchability shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law. The word “law”

in Article 17 does not mean the Constitution. The Constitution leaves the matter of enforcement and punishment to law.

817. The foundation of the majority view in Golak Nath case that Article 13(2) takes in Constitutional law within its purview is that an amendment is a legislative process and is an exercise of legislative power. The majority relied on the decision in McCawley v. The King (1920) A.C. 691 and the Bribery Commissioner v. Pedrick Ranasinghe 1965 A.C.

172 in support of the view that there is no distinction between ordinary legislation and Constitutional amendment. The basis of the unanimous decision in Shankari Prasad case was on the distinction between legislative power and the constituent power. Therefore, the majority view in Golak Nath case overruled the view in Shankari Prasad case. Article 13(2) expressly declares that law taking away or abridging the rights conferred by Part III shall be void. This principle embodies the doctrine of ultra vires in a written Constitution.

The observation of Kania, C.J. in A.K. Gopalan v. The State of Madras [1950] INSC 14; 1950 S.C.R. 88 that Article 13(2) was introduced ex majore cautela because even if Article 13 were not there any law abridging or taking away fundamental rights would be void to the extent of contravention or repugnancy with fundamental rights in Part III refers to the doctrine of ultra vires which is a necessary implication of our Constitution. Therefore, there is no distinction between Article 13(2) which expressly affirms the doctrine of ultra vires and the necessary implication of the doctrine of ultra vires which has been applied to every part of our Constitution. If the express doctrine of ultra vires prevented an amendment of Part III of the ‘Constitution contrary to its terms, equally an amendment of other parts of the Constitution contrary to their terms would be prevented by the implied doctrine of ultra vires. The result would be that an amendment of the Constitution which contravened the terms of the existing Constitution would be void. This would result in absurdity. That is why Article 368 expressly provides for the amendment of the Constitution.

818. Mr. Palkhivala on behalf of the petitioner submitted that Constitution amendment was law, within Article 13(2) and was void to the extent to which it contravened the fundamental rights and Article 368 did not prevail over or override Article 13 for these reasons. Reference was made to the form of oath in the Third Schedule which uses the words “Constitution as by law established”. This is said to mean that our Constitution was originally established by law and, therefore, every amendment thereto was likewise to be established by law. Article 13(1) is also said to cover Constitutional law because though Article 395 repealed the Indian Independence Act, 1947 and the Government of India Act 1935 the Constitutional laws of the Indian Princely States or some other Constitutional laws of British India were in existence. Therefore, the word “Law” in Article 13(2) will also include Constitutional law. The word “law” in Article 13(2) will in its ordinary sense embrace Constitutional law, and there is no reason for reading the word “law”, in a restricted sense to confine it to ordinary laws. The real question is not whether there are any words of limitation in Articles 368 but whether there are any words of limitation in Article 13(2). It was amplified to mean if a limitation has to be read in either of the two Articles 368 and 13(2) there is no reason why it should be read in such a way as to enable parliament to take away or abridge fundamental rights.

819. In Article 368 the word “law” is not used at all. Consequently the language of Article 368 raises no question about the applicability of Article 13(2). It is inconceivable that Constitutional laws of Indian Princely States or Constitutional laws of British India exist as Constitutional laws after the coming into existence of our Constitution. Our Constitution is the only fundamental law. All other laws which continue under our Constitution are ordinary laws. The fundamental error in including amendment of the Constitution in law under Article 13(2) is by overlooking the vital difference between the constituent and the legislative powers and in wrongly equating these powers. The definition of “State” in Article 12 includes Parliament. Part V of the Constitution contains provisions relating to the powers of the three organs of the Union Government. Chapter II of Part V relates to the legislative power of Parliament. Under Article 79 Parliament is the Union Legislature provided for by the Constitution. Therefore, law in Article 13(2) must mean a law of Parliament functioning under Chapter II of Part V. It cannot mean the Constitution itself or an amendment of the Constitution. The reason is that the Constitution with its amendment is the supreme authority and the three organs of the State derive their powers from this supreme authority.

820. The word “law” when used in relation to Constitutional law which is fundamental law and ordinary law is not a mere homonym. If the word “law” here is not a mere homonym then it is a mistake to think that all the instances to which it is applied must possess either a single quality or a single set of qualities in common. There is some general test or criterion whereby the rules of the fundamental law or the rules of the system of ordinary laws are tested and identified. When the word “law” is spoken in connection with Constitutional law it cannot have the same meaning as ordinary law. It is not arbitrary to use the word “law” in relation to Constitutional law in spite of its difference from ordinary law.

821. Mr. Palkhivala contended that Constitutional laws of Princely States and of British India prior to our Constitution survived as laws in force under Article 372. Article 372 became necessary to make a provision similar to Section 292 of the Government of India Act, 1935 following the repeal of the 1935 Act and the Indian Independence Act, 1947.

The purpose of Article 372 is to negative the possibility of any existing law in India being held to be no longer in force by reason of the repeal of the law authorising its enactment.

A saving clause of the type of Article 372 is put in to avoid challenge to laws made under the repealed Constitution. The total volume of law in the then British India had the legal authority up to 14 August 1947 by reason of the Government of India Act 1935. The Government of India Act 1935 with adaptations and the Indian Independence Act 1947 preserved the authority of those laws upto 25 January 1950. In so far as it is indisputable that the Government of India Act, 1935 and the Indian Independence Act, 1947 were repealed, the repeal of those Acts was repeal of the Constitutional law represented by those Acts. By our Constitution there was a repeal of all other Constitutional laws operating in our country. There was repeal of “Constitution” in Princely States.

822. A distinction arises between the provisions of a Constitution which are described as Constitutional law and provisions of a statute dealing with a statute which is treated to have Constitutional aspects. An example of the latter type is a statute which provides for the judicature. Mr. Seervai rightly said that the two distinct senses of Constitutional law are mixed up in the contention of Mr. Palkhivala. In the first sense, Constitutional law is applicable to a provision of the Constitution, and in the second sense, to a law enacted under the Constitution dealing with certain classes of subject matter. Laws of the second class fluctuate. An amendment of the Constitution becomes a part of the Constitution itself. Mr. Seervail rightly contended that in order to show that law in Article 13(2) includes amendment of the Constitution it is also necessary to show that the expression “laws in force” in Article 13(1) includes Constitution amendment or the Constitution itself It is impossible to accept the submission that the word “law” in Article 13(2) includes the Constitution. The Constitution itself cannot include the Constitution. It is the Constitution which continues the laws in force. Therefore, law in Article 13 is law other than the Constitution and a fortiori it is other than amendment to the Constitution.

823. In non-British territory on the Constitution coming into force the Constitution of Princely States lost its character as Constitutional law in the strict sense. It is in that strict sense that Wanchoo, J. rightly said in Golak Nath case that on our Constitution coming into existence no other Constitutional law survived. Article 393 of our Constitution says that the Constitution may be called the “Constitution of India”. The Preamble recites that the People in the Constituent Assembly gave this Constitution meaning thereby the Constitution of India. Therefore, the people gave themselves no other Constitution. All other laws whatever their previous status as strict Constitutional law became subordinate laws subject to the provisions of our Constitution and this position is clear from the language of Article 372.

824. In a broad sense law may include the Constitution and the law enacted by the legislature. There is however a clear demarcation between ordinary law in exercise of legislative power and Constitutional law which is made in exercise of constituent power.

Therefore, a power to amend the Constitution is different from the power to amend ordinary law. It was said by Mr. Palkhivala that legislative power is power to make law and constituent power is the power to make or amend Constitutional law and since law in its ordinary sense, includes Constitutional law the legislative power is the genus of which the constituent power is the species. The difference between legislative and constituent power in a flexible or uncontrolled Constitution is conceptual depending upon the subject matter. A Dog Act in England is prima facie made in exercise of legislative power. The Bill of Rights was made in the exercise of constituent power as modifying the existing Constitutional arrangement But this conceptual difference does not produce different legal consequences, since the provisions of a Dog Act inconsistent with the earlier provisions of the Bill of Rights would repeal those provisions pro tanto. In a rigid or controlled Constitution the distinction between legislative power and constituent power is not only conceptual but material and vital in introducing legal consequences. In a controlled Constitution it is not correct to say that legislative power is the genus of which constituent power is the species. The question immediately arises as to what the differentia is which distinguishes that species from other species of the same genus. It would be correct to say that the law making power is the genus of which legislative power and constituent power are the species. The differentia is found in the different procedure prescribed for the exercise of constituent power as distinguished from that prescribed for making ordinary laws. The distinction between legislative power and constituent power is vital in a rigid or controlled Constitution, because it is that distinction which brings in the doctrine that a law ultra vires the Constitution is void, since the Constitution is the touchstone of validity and that no provision of the Constitution can be ultra vires.

825. The legislatures constituted under our Constitution have the power to enact laws on the topics indicated in Lists I to III in the Seventh Schedule or embodied specifically in certain provisions of the Constitution. The power to enact laws carries with it the power to amend or repeal them. But these powers of legislatures do not include any power to amend the Constitution, because it is the Constituent Assembly which enacted the Constitution and the status given by Article 368 to Parliament and the State legislatures, is the status of a Constituent Assembly. The distinction between the power to amend the Constitution and the ordinary power to enact laws is fundamental to all federal Constitution. When Parliament is engaged in the amending process it is not legislating. It is exercising a particular power which is sui generis bestowed upon it by the amending clause in the Constitution. Thus an amendment of the Constitution under Article 368 is constituent law and not law within the meaning of Article 13(2) and law as defined in Article 13(3)(a).

826. The procedure that Bill for amendment of the Constitution has to be introduced in either House of Parliament and passed by both Houses does not alter the status of Parliament to amend the Constitution as a Constituent Assembly and does not assimilate it to that of the Union legislature. At this stage it may be stated that in Shankari Prasad case it was said that law in general sense may include the Constitution and the procedure of amendment is assimilated to ordinary legislative procedure. Assimilation of procedure does not make both the procedure same. Nor are the two separate powers to be lost sight of. The Constituent Assembly which has summoned on 19 December, 1946 to frame a Constitution was also invested after independence with legislative power. It framed the Constitution as the Constituent Assembly. It enacted ordinary laws as legislature. Under Article V of the American Constitution the Congress functions not as a legislature but as a Constituent Assembly. In Australia when a Bill for amendment has to be passed by Commonwealth Parliament and then has to be submitted to the verdict of the electorate the process is not ordinary legislative process of the Commonwealth Parliament. In our Constitution when the amendment falls within the proviso to Article 368 it requires that the amendment must be ratified by at least one half of the State legislatures and the process is radically different from ordinary legislative procedure. The Union legislature acting under Chapter II of Part V has no connection with the State legislatures. Therefore, when amendment is affected under the proviso to Article 368 Parliament does not act as a Union legislature. The feature that in the passage of the bill for amendment of the Constitution the House of Parliament has to adopt the procedure for ordinary legislation has little bearing. If the intention of the framers of the Constitution was to leave to the Union legislature the power to effect amendments of the Constitution it would have been sufficient to insert a provision in Chapter II of Part V in that behalf without enacting a separate part and inserting a provision therein for amendment of the Constitution.

827. Under Clause (e) of Article 368 the Article itself can be amended. Therefore, an amendment of Article 368 providing that provisions in Part III can be amended will be Constitutional. If it was intended by Article 13(2) to exclude Part III altogether from the operation of Article 368 Clause (e) would not have been enacted. The Constituent Assembly thus enacted Article 368 so that the power to amend should not be too rigid nor too flexible. Clause (s) of Article 368 requires an amendment to be ratified by not less than half the number of States. The title of Part XX and the opening words of Article 368 show that a provision is being made for “amendment of this Constitution” which in its ordinary sense means every part of the Constitution. This would include Article 368 itself. There is no limitation imposed upon or deception made to the amendments which can be made. It is not permissible to add to Article 368 words of limitation which are not there.

828. The initiative for an amendment of the Constitution is with Parliament and not with the States. A bill for amendment is to be introduced in either House of Parliament. Again, a bill must be passed by each House by not less than two thirds of the members present and voting, the requisite quorum in each House being a majority of its total membership.

In cases coming under the proviso the amendment must be ratified by the legislatures of not less than half the number of States. Ordinary legislative process is very different; A bill initiating a law may be passed by majority of members present and voting at a sitting of each House and at a joint sitting of House, the quorum for the meeting of either House being one tenth of the total members of the House.

829. The legislative procedure is prescribed in Articles 107 to 111 read with Article 100.

Article 100 states “save as otherwise provided in the Constitution all questions at any sitting of either House or joint sitting shall be determined by a majority of votes of the members present and voting”. Though Article 368 falls into two parts of the Article is one integral whole as is clear from the words “the amendment shall also require to be ratified”. The first part of Article 368 requires that a bill must be passed in each House (1) by majority of the total membership of that House and (2) by a majority of not less than two thirds of the members of that House present and voting. These provisions rule out a joint sitting of either House under Article 108 to resolve the disagreement between the two Houses. Again the majority required to pass a bill in each House is not a majority of members of that House present and voting as in Article 100 but a majority of the total membership of each House and a majority of not less than two thirds of the members of that House present and voting. These provisions are not only important safeguards when amending the Constitution, but also distinguishing features of Constituent power as opposed to legislative power. Under the first part of unamended Article 368 when a bill is passed by requisite majority of each House the bill must be presented for the President’s assent.

830. Parliament’s power to enact laws is not dependent on State legislature, nor can it be frustrated by a majority of State legislatures. The provisions in the proviso to Article 368 for ratification by the legislatures of the State constitute a radical departure from the ordinary legislative process of Parliament, State legislative process of ratification cannot possibly be equated with ordinary legislative process. If the bill is not ratified the bill fails. If it is ratified it is to be presented to the President for his assent. If the President assents the procedure prescribed by Article 368 gomes to an end and the consequence prescribed comes into operation that the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the bill. But the result is not law, but a part of the Constitution and no court can pronounce any part of the Constitution to be invalid.

831. The exercise of the power of ratification by the State legislatures is constituent power and not ordinary law making power. It cannot be said that Article 368 confers constituent power under its proviso but not under the main part. If the procedure has been followed the invalidity of an amendment cannot arise.

832. The provisions in Articles 4, 169, paragraph 7(2) of the Fifth Schedule and paragraph 21(2) of the Sixth Schedule were referred to for the purpose of showing that the word “law” is used in those provisions relating to amendments to the Constitution. It is, therefore, said that similar result will follow in the case of all amendments. These four provisions confer on Parliament limited power of amendment. There are two features common to all these provisions. First, they confer on Parliament a power to make a law which inter alia provides for the specific class of amendments. Second, each of these provisions states that “no such law as aforesaid shall be deemed to be an amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368”. The power to amend under any of these four provisions is a specific power for specific amendments and not a legislative power contained in the Legislative List or Residuary Legislative List.

833. The amendment under Article 4 follows a law providing for the formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries and names of existing States. It is obligatory on Parliament to make amendment of Schedules 1 and 4 and it is necessary to make amendments which are supplemental, incidental and consequential. In making such a law in so far as it affects the State but not Union territory a special procedure has to be followed.

834. Under Article 169 which provides for the abolition or creation of a State legislative Council Parliament has power to make a necessary law on a resolution being passed by the State Legislative Assembly for such abolition or creation by a majority of the membership of the Assembly and by majority of not less than two thirds of the members present and voting. It Parliament makes such a law that law must make the necessary amendments to the Constitution.

835. Schedules 5 and 6 provide for the administration of the Scheduled and Tribal areas which are governed by Part X and not by Part XI by which the Union and States are governed. The Scheduleds provide a mode of governance of those areas which is radically different from the Government of the States and the Union. Part X of the Constitution unlike Part XI is not “subject to the provisions of this Constitution”.

Paragraph 7 of Schedule 5 and paragraph 21 of Schedule 6 confer on Parliament a power to amend the schedules by law but no special procedure is prescribed for making such a law.

836. No question relating to those four provisions, however arises in the present case. In Article 368 the word “law” is not based at all. These four provisions for amendment deal with matters in respect of which it was considered desirable not to impose requirements of Article 368, and, therefore, it became necessary expressly to provide that such amendments shall not be deemed to be amendments of the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368. These four provisions indicate the distinction between the constituent power and the legislative power. If the power of amendment was located in the residuary Entry No. 97 in the Union List it would not have been necessary to grant that power of amendment again in these four provisions. These four provisions indicate that the Constitution makers intended to confer on Parliament power to make amendments in the provisions of the Constitution and having provided for a particular procedure to be followed in respect of matters covered by those four provisions it conferred a general power on Parliament to make an amendment to the other Articles after complying with the requirements of Article 368.

837. The majority view in Golak Nath case said that Parliament could call a Constituent Assembly either directly under the residuary power or pass a law under the Residuary Entry to call a Constituent Assembly for amendment of fundamental rights. Of the two views forming the majority one view did not express any opinion as to whether such a Constituent Assembly could take away or abridge fundamental rights but the other view expressed the opinion that such a Constituent Assembly could abridge fundamental rights. The majority view in Golak Nath case was that Parliament is a constituted body and not a constituent body and a constituted body cannot abridge or take away fundamental rights. The majority view indicates that a constituent power was required to amend the fundamental rights.

838. The majority view has totally ignored the aspect that constituent power is located in Article 368, and, therefore, amendment under the Article is not a law within the meaning of Article 13(2). If Parliament is a constituted body as was said by the majority view in Golak Nath case it would be difficult to hold that such a body could bring about a Constituent Assembly. The well-known principle that what cannot be done directly cannot be achieved indirectly will establish the basic infirmity in that majority view. If fundamental rights can be abridged by Parliament calling a Constituent Assembly under the Residuary Entry such Constituent Assembly will be a body different from Parliament and will frame its own rules of business and Article 368 cannot have any application.

That will have a strange and startling result.

839. In the scheme of the Constitution containing Article 368 a Constituent Assembly will be called extra Constitutional means and not one under the Constitution. A Constitution can be amended only in accordance with the process laid down in the Constitution. No other method is Constitutionally possible than that indicated in the provision for amendment of the Constitution. Once the Constitution has vested the power to amend in the bodies mentioned therein that is the only body for amending the Constitution. The people who gave the Constitution have expressed how it is to be changed.

840. The distinction between constituent and legislative power is brought out by the feature in a rigid Constitution that the amendment is by a different procedure than that by which ordinary laws may be altered. The amending power is, therefore, said to be a re- creation of the Constituent Assembly every time Parliament amends re-creation in accordance with Article 368.

841. The two decisions in McCawley v. The King 1920 A.C. 691 and The Bribery Commissioner v. Pedrick Ranasinghe [1964] UKPC 1; 1965 A.C. 172 on which the majority view in Golak Nath case relied to hold that amendment to the Constitution is an ordinary legislative process do not support that conclusion. The difference between flexible or uncontrolled and rigid or controlled Constitutions in regard to amendment is that there may be special methods of amendment in rigid or controlled Constitution. In a rigid Constitution amendment is not by exercise of ordinary legislative power. The power to amend is, therefore, described in a rigid Constitution as constituent power because of the nature of the power. In a flexible Constitution the procedure for amendment is the same as that of making ordinary law. A Constitution being uncontrolled the distinction between legislative and constituent powers gets obliterated because any law repugnant to the Constitution pro tanto repeals a Constitution as was held in McCawley case. Dicey in his Law of the Constitution (10th Ed.) illustrates the view by his opinion that if the Dentists Act said anything contrary to the Bill of Rights which can be described as Constitutional document the Dentists Act would prevail. In a flexible or unwritten Constitution the word Constitutional law is imprecise as it is used in respect of subject matter of law, e.g. a law dealing with the legislature. In a rigid or written Constitution whatever is in the Constitution would be the law of the Constitution.

842. In McCawley case the validity of the appointment of McCawley as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland was challenged as void on the allegation that Section 6 Sub-section (6) of the Industrial Arbitration Act of 1916 was contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of Queensland 1867. The Industrial Arbitration Act of 1916 by Section 6 Sub-section (6) authorised the Governor to appoint any Judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration to be a Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland and provided that a Judge so appointed shall have the jurisdiction of both offices and shall hold office as a Judge of the Supreme Court during good behaviour. The sub-section further provided that Judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration shall hold office for seven years. The Governor in Council by commission reciting Section 6 Sub-section (6) appointed McCawley who was a Judge and the President of the Court of Industrial Arbitration to be a Judge of the Supreme Court during good behaviour. By Sections 15 and 16 of the Constitution of 1867 the period during which Judges of the Supreme Court were to hold office was during good behaviour. The contention was that the appointment of McCawley under the Industrial Arbitration Act 1916 for a limited period of seven years was invalid since the Act was inconsistent with the Constitution Act 1867 and further that the Act of 1916 could not repeal or modify the provisions of the Constitution Act.

843. The Privy Council held that the Legislature of Queensland had power both under the Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 Section 5 and apart therefrom under Clauses 2 and 22 of the Order-in-Council of 1859, Section 7 of the Act 18 & 19 Vict. c. 54 and Sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution Act of 1867 to authorise the appointment of a Judge of the Supreme Court for a limited period. Section 7 of the Act 18 & 19 Vict. c. 54 intended an order in Council to make provision for the government of the Colony and for the establishment of a legislature. The Order-in-Council 1859 by Clause 2 gave full power to the legislature of the Colony to make further provision in that behalf. The Order-in- Council of 1859 by Clause 22 gave the legislature full power and authority from time to time to make laws altering or repealing all or any of the provisions of this Order in the same manner as any other laws for the good Government of the colony.

844. Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act gave the legislature full power to alter the Constitution.

845. Section 2 of the Constitution Act of 1867 gave the legislature power to make laws for the peace, welfare and good government of the Colony. Section 9 of the Constitution required a two thirds majority of the legislative Council and Legislative Assembly as a condition precedent of the validity of legislation altering the Constitution of the Legislative Council. Section 6 Sub-section (6) which authorised an appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court only during the period during which the person appointed was a Judge of the Court of Industrial Arbitration was found to be valid legislation. It was found that the Constitution of Queensland was a flexiable as distinct from rigid Constitution. Power to alter the Constitution by ordinary law was also said to exist both in virtue of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865 Section 5 and independently of that Act in virtue of Clause 22 of the Order in Council 1859 and Sections 2 and 9 of the Constitution Act of 1867.

846. The decision in McCawlay case shows that unless there is a special procedure prescribed for amending any part of the Constitution the Constitution is uncontrolled and can be amended by the manner prescribed for enacting an ordinary law and therefore a subsequent law inconsistent with the Constitution would pro tanto repeal the Constitution. The decision also established that a Constitution largely or generally uncontrolled may contain one or more provisions which prescribe a different procedure for amending the provisions of the Constitution. If this is prescribed the procedure for amendment must be strictly followed.

847. The legislature of Queensland was found to be master of its own household except in so far as its powers were restricted in special cases. No such restriction was established in the case before the Privy Council. The legislature had plenary power there. The legislature was not required to follow any particular procedure or to comply with any specified conditions before it made any law inconsistent with any of the provisions of Constitutional document.

848. The contention of the respondent in McCawley case was that the Constitution of Queensland was controlled and that it could not be altered merely by enacting legislation inconsistent with its Articles but that it could be altered by an Act which in plain and unmistakable intention of the legislature to alter consequently gave effect to that intention by operative provisions. The Judicial Committee thought this Constitution would amount to a Constitution which was neither controlled nor uncontrolled. It was not controlled because the future generation could by a merely formal Act correct it at pleasure. It was said to be not uncontrolled because the framers prescribed to their successors a particular mode by which they are allowed to effect Constitutional changes. Section 22 of the Order in Council conferred power and authority in legislature from time to time to make laws altering or repealing all or any of the provisions of the Order in Council in the same manner as any other laws for the good government of the country. The Constitution Act of 1867 was contended to enact certain fundamental organic provisions of such a nature as to render the Constitution controlled. It was found impossible to point to any document or instruction giving or imposing on the Constitution of Queensland such a quality. The decision in McCawley case related to uncontrolled Constitution which gave the legislature full power to make laws except on one subject and, therefore, a law made by the legislature under such a Constitution could pro tanto conflict with and repeal the Constitution. That is not our Constitution.

849. In Ranasinghe case the validity of the appointment of Bribery Tribunal was challenged. The Supreme Court of Ceylon took the view that the Bribery Tribunal was not appointed by the Judicial Service Commission in accordance with the provisions of Section 55 of the Ceylon Constitution Order in Council. It was, therefore, not lawfully appointed. It was common ground that the appointment of the Bribery Tribunal was not in accordance with Section 55 of the Ceylon Constitution Order in Council, 1946. Section 55 vested in the Judicial Service Commissioner the appointment, dismissal and disciplinary control of Judicial Officers, viz., Judges of lesser rank. The removal of Judges of the Supreme Court could be by the Governor General on an address of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

850. Section 29 of the Ceylon (Constitution) Order in Council provided in Sub-sections (1), (2), (3) and (4) as follows:

29(1) Subject to the provisions of this Order, Parliament shall have power to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the Island.

(2) No such law shall-(a) prohibit or restrict the free exercise of any religion;

(3) Any law made in contravention of Sub-section (2) of this section shall, to the extent of such contravention, be void.

(4) In the exercise of its powers under this section Parliament may amend or repeal any of the provisions of this Order, or of any other Order of Her Majesty in Council in its application to the Island:

Provided that no Bill for the amendment or repeal of any of the provisions of this Order shall be presented for the Royal Assent unless it has endorsed on it a certificate under the hand of the Speaker that the number of votes cast in favour thereof in the House of Representatives amounted to not less than two-thirds of the whole number of Members of the House (including those not present).

Every certificate of the Speaker under this sub-section shall be conclusive for all purposes and shall not be questioned in any court of law.

851. The Judicial Committee found that there was a conflict between Section 55 of the Ceylon Constitution Order and Section 41 of the Bribery Amendment Act. The Privy Council found that Section 29(4) of the order was attracted but the requirements of Section 29(4) had not been complied with and, therefore, the appointment of the Bribery Tribunal was invalid. The certificate of the Speaker under the proviso to Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution Order was an essential part of the legislative process. There was no such certificate in the case of the legislation under which the appointment of the impugned Tribunal was made. The Judicial Committee said that a legislature has no power to ignore the conditions of law making that are imposed by the regulating instrument. This restriction exists independently of the question whether the legislature is sovereign as the legislature of Ceylon or whether the Constitution is uncontrolled as happened in McCawley case with regard to the Constitution of Queensland.

852. The Judicial Committee said “A Constitution can, indeed, be altered or amended by the legislature, if the regulating instrument so provides and if the terms of those provisions are complied with; and the alteration or amendment may include the change or abolition of these provisions. But the proposition which is not acceptable is that a legislature, once established, has some inherent power derived from the mere fact of its establishment to make a valid law by the resolution of a bare majority which its own constituent instrument has said shall not be valid law unless made by a different type of majority or by a different legislative process”.

853. It was contended that just as the legislature of the Colony of Queensland had power by mere majority vote to pass an Act that was inconsistent with the provisions of the existing Constitution of that Colony as to the tenure of Judicial Office so the legislature of Ceylon had no less a power to depart from the requirements of a section such as Section 55 of the Ceylon Constitution, notwithstanding the wording of Sections 18 and 29(4). Section 18 in effect says that a legislation can be passed by a majority of votes subject to the provisions in Section 29(4) of the Constitution. The Judicial Committee said that in McCawley case the legislature had full power to make laws by a majority except upon one subject that was not in question and the legislation was held to be valid because it was treated as pro tanto an alternation of the Constitution which was neither fundamental in the sense of being beyond change nor so constituted as to require any special process to pass a law upon the topic dealt with. The word “fundamental” in the sense of “being beyond change” refers to express limitations as to power or manner and form of change. These words do not mean as Mr. Palkhivala contended that there are fundamental features of the Constitution which cannot be amended.

854. The legislature purported to pass a law which being in conflict with Section 55 of the Order in Council must be treated if it is to be valid, as an implied alteration of the Constitutional provisions about the appointment of judicial officers. Such alterations could only be made by laws which complied with the special legislative procedure laid down in Section 29(4). The provisions in Section 29(4) were found not to confer on the Ceylon legislature the general power to legislature so as to amend the Constitution by ordinary majority resolution which the Queensland legislature was found to have under Section 2 of the Queensland Constitution Act 855. Ranasinghe case shows that Parliament which by its own Act imposed procedural conditions upon the legislative process is no more limited or non-sovereign than a legislature which has such conditions imposed on it by the Constitutional instrument. A Constitutional instrument which places procedural restraints upon the forms of law making places the legislature under a compulsion to obey them. In McCawley case it was said that the Colonial Legislature with plenary powers could treat the Constitutional document which defined its powers as if it were a Dog Act This proposition as a result of Ranasinghe case is narrowed to the extent that where provisions for procedural special majority are laid down in the Constitutional document they cannot be treated as a provision in the Dog Act might be.

856. These decisions indicate the distinction between procedural and substantive limitations on the legislative process. In Ranasinghe case the issue was one of personal liberty in the sense that the respondent claimed the right not to be imprisoned except by a valid law. No question was raised about the right of religion protected by Sections 29(2) and (3) of the Ceylon Constitution. It was also not the respondent’s case there that any provision was unamendable. It would be unusual for the Privy Council to say by way of an obiter dictum that a provision was not amendable contrary to the respondent’s submission. Though the Privy Council did not use the words “legislative and constituent”

in distinguishing ordinary law from law amending the Constitution, the Privy Council in referring to the Ceylon Constitution instrument showed that the familiar distinction is the basis of the judgment.

857. The Privy Council is dealing with Section 29 took note of the special heading under which Section 29 appears in the Constitution. That special heading is “legislative power and procedure”. The opening words of Section 29 are that subject to the provisions of this order Parliament shall have powers to make laws. These are similar to the opening words in Article 245 of our Constitution. Section 18 of the Ceylon Constitution prescribes the ordinary legislative procedure for making laws by a bare majority unless otherwise provided for by the Constitution, which is to be found in Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution. Our Constitution in Article 100 makes an identical provision for ordinary legislative procedure. Section 29(2) confers rights of freedom of religion and Section 29(3) states that no laws shall be made prohibiting or restricting such freedom. Part III of our Constitution contains among other fundamental rights, rights to freedom of religion.

Section 29(3) expressly makes laws in contravention of Section 29(2) void to the extent of contravention. Article 13(2) of our Constitution expressly makes law which takes away or abridges fundamental rights void to the extent of the contravention. Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution dealing with the amendment of the Constitution does not expressly make void a law amending the Constitution.

858. It follows from McCawley case and Ranasinghe case that a legislature has no power to ignore the conditions of law making imposed upon it which regulate its power to make law. The Ceylon legislature had no general power to legislate so as to amend its general power by ordinary majority resolution such as Queensland legislature was found to have under Section 2 of the Queensland Constitution. Peace, order and good government in Section 29(1) of the Ceylon Constitution is not the same as amendment contemplated in Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution. In Ranasinghe case the Judicial Committee referred to the social compact. The compact is this. The inhabitants of Ceylon accepted the Ceylon Constitution on the footing that the various rights conferred, liabilities imposed and duties prescribed under the law cannot be altered in the ordinary course of legislation by a bare majority. But if all these were to be changed then such a change could only be made under the strongest safeguard of the amending process which in the case of Ceylon was not less than two-third of the absolute membership. These rights are the solemn compact. These valuable rights are conferred on the people. Under ordinary law by ordinary majority they cannot be taken away.

859. The absence of an express provision in Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution that an amendment of the Constitution in contravention of the terms of that sub-section shall be void need not support the conclusion that such an amendment was valid. Section 29(1) of the Ceylon Constitution is expressed to be “subject to the provisions of this Order” and any power under Section 29(4) is expressly subject to the proviso there. The Privy Council held that the opening words of Section 29 introduced into the Constitution of Ceylon the necessarily implied doctrine of ultra vires. The proposition will apply directly to the same opening words of our Article 245. The Privy Council accepted the distinction made in McCawlay case between controlled and uncontrolled Constitutions by emphasising the observation in McCawley case with reference to Section 9 of the Queensland Constitution. The description of Section 29(2) of the Ceylon Constitution as an entrenched provision means that it can be amended but only by special procedure in Section 29(4). That is the meaning of the word “entrenched”. This meaning alone is consistent with the clear language of the amending power and also with the decision.

Section 29(4) does not limit the sovereignty of the Ceylon legislature because the legislature can always pass the amendment after getting two-thirds majority and the certificate.

860. Counsel for the respondent in Ranasinghe case stated that there was no limitation except the procedure and even that limitation could be removed by amendment complying with Sub-section (4). The Privy Council affirmed that position. There is nothing to prevent by appropriate amendment a deletion of Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution which would then empower Parliament to achieve the power to amend by an ordinary majority. Section 29(1) is not legislative power alone but a composite power when read along with Section 29(4) in the context of the Ceylon Constitution. It includes both legislative and constituent power. Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 29 are not the grant of power but limitation on power. Its terms show that limitation is at any rate on the legislative power of enacting laws contrary to Sub-sections (2) and (3) of Section 29. If Section 29(1) is a composite legislative and constituent power and Sub-section (2) and (3) are a restraint on legislative power the constituent power under Sub-section (4) remains unaffected. The sequiter is that Section 29(4) is consistent only with the view that so far as amendment of Sub-sections (2) and (3) is concerned amendment is permited and there is no limitation on constituent power under Section 29(4). The Privy Council took the widest view of the amending power. In fact the narrower view was not argued.

861. Our Constitution in Article 13(2) by its express declaration with reference to law and the State widely defined has no higher efficacy in rendering a law in contravention of its terms void than the opening words of Article 245 have in rendering a law void in contravention of term mentioned therein. Therefore, in treating Article 13(2) as having that effect in regard to Constitutional amendment the majority judgment in Golak Nath case was inept. In rejecting the distinction between legislative and constitutent powers the leading majority view in Golak Nath case was induced by the absence of the use of the labels but the same concepts were clearly indicated by the Privy Council by wholly describing the characteristic features of legislative and constituent powers.

862. If Article 368 had begun with a non-obstante clause it could not have been said that amendment under Article 368 would be law within the meaning of Article 13(2). The Attorney General rightly said that there is no non-obstante clause in Article 368 because of the quality of amending power and because the amending power is a constituent power and not ordinary legislative power. This is the position of the amending clause in a written Constitution. When the power under Article 368 is exercised Parliament acts as a recreation of Constituent Assembly. Therefore, such power cannot be restricted by or widened by any other provision. As soon as an amendment is made it becomes a part of the Constitution. An amendment prevails over the Article or Articles amended. The fact that Article 368 confers constitutent powers is apparent from the special conditions prescribed in the Article. Those conditions are different from ordinary law making process. Article 368 puts restraints on the ordinary law making process and thus confers constituent power. The Constituent Assembly was fully aware that if any limitation was to be put on the amending power the limitation would have to be expressly provided for.

Article 305 of the Draft Constitution provided reservation of seats for certain sections of people in the legislature for 10 years. This reservation was not accepted by the Constituent Assembly. This shows that if the Drafting Committee or the Constituent Assembly wanted to exclude fundamenal rights from the operation of Article 368 corresponding to Article 304 in the Draft Constitution they could have expressly done so.

863. In Ghulam Sarwar v. Union of India [1966] INSC 267; (1967 2 S.C.R. 271 it was said there was a distinction between deprivation of fundamental rights by force of a Constitutional provision itself and such deprivation by an order made by President in exercise of a power conferred on him under Constitutional provision. The dissenting view in Ghulam Sarwar case was that an order of the President was not a law within the meaning of Article 13(2). In Mohd. Yakub v. State of Jammu & Kashmir [1967] INSC 258; (1968) 2 S.C.R. 227 the majority view of the Constitution Bench was that an order of the President under Article 359 was not law within the meaning of Article 13(2). There is no distinction between Article 358 and Article 359(1). Article 358 by its own force suspends the fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 19. Article 359(1) on the other hand does not suspend any fundamental rights of its own force but it gives force to order by the President declaring suspension of the enforcement of any fundamental right during the period of emergency.

In Mohd. Yakub case it was said that it could not mean that an order under Article 359(1) suspending the enforcement of a particular fundamental right had still to be tested under the vary fundamental right which it suspended. Mohd. Yakub case establishes that the expression “law” in Article 13(2) is not all embracing in spite of the exclusive definition of law in Article 13(3)(a).

864. The word “law” appears in various Articles of our Constitution but not in Article 368. The reason is that the power under Article 368 is not a power to make ordinary laws under the Constitution but is the constituent power. There could be no law within the meaning of Article 13(2) at any stage before the amendment became a part of the Constitution under Article 368. There is no hiatus between an amendment being a law and thereafter a part of the Constitution. Immediately upon the passage of the Bill for the amendment the Constitution stands amended.

865. The historical background of Article 13(2) throws some light on the question as to whether Article 13(2) prevails over Article 368. On 17 March, 1947 the Constitutional Advisor Sir B.N. Rau had addressed a letter to the members of Central and Provincial legislatures. A questionnaire was annexed to that letter. Question No. 27 was “What provisions should be made regarding amendments to the Constitution”. A note was appended to that question which will be found in Shiva Rao Framing of India’s Constitution referred to as Shiva Rao Vol. II pp. 448-451. The methods of amendment of Constitution in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, United States of America, Switzerland and Ireland were elucidated in that note. The note also drew attention that the fact that in various Constitution express limitations were put on amending certain provisions of the Constitution. The portion of the note relating to the Constitution of Australia indicated such limitations.

866. The draft report of the sub-Committee on fundamental rights dated 3 April 1947 contained an annexure which dealt with fundamental rights. See Shiva Rao Vol. II p. 137 seq. Clause 2 of the annexure was as follows:

Any law or usage in force within the territories of the Union immediately before the commencement of this Constitution and any law which may hereafter be made by the State inconsistent with the provisions of this Chapter/Constitution shall be void to the extent of such inconsistency.

867. The Constitutional Adviser suggested that the word “Constitution” was preferable to the word “chapter” because the entire Constitution was to prevail over law.

868. On 23 April, 1947 the Advisory Committee on Fundamental Rights presented an interim report addressed to the President of the Constituent Assembly containing an annexure providing for justiciable fundamental rights. See Shiva Rao Vol. II pp. 294-296 seq. Clause 2 of the Annexure to that report was as follows:

All existing laws, notification, regulations, customs or usages in force within the territories of the Union inconsistent with the rights guaranteed under this part of the Constitution shall stand abrogated to the extent of such inconsistency nor shall the Union or any unit may make any law taking away or abridging any such right.

869. Clause 2 of the annexure to the interim report was discussed in the Constituent Assembly on 29 April, 1947. Shri K. Santhanam moved an amendment to Clause 2. The amendment was as follows : In Clause 2 for the words “nor shall the Union or any unit make any law taking away or abridging any such right” the following be substituted:

“Nor shall any such right be taken away or abridged except by an amendment of the Constitution”. The amendment was accepted as will appear in Constituent Assembly Debates Vol. III p. 416.

870. In October, 1947 the Draft Constitution was prepared by the Constitutional Advisor.

Clause 9(2) of the said Draft Constitution which later on corresponded to Article 13(2) of our Constitution was as follows:

Nothing in this Constitution shall be taken to empower the State to make any law which curtails or taking away any of the rights conferred by Chapter II of this Part except by way of amendment of this Constitution under Section 232 and any law made in contravention of this sub-section shall, to the extent of the Contravention, be void.

871. It will be seen that Clause 9(2) in the Draft Constitution included the qualification “except by way of amendment of the Constitution under Section 232”. Clause 232 in the Draft Constitution prepared by the Constitutional Advisor became Article 304 in the Constitution prepared by the Drafting Committee and eventually became Article 368 of our Constitution. In Shiva Rao, Vol. III p. 325 it appears that the Drafting Committee on 30 October, 1947 at a meeting gave a note forming the minutes of that meeting that Clause 9(2) should be revised as follows:

The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the rights conferred by this Part and any law made in contravention of this sub- section shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.

872. No reason is recorded in these minutes as to why the resolution adopted by the Constituent Assembly by passing Shri Santhanam’s amendment was disregarded. No indication was given in the forwarding letter of Dr. Ambedkar in the Note appended thereto as to why the amendment of Shri Santhanam which had been accepted by the Constituent Assembly was deleted. Nor does the Draft Constitution indicate either by sidelines or in any other manner that the decision of the Constituent Assembly had been disregarded.

873. This history of the formation and framing of Article 13(2) shows that the intention of the Constitutent Assembly was that Article 13(2) does not control the Article relating to the amending of the Constitution. It must be assumed that the Drafting Committee consisting of eminent men considered that an express exclusion of the amending Article from the operation of the clause corresponding to Article 13(2) was unnecessary and the fear that that Article would cover the amending Article was groundless. It also appears that no discussion took place after the Draft Constitution had been presented to the Constituent Assembly by Dr. Ambedkar on the deletion or disregard of Shri Santhanam’s amendment. The history of Article 13(2) shows that the Constituent Assembly clearly found that it did not apply to an amendment of the Constitution.

874. The distinction between constitutent and legislative power in a written Constitution is of enormous magnitude. No provision of the Constitution can be declared void because the Constitution is the touchstone of validity. There is no touchstone of validity outside the Constitution. Every provision in a controlled Constitution is essential or so thought by the framers because of the protection of being amendable only in accordance with the Constitution. Every Article has that protection. The historical background of Article 13(2) indicates that the Constitution-makers dealt separately with legislative power by providing for the same in Part XI and entrusted the constituent power to authorities mentioned in Article 368 and that authority has the same power as the Constituent Assembly because it has not put any fetter upon it. The draft Article 305 which provided for a limitation as to time for amendment of certain matters was eventually deleted. If the framers of the Constitution wanted to forbid something they would say so.

875. The vitality of the constituent power not only indicates that the Constitution is in the words of Maitland the suprema potestas but also the fact that the amending power is put in a separate Article and Part of the Constitution establishing that it deals with a topic other than legislative power and the power is meant to be exhaustive leaving nothing uncovered. The vary fact that amending power is not put in any legislative power or is not attached to a subject which is the subject matter of legislative power leaving aside the four sets of provisions, namely, Articles 4, 169, paragraph 7 Schedule 5 and paragraph 21 Schedule 6 containing specific power of amendment shows that that amending power was meant to be exhaustive and plenary. If a power of amendment without any express limitation was given it was because a legal Constitutional way of bringing a change in the Constitution was desirable or necessary. Otherwise there would be no legal way of effecting the change. It cannot be attributed to the framers of the Constitution that they intended that the Constitution or any part of it could be changed by unConstitutional or illegal methods.

876. If an amendment of the Constitution is made subject to Article 13(2) the necessary conclusion then is that no amendment of the Constitution is possible. The opening words of Article 245 which deals with legislative power indicate that any law made under Article 246(1) read with List I of the Seventh Schedule is subject to the limitations on legislative power imposed by all the Articles in the Constitution. These limitations cannot be altered or amended in exercise of legislative power, if the power of amendment is said to be located in the Residuary Entry 97 in List I. The history of residuary power in the Government of India Act, 1935 whose scheme was adopted in the Constitution shows that the topic of amendment was not only present to the mind of the Constitutent Assembly but also that the Constituent power could not reside in the residuary power.

877. The conclusions on the question as to whether Article 13(2) overrides Article 368 are these. Article 13(2) relates to laws under the Constitution. Laws under the Constitution are governed by Article 13 (2). Article 368 relates to power and procedure of amendment of the Constitution. Upon amendment of the Constitution the Constitution shall stand amended. The Constitution is self validating and self executing. Article 13(2) does not override Article 368. Article 13(2) is not a fundamental right. The Constitution is the touchstone. The constituent power is sui generis. The majority view in Golak Nath case that Article 13(2) prevails over Article 368 was on the basis that there was no distinction between constituent and legislative power and an amendment of the Constitution was law and that such law attracted the opening words of Article 245 which in its turn attracted the provisions of Article 13(2). Parliament took notice of the two conflicting views which had been taken of the unamended Article 368, took notice of the fact that the preponderating judicial opinion, namely, the decisions in Shankari Prasad case Sajjan Singh case and the minority views of five learned Judges in Golak Nath case were in favour of the view that Article 368 contained the power of amendment and that power was the constituent power belonging to Parliament Wanchoo, J. rightly said in Golak Nath case that the power under Article 368 is a constituent power to change the fundamental law, that is to say, the Constitution and is distinct from ordinary legislative power. So long as this distinction is kept in mind Parliament will have power under Article 368 to amend the Constitution and what Parliament does under Article 368 is not ordinary law making which is subject to Article 13(2) or any other Article of the Constitution. This view of Wanchoo, J. was adopted by Parliament in the Constitution 24th Amendment Act which made explicit that under Article 368 Parliament has the constituent power to amend this Constitution.

878. In order to appreciate and assess Mr. Palkhivala’s other contention of implied and inherent limitations on the amending power, it is necessary to find out the necessity and importance of the amending power to arrive at the true meaning of the expression “amendment”.

879. Mr. Palkhivala made these submissions. The word “amendment” means on the one hand not the power to alter or destroy the essential features and on the other there are inherent and implied limitations on the power of amendment. It is imperative to consider the consequences of the plea of limited power and also of the plea of limitless power. The test of the true width of a power is not how probable it is that it may be exercised, but what can possibly be done under it. The hope and expectation that it will never be used is not relevant. Reliance is placed on the observations in Maxwell on the Interpretation of Statutes, 12th Ed. (1969) pp. 103-106 that it is important to consider the effects or consequences which would result from it, for they often point out the real meaning of the words, before adopting any proposed construction of a passage susceptible of more than one meaning. The reasonableness of the consequences which follow from a particular construction on the one hand and the unreasonable result on the other are the two alternatives in the quest for the true intention of Parliament. Crawford Construction of Statutes (1940 Ed.) pp. 286-290 was referred to for the proposition that where the statute is ambiguous or susceptible to more than one meaning, the construction which tends to make the statute unreasonable should be avoided. Uncertainty, friction or confusion on a construction is to be avoided because preference is to be given to the smooth working of the statute. The Court adopts which is just reasonable and sensible rather than that which is none of these things. It is not to be presumed that the legislature intended the legislation to produce inequitable results. Usurpation of power contrary to the Constitution is to be avoided.

880. Reliance was placed by Mr. Palkhivala on American Jurisprudence 2d. Vol. 16 Article 59 at pp. 231-232, Article 72 at p. 251, Article 287 at pp. 270-71 and Article 88 at pp. 273-74 in support of these propositions. First, questions of Constitutional construction are in the main governed by the same general principles which control in ascertaining the meaning of all written instruments particularly statutes. External aids or arbitrary rules applied to the construction of a Constitution are of uncertain value and should be used with hesitation and circumspection. Second, Constitutions are general and many of the essentials with which Constitutions treat are impliedly controlled or dealt with by them and implication plays a very important part in Constitutional construction. What is implied is as much a part of the instrument as what is expressed. Third, a Court may look to the history of the times and examine the state of things existing when the Constitution was framed and adopted. The Court should look to the nature and object of the particular powers, duties and rights in question with all the light and aids of the contemporary history. Fourth, proceedings of conventions and debates are of limited value as explaining doubtful phrases. Similarly, the opinions of the individual members are seldom considered as of material value.

881. Mr. Palkhivala said that the word “amend” may have three meanings. First, it may mean to improve or better to remove an error, the quality of improvement being considered from the stand point of the basic philosophy underlying the Constitution.

Second, it may mean to make changes which may not fall within the first meaning but which do not alter or destroy any of the basic essential or any of the essential features of the Constitution. Third, it may mean to make any changes in the Constitution including changes falling outside the second meaning. The first meaning was preferred. The second was said to be a possible construction. The third was ruled out.

882. The crux of the matter is the meaning of the word “amendment” The Oxford Dictionary meaning of the word is to make professed improvements in a measure before Parliament; formally, to alter in detail, though practically it may be to alter its principle, so as to thwart it. The Oxford Dictionary meanings are also alteration of a bill before Parliament; a clause, paragraph, or words proposed to be substituted for others, or to be inserted in a bill (the result of the adoption of which may even be to defeat the measure).

In Words and Phrases Permanent Edition, Volume 3 the meaning of the word “amend”

and “amendment” are change or alteration. Amendment involves an alteration or change, as by addition, taking away or modification. A broad definition of the word “amendment”

will include any alteration or change. The word “amendment” when used in connection with the Constitution may refer to the addition of a provision on a new independent subject, complete in itself and wholly disconnected from other provisions, or to some particular article or clause, and is then used to indicate an addition to, the striking out, or some change in that particular article or clause.

883. The contention that the word “amendment” in Article 368 should bear a limited meaning in view of the expression “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any of the provisions of this Schedule” occurring in paragraphs 7 and 21 in Schedules 5 and 6, is unsound for the following reasons.

884. First, the power of amendment conferred by the four provisions, namely, Article 4 read with Articles 2 and 3, Article 169, paragraphs 7 and 21 in Schedules 5 and 6 is a limited power. It is limited to specific subjects. The exercise of the power of amendment under those four provisions, if treated by Articles themselves, is an uncontrolled power since the power can be exercised by an ordinary law. But as a part of the Constitution the power is a subordinate power because these Articles themselves are subject to the amending provisions of Article 368. Article 368 is the only provision of the Constitution which provides for the amendment of this Constitution which means the Constitution of India and every part hereto. It may be mentioned that in construing Article 368 the title of the part “Amendment of the Constitution” is an important aid to construction. The marginal note which speaks of the procedure of amendment is not complete by itself because the procedure when followed results in the product, namely, an amendment of the Constitution which is not only a matter of procedure.

885. Second, these four provisions which are in the same terms, namely, “no such law shall be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for the purpose of Article 368”

show that but for these terms the amendment would have fallen within Article 368 and was being taken out of it This is an important consideration particularly in connection with Schedules 5 and 6 which provide that Parliament may, from time to time by law, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any of the provisions of this Schedule.

These provisions show that an amendment by way of addition, variation or repeal will also fall within the amendment of the Constitution provided for in Article 368 but is being taken out of Article 368. This express exclusion contains intrinsic evidence that the meaning of the word “amendment” in Article 368 includes amendment by way of addition, alteration or repeal.

886. Third, paragraphs 7 and 21 in Schedules 5 and 6 which provide that Parliament may from time to time by law, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal indicate the necessity of amendments from time to time. The expression “by way of” does not enlarge the meaning of the word “amendment” but clarifies. The expression “by way of” shows that the words addition, variation or repeal are substitutes of the word “amendment” and are forms of intention. The whole Schedule cannot be repealed either by paragraph 7 or by paragraph 21, because Article 244 provides for the administration of Scheduled Areas and tribal areas on the application of the two respective Schedules. The words “from time to time” also indicate that because of subject matter amendments may be from time to time. The history behind the two Schedules originates in Section 91 and 92 of the Government of India Act, 1935 dealing with excluded areas and partially excluded areas.

887. Fourth, reference was made to Section 9(1)(c) of the India Independence Act 1947 which empowered the Governor General to make omissions from, additions to and adaptations and modification to the Government of India Act, 1935. The Government of India Third Amendment Act 1949 amended Section 291 of the 1935 Act and empowered the Governor General to make such amendments as he considers necessary whether by way of addition, modification or repeal. It was, therefore, said that when our Constitution did not use the expression “by way of addition, modification or repeal” the word “amendment” in Article 368 will have a narrower meaning. The expression “amendment”

has been used in several Articles of the Constitution. These are Articles 4(1) and (2), 108(4), 109(3), and 4, 111, 114(2), 169(2), 196(2), 198(3) and (4), 200, 201, 204(2), 207(1), (2), 240(2), 274(1), 304(b) and 349. In every case amendment is to be by way of variation, addition or repeal. Again, different expression have been used in other Articles.

In Article 35(b) the words are alter, repeal. In Article 243(1) the words are repeal or amend. In Article 252(2), the expression is amend or repeal. In Article 254(2) proviso the words are add to, amending, variation or repeal. In Article 320(4) the words are such modifications whether by way of repeal or amendment. In Article 372(1) the words are altered or repealed or amended. In Article 372(2) the words are such adaptations and modifications by way of repeal or amendment. In Article 392(1) the expression is such adaptations by way of modification, addition or commission. Again, in Article 241(2) the words are modification or exceptions. In Article 364 the words used are exceptions or modifications. In Article 370(1)(d) and (3) the words are modifications and exceptions.

Again, in Schedule 5 paragraph 5(1) and Schedule 6 paragraphs 12(a), (b), 19(1)(a) the word used are exceptions or modifications. Modifications in Article 370(1)(d) must be given the widest meaning in the context of a Constitution and in that sense it includes an amendment and it cannot be limited to such modifications as do not make any radical transformation.

888. The several Constitution Amendment Acts show that amendments to the Constitution are made by way of addition, substitution, repeal. The Attorney General is right in his submission that the expression “amendment of this Constitution” has a clear substantive meaning in the context of a written Constitution and it means that any part of the Constitution can be amended by changing the same either by variation, addition of repeal.

889. The words “Amendment of this Constitution may be initiated” and the words “Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill” in Article 368 indicate that the word “amendment” is used in an unambiguous and clear manner. The Attorney General said that our Constitution is not the first nor is the last one to use the word “amendment”. The American Constitution in 1787 used the word “amend”. Several Constitutions of other countries have used the word “amend”. The word “amend” is used in a Constitution to mean any kind of change. In some Constitutions the words alteration or revision have been used in place of the word amend or along with the word amendment. Some times alteration and revision of the Constitution are also spoken of as amendment of the Constitution.

890. Constitutional provisions are presumed to have been carefully and deliberately framed. The words alterations or amendments, the words amendments or revisions, the words revision and alteration are used together to indicate that these words have the same meaning in relation to amendment and change in Constitution.

891. The meaning and scope of amending power is in the object and necessity for amendment in a written Constitution.

892. The various amendments which have already been carried out to our Constitution indicate that provisions have been added, or varied or substituted. The Attorney General gave two correct reasons for the object and necessity of the power of amendment in a written Constitution. First, the object and necessity of amendment in a written Constitution means that the necessity is for changing the Constitution in an orderly manner, for otherwise the Constitution can be changed only by an extra Constitutional method or by revolution, Second, the very object of amendment is to make changes in the fundamental law or organic law to make fundamental changes in the Constitution, to change the fundamental or the basic principles in the Constitution. Otherwise there will be no necessity to give that importance to the high amending power to avoid revolution.

893. The object of amendment is to see that the Constitution is preserved. Rebellion or revolution is an illegal channel of giving expression to change. The “consent of the governed” is that each generation has a right to establish its own law. Conditions change.

Men Change, Opportunities for corresponding change in political institutions and principles of Government therefore arise. An unamendable Constitution was the French Constitution which by an amendment to the Constitution adopted in 1884 declared that the National Assembly shall never entertain a proposal for abolition of the republican form of Government. The United States Constitution provided that no amendment could be made prior to 1808 affecting the First and Fourth Clauses of Section 9 of Article 1 relative to the prohibition of the importation of slaves, and that no State without its consent shall be deprived of equal suffrage in the Senate. These are examples of limiting the sovereign power of the people to change the Constitution.

894. An unamendable Constitution is said to be the worst tyranny of time. Jefferson said in 1789 that each generation has a right to determine a law under which it lives. The earth belongs in usufruct to the living; the dead have neither powers nor rights over it. The machinery of amendment is like a safety valve. It should not be used with too great facility nor should be too difficult. That will explode and erode the Constitution.

895. Most Constitutions are rigid in the sense that they are amendable only by a different process than that by which ordinary laws may be altered. Thus they distinguish clearly between the constituent power and the legislative power, each being exerciseable by different organs according to different processes. Chief Justice Marshall said that the opponents of change want changes just as much as any one else. They want however to determine what the changes shall be.

896. Amendment is a form of growth of the Constitution inasmuch as amendment means fundamental changes. The Constitution devises special organs or special methods to amend or change the fundamental principles that create the Government. The methods of amendment may be by ordinary law making body as in Great Britain or by the ordinary law making body with special procedure or unusual majority or by special organs of government created for the purpose such as Constitutional convention or by the electorate in the form of referendum or of initiating a referendum. In case a written Constitution makes no provision for amendment it is usually held that the national law making body by ordinary procedure may amend the Constitution. If a Constitution provides the method of amendment that method alone is legal. Any other method of amendment would be a revolution. The deliberative and restrictive processes and procedure ensure a change in the Constitution in an orderly fashion in order to give the expression to social necessity and to give permanence to the Constitution.

897. The people expressed in the Preamble to our Constitution gave the Constitution including the power to amend the Constitution to the bodies mentioned in Article 368.

These bodies represent the people. The method to amend any part of the Constitution as provided for in Article 368 must be followed. Any other method as for example convening Constituent Assembly or Referendum will be extra Constitutional or revolutionary. In our Constitution Article 368 restricts only the procedure or the manner and form required for amendment but not the kind or the character of the amendment that may be made. There are no implied limitations to the amending power. The Attorney General summed up pithily that the Constitution Acts not only for the people but on the people.

898. The Attorney General relied on several American decisions in support of these propositions. First, the word “amendment” does not mean improvement. The view in Livermore v. Waite 102 Cal. 118 of a single learned Judge that amendment means improvement was not accepted in Edwards v. Lesseur South Western Reporter Vol. 33, p.

1130. Second, ratification by people of States would be void when a federal amendment proposed by Congress is required to be ratified by the legislatures of the States. Ex-parte Dillon Federal Reporter No. 262 p. 563. The legislature is a mere agency for ratification of a proposed amendment. Ex-parte Dillon did not accept the view of the learned single Judges in Livermore v. Waite that amendment means only improvement. Third, the argument that the word “amendment” carries its own limitations regarding fundamental principles or power of State or control of the conduct of the individuals by devising a method of referendum by State legislatures is adding a new method of amendment. This is not permissible. Feigenspan v. Bodine 264 Federal Reporter 186. The only method of amendment is that prescribed by the Constitution. The theory of referendum by State legislatures is not valid. Fourth, the assumption that ratification by State legislatures will voice the will of the people is against the prescribed method of amendment and grant of authority by the people to Congress in the manner laid down in Article V of the American Constitution. It is not the function of Courts or legislative bodies to alter the method which the Constitution has fixed. Ratification is not an act of legislation. It derives its authority from the Constitution. Hawke v. Smith [1920] USSC 127; 253 U.S. 221; Dillon v. Gloss 256 U.S.

358, Leser v. Garnett [1922] USSC 28; 258 U.S. 130. Fifth, the power of amendment extends to every part of the Constitution. In amending the Constitution the General Assembly acts in the character and capacity of a convention expressing the supreme will or the sovereign people and is unlimited in its power save by the Constitution. Ex-parte Mrs. D.C. Kerby American Law Reports Annotated, Vol. 36, p. 1451. Sixth, the argument that amendments which touch rights of the people must be by convention is rejected by Supreme Court in American Article V of the American Constitution is clear in statement and meaning and contains no ambiguity. Where the intention is clear there is no room for construction. Rhode Island v. Palmer [1920] USSC 144; 253 U.S. 350; U.S. v. Sprague [1931] USSC 53; 282 U.S. 716.

Seventh, principles of the Constitution can be changed under Article V Schneiderman v.

United States of America [1943] USSC 144; 320 U.S. 118. Eight, the Constitution provides the method of alteration. While the procedure for amending the Constitution is restricted here is no restraint on the kind of amendment that may be made. Whitehall v. Elkins [1967] USSC 229; 389 U.S. 54.

899. Except for special methods of amendment in a rigid or controlled Constitution although the methods may vary in different Constitutions and except for express limitations, if any, in rigid or controlled Constitutions, the meaning and scope of the amending power is the same in both the flexible and rigid forms.

900. The flexible Constitution is one under which every law of every description can be legally changed with the same case and in the same manner by one and the same body.

Laws in a flexible Constitution are called Constitutional because they refer to subjects supposed to affect the fundamenal institutions of the State, and not because they are legally more sacred or difficult to change than other laws.

901. A rigid Constitution is one under which certain laws generally known as Constitutional or fundamental laws cannot be changed in the same manner as ordinary laws. The rigidity of the Constitution consists in the absence of any right of the legislatures when acting in its ordinary capacity to modify or repeal definite laws termed Constitutional or fundamental. In a rigid Constitution the term “Constitution” means a particular enactment belonging to the Articles of the Constitution which cannot be legally changed with the same ease and in the same manner as ordinary laws.

902. The special machinery for Constitutional amendment is the limitation of the power of the legislature by greater law than by the law of the ordinary legislation. The Constituent Assembly knowing that it will disperse and leave the actual business of legislation to another body, attempts to bring into the Constitution that it promulgates as many guides to future action as possible. It attempts to arrange for the “recreation of a constituent assembly” whenever such matters are in future to be considered, even though that assembly be nothing more than the ordinary legislature acting under certain restrictions. There may be some elements of the Constitution which the constituent assembly wants to remain unalterable. These elements are to be distinguished from the rest. The Fifth Clause in the United States Constitution is that no State without its own consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. The Attorney General rightly sard that just as there are no implied limitation in flexible Constitutions similarly there are no implied limitations in a rigid Constitution. The difference is only in the method of amendment. Amendment can be made by ordinary legislature under certain restrictions, or by people through referendum or by majority of all the units of a federal State or by a special convention.

903 In a rigid Constitution the legislatures by reason of their well matured long and deliberately formed opinion represent the will of the undoubted majority. But even such will can be thwarted in the amendment of the organic law by the will of the minority. In case where the requisite majority is not obtained by the minority thwarting an amendment, there is just as much danger to the State from revolution and violence as there is from what is said to be the caprice of the majority. The safeguards against radical changes’ thus represent a better way and a natural way of securing deliberation, maturity and clear consciousness of purpose without antagonising the actual source of power in the democratic state.

904. The term “amendment” connotes a definite and formal process of Constitutional change. The force of tradition and custom and the judicial interpretation may all affect the organic structure of the State. These processes of change are the evolution of Constitution.

905. The background in which Article 368 was enacted by the Constituent Assembly has an important aspect on the meaning and scope of the power of amendment.

906. On 12 November, 1946 Sir B.N. Rau Constitutional Adviser prepared a brochure containing Constitution of the British Commonwealth Countries and the Constitutions of other countries. Different countries having different modes of amendments were referred to. In the same volume the fundamental rights under 13 heads were extracted from 13 selected countries like U.S.A., Switzerland, Germany, Russia, Ireland, Canada, Australia.

Two features follow from that list. First, there is no absolute standard as to what constitutes fundamental right. There is no such thing as agreed fundamental rights of the world. Second, fundamental rights which are accepted in our Constitution are not superior to fundamental rights in other Constitutions nor can it be said that the fundamental rights are superior to Directive Principles in our Constitution.

907. On 17 March, 1947 a questionnaire was circulated under the subject as to what provisions should be made regarding the amendment of the Constitution. The draft clause of amendment to the Constitution prepared by the Constitutional Adviser at that time indicates that an amendment may be initiated in either House of the Union Parliament and when the proposed amendment is passed in each House by a majority of not less than two thirds of the total number of members of that House and is ratified by the legislatures of not less than two thirds of the units of the Union, excluding the Chief Commissioners’ Provinces, it shall be presented to the President for his assent; and upon such assent being given the amendment shall come into operation. There were two explanations to that clause.

908. On 29 April, 1947 Shri Santhanam’s amendment to the draft clause was accepted.

The amendment was “that this clause also if necessary may be amended in the same way as any other clause in the Constitution”. In June, 1947 the drafting of the amending clause started. Originally it was Numbered 232. Eventually, Articles 304 and 305 came into existence in place of draft Article 232. The first draft of the amendment clause was given by Sir B.N. Rau in March, 1947. By June, 1947 and thereafter he recommended the procedure favoured by Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar and Sir Gopalswami Ayyangar, namely, passage by two thirds majority in Parliament and ratification by like majority of Provincial legislatures. On 21 February, 1948 the draft Constitution was ready. Draft Articles 304 and 305 related to amendment Article 305 provided for reservation of seats for minorities for ten years unless continued in operation by an amendment of the Constitution.

909. The following features emerge. First, the Constituent Assembly made no distinction between essential and non-essential features. Secondly, no one in the Constituent Assembly said that fundamental rights could not be amended. The framers of the Constitution did not have any debate on that. Thirdly, even in the First Constitution Amendment debate no one doubted change or amendment of fundamental rights. At no stage it appeared that fundamental rights are absolute. While a Constitution should be made sound and basic it should be flexible and for a period it should be possible to make necessary changes with relative facility.

910. Certain amendments to Article 304 were proposed. One proposed amendment No.

118 was that amendment was to be passed in two Houses by a clear majority of the total membership of each House. Another proposed amendment No. 210 was that for a period of three years from the commencement of the Constitution, any amendment certified by the President to be not one of substance might be made by a simple majority. This also’ stated that it would include any formal amendment recommended by a majority of the Judges of the Supreme Court on the ground of removing difficulties in the administration of the Constitution or for the purpose of carrying out the Constitution in public interest.

The third proposed amendment No. 212 was that no amendment which is calculated to infringe or restrict or diminish the scope of any individual rights, any rights of a person or persons with respect to property or otherwise, shall be permissible and any amendment which is or is likely to have such an effect shall be void and ultra vires of any legislature.

It is noteworthy that this amendment was withdrawn. See Constituent Assembly Debates Vol. IX p. 1665.

911. In the first category the framers devised amendment by Parliament by a simple majority. These are Articles 2 and 4 which deal with States. As far as creation or re- Constitution of States is concerned, it is left to Parliament to achieve that by a simple majority. Again, draft Article 148A which eventually became Article 169 dealing with Upper Chambers in the States gave Parliament power to abolish the Upper Chambers or to create new Second Chambers. Schedules 5 and 6 were left to be amended by Parliament by simple majority. The second category of amendment requires two thirds majority. It is in that connection that the statement of Dr. Ambedkar “If the future Parliament wishes to amend any particular Article which is not mentioned in Part III or Article 304 all that is necessary for them is to have the two thirds majority then they can amend it” was invoked by Mr. Palkhivala to support his submission that Part III was unamendable. That is totally misreading the speech. The speech shows that some Articles would be amendable by bare majority, others would require two thirds majority and the third category would require two thirds majority plus ratification by the States.

912. Proceedings in the Constituent Assembly show that the whole Constitution was taken in broad prospective and the amendments fell under three categories providing for simple majority, or two thirds; majority or two thirds majority and ratification by the States. These different procedures were laid down to avoid rigidity.

913. The Constitution First Amendment Act which added Article 15 (4), substituted words in Articles 19(2) and Article 19(6), inserted Article 31A indicates interesting features. The two criticisms at that time were as to what was the hurry and secondly that the Government was trying to take more power to itself. The answers are that a Constitution which is responsive to the people’s will and their ideas and which can be varied here and there, will command respect and people will not fight against change.

Otherwise, if people feel that it is unchangeable and cannot be touched, the only tiling to be done by those who wish to change it is to try to break it. That is a dangerous thing and a bad thing.

914. In this background there is no doubt about the meaning and scope of Article 368.

The Attorney General rightly said that if there be any doubt contemporaneous practical exposition of the Constitution is too strong and obstinate to be shaken or controlled. In Mopherson v. Blacker [1892] USSC 198; 146 U.S. 1 it is said that where plain and clear words occur there is no difficulty but where there is doubt and ambiguity contemporaneous and practical exposition is a great weight. In The Automobile Transport (Rajasthan) Ltd. v. The State of Rajasthan and Ors. (1963) 1 S.C.R. 491 this Court took notice of the feature that Constitution makers had deep knowledge of Constitutions and Constitutional problems of other countries.

915. Mr. Seervai relying on British Coal Corporation v. King (1935) A.C. 500 submitted that in interpreting a constituent or organic statute that construction most beneficial to the widest possible amplitude of powers must be adopted. A strict construction applicable to penal or taxing statute will be subversive of the real intention of Parliament if applied to an Act passed to ensure peace, order and good government. Largest meaning is given to the allocated specific power. If there are no limitations on the power it is the whole power. Grant of power of amendment cannot be cut down except by express or implied limitations. The conclusion is that the meaning of the word amendment is wide and not restricted.

916. The contention of Mr. Palkhivala on behalf of the petitioner is that under Article 368 as it stood prior to the amendment there were implied and inherent limitations on the power of amendment. It was said that the word “amendment” would preclude the power to alter or destroy the essential features and the basic elements and the fundamental principles of the Constitution. This contention was amplified as follows. The Constitution is given by the people unto themselves. The power to decide upon amendment is given to the 5 year Parliament which is a creature of the Constitution. Article 368 does not start with the non-obstante clause. Article 368 uses the word “amendment” simpliciter. Less significant amendment powers in others parts of the Constitution use the words “add, alter, repeal or vary” in addition to the word “amendment”, as will appear in Articles 31B, 25(b), 252(2), 372, 372A(2), paragraph 7 Schedule 5, paragraph 21 Schedule 6. Article 368 talks of an amendment of this Constitution and does not extend the amending power to “all or any of the provisions of this Constitution”. On a wide construction of the word “amendment” all fundamental rights can be taken away by the requisite majority whereas much less significant matters require the concurrence of at least half the States under the proviso to that Article.

917. The basic human freedom are all of the most fundamental importance to all the States and all the citizens. Article 32 is no less important to the citizens of States than Article 226. The Preamble is not a part or provision of the Constitution. Therefore, the Preamble cannot be amended under Article 368. The nature and the contents of the Preamble are such that it is incapable of being amended. If the Preamble is unalterable it necessarily follows that those features of the Constitution which are necessary to give effect to the Preamble are unalterable. Fundamental rights are intended to give effect to the Preamble. They cannot, therefore, be abridged or taken away. The provisions of Article 368 themselves can be amended under that very Article. If the word “amendment”

is read in the widest sense Parliament will have the power to get rid of the requisite majority required by Article 368 and make any Constitutional amendments possible by bare majority, Parliament can provide that hereafter the Constitution shall be unamendable. Parliament can reduce India to a status which is neither sovereign nor democratic nor republic and where the basic human rights are conspicuous by their absence.

918. Mr. Palkhivala submits that the principle of inherent or implied limitations on power to amend the controlled Constitution stems from three basic features. First, the ultimate legal sovereignty resides in the people. Second, Parliament is only a creature of the Constitution. Third, power to amend the Constitution or destroy the essential features of the Constitution is an application of ultimate legal sovereignty.

919. Mr. Palkhivala enumerated 12 essential features. These were as follows : (1) The supremacy of the Constitution. (2) The sovereignty of India. (3) The integrity of the country. (4) The democratic way of life. (5) The republican form of Government. (6) The guarantee of basic human rights elaborated in Part III of the Constitution. (7) A secular State. (8) A free and independent judiciary. (9) The dual structure of the Union and the States. (10) The balance between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. (11) a Parliamentary form of Government as distinct from the presidential form of Government.

(12) Article 368 can be amended but cannot be amended to empower Parliament to alter or destroy any of the essential features of the Constitution, make Che Constitution literally or practically unamendable, make it generally amendable by a bare majority in Parliament, confer the power of amendment either expressly or in effect on the State Legislatures and delete the proviso and deprive the States of the power of ratification which is today available to them in certain broad areas.

920. The Constitution 24th Amendment Act was impeached by Mr. Palkhivala on three grounds. First, by substituting the words “amend by way of addition, variation or repeal”

in place of the word “amendment” in Article 368 the power was widened. Second, the 24th Amendment made explicit that when Parliament makes a Constitutional amendment under Article 368 it acts in exercise of constituent power. Third, it had provided by amendment in Articles 13 and 368 that the power in Article 13(2) against abridging or taking away of the fundamental rights shall not apply to any amendment under Article 368. The Constitution 24th Amendment Act is, therefore, to be construed as empowering Parliament to exercise full constituent power of the people and to vest in Parliament the ultimate legal sovereignty of the people as authorising Parliament to alter or destroy all or any of the essential features, basic elements and fundamental principles of the Constitution. Likewise, Parliament is construed by the Constitution 24th Amendment Act to be authorised to damage or destroy the essence of all or any of the fundamental rights.

Therefore, the amendment must be illegal and invalid.

921. In the alternative it was submitted on behalf of the petitioner that if the Constitution 24th Amendment is valid it can be only on a reading down of the amended provisions of Article 13 and 368 which reading would preserve the original inherent and implied limitations. Even after the Constitution 24th Amendment Act Parliament will have no power to alter or destroy the essential features of the Constitution and secondly, fundamental rights are among the essential features of the Constitution and, therefore, the essence of any of the fundamental rights cannot be altered or destroyed or damaged even when they are sought to be abridged.

922. The Attorney General stressed the background in which Article 368 was enacted by the Constituent Assembly to show that any limitation on the amending power was never in controversy. The only controversy was regarding the degree of flexibility of an amendment of all the provisions of the Constitution. Our Constitution has adopted three methods of amendment of the Constitution. Certain provisions of the Constitution may be amended by a simple majority in Parliament. Others may be amended by two-thirds majority. The third category relates to provisions where amendments must be ratified by one half of the States. This scheme strikes a good balance by protecting the rights of the States while leaving the remainder of the Constitution easy to amend. Of the three ways of amending the Constitution two are laid down in Article 368 itself and the third is provided for in about 24 other Articles.

923. The Constitutional Adviser incorporated in his draft Constitution prepared by him in October, 1947 a recommendation contained in the supplementary Report of the Union Constitution Committee. Following the recommendation of the Advisory Committee he included a proviso that the provisions in the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for the Muslims, the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, the Indian Christians and the Sikhs, either in the Federal Parliament or in any Provincial Legislature, should not be amended before the expiry of ten years from the commencement of the Constitution.

924. The Drafting Committee in February, 1948 considered the provisions for amendment. It made three material changes in the provisions made by the Constitution Adviser. First, the Committee framed a self contained and independent Article regarding the reservation of seats in the legislatures for minorities. These provisions could not be amended for a period of ten years and would then cease to have effect unless continued in operation by an amendment of the Constitution. The second proposed change gave a limited power of initiating Constitutional amendments to the State legislatures. This power related to two matters. These were the methods of choosing Governors and the establishment or abolition of Legislative Councils in the States. The third amendment suggested was that changes in any of the legislative lists (not merely federal List) should receive ratification of at least one half of the Provincial legislatures and one third of the legislatures of Indian States.

925. The entire history of the power of amendment of the Constitution shows first that the Draft Constitution eliminates the elaborate and difficult procedures such as a decision by convention or a reterendum. The powers of amendments are left with the legislatures of the Union and the States. Secondly, it is only for amendments of specific matters that the ratification by the State legislatures is required. All other Articles are left to be amended by Parliament with only limitation of majority of not less than a two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting and the majority of the total membership of each House. Thirdly, the provisions for amendment of the Constitution Were made simple and not difficult when comparison is made with the American and the Australian Constitutions.

926. The theory of inherent and implied limitations on the amending power is based on the assumption of a narrow and restricted meaning of the word amendment to suggest that the basic features or the essential features and the democratic republican character of the Constitution cannot be damaged and destroyed. Emphasis is laid on the Preamble of the Constitution to suggest that inherent and implied limitations all spring from the Preamble. The Preamble is said not to be a part of the Constitution. The Preamble is said to be unalterable. Therefore, it is contended that other provisions which gave effect to the Preamble cannot be amended.

927. Reliance is placed on the decision of this Court in Berubari case (1960) 3 S.C.R. 250 in support of the proposition that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution. The conclusion drawn is that no amendment of the Constitution inconsistent with the Preamble can be made. The Preamble is said to be an implied limitation on the power of amendment. This Court in Berubari case said that the Preamble has never been regarded as the source of any substantive power, because such powers are expressly granted in the body of the Constitution. This Court said “what is true about the powers is equally true about prohibitions and limitations”. In Berubari case it was suggested that the Preamble to the Constitution postulated that like a democratic republican form of the Government the entire territory of India was beyond the reach of Parliament and could not be affected either by ordinary legislation or even by Constitutional amendment. The Preamble was invoked to cut down the power to cede territory either by ordinary law or by amendment of the Constitution. This Court said that the Preamble is, in the words of Story “a key to open the minds of the makers, but nevertheless the Preamble could not be said to postulate a limitation on one of the very important attributes of sovereignty”. This Court rejected the theory that the Preamble can impose serious limitations on the essential attribute of sovereignty. The suggested limitation that the Preamble affirmed the inviolability of the territory of India so that the power of amendment should be implied limited to exclude the ceding territory, is negatived by this decision.

928. The petitioner’s contention that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution is nullified by the petitioner’s reference to and reliance on the Preamble as the source of all inherent limitations. The Berubari case held that Article I could be amended under Article 368 and a part of the territory of India could be ceded by such amendment. The Preamble did not limit the power to cede territory by-amendment of Article I.

929. In the Berubari case there is an observation that the Preamble is not a part of the Constitution. The Preamble was taken up by the Constituent Assembly at the end as it had to be in conformity with the Constitution. The Preamble was debated and voted upon and the motion “The Preamble stand part of the Constitution” was adopted. Therefore, Mr. Seervai rightly contended that the Preamble is an integral part of the status. The Preamble can be repealed (See Craies on Statute 6th Ed. page 200 seq. and Halsbury Laws of England, 3rd Ed. Vol. 36 p. 370).

930. In Gopalan case [1950] INSC 14; (1950) S.C.R. 88 an argument was advanced on the Preamble that the people gave themselves guaranteeing to the citizens fundamental rights, and, therefore, the provisions of Part III must be construed as being paramount to the legislative will as otherwise the fundamental rights to life and personal liberty would have no protection against legislative action. Patanjali Sastri, J., said that the high purpose and spirit of the Preamble as well as the Constitutional significance of a declaration of Fundamental Rights should be borne in mind. The language of the provisions, it was said there, could not be stretched in disregard of the cardinal rule of interpretation of any enactment, Constitution or other, that its spirit no less than its intendment should be collected primarily from the natural meaning of the words used.

The words “procedure established by law” in Article 21 must be taken to refer to a procedure which had a statutory origin. The word “law” was said not to mean the immutable and universal principle of natural justice. The reasoning given by Patanjali Sastri, J. was “no procedure is known or can be said to have been established by such vague and uncertain concepts as the immputable and universal principles of natural justice”. This Court in Gopalan case refused to read due process as an implication of the Constitution.

931. In the Kerala Education Bill 1957 case (1959) S.C.R. 995 Das, C.J. referred to the Preamble and said “to implement and fortify the supreme purpose set forth in the Preamble, Part III of our Constitution has provided for us certain fundamental rights”. In the same case, Das, C.J. said “so long as the Constitution stands as it is and is not altered, it is inconceiveably the duty of this Court to uphold the fundamental rights and thereby honour our sacred obligation to the minority community who are of our own”. This observation shows that fundamental rights can be amended and the Preamble does not stand in the way.

932. In Basheshar Nath v. The C.I.T. Delhi (1955) Supp. 1 S.C.R. 528 Bhagwati, J.

referred to the Preamble in discussing the question of waiver of fundamental right and compared our Preamble to the Preamble to the United States Constitution. The Preamble to the American Constitution is without the Bill of Rights and the Bill of Sights which became part of the United States Constitution substantially altered its character and broadly speaking, differed in no way, in principle, from our fundamental rights.

933. The Preamble is properly resorted to where doubts or ambiguities arise upon the words of the enacting part. If the enacting words are clear and unambiguous, there is little room for interpretation, except the cases leading to an obvious absurdity, or to a direct overthrow of the intention expressed in the Preamble. This is the view of Story. The Preamble can never be resorted to enlarge the powers confided to the general government The Preamble can expound the nature, extent and application of the powers actually conferred by the Constitution and not substantively create them.

934. The decision of this Court in Gopalan case, the Coal Bearing Areas Act case [1961] INSC 42; (1962) 1 S.C.R. 44, and State of Rajasthan v. Leela Jain [1964] INSC 195; (1965) 1 S.C.R. 276 are that if the language of the enactment is clear the Preamble cannot nullify or cut down the enactment. The Judicial Committee in The Secretary of State for India in Council v.

Maharajah of Bobbili I.L.R. 43 Mad. 529 said that the legislature may well intend that the enacting part should extend beyond the apparent ambit of the Preamble or the immediate mischief. See also Attorney General v. Prince Ernest Augustus of Haneyar 1957 A.C.

436. The American decision in Henning Jacobson v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1905] USSC 38; 197 U.S. 11 indicates that power is not conferred by the Preamble but must be found in the Constitution.

935. The Preamble may be relevant in the case of an ambiguity in an enactment in a statute. A statute does not contain an amending power for the simple reason that the statute can be amended under legislative power. The Attorney General rightly said that the Preamble in a Constitution refers to the frame of the Constitution at the time of the Preamble, and, therefore, it can possibly have no relevance to the constituent power in the future, when that Constitution itself can be changed. The position would be the same so far as the Preamble is concerned whether the constituent power is exercised by the amending body provided for by the people themselves in the Constitution or by referendum if so provided for in the Constitution. The Attorney General supported his submission by relying on the views of Canaway and Wynes on the similar interpretation of Section 128 of the Australian Constitution.

936. Canaway in the Failure of Federalism in Australia in discussing Section 128 of the Australian Constitution under the heading “Alteration of the Constitution” expresses the view that the section must be read as a substantive grant of power to alter the Constitution and that the negative form of the section in no way detracts from the amplitude of that power. Canaway further says that it is not permissible to refer to the Preamble in connection with the effect of Section 128 and if nevertheless such reference is made there is nothing adverse to the conclusion that there is full power of amendment. The Preamble recites a preliminary agreement to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth.

Section 128 of the Australian Constitution forms an integral part of the Constitution. As from the time of the agreement it must have been contemplated that the Constitution should be alterable to the full extent of power conferred by that section. Therefore, the word “alter” in Section 128 of the Australian Constitution is not restricted by any reference to the Preamble.

937. Wynes in Legislative, Executive and. Judicial Powers in Australia 4th Ed. at pp.

505-506 expresses the view that apart from the rule which excludes the Preamble generally from consideration in statutory interpretation it is clear that, when all is said and done, the Preamble at the most is only a recital of a present intention. The insertion of an express reference to an amendment in the Constitution itself is said to operate as a qualification upon the mere recital of the reasons for its creation.

938. At the second reading of the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly a resolution was adopted that the Preamble do form part of our Constitution. The Preamble is a part of the Constitution. On 26 November, 1949 certain Articles of the Constitution were brought into force. Article 393 did come into force on 26 November, 1949.

Therefore, the Preamble did not come into force on 26 November, 1949. As regards general laws the position is that the Preamble has been treated as part of the statute.

939. Clear Constitutional provisions are imperative both on the legislatures and the Courts. Where a Constitutional provision is comprehensive in scope and leaves no room for interpretation the Court is without power to amend, add to or detract from a Constitutional provision or to create exceptions thereof by implication (See Corpus Juris Secumdum Vol. 16 p. 65). Where the people express themselves in careful and measured terms in framing the Constitution and they leave as little as possible to implications, amendments or changes in the existing order or conditions cannot be left to inserting implications by reference to the Preamble which is an expression of the intention at the time of the framing of the Constitution. Therefore, the power to amend the Constitution is not restricted and controlled by the Preamble.

940. The contention that essential features are not amendable under Article 368 as it stood before the Constitution 24th Amendment Act is not only reading negative restrictions on the express power of amendment but is also putting the clock back. One of the salutary principles of construction of a statute is to be found in R.V. Burah 3 A.C.

889. It was a case to determine whether the prescribed limitations of a colonial legislature had been exceeded. The Judicial Committee said that a duty must be performed by looking to the terms of the instrument by which affirmatively legislative powers are created, and by which, negatively, they are restricted. “If what has been done is legislation within the general scope of the affirmative words which give power, and if it violates no express condition or restriction by which that power is limited, it is not for, any court of justice to enquire further or to enlarge constructively those conditions and restrictions”. The maxim Expressum facit cessare taciturn was similarly applied in Webb v. Outrim 1907 A.C. 89. The theory of implied and inherent limitations can be best described as a subtle attempt to annihilate the affirmative power of amendment. Lord Halsbury in Fielding v. Thomas 1896 A.C. 600 said that if the legislature had full power to make laws it was difficult to see how the power was taken away. The power is always sufficient for the purpose. Lord Dunedin in Whiteman v. Sadler 1910 A.C. 514 said “express enactment shuts the door to further implication”.

941. It was said that the essential features could be amended by way of improvement but could not be damaged or destroyed. It was said India could not be converted into a totalitarian dictatorship. The entire approach of the petitioner to the power of amendment contained in Article 368 ignores the fact that the object of the Constitution is to provide for the organs of State like the judicature, legislature and the executive for the governance of the country. Apart from the essential functions of defence against external aggression and of maintenance of internal order a modern State is organised to secure the welfare of the people. India is a sovereign democratic republic which means that Parliament and State legislatures are elected on adult universal suffrage. The country is governed by the Cabinet system of government with ministries responsible to the House ok the People and to the Legislative Assemblies respectively. In a democracy the determination of policies to be pursued can only be determined by a majority vote cast at election and then by a majority of the elected representatives in the legislature. Holmes, J., said “In a democracy the people have the right to embody their opinion in law”.

942. The argument that if unbridled power were conferred the Constitution could be subverted or destroyed is not supported by actual experience in India. Mr. Seervai emphasised that since 1951 when Shankari Prasad case recognised unlimited power of amendment till Golak Nath case in 1967 the normal democratic process of the departments of the State functioned as provided by the Constitution. Elections have been held as provided by the Constitution. If any body or organised party were bent upon subverting our free Constitution, then even if there were no power of amendment, Parliament has powers which would enable such destruction to be brought about. Great and wide powers are conferred for the governance of great sovereign countries and such powers cannot be withheld on the ground that they may be used externally or oppressively. Well settled principles of construction in interpreting Constitutions preclude limiting the language of the Constitution by political, juristic or social concepts independently of the language of the Constitution to be interpreted. This Court in Deep Chand v. State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. (1959) Supp. 2 S.C.R. 8 relied on the test laid down in Queen v. Burah (1878) 5 I.A. 179 that the terms of the instrument by which affirmatively the powers are created, and by which they are negatively restricted are to be looked into. The Judicial Committee in Attorney General for Ontario v. Attorney General for Canada 1912 A.C. 571 tersely stated the legal principles as follows : “If the text is explicit the text is conclusive, alike in what it directs and what it forbids”. This is the golden rule of construction of a written Constitution.

943. In Gopalan case [1950] INSC 14; 1950 S.C.R. 88 this Court was invited to read into the Constitution implications derived from the “spirit of the Constitution”. Kania, C.J. said that to strike down the law on an assumed principle of construction would be “to place in the hands of the judiciary powers too great and too indefinite either for its own security or the protection of private rights”. Kania, C.J. also said that a large and liberal interpretation should be given to the Constitution. That does not mean that a Court is free to stretch or pervert the language of the Constitution in the interest of any legal or Constitutional theory. This Court in Keshavan Madhavan Menon v. The State of Bombay 1951 S.C.R.

228 rejected the contention that the spirit of the Constitution should be invoked in interpreting the Constitution. In Benoari Lal Sharma case 72 I.A. 57, the Privy Council reversed the judgment of the Federal Court observing that questions of jurisprudence or policy were not relevant to the construction of power conferred in an affirmative language and not restricted in any negative terms.

944. A Constitution is essentially a frame of government laying down governmental powers exercisable by the legislature, executive and the judiciary. Even so other provisions are included in the Constitution of a country which provisions are considered by the framers of that Constitution to have such special importance that those should be included in the Constitution or organic law. Thus all provisions of the Constitution are essential and no distinction can be made between essential and non-essential features from the point of view of amendment unless the makers of the Constitution make it expressly clear in the Constitution itself. The Attorney General rightly said that if the positive power of “amendment of this Constitution” in Article 368 is restricted by raising the walls of essential features or core of essential features, the clear intention of the Constituent Assembly will be nullified and that would make a mockery of the Constitution and that would lead to destruction of the Constitution by paving the way for extra Constitutional or revolutionary changes in the Constitution. The theory of implied and inherent limitations cannot be allowed to act as a boa constrictor to the clear and unambiguous power of amendment.

945. If there is no express prohibition against amendment in Article 368 the ommission of any such restriction did not intend to impose any restriction. When certain restrictions are imposed it is not intended that other undefined restrictions should be imposed by implication. The general rule is not to import into statutes words which are not found there. Words are not to be added by implication into the language of a statute unless it is necessary to do so to give the paragraph sense and meaning in its context. If a matter is altogether omitted from statute it is not allowable to insert it by implication. Where the language of an Act is clear and explicit, effect is to be given to it whatever may be the consequences. The words of the statute speak the intention of the legislature. Where the reading of a statute produces an intelligible result there is no ground for reading any words or changing any words according to what may be supposed intention of the legislature. If a statute is passed for the purpose of enabling something to be done but omits to mention in Terms some detail which is of great importance to the proper performance of the work which the statute has in contemplation the courts are at liberty to infer that the statute by implication empowers the details to be carried out. The implication is to empower the authority to do that which is necessary in order to accomplish the ultimate object.

946. The implication sought to be raised by Mr. Palkhivala is for the purpose of reading negative words into Article 368 to destroy the positive power to amend. The provisions of out Constitution in the light of historical background and special problems of the country will show that no provision can be considered as non-essential. The Constitution- makers did not think so. The Attorney General rightly contended that no one has the power or authority to say that any single provision is more essential than another or that the amending power under Article 368 does not operate on any provision on the ground of alleged essentiality when Article 368 provides amendment of this Constitution which obviously means the whole Constitution including every provision. In a Constitution different methods of amendment may be laid down depending upon the degree of importance attached to particular parts of the Constitution. Apart from the language of Article 368 the draft Constitution as it emerged through the Constitutuent Assembly shows that no provision of the Constitution was excepted from the amending power.

947. The provisions for the purpose of amendment were divided into four categories. The first two categories are to be found in Article 368. Certain provisions require ratification by the requisite number of States as are mentioned in the proviso. Other provisions which do not fall within the proviso are amendable by a double majority provided there. The third category consists of Articles 4, 169, 240(1), paragraph 7 Schedule 5, and paragraph 21 Schedule 6. The fourth category consists of provisions which were said by the Attorney General to confer enabling power on Parliament to change the provisions by by the expression “unless Parliament otherwise provides” or similar expression. He gave the examples which are Articles 73(2), 100(3), 105(3), 118(2), 120(2), 125, 133(3), 171(2), 189(3), 194(3), 210(2), 241(2), 283(1) and (2), 285(1) and (2), 343(3), 345, 348(1).

948. The character of the provisions which are amendable under the proviso to Article 368 itself shows that petitioner’s submission that essential features are unamendable is a baseless vision. Article 54 speaks of the method of election of the President. This may be changed. The manner or scale of representation of the different States in regard to the election of the President may also be changed. The executive power of the Union and the States may be changed. Chapter IV of Part V (the Union Judiciary), Chapter V of Part VI (the High Courts in the States) are also mentioned in Article 368 as liable to be changed.

Article 141 may also be changed. Chapter I of Part XI and the Seventh Schedule (legislative relations between Union and the States) may be changed. The representation of the States in Parliament (Articles 80 and 81) may be changed. The number of representation may be increased or reduced. The method of election of such representatives as Parliament may by law prescribe and the number of the members of the House of the People may be increased or reduced. The method of election to the House of People may be changed. Finally the provisions of Article 368 itself, which is the most important part of the Constitution may be changed.

949. To find out essential or non-essential features is an exercise in imponderables. When the Constitution does not make any distinction between essential and non-essential features it is incomprehensible as to how such a distinction can be made. Again, the question arises as to who will make such a distinction. Both aspects expose the egregious character of inherent and implied limitations as to essential features or core of essential features of the Constitution being unamendable. Who is to judge what the essential features are ? On what touchstone are the essential features to be measured? Is there any yardstick by which it can be gauged ? How much is essential and how much is not essential? How can the essential features or the core of the essential features be determined? If there are no indications in the Constitution as to what the essential features are the task of amendment of the Constitution becomes an unpredictable and indeterminate task. There must be an objective data and standard by which it can be predicated as to what is essential and what is not essential. If Parliament cannot judge these features Parliament cannot, amend the Constitution. If, on the other hand, amendments are carried out by Parliament the petitioner contends that eventually court will find out as to whether the amendment violates or abridges essential features or the core of essential features. In the ultimate analysis it is the Court which will pronounce on the amendment as to whether it is permissible or not. This construction will have the effect of robbing Parliament of the power of amendment and reposing the final power of expressing validity of amendment in the courts.

950. Mr. Palkhivala said that though the essential features could be amended the core of essential features could not be amended. He said that there was no esoteric test to find out what is essential and what is not essential and if no precise definition could be given that was no reason to hold that the essential features and the core of essential features could be amended. It was said that the appreciation of the trained judicial mind is the only way to find out what essential features are.

951. Mr. Seervai rightly contended that there is no foundation for the analogy that just as Judges test reasonableness in law, similarly the judicial mind will find out the essential features on the test of, reasonableness. Reasonableness in law is treated as an objective criterion because reason inheres in man as rational being. The citizen whose rights are affected applies reason and when he assails a law he possesses a standard by which he can persuade the Court that the law is unreasonable. The legislature which makes a law has the standard of reasonableness and has the further qualification to apply the standard because of familiarity with the needs, desires and the wants of the people whom the legislature represents. As regards the Judge not only does he share the reasonableness of the reasonable man but his trained mind enables him to see certain aspects clearly. The process of judicial review of legislation as laid down by Courts is that the Court will start with the presumption that laws enacted are reasonable. The objective standard is reasonableness. That is why in the law of contract reasonable price is to be ascertained by the Courts. In the law of torts the Courts find out what reasonable care is. In the law of property reasonable conduct is found out by the Courts to avoid evil consequences.

Reasonableness is to be judged with reference to the right which is restricted when Article 19 is considered.

952. The American Courts evolved a test of reasonableness by the doctrine of substantive due process which means not that the law is unreasonable but that on political, social and economic grounds the majority of Judges consider that the law ought not be permitted to be made. The crucial point is that in contradistinction to the American Constitution where rights are couched in wide general terms leaving it to the Courts to evolve necessary limitations our Constitution limited it by precise words of limitation as for example in Articles 19 and 21. In Article 21 the Constitution-makers substituted “procedure established by law” for the words “due process of law”. The reason for the change was that the procedure established by law was specific. The framers of the Constitution negatived the vague undefinite reasonableness of laws on political, social and economic grounds. In Gopalan case due process was rejected, by clearly limiting the rights acquired and by eliminating the indefinite due process. The Constitution makers freed judicial review of subjective determination. Due process as a test of invalidity of law was deliberately withheld or denied. Courts are not concerned with the wisdom or policy of legislation. The Courts are equally not concerned with the wisdom and policy of amendments to the Constitution.

953. Reliance was placed by Mr. Palkhivala on Ridge v. Baldwin [1963] UKHL 2; 1964 A.C. 40 where it is said that opinions that natural justice is so vague as to be practically meaningless, are tainted by the perennial fallacy that because something cannot be cut and dried or nicely weighed or measured therefore it does not exist. In the same case it was said that the idea of negligence is equally insusceptible or exact definition, but what a reasonable man would regard as fair procedure in particular circumstances and what he would regard as negligence in particular circumstances are equally capable of serving as tests in law.

Extracting those observations it was said by Mr. Palkhivala that though the border-line between essential features and non-essential features could not be stated or it was not possible to specify exhautively the amendment which could be invalid on that principle yet there was no reason why the principle of inherent and implied limitations to amend our Constitution should not be accepted. Inherent and implied limitations cannot originate in an oracle when the Constitution does not contain any express prohibition against amending any provision. When Article 368 speaks of changes in the provisions of the Constitution as are set out in Clauses (a) to (d) of the proviso it is manifest that the makers of the Constitution expressed their intention with unerring accuracy that features which can broadly be described as federal features, and from that point of view “Essential features” could be amended. In the face of these express provisions it is impossible to hold that the Constitution does not contemplate an amendment of the so called essential features of the Constitution. The proviso confers that power with relation to the judiciary, the executive and the legislature, none of which could be said to be inessential. Indeed it is difficult to imagine that the Constitution contained any provision which was inessential. It need be hardly said that amendment not only means alteration, addition or repeal of provision but also deletion of some part, partial repeal and addition of a new part.

954. It was said that if our Parliamentary system was changed to a Presidential system it would be amending the core of our Constitution. But such a change is permissible under Article 368. Whether the people would adopt such an amendment is a different matter and does not fall for consideration here. The core of the federal form of Government in our country is greater power in the Union Parliament than States for preserving the integrity of the country. There can be changes by having a confederation or by conferring greater power on the Centre. Those contentions about unamendability of essential features do not take into consideration that the extent and character of any change in the provisions of the Constitution is to be determined by legislatures as amending bodies under Article 368 and as representatives of the people in a democracy and it is not the function of the Courts to make any such determination.

955. Mr. Palkhivala contends that the Constitution 24th Amendment Act is unConstitutional because Parliament cannot exceed the alleged implied and inherent limitations on the amending power as it stood before the 24th Amendment. The 24th Amendment has substituted the marginal note “Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor” for the original note “procedure for amendment of the Constitution”. This change is due to the fact that according to the leading majority judgment in Golak Nath case the unamended Article dealt only with the procedure for amendment and that the power of amendment was in the residuary power of legislation.

The 24th Amendment has declared that the power to amend the Constitution is in Article 368. That was the view of this Court in earlier decisions. That was the minority view in Golak Nath case. By amendment that view has become the Constitutional mandate.

956. The other change as a result of the 24th Amendment is that “Parliament may in the exercise of its constituent power amend” in place of words “amendment of this Constitution may be initiated”. The reasons for this change are to give effect to the decisions of this Court in Shankari Prasad case which in considering the validity of the First Amendment recognised and affirmed the vital distinction between constituent power and legislative power and decided that the word “law” in Article 13(2) applied to the exercise of legislative power and did not apply to an amendment of the Constitution. In Sajjan Singh case the same distinction was upheld by the majority of this Court. In Golak Nath case the majority and the concurring judgment denied the distinction between legislative and constituent power and held that Article 13(2) applied to an amendment of the Constitution under Article 368 because there was no distinction between legislative and constituent power. As a consequence the leading majority judgment in Golak Nath case held that Parliament could not amend fundamental rights. The dissenting judgments in Golak Nath case upheld the vital distinction between legislative and constituent powers and held that the decision in Shankari Prasad case and the majority decision in Sajjan Singh case were correct and that Parliament had power to amend the fundamental rights since an amendment of the Constitution was not law within the meaning of Article 13(2).

These features give the reason why the expression “Parliament may in the exercise of constituent power” was introduced by the 24th Amendment. Parliament took notice of two conflicting views and the unamended Article 368. Parliament took notice of the preponderating judicial opinion in favour of the view that Article 368 contained the power of amendment and that power was a constituent power. Wanchoo, J. held that the power under Article 368 is constituent power to change the fundamental law, that is to say the Constitution. The constituent power under the Constitution belonged to Parliament because the Constitution gave it. The Amendment made explicit what the judgment in Shankari Prasad case and the majority judgment in Sajjan Singh case and the dissenting judgment in Golak Nath case said, namely that Parliament has the constituent power to amend the Constitution.

957. The unamended Article used the words “An amendment of this Constitution”. The 24th Amendment used the words “Parliament may…amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution”. This has been done because the leading majority judgment in Golak Nath case expressed the view that there is considerable force in the argument that the expression “amendment” in Article 368 has a positive and negative content in exercise of which Parliament cannot destroy the structure of the Constitution but it can only modify the provisions thereof within the framework of the original instrument for its better effect. This observation in Golak Nath case raised a doubt as to the meaning of the word “amendment”. The 24th Amendment has expressly clarified that doubt.

958. The leading majority judgment and the concurring judgment in Golak Nath case both held that the fundamental rights could not be amended by Parliament. The leading majority judgment with reference to the meaning of the word “amendment” and without deciding the matter observed that there was great force in the argument that certain fundamental features e.g. the concept of federalism, the institutions of the President and the Parliamentary executive could not be abolished by amendment. Shankari Prasad case, Sajjan Singh case and the dissenting minority judgment in Golak Nath case took the view that every provision of the Constitution could be amended in exercise of constituent power. As a necessary corollary, the 24th Amendment excludes the operation of Article 13 by amending Article 13 by a new Sub-article (4) that nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution under Article 368. The amendment of Article 13 by an insertion of Sub-article (4) is also reinforced by the opening words introduced in Article 368 by the 24th Amendment, viz., notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, which would certainly exclude Article 13.

959. The Constitution 24th Amendment Act raises three aspects. First, does the word “amend” include abrogation or repeal of the whole Constitution? Does amendment mean that there is some feature of the Constitution which cannot be changed. Secondly, what light does the proviso to Article 368 throw on the nature of the amending power and on the doctrine of inherent and implied limitations on the amending power that essential features of the Constitution cannot be damaged or destroyed. Thirdly, does Clause (e) of the proviso to Article 368 enable Parliament and the requisite majority of the States to increase the power of amendment that was conferred by Article 368.

960. Article 368 in the unamended form contained power as well as self executing procedure which if followed by the prescribed authorities would result in an amendment of the Constitution. Both the Attorney General and Mr. Seervai rightly said that the words “Constitution shall stand amended” in Article 368 will exclude a simple repeal that is without substituting anything in place of the repealed Constitution. If the Constitution were totally repealed and a vacuum was created it could not be said that the Constitution stands amended. The Constitution means the mode in which a State is constituted or organised specially as to the location of sovereign power. The Constitution also means the system or body of fundamental principles according to which the nation, State and body politic is constituted and governed. In the case of a written Constitution the Constitution is more fundamental than any particular law and contains a principle with which all legislation must be in harmony. Therefore, an amendment of the Constitution is an amendment of something which provides a system according to which a State or nation is governed. An amendment of the Constitution is to make fundamental changes in the Constitution. Fundamental or basic principles can be changed. There can be radical change in the Constitution like introducing a Presidential system of government for a cabinet system or a unitary system for a federal system. But such amendment would in its wake bring all consequential changes for the smooth working of the new system.

961. However radical the change the amendment must provide for the mode in which the State is constituted or organised. The question which was often put by Mr. Palkhivala drawing a panorama of a totalitarian State in place of the existing Constitution can be simply answered by saying that the words “The Constitution shall stand amended”

indicate that the Constitution of India is being referred to. The power of amendment is unlimited so long as the result is an amended Constitution, that is to say, an organic instrument which provides for the making interpretation and implementation of law.

962. The theory of unamendability of so called essential features is unmeritorious in the face of express provisions in Article 368 particularly in Clauses (a) to (d) of the proviso.

Clauses (a) to (d) relate to 66 Articles dealing with some of the most important features of the Constitution. Those Articles relate to the judiciary, the legislature and the executive. The legislative relations between the Union and the States and the distribution of legislative power between them are all within the ambit of amendment.

963. The question which was raised by Mr. Palkhivala as to whether under proviso (e) to the unamended Article 368 the power of amendment could be increased is answered in the affirmative. The reasons broadly stated are three.

964. First, under Article 368 proviso (e) any limitation on the power of amendment alleged to be found in any other Article of the Constitution can be removed. The full magnitude of the power of amendment which would have existed but for the limitation could be restored and the power of amendment increase. In Golak Nath case the majority view was that Article 13(2) operated as a limitation on the power of amendment. The 24th Amendment took note of that decision and removed all doubts by amending Article 13(2) and providing a new Sub-article (4) there and also by amending Article 368 to the effect that Article 13(2) shall not apply to any amendment of the Constitution. If the express limitation which had been judicially held to constitute a bar to the amendment of fundamental rights could be removed by amending Article 368 under Clause (e) to the proviso any other alleged implied limitation can be similarly removed.

965. Secondly, judicial decisions show that by amending the Article conferring the power of amendment a greater power to amend the Constitution can be obtained than was conferred by the original Article. In Ryan case 1935 Irish Report 170 all the learned Judges excepting the Chief Justice held that by first amending Section 50 of the Irish Constitution which conferred the power of amendment subject to certain restrictions thereon so as to remove the restrictions contained in that section, the Irish Parliament effectively increased its power in the sense that an amendment could be made which those express restrictions would have prohibited. Again in Ranasinghe case 1965 A.C.

172 it was said that a legislature has no power to ignore the conditions of law making that are imposed by the instrument which regulates its power. This restriction created by the instrument exists independently of the question whether the legislature is sovereign or whether the Constitution is uncontrolled. The Judicial Committee held that “such a Constitution can indeed be altered or amended by the legislature if the regulating instrument so provides and if the terms of those provisions are complied with and the alteration or amendment may include the change or abolition of those very provision”.

Thus a controlled Constitution can be converted into an uncontrolled Constitution vastly increasing the power of amendment.

966. Thirdly, the power to amend the amending Article must include the power to add, alter or repeal any part of that Article and there is no reason why the addition cannot confer a power of amendment which the authorities named in Article 368 did not possess.

By the exercise of the amending power provision can be made which can increase the powers of Parliament or increase the powers of the States. Again, by amendment future amendments can be made more difficult. The picture drawn by Mr. Palkhivala that a future amendment would be rendered impossible either by absolutely forbidding amendment or by prescribing an impractically large majority does not present any legal impediment to such an amendment. The safeguard against such action is external. The contingency of any such amendment being proposed and accepted is extremely remote because such an amendment might sow the seeds of revolution which would be the only way to bring about the change in the Constitution. The Solicitor General rightly said that the effect of the amendment is that “it shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill”. The product is not required to be “this Constitution”. It will not be identically the old Constitution. It will be a changed or amended Constitution and its resemblance will depend on the extent of the change. More rigid process like referendum or initiative or greater majority or ratification by a larger number of States might be introduced by amendment.

967. It is important to note that proviso (e) to Article 368, namely, the power to amend Article 368 is unlike perhaps some Constitutions which were before the Constituent Assembly when our Constitution was framed. Neither the American nor the Australian Constitution provided for any power to amend the amending provision itself. The Attorney General rightly contended that this forcefully expresses a clear and deliberate intention of the Constituent Assembly that apart from providing for a less rigid amending formula the Constituent Assembly took care to avoid the controversy in America as to whether express limitation on Article V of the American Constitution itself regarding equal suffrage of the States in the Senate could be amended or the controversy in Australia as to whether Section 128 of the Australian Constitution itself could be amended as there was no express limitation on such amendment. The Constituent Assembly provided in Clause (e) to Article 368 express and specific power of amendment of Article 368 itself.

968. The amplitude of the amending power in our Constitution stands in bold relief in comparison with Article V of the American Constitution, Section 128 of the Australian Constitution and Section 50 of the Irish Constitution none of which confers such a power.

Dr. Wynes in his Legislative Powers in Australia 4th Ed. p. 505 expresses the view that though Section 128 is negative in form but the power of amendment extends to alteration “of this Constitution” and this power is implied by its terms. Dr. Wynes also states that by the consent of the States the last part of Section 128 could be amended. This is only to illustrate as to how other Constitutions are understood by jurists in their countries. Our Article 368 contains no express limitation on the power of amendment. The provision of Clause (e) in the proviso to Article 368 is not limited to federal features.

969. The words “amendment of this Constitution” in Section 50 of the Irish Constitution which formed the subject of decision in Ryan case 1935 Irish Report 170 were read by Kennedy, C.J. in his dissenting view to mean that if power to amend Section 50 itself was intended to be given the framers of the Constitution would have said so. Mr. Palkhivala relied on this dissenting view. Other learned Judges who formed the majority held that the words “amendment of this Constitution” conferred power to amend that Section 50 as well. If no intention to amend that section itself is expressed there is nothing which can be implied was the dissent. Therefore, it would follow even according to the dissent that no implied limitations on the power of amendment can be read in Section 50 if an express power of amendment has been conferred by the Constitution.

970. Mr. Palkhivala contended that the people reserved the power to themselves to amend the essential features of the Constitution and if any such amendment were to be made it should be referred to the people by referendum. It was said that the Constitution makers did not intend that essential features should be damaged or destroyed even by the people, and therefore, the Constitution did not provide for referendum. The other contention on behalf of the petitioner was that referendum was not provided for because it might have been difficult to have the Constitution accepted on those terms. The second view would not eliminate the introduction of referendum as a method of amendment. If a referendum were introduced by an amendment people would have complete power to deal with essential features. The other question would be as to whether the Preamble and the fundamental rights would be a limitation on the power of the people. On behalf of the petitioner it was said that it was not necessary to decide the questions. Both the Attorney General and Mr. Seervai correctly said that the submissions made on behalf of the petitioner indicated that if essential features could be amended by the people the very fact that the Constituent Assembly did not include referendum as one of the methods of amendment and that the Constitution makers excluded no part of the Constitution from amendment established that the amendment of a written Constitution can be legally done only by the method prescribed by the Constitution. If the method of referendum be adopted for purpose of amendment as suggested by Mr. Palkhivala that would be extra Constitutional or revolutionary. The amending body to amend the Constitution represents the will of the people.

971. Therefore, as long as Article 368 may be amended under proviso (e) any amendment of the Constitution by recourse to referendum would be revolutionary. Mr. Palkhivala on behalf of the petitioner did not rely on the majority decision in Golak Nath case that the fundamental rights could be abridged or taken away only by convening a Constituent Assembly, but based his argument on a theory of legal sovereignty of the people. The Constitution is binding on all the organs of government as well as on the people. The Attorney General rightly submitted that the concept of popular sovereignty is well settled in parliamentary democracy and it means that the people express their will through their representatives elected by them at the general election as the amending body prescribed by the Constitution.

972. Are fundamental rights unamendable? Mr. Palkhivala contended that apart from Article 13(2) fundamental rights are based on Universal Declaration of Human Rights and are natural rights, and, therefore, they are outside the scope of amendment. In Golak Nath case the majority view declined to pronounce any opinion on alleged essential features other than fundamental rights. The concurring view was that fundamental rights were unamendable because they were fundamental. Wanchoo, J. for himself and two other learned Judges and Ramaswami, J. rightly rejected the theory of implied limitations. The three reasons given by Wanchoo, J. are these. First, the doctrine of essential and non-essential features would introduce uncertainty. Secondly, constituent power of amendment does not admit of any impediment of implied restrictions. Thirdly, because there is no express limitation there can be no implied limitation.

973. Mr. Seervai correctly contended that there is intrinsic evidence in the provisions of Part III itself that our Constitution does not adopt the theory that fundamental rights are natural rights or moral rights which every human being is at all times to have simply because of the fact that as opposed to other things he is rational and moral. The language of Article 13(2) shows that these rights are conferred by the people of India under the Constitution and they are such rights as the people thought fit to be in the organised society or State which they were creating. These rights did not belong to the people of India before 26 January 1950 and would not have been claimed by them. Article 19 embodies valuable rights. Rights under Article 19 are limited only to citizens. Foreigners are human beings but they are not given fundamental rights because these rights are conferred only on citizens as citizens.

974. Article 33 enacts that Parliament may by law modify rights conferred by Part III in their application to Armed Forces. Parliament may restrict or abrogate any of the rights conferred by Part III so as to ensure the proper discharge of the duties of the Armed Forces and the maintenance of discipline among them. Therefore, Article 33 shows that citizens can be denied some of these rights. If these are natural rights these cannot be abrogated. Article 34 shows that Parliament may by law indemnify any person in respect of any act done by him in connection with the maintenance or restoration of order in any area where martial law was in force or validate any sentence passed, punishment inflicted, forfeiture ordered or other act done under martial law in such area. Article 34 again shows restriction on rights conferred by Part III while martial law is in force in any area. The dominant concept is social good. Where there is no restraint the society fails.

975. Articles 352 and 358 also illustrate as to how while the proclamation of emergency is in operation provisions of Article 19 are suspended during emergency. The framers of the Constitution emphasised the social content of those rights. The basic concept of fundamental right is therefore a social one and it has a social function. These rights are conferred by the Constitution. The nature of restriction on fundamental rights shows that there is nothing natural about those rights. The restrictions contemplated under Article 19(2) with regard to freedom of speech are essential partis of a well organised developed society. One must not look at location of power but one should see how it acts. The restrictions contemplated in Article 19 are basically social and political. Friendly relations with foreign states illustrate the political aspect of restrictions. There are similar restrictions on right to move freely. The protection of Scheduled Tribes is also reasonable in the interest of society. This Court in Basheshar Nath v. C.I.T. Delhi (1959) Supp. 1.

S.C.R. 528 said that there are no natural rights under our Constitution and natural rights played no part in the formulation of the provisions therein.

976. Articles 25 and 26 by their opening words show that the right to the freedom of religion is subject to the paramount interest of society and there is no part of the right however important to devotee which cannot and in many cases have not been denied in civilised society.

977. Subba Rao, C.J. in Golak Nath case equated fundamental rights with natural rights or promodial rights. The concurring majority view in Golak Nath case, however, said that there is no natural right in property and natural rights embrace the activity outside the status of citizen. Fundamental rights as both the Attorney General and Mr. Seervai rightly contended are given by the Constitution, and, therefore, they can be abridged or taken away by the people themselves acting as an organised society in a State by the representatives of the people by means of the amending process laid down in the Constitution itself. There are many Articles in Part III of our Constitution which cannot in any event be equated with any fundamental right in the sense of natural right. To illustrate Article 17 deals with abolition of untouchability. Article 18 speaks of abolition of titles. Article 20 deals with protection in respect of conviction for offences. Article 23 refers to prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour. Article 24 deals with prohibition of employment of children in factories, etc. Article 27 speaks of freedom as to liability for taxes levied for promotion of any particular religion. Article 28 contemplates freedom as to attendance at religious instruction or religious worship in certain educational institutions. Article 29 deals with protection of interests of minorities. Article 31(2) prior to the Constitution 25th Amendment Act spoke of payment of just equivalent for acquisition or requisition of property. Article 31(4) deals with legislation pending at the commencement of the Constitution. Articles 31(5) and (6) save certain types of laws.

Article 31A saves laws providing for acquisition of estates etc. Article 32 confers right to move the Supreme Court.

978. The Constitution is the higher law and it attains a form which makes possible the attribution to it of an entirely new set of validity, the validity of a statute emanating from the sovereign people. Invested with statutory form and implemented by judicial review higher law becomes juristically the most fruitful for people. There is no higher law above the Constitution.

979. Mr. Palkhivala relied on an Article by Conrad on Limitation of Amendment Procedure and the Constitutional Power. The writer refers to the West German Provincial Constitution which has expressly excluded basic rights from amendment. If that is so the question of basic rights being unamendable on the basis of higher law or natural law does not arise. The conclusion of the writer is that whereas the American courts did not consider declaring a Constitutional norm void because of a conflict with higher law the German Jurisprudence broadened the concept of judicial review by recourse to natural law. The post-war Constitution of West Germany distinguished between superior and inferior Constitutional norms in so far as certain norms are not subject to amendment whereas others are.

980. The Attorney General relied on Friedmann Legal Theory 5th Ed. on pp. 350 seq. to show that there was a revival of natural law theory in contemporary German Legal Philosophy. This theory of natural law springs from the reaction against the excess of the Nazi regime. The view of Friedmann is that natural law may disguise to pose itself the conflict between the values which is a problem of constant and painful adjustment between competing interests, purposes and policies. This conflict is resolved by ethical or political evolution which finds place in legislative policies and also on the impact of changing ideas on the growth of law.

981. Fundamental rights are social rights conferred by the Constitution. There is no law above the Constitution. The Constitution does not recognise any type of law as natural law. Natural rights are summed up under the formula which became common during the Puritan Revolution namely life, liberty and property.

982. The theory of evolution of positive norms by supra-positive law as distinguished from superior positive law had important consequences in the post-war revival of natural law in some countries particularly Germany. Most of the German Constitutions from the early 19th Century to the Nazi Regime did not provide for judicial review. Under the Weimar regime, the legislature reigned supreme and legal positivism was brought to an extreme. The re-action after World War II was characterised by decreases of legislative power matched by an increase of judicial power. It is in this context that Conrad’s writing on which Mr. Palkhivala relied is to be understood. The entire suggestion is that norms could not only be judged by a superior law namely Constitutional law but by natural law to broaden the scope of judicial review. The acceptance of the doctrine of judicial review has been considered as a progress in Constitutional theory made between Declaration of Independence and the Federal Convention at Philadelphia.

983. On the one hand there is a school of extreme natural law philosophers who claim that a natural order establishes that private capitalism is good and socialism is bad. On the other hand, the more extreme versions of totalitarian legal philosophy deny the basic value of the human personality as such. Outside these extremes, there is a far greater degree of common aspirations. The basic autonomy and dignity of human personality is the moral foundation of the teaching of modern natural law philosophers, like Maritain. It is in this context that our fundamental rights and Directive Principles are to be read as having in the ultimate analysis a common good. The Directive Principles do not constitute a set of subsidiary principles to fundamental rights of individuals. The Directive Principles embody the set of social principles to shape fundamental rights to grant a freer scope to the large scale welfare activities of the State. Therefore, it will be wrong to equate fundamental rights as natural, inalienable, primodial rights which are beyond the reach of the amendment of the Constitution. It is in this context that this Court in Basheshar Nath v. C.I.T. Delhi (1959) Supp. 1 S.C.R. 528 said that the doctrine of natural rights is nothing but a foundation of shifting sand.

984. Mr. Seervai rightly said that if the power of amendment of the Constitution is co- extensive with the power of the judiciary to invalidate laws, the democratic process and the co-ordinate nature of the great departments of the State are maintained. The democratic process is maintained because the will of the people to secure the necessary power to enact laws by amendment of the Constitution is not defeated. The democratic process is also respected because when the judiciary strikes down a law on the ground of lack of power, or on the ground of violating a limitation on power, it is the duty of the legislature to accept that position, but if it is desired to pass the same law by acquiring the necessary power, an amendment validly enacted enables the legislatures to do so and the democratic will to prevail. This process harmonises with the theory of our Constitution that the three great departments of the State, the legislature, the judiciary and the executive are co-ordinate and that none is superior to the other. The normal interaction of enactment of law by the legislation, of interpretation by the courts, and of the amendment of the Constitution by the legislature, go on as they were intended to go on.

985. If the power of amendment does not contain any limitation and if this power is denied by reading into the Constitution inherent limitations to extinguish the validity of all amendments on the principles of essential features of the Constitution which are undefined and untermed, the courts will have to lay down a new Constitution.

986. It is said that the frame of the Government cannot be changed or abrogated by amendment of the Constitution. There is before us no aspect of abrogation of the form of Government of the changes apprehended by the petitioners like the abrogation of the judiciary or extending the life of Parliament.

987. The problems of the times and the solutions of those problems are considered at the time of framing the Constitution. But those who frame the Constitution also know that new and unforseen problems may emerge, that problems once considered important may lose their importance, because priorities have changed; that solutions to problems once considered right and inevitable are shown to be wrong or to require considerable modification; that judicial interpretation may rob certain provisions of their intended effect; that public opinion may shift from one philosophy of government to another.

Changes in the Constitution are thus actuated by a sense of duty to the people to help them get what they want out of life. There is no destiny of man in whose service some men can rightfully control others; there are only the desires and performances and ambitions that men actually have. The duty to maximise happiness means that it is easier to give people what they want than to make them want what you can easily give. The framers of the Constitution did not put any limitation on the amending power because the end of a Constitution is the safety, the greatness and well being of the people. Changes in the Constitution serve these great ends and carry out the real purposes of the Constitution.

988. The way in which the doctrine of inherent and implied limitations was invoked by Mr. Palkhivala in interpreting the Constitution was that the test of power under the Constitution must be to ascertain the worst that can be done in exercise of such power.

Mr. Palkhivala submitted that if unbridled power of amendment were allowed the basic features of our Constitution, namely, the republican and/or democratic form of government and fundamental Tights could be destroyed and India could be converted into a totalitarian dictatorship. The Court was invited to take into account the consequences of the kind described. Mr. Palkhivala suggested that a wide power of amendment would lead to borrow his words to the liquidation of our Constitution.

989. The Attorney General rightly said that the unambiguous meaning of amendment could not be destroyed to nurse the theory of implied limitations. He also said that the live distinction between power and exercise of power is subject to popular will and popular control. The theory of implied and inherent limitation was a repudiation of democratic process. The Attorney General and Mr. Seervai also rightly said that the approach of the petitioner to the power of amendment contained in Article 368 of the Constitution ignores the fact that the object of the Constitution is to provide for departments of States like the judiciary, the legislature and the executive for the governance of a country. Apart from the essential functions of defence against external aggression and of maintenance of internal order a modern State is organised to secure the welfare of the people. Parliament and State legislatures are elected on adult universal suffrage. The country is governed by the Cabinet system of Government with ministries responsible to the Houses of Parliament and to the Legislative Assemblies.

990. In a democracy the determination of the right policies to be pursued can only be determined by a majority vote cast at election and then by a majority of the elected representatives in the legislature. Democracy proceeds on the faith in the capacity to elect their representatives, and faith in the representatives to represent the people. The argument that the Constitution of India could be subverted or destroyed might have hortative appeal but it is not supportable by the actual experience in our country or in any country. The two basic postulates in democracy are faith in human reason and faith in Human nature. There is no higher faith than faith in democratic process. Democracy on adult suffrage is a great experiment in our country. The roots of our democracy are in the country and faith in the common man. That is how Mr. Seervai said that between 1951 when this Court recognised in Sankari Prasad case unlimited power of amendment till Golak Nath decision in 1967 the normal democratic process in our country functioned as provided by the Constitution.

991. The principle underlying the theory of taking consequences into account is best expressed in Vacher & Sons v. London Society of Compositors [1912] UKHL 3; 1913 A.C. 107, where it was said that if any particular construction in construing the words of a statute was susceptible to more than one meaning, it was legitimate to consider the consequences which would result from any particular construction. The reason is that there are many things which the legislation is presumed not to have intended to bring about and therefore a construction which would not lead to any of these things should be preferred to one which would lead to one or more of them.

992. The doctrine of consequences has no application in construing a grant of power conferred by a Constitution. In considering a grant of power the largest meaning should be given to the words at the power in order to effectuate it fully. The two exceptions to this rule are these. First, in order to reconcile powers exclusively conferred on different legislatures, a narrower meaning can be given to one of the powers in order that both may operate as fully as is possible. (See C.P. & Berar case 1938 F.C.R. 18 and Province of Madras v. Governor General 72 I.A. 93). Second, technical terms must be given their technical meaning even though it is narrower than the ordinary or popular meaning. The State of Madras v. Gannon Dunkerley & Co. (Madras) Ltd. [1958] INSC 35; 1959 S.C.R. 379. In our Constitution powers are divided between federation and the States. An attempt must be made to find the power in some entry or other because it must be assumed that no power was intended to be left out.

993. The theory of consequences is misconstrued if it is taken to mean that considerations of policy, wisdom and social or economic policies are included in the theory of consequences. In Vacher case it was said that the judicial tribunal, has nothing to do with the policy of any Act and the only duty of the Court is to expound the language of the Act in accordance with the settled rules of construction. In Attorney General for Ontario v.

Attorney General for Dominions 1912 A.C. 571 the Privy Council refused to read an implication in the Constitution of Canada that there was no power to refer a matter for the advisory opinion of the highest Court because advisory opinions were prejudicial to the correct administration of justice and were embarrassing to Judges themselves who pronounced them, for humanly speaking it would be difficult for them to hear a case on merits if they have already expressed an opinion. The Privy Council rejected this argument and said that so far as it was a matter of wisdom and policy it was for the determination of Parliament. In Bank of Toronto v. Lambe (1887) 12 A.C. 575 the Privy Council was invited to hold that the legislature of a province could not levy a tax on capital stock of the Bank, for that power might be exercised to destroy the Bank altogether. The Privy Council observed that if on a true construction of Section 92 of the British North America Act the power fell within the section, it would be wrong to deny its existence because by some possibility it might be abused.

994. The absurdity of the test of the worst that can be done in exercise of power is demonstrated by the judgment of Chief Justice Taft in Gross-man [1925] USSC 57; 69 L.Ed. 527 where it was said that if those who were in separate control of each of the three branches of Government were bent upon defeating the action of the other, normal operations of Government would come to a halt and could be paralysed. Normal operations of the Government assume that all three branches must co-operate if Government is to go on.

Where the meaning is plain the Court must give effect to it even if it considers that such a meaning would produce unreasonable result. In the Bihar Land Reforms case 1952 S.C.R. 889 Mahajan, J. said that agrarian laws enacted by the legislature and protected by Articles 31(3) and (4) provided compensation which might appear to the Court unjust and inequitable. But the Court gave effect to Articles 31(3) and (4) because the results were intended and the remedy for the injustice lay with the legislature and not with the Court.

The construction to avoid absurdity must be used with great caution.

995. In Grundt case 1948 Ch. 145 it was said in choosing between two possible meanings of ambiguouos words, the absurdity or the nonabsurdity of one conclusion as compared with another might be of assistance and in any event was not to be applied as to result in twisting the language into a meaning which it could not bear.

996. The Attorney General rightly submitted that if power is conferred which is in clear and unambiguous language and does not admit of more than one construction there can be no scope for narrowing the clear meaning and width of the power by considering the consequences of the exercise of the power and by so reading down the power. The question is not what may be supposed to be intended but what has been said. See Ross v.

Illison 1930 A.C. 1. The Supreme Court in Damselle Howard v. Illinois Central Rail Road Co. [1908] USSC 6; 207 U.S. 463 said that you cannot destroy in order to save or save in order to destroy. The real import is that a new law cannot be made by construction. The question is one of intention. A meaning cannot be different which it cannot reasonably bear or will be inconsistent with the intention. The very basis of Parliamentary democracy is that the exercise of power is always subject to the popular will and popular control. The petitioner’s theory of implied and inherent limitations is a repudiation of this democratic process. The underlying theory of democratic government is “the right of a majority to embody their opinion in law subject to the limitations imposed by the Constitution”, per Holmes, J. in Lochner v. New York [1905] USSC 100; 198 U.S. 45. In our Constitution Article 368 contains no express limitation on the amendment of any provision of the Constitution.

997. Mr. Palkhivala relied on the amending provisions in the Constitution of America, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Ceylon and also decisions on the power of amendment in those countries in support of his submissions that a restricted meaning should be attributed to the word “amendment” and implied and inherent limitations should be read into the meaning and power of amendment.

998. Mr. Palkhivala also relied on the opinion of Cooley in a Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations at pages 36-37 that “a written Constitution is in every instance a limitation upon the powers of government in the hands of agents; for there never was a written republican Constitution which delegated to functionaries all the latent powers which lie dormant in every nation, and are boundless in extern, and incapable of definition”. This view of Cooley is not relevant to the amending power in Article V of the American Constitution. This view relates to the legislative power that a written Constitution is a limitation upon the powers of the Government, namely, the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

999. The other views of Cooley in Constitutional Limitations at pages 341-343, 345-348, 351-354 are these. First except where the Constitution has imposed limitations upon the legislative power it must be considered as practically absolute, whether it operates according to natural justice or not in any particular case. Second, in the absence of Constitutional restraint the legislative department of a State Government has exclusive and ample power and its utterance is the public policy of the State upon that subject, and the Courts are without power to read into the Constitution a restraint of the legislature with respect thereto. Third, if the Courts are not at liberty to declare statutes void because of their apparent injustice of impolicy, neither can they do so because they appear to the minds of the Judges to violate fundamental principles of republican Government, unless it shall be found that those principles are placed beyond legislative encroachment by the Constitution. The principles of republican government are not a set of inflexible rules, vital and active in the Constitution, though unexpressed, but they are subject to variation and modification from motives of policy and public necessity. Fourth, the Courts are not at liberty to declare an act void, because in their opinion it is opposed to a spirit supposed to pervade the Constitution, but not expressed in words.

1000. Mr. Palkhivala relied on the views of George Skinner published in 18 Michigan Law Review (1919-1920) pages 21-225 to build the theory of implied and inherent limitations. The views extracted are these. The power given by the Constitution cannot be construed to authorise a destruction of other powers in the same instrument. The essential form and character of the Government, being determined by the location and distribution of power, cannot be changed, only the exercise of governmental functions can be regulated. A somewhat different view of Skinner in the same Law Review is that it is not likely that the Supreme Court would put any limitations upon the power of Congress to propose amendments and in construing the Fifth Article it would be unwilling to say Congress had proposed an amendment which it did not deem necessary. The discretion is left entirely with Congress.

1001. The other view on which Mr. Palkhivala relied is of William L. Marbury published in 33 Harvard Law Review (1919-1920) at pp. 223-235. The views which Mr. Palkhivala extracted are that it may be safely premised that the power to amend the Constitution was not intended to include the power to destroy it. Marbury relies on Livermore v. Waite 102 Cal. 118 where it is stated that the term “amendment” implies such an addition or change within the lines of the original instrument as will effect an improvement, or better carry out the purpose for which it was framed.

1002. There are other views of Marbury on which the Attorney General relied and which were not extracted by Mr. Palkhivala. Those views are that after excluding from the scope of its amending power in Article V of the American Constitution such amendments as take away legislative powers of the State there is still left a very broad field for its operation. All sorts of amendments might be adopted which would change the framework of the federal Government, the thing which the Constitution was created to establish, which would change the distribution of power among the various departments of the Government, place additional limitations upon them, or abolish old guarantees of civil liberty and establish new ones.

1003. The Attorney General also relied on the view of Frierson published in 33 Harvard Law Review pp. 659-666 as a reply to Marbury. Frierson’s view is that the security for the States was provided for by the provision for the necessity of ratification by three- fourths of the States. The Constitution committed to Congress and not to the Courts the duty of determining what amendments were necessary. The rights of the States would certainly be safer in the hands of three-fourths of the States themselves. This is considered by the framers of the Constitution to ensure integrity of States.

1004. The Attorney General also relied on the view of McGovney published in Vol. 20 Columbia Law Review. McGovney points out a distinction between a political society or State on the one hand and governmental organs on the other to appreciate that Constitutional limitations are against governmental organs. The writer’s view is that an individual has no legal rights against a sovereign organised political society except what the society gives. The doctrine of national sovereignty means that people who made the existing distribution of powers between the federal and the State Governments may alter it. Amendment is left to legislatures because as a matter of convenience the legislatures generally express the will of the people. In the Constitution the people prescribe the manner in which they shall amend the Constitution. McGovney states that an amendment of a particular statute means usually it is a change germane to the subject matter of that statute. Any change in the Government of the nation is germane to the Constitution. Any change altering the dispositions of power would therefore be germane to the purposes of the instrument. McGovney’s view is that it is clear that no limitation on the amending power can be found in this notion of necessity for germaneness.

1005. The Attorney General also relied on an Article “On the views of W.F. Dodd published in 30 Yale Law Journal p. 321 seq. and of H.W. Taft, published in 16 Virginia Law Review p. 647 seq. The view of Dodd is this. There are no implied limitations on the amending power. The Supreme Court in the National Prohibition cases rejected the arguments presented in favour of implied limitations. To narrow down the meaning of amendment or to adopt implied limitations would not only narrow down the use of the amending power but would also leave the question of amending power in each case to judicial decision without the guidance of any legal principle. Taft’s view is that by reason of the Tenth Amendment which provided that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people, the amending power in Article V of the American Constitution was not limited by the Tenth Amendment 1006. The question which has arisen on the Fifth Article of the American Constitution is whether there are implied limitations upon the power to amend. The two express limitations were these. First, no amendment which may be made prior to 1808 shall in any manner effect the First and the Fourth clauses in the Ninth Section of the First Article. That Limitation became exhausted by passage of time. The second express limitation is that no State without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate. The express limitation is to safeguard the equal representation of the smaller States in the Senate. The limitation can only be changed by unanimous consent of the States.

1007. The 18th Amendment was vigorously attacked in the National Prohibition Cases on the ground that it overstepped alleged implied limitations on the Constitution amending power. The arguments advanced were these. First, the 18th Amendment which introduced prohibition was not in fact an amendment for an amendment is an alteration or improvement of that which is already contained in the Constitution and the term is not intended to include any addition of entirely new grants of power. Secondly, the amendment was not an amendment within the meaning of the Constitution because it is in its nature legislation and that an amendment of the Constitution can only affect the powers of government and cannot act directly upon the rights of individuals. Third, that the Constitution in all its parts looks to an indestructible nation composed of indestructible States. The power of amendment was given for the purpose of making alterations and improvements and any attempt to change the fundamental basis of the Union is beyond the power delegated by the Fifth Article. The decision in the National Prohibition Cases is that there is no limit on the power to amend the Constitution except that State may not without its consent be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.

1008. In Rhode Island v. Palmer [1920] USSC 144; 253 U.S. 350 the 18th Amendment was challenged to be not within the purview of Article V. The judgment in Rhode Island case was that the amendment was valid. In Rhode Island case the grounds of attack were that the amendment was legislative in character and an invasion of natural rights and an encroachment on the fundamental principles of dual sovereignty but the contentions were overruled.

1009. In Hawke v. Smith [1920] USSC 127; 253 U.S. 221 a question arose as to whether the action of the General Assembly of Ohio ratifying the 18th Amendment known as National Prohibition could be referred to the electors of the State under the provisions of the State Constitution. It was held that these provisions of he State were inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States. The decision of the Court was unanimous. The two methods of ratification prescribed by Article V of the Constitution are by action of the legislatures of the three-fourths of the States or conventions in the like number of States.

The determination of the method of ratification is the exercise of a national power specifically granted by the Constitution. That power is conferred upon Congress. Article V was held to be plain and to admit of no doubt in its interpretation. The choice of means of ratification was wisely withheld from conflicting action in the several States.

1010. Again, in Lesser v. Garnett [1922] USSC 28; 258 U.S. 130 there was a suit to strike out the names of women from the register of voters on the ground that the State Constitution limited suffrage to men and that the 19th Amendment to the Federal Constitution was not validity adopted. The 19th Amendment stated that right of citizens to vote shall not be denied on account of sex. It was contended that the amending power did not extend to that situation.

The Supreme Court there rejected that contention. The Supreme Court said that the function of a State legislature in ratifying the proposed amendment to the federal Constitution like the function of Congress in proposing the amendment is a federal function derived from the federal Constitution; and it transcends any limitations sought to be imposed by the people of a State.

1011. In United States v. Sprague [1931] USSC 53; 282 U.S. 716 a contention was advanced that the 10th Amendment recognised a distinction between powers reserved to the States and powers reserved to the people and that State legislatures were competent to delegate only the former to the National Government; delegation of the latter required action of the people through conventions in the several states. The 18th Amendment being of the latter character, the ratification by State legislatures was contended to be invalid. The Supreme Court rejected the argument. It found the language of Article V too clear to admit of reading any exceptions into it by implication.

1012. The decisions in Rhode Island v. Palmer [1920] USSC 144; 253 U.S. 350, Hawke v. Smith 253 U.S.

221, Leser v. Garnett [1922] USSC 28; 258 U.S. 130 and United States v. Sprague [1931] USSC 53; 282 U.S. 716 are all authorities for the proposition that there is no implied limitation on the power to amend.

The 18th Amendment was challenged on the ground that ordinary legislation could not be embodied in a Constitutional amendment and that Congress cannot Constitutionally propose any amendment which involves the exercise or relinquishment of the sovereign powers of a State. The 19th Amendment was attacked on the narrower ground that a State which had not ratified the amendment would be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate because its representatives in that body would be persons not of its choosing. The Supreme Court brushed aside these arguments as wholly unworthy of serious attention and held both the amendments valid.

1013. Mr. Palkhivala contended the word “amendment” in Article 368 would take its colour from the words “change in the provisions” occurring in the proviso. The American decisions illustrate how the Supreme Court consistently rejected the attempts to limit the meanings of the word “amend” in Article V of their Constitution because of the reference to ratification by legislatures or conventions. Where words are read in their context there is no question of implication for context means parts that precede or follow any particular passage or text and fix its meaning.

1014. The rule of nosciitur a sociis means that where two or more words which are susceptible of analogous meaning are coupled together, they are understood to be used in their cognate sense. They take their colour from each other, the meaning of the more general being restricted to a sense analogous to that of the less general.

1015. This rule has been found to have no application to Article V of the American Constitution because conventions and legislatures are both deliberative bodies and if an amendment can be submitted either to the legislatures of States or to conventions at the absolute discretion of the Congress, it is difficult to say that the character of the amendment is in any way affected by the machinery by which the amendment is to be ratified. In Rhode Island case the contention that an amendment of the Constitution should be ratified by conventions and not by legislatures was rejected. In Sprague case the contention that matters affecting the liberty of citizens could only be ratified by conventions was not accepted and the Supreme Court refused to read any implication into Article V of the American Constitution. The Supreme Court said that in spite of the clear phraseology of Article V, the Court was asked to insert into it a limitation on the discretion conferred on it by the Congress. The Supreme Court did not accept any implied limitation. Where the intention is clear there is no room for construction and no excuse for interpolation or addition. In Feigenspan v. Bodine 264 F. 186 it has been said when the people delegated the power of amendment to their representatives the power of amendment cannot be excluded in any way other than prescribed nor by any instrumentality other than there designated.

1016. Mr. Palkhivala relied on some Canadian decisions the Initiative and Referendum case 1919 A.C. 935, Switzmen v. Elbling 1957 Canada Law Reports 285, Rex v. Hess (1949) 4 Dominion Law Report 199; and Saumur v. City of Quebec and Attorney General of Quebec (1953) 4 D.L.R. 641 and Chabot v. School Commissioners of Lamorandiere and Attorney General for Quebec (1958) 12 D.L.R. 796, in support of three propositions. First, unlimited legislative jurisdiction of the Dominion Parliament in Canada is under inherent limitation by reason of the preamble to the British North America Act which states that the Constitution is similar in principle to the United Kingdom. Second, the Dominion legislature cannot detract from the basic rights of freedom of speech and political association which are available in the United Kingdom.

Third, rights which find their source in natural law cannot be taken away by positive law.

1017. In the Initiative and Referendum case the Judicial Committee said that Section 92 of the British North America Act entrusted legislative power in a province to its legislature and to that legislature only. A power of legislation enjoyed by a provincial legislature in Canada can while preserving its own capacity intact seek the assistance of subordinate agencies as in Hodge v. Queen 9 App. Cas. 117 the legislature of Ontario was held to be entitled to entrust to the Board of Commissioners authority to enact regulations. It does not follow that such a legislature can create and endow with its own capacity a legislative power. The Initiative and Referandum case decided that in the absence of clear and unmistakable language the power which the Crown possessed through a person directly representing the Crown could not be abrogated. The Lieutenant Governor under the British North America Act referred to as the B.N.A. Act was an integral part of the legislature. The Initiative and Referendum Act was found to be one which wholly excluded the Lieutenant Governor from legislative authority. The only powers of veto and disallowance preserved by the Initiative and Referendum Act were related to acts of legislative Assembly as distinguished from Bills. Therefore the powers of veto and disallowance referred to could only be those of the Governor General under Section 90 of the B.N.A. Act and not the powers of the Lieutenant Governor which are at an end when a Bill has become an Act. Section 11 of the Act provided that when a proposal for repeal of some law has been approved by majority of the electors voting that law is automatically to be deemed repealed, at the end of 30 days after the publication in the Gazette. Thus the Lieutenant Governor appears to be wholly excluded from the legislative authority. The Initiative and Referendum decision related to an Act of the legislature and secondly to the Act being ultra vires the provisions of the B.N.A. Act.

This is not at all, relevant to the amending power of a Constitution. The Act was found to be invalid because the machinery which it provided for making the Laws was contrary to the machinery set up by the B.N.A. Act. The impugned Act rendered the Lieutenant Governor powerless to prevent a law which had been submitted to voters from becoming an actual law if approved by the voters. The impugned Act set up a legislature different from that constituted by the B.N.A. Act and this the legislature had no power to do.

1018. The other Canadian decisions are based on three views. The first view is based on the preamble to the B.N.A. Act that the Provinces expressed their desire to be federally united into one Dominion, with a Constitution similar to that of the United Kingdom. The corollary extracted from the preamble is that neither Parliament nor Provincial legislatures may infringe on the traditional liberties because of the Preamble to the B.N.A. Act and a reference to British Constitutional History. The second view expressed in the decisions is that the basic liberties are guaranteed by implication in certain sections of the B.N.A. Act. Section 17 establishes a Parliament for Canada. Section 50 provides that no House of Commons shall continue longer than five years. These sections are read by the Canadian decisions to mean that freedom of speech and freedom of political association should continue. The third view is that some rights find their source in natural law which cannot be taken away by positive law.

1019. The first view found expression in Switzman case. There was an Act respecting communistic propaganda. The majority Judges found that the subject matter was not within the powers assigned to the Province by Section 92 of the B.N.A. Act. They further held that the Act constituted unjustifiable interference with freedom of speech and expression essential under the democratic form of government established in Canada. The Canada Elections Act, the B.N.A. Act provided for election of Parliament every five years, meeting of Parliament once a year. It was contended that it was implicit in all legislations the right of candidates to criticise, debate and discuss political, economic and social principles.

1020. Hess case raised a question of jurisdiction of the Court to grant bail. Under Section 1025A of the Criminal Code a person was detained in custody. Section 1025A provided that an accused might be detained in custody without bail pending an appeal to the Attorney General.

1021. The Saumur case related to a municipal bye-law requiring permission for distribution of books and tracts in the city streets. The Saumur case relied on the observations of Duff, C.J. in Re Albert Legislation 1938 S.C.R. 100 that the right of free public discussion on public affairs is the breath of life for parliamentaly institutions.

1022. In Chabot case public schools in the Province of Quebec were operated by School Commissioners elected by tax payers of whom the religious majority were Catholics. A dissident tax payer raised the question as to whether dissidents might establish their own schools or they might send them to a school of a neighbouring municipality and thereupon become exempt from paying tax. The majority held that certain regulations passed by the Catholic Committee were intra vires because they must be construed as confined to Catholic children.

1023. The Canadian decision show first that certain Judges relying on the Preamble to the B.N.A. Act that the Canadian Constitution is to be similar in principle to that of the United Kingdom raised the vires of some of the legislations affecting freedom of speech.

Secondly, the Canadian Constitution was given by the British Parliament and if the Judges who used such dicta referred to that part of the Preamble they were emphasising that the rights of the Canadian people were similar to those in England. Thirdly, it has to be remembered that the Canadian Constitution has been developed through usage and conventions.

1024. None of these decisions relates to amendment of the Constitution. None of these decisions indicates that there is any inherent limitation on the amendment of the Constitution. The Preamble to the B.N.A. Act shows that the Canadian Constitution enjoined observance of fundamental principles in British Constitutional practice. The growth of the Canadian Constitution was through such usage and convention. Our Constitution is of a sovereign independent republican country. Our Constitution does not draw sustenance from any other Constitution. Our Constitution does not breathe through conventions and principles of foreign countries.

1025. There are no explicit guaranteed liberties in the British North America Act. In Canada the Constitutional issue in civil liberties legislation is simply whether the particular supersession or enlargement is competent to the Dominion or the Province as the case may be. Apart from the phrase “civil rights in the Province” in Section 92(13) there is no language in Sections 91 and 92 which even remotely expresses civil liberties values.

1026. The Canadian Bill of Rights assented to in 1960 in Section 2 states that every law of Canada shall unless it is expressly declared by an Act of Parliament of Canada that it shall operate notwithstanding the Canadian Bill, of Rights be so construed and applied as not to abrogate, or infringe or authorise abrogation abridgement or infringement of any of the rights of freedom recognised and declared. The view of Laskin in Canadian Constitutional Law (3rd Edition) (1969) is that in terms of legislative power the political liberties represent independent Constitutional values which are exclusively in federal keeping. Since the enactment of the Canadian Bill of Rights the question has hardly any substantive effect because the Canadian Parliament can make a declaration in terms of Section 2 of the Bill of Rights that a law abrogating a freedom in the Bill of Rights is operative.

1027. Mr. Palkhivala relied on the Australian decisions in Taylor v. Attorney General of Queensland [1917] HCA 45; 23 C.L.R. 457 and Victoria v. Commonwealth 45 Australian Law Journal 251 in support of the proposition that there is inherent and implied limitation on the power of amendment.

1028. In Taylor case the Parliamentary Bills Referendum Act of 1908 was challenged.

The Parliament Bills Referendum Act provided that when a Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly in two successive sessions has in the same two sessions been rejected by the Legislative Council, it may be submitted by referendum to the electors, and, if affirmed by them, shall be presented to the Governor for His Majesty’s assent, and upon receiving such assent the Bill shall become an Act of Parliament in the same manner as if passed by both Houses of Parliament, and notwithstanding any law to the contrary. The Australian States Constitution Act, 1907 provided that it shall not be necessary to reserve, for the signification of His Majesty’s pleasure thereon, any Bill passed by the legislatures of any of the States if the Governor has previously received instructions from His Majesty to assent and does assent accordingly to the Bill.

1029. In 1915 the Legislative Assembly of Queensland passed a Bill to amend the Constitution of Queensland by abolishing the Legislative Council. The Bill was passed by the Legislative Assembly. The Legislative Council rejected the Bill. The Legislative Assembly again passed the Bill The Legislative Council again rejected the Bill. The Governor in accordance with the Parliamentary Bills Referendum Act 1908 issued regulations providing for the taking of the Referendum polls. It was argued that the Constitution ought to have been first amended.

1030. The questions for the opinion of the Court were : (1) Is the Constitution Act, Amendment Act of 1908 a valid and effective Act of Parliament? (2) Is the Parliamentary Bills Referendum Act of 1908 a valid and effective Act of Parliament ? (3) Is there power to abolish the Legislative Council of Queensland by an Act passed in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary Bills Referendum Act of 1908 ? (4) Was the Referendum valid ? 1031. The Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 in Section 5 conferred full power on every representative legislature to make laws respecting the Constitution, powers and procedures of such legislature; provided that such laws shall have been passed in such manner and form as may from time to time be required by any Act of Parliament, letters patent, Order in Council, or colonial laws for the time being in force in the said colony.

The Parliamentary Bills Referendum Act was held to be an Act respecting the powers of the legislature. Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act provided the authority for the legislation.

1032. Mr. Palkhivala extracted three propositions from the Taylor case. First, probably the power to make laws respecting the Constitution, power and procedure of such legislature does not extend to authorise the elimination of the representative character of the legislature within the meaning of the Act p. 468 per Barton, J. Second, probably the representative character of the legislature is a basic condition of the power relied on, and is preserved by the word “such” in the collocation of words in the Constitution “of such legislature” p. 474 per Issacs, J. Third, when power is given to a Colonial legislature to alter the Constitution of the legislature that must be read subject to the fundamental conception that consistently with the very nature of the Constitution as an Empire, the Crown is not included in the ambit of such power p. 474 per Issacs, J.

1033. The decision in Taylor case was to the effect that the Acts did not alter the representative character of the legislature as defined in Section 1 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act, 1865, nor did they affect the position of the Crown. The first two propositions on which Mr. Palkhivala relied, namely, the observations of Barton and Issacs, JJ. p. 468 and p. 474 were both prefaced by the word “probably” which amply shows that the observations are obiter. The question whether the representative character of the legislature could be changed or whether the Crown could be eliminated did not call for decision. The other learned Judges Gavan Duffy and Rich, JJ. said “It may perhaps be that the legislature must always remain a representative legislature as defined by the statute, but it is unnecessary in the present case to determine whether that is so or not”.

1034. Issacs, J. held in that case that the word “legislature” did not include the Crown because Section 7 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act used the expression “legislature”

followed by the words “or by persons or bodies of persons for the time being acting as such legislature” to show that the legislature was exclusive of the Crown. The assent of the Queen or the Governor was thus regarded as an additional factor. Therefore, Issacs, J.

said that when a power is given to the Colonial legislature to alter the Constitution that must be read subject to the fundamental conception, that the Crown is not included in the ambit of such power. Those observations are made in the context of the provisions of the Colonial Laws Validity Act where a “colony” as defined to include all of Her Majesty’s possessions abroad”. The observations therefore mean that when power to alter the Constitution was conferred upon a colony which is a part of Her Majesty’s possessions abroad it is reasonable to assume that such power did not include power to eliminate the Queen as a part of a colonial legislature.

1035. The representative character of the legislature does not involve any theory of implied limitation on the power of amendment. Such legislature as was emphasised by Issacs, J. shows that the limitation on the power of amendment flowed from express language of Section 5 of the Colonial Laws Validity Act and was not dependent upon any implication.

1036. In the State of Victoria case the validity of the Pay-Roll Tax Act, 1941 was impugned on the ground that it was beyond the legislative competence of the Commonwealth. The Pay Roll Tax Assessment Act 1941-69 made the Crown liable to pay tax on the wages payable to named categories of employees of the State of Victoria.

The Commonwealth Parliament, in the exercise of its power under Section 51(ii) of the Constitution to make laws with respect to taxation, but so as not to discriminate between States or parts of State was held competent to include the Crown in right of a State in the operation of a law imposing tax or providing for the assessment of a tax. The inclusion of the Crown in right of a State in the definition of “employed” in Section 3(1) of the Pay- Roll Tax Assessment Act 1941-1969 thus making the Crown in right of a State liable to pay the tax in respect of wages paid to employees including employees of departments engaged in strictly governmental functions was also held to be a valid exercise of the power of the Commonwealth under Section 51 of the Constitution. Section 114 of the Constitution enacts ban on the imposition by the Commonwealth of a tax on property of a State. This ban was not offended. A law which in substances takes a State or its powers or functions of government as its subject matter is invalid because it cannot be supported upon any grant of legislative power, but there is no implied limitation on Commonwealth legislative power under the Constitution arising from the federal nature of the Constitution. There was no necessary implication restraining the Commonwealth from making a law according to the view of three learned Judges. Four other learned Judges held that there is an implied limitation as lack of Commonwealth legislative power but the Act did not offend such limitation.

1037. The limitation which was suggested to be accepted was that a Commonwealth law was bad if it discriminated against States in the sense that it imposed some special burden or disability upon them so that it might be described as a law aimed at their restriction or control.

1038. In the Australian case Barwick, C.J. stated that the basic principles of construction of the Australian Constitution were definitely enunciated in the Amalgamated Society of Engineers v. Adelaide Steamship Co. Ltd. [1920] HCA 54; (1920) 28 C.L.R. 129 which unequivocally rejected the doctrine that there was an implied prohibition in the Constitution against the exercise in relation to a State of a legislative power of the Commonwealth in accordance with the ordinary rules of Constitution.

1039. Mr. Palkhivala relied on some Irish cases in support of theory of implied and inherent limitations.

1040. In Rayan case 1935 Irish Report 170 the validity of amendment of Article 50 of the Irish Constitution which came into existence in 1922 fell for consideration. Article 50 provided that within 8 years from the commencement of the Constitution amendments to the Constitution were to be made by ordinary legislation. After the expiry of 8 years amendments were to be made by referendum. The other provision in Article 50 was that amendment “shall be subject to the provisions of Article 47” of the Constitution. Article 47 made provisions for the suspension in certain events of any Bill for a period of 90 days and for the submission of any bill so suspended to referendum if demand should be made. By an Amendment Act in 1928 reference to the provisions of Article 47 was repealed. In 1929 before the expiry of 8 years there was an amendment of the Constitution whereby the period of 8 years was changed to 16 years. Both the amendments were upheld. Amendment were challenged on two grounds : First, that many Articles of the Constitution are so fundamental as to be-incapable of alteration. Second, Article 50 does not authorise any change in these fundamental Articles.

1041. The decision of the Judicial Committee in Moore and Ors. v. Attorney General for the Irish Free State and Ors. 1935 A.C. 484 throws a flood of light on the question of amendment of the amending power in a written Constitution. The Treaty and the Constituent Act scheduled to the Irish Free Constitution Act, 1922 being parts of an Imperial Act formed parts of the statute law of the United Kingdom. The first clause of the Treaty provided that Ireland shall have the same Constitutional status in the community of nations known as the British Empire as the Dominion of Canada, Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand, and the Union of South Africa with a Parliament having force to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Ireland and an Executive responsible to that Parliament and shall be styled and known as the Irish Free State. The second clause of the Treaty provided that the law practice and Constitutional usage governing the relationship of the Crown or the representative of the Crown and of the Imperial Parliament to the Dominion of Canada shall govern their relationship to the Irish Free State. Of the Articles of the Constitution, Article 12 created a legislature known as the Oireachtas and the sole and exclusive power of making laws for the peace, order and good government of the Irish Free State was vested in the Oireachtas.

1042. Article 50 provided that amendments of the Constitution within the terms of the Scheduled Treaty might be made by the Oireachtas. Article 66 provided that the Supreme Court of the Irish Free State would have appellate jurisdiction from all decisions of the High Court and the decision of the Supreme Court would be final and conclusive. The proviso to that Article stated that nothing in the Constitution shall impair the right of any person to petition His Majesty for special leave to appeal from the Supreme Court to His Majesty in Council. The proviso to Article 66 was inserted to give effect to Article 2 of the Treaty and hence under Article 50 of the Constitution it was argued that the proviso to Article 66 could not be amended in the way it was sought to amend it by abolishing the right of appeal. Article 50 contained another limitation that amendments within the terms of the Treaty might be made. Clause 2 of the Treaty provided that relations with the Imperial Parliament should be the same as the Canadian. By Amendment Act No. 6 of 1933 the words “within the terms of the Treaty” were deleted from Article 50. Thereafter Amendment Act No. 22 of 1933 was passed abrogating right of appeal to the Privy Council.

1043. The Judicial Committee in Moore case noticed that “Mr. Wilfrid Greene for the petitioners rightly conceded that Amendment Act No. 16 of 1929 which substituted for the 8 years specified in Article 50 as the period during which amendment might be made without a referendum a period of 16 years was regular and that the validity of the subsequent amendments could not be attacked on the ground that they had not been submitted to the people by referendum.

1044. It was argued by Mr. Greene in that case that the Constituent Assembly having accomplished its work went out of existence leaving no successor and no body in authority capable of amending the Constituent Act. The argument was in effect that the Constitution was a semi rigid Constitution that is one capable of being amended in detail in the different Articles according to their terms, but not susceptible of any alteration so far as concerns the Constituent Act, unless perhaps by the calling together of a new Constitution assembly by the people of Ireland. The decision of the Supreme Court of Ireland in Ryan case was referred to by the Judical Committee. The Judicial Committee held that the Oireachtas had power to repeal or amend the Constitution Act and in repealing or amending of parts of an imperial Statute, namely, the Irish Free State Constitution Act, 1922 what the Oireachtas did must be deemed to have been done in the Way in which alone it could legally be done, that is by virtue of the powers given by the statute. The abolition of appeals to Privy Council was a valid amendment.

1045. The decision in Liyanage v. Queen (1967) 1 A.C. 259 was also relied on by Mr.

Palkhivala for the theory of implied and inherent limitations. The Criminal Law Amendment Act passed by the Parliament of Ceylon in 1962 contained substantial modifications of the Criminal Procedure Code. There was ex post facto legislation of detention for 60 days of any person suspected of having committed an offence against the State by widening the class of offences for which trial without jury by three judges nominated by the Minister of Justice would be ordered. An arrest without warrant for waging war against the Queen became permissible and new minimum penalties for that offence were prescribed and for conspiring to wage war against the Queen and overawe the government by criminal force, and by widening the scope of that offence. The Act also provided for the admission in evidence of certain confessions and statements to the police inadmissible under the Evidence Code. The Act was expressed to be retrospective to cover an abortive coup d’etat on 27 January, 1962 in which Liyanage and others took part, and was to cease to be operative after the conclusion of all legal proceedings connected with or incidental to any offence against the State committed on or about the date of the commencement of the Act, whichever was later. The second Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1962 (No. 31 of 1962) substituted the Chief Justice for the Minister of Justice as the person to nominate the three Judges but left unaffected other provisions for the former Act.

1046. The Supreme Court of Ceylon convicted the appellants and sentenced them to 10 years rigorous imprisonment the minimum prescribed by the Criminal Law Act 1 of 1962.

1047. The Privy Council, held the legislation to be ultra vires on two grounds. The Acts could not be challenged on the ground that they were contrary to fundamental principles of Justice. The Colonial Laws Validity Act 1865 which provided that colonial laws should be void to the extent of repugnancy to an Act of the United Kingdom, and should not be void on the ground of repugnancy to the law of England did not leave in existence a fetter or repugnancy to some vague and unspecified law of natural justice. The Ceylon Independence Act 1947 conferred on the Ceylon Parliament full legislative powers of a sovereign independent State. The Acts were declared to be bad because they involved a usurpation and infringement, by the legislature of judicial powers inconsistent with the written Constitution of Ceylon. The silence of the Constitution as to the vesting of judicial power was inconsistent with any intention that it should pass to or be shared by the executive or the legislature. The ratio of the decision is that the legislature could not usurp judicial power. There is an observation at page 289 of the report that Section 29(1) of the Ceylon Constitution confers power on Parliament to pass legislation which does not enable a law to usurp the judicial power of the judicature. The Judicial Committee answered the question which was posed as to what the position would be if Parliament sought to procure such a result by first amending the Constitution by a two-thirds majority by stating that such a situation did not arise there and if any Act was passed without recourse to Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution it would be ultra vires. The Judicial Committee found that under Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution there could be an amendment only by complying with the proviso, which would be the manner and form and would not be a limitation on the width of the power. The Ceylon case is not an authority for the proposition of implied and inherent limitation on the amending power.

1048. In Liyanage case the Privy Council rejected the contention that powers of the Ceylon Legislation should be cut down by reference to the vague and uncertain expression “fundamental principles of British Law”. In deciding whether the Constitution of Ceylon provided for a separation between the legislature and the judiciary the Privy Council did not refer to consequences at all, but referred to the fact that the provisions relating to the legislature and the judicature were found in two separate parts of the Constitution. The provisions for appointment of the subordinate judiciary by a Commission consisting exclusively of Judges with a prohibition against any legislator being a member thereof and the further provision that any attempt to influence the decision was a criminal offence were held by the Judicial Committee to show that the judiciary was intended to be kept separate from the legislature and the executive. This conclusion was based on a pure construction of the provisions of the Act. The reference to consequences was in a different context. The Privy Council recognised that the impugned law dealt with a grave exceptional situation and were prepared to assume that the legislature believed that it had power to enact it.

1049. Again in Kariappar case 1968 A.C. 717 the Judicial Committee considered a Ceylon Act which was inconsistent with the Ceylon Constitution. The Act imposed civic disabilities for 7 years on person to whom the Act applied and provided for the vacation of the scat as a Member of Parliament. The words amend or repeal in Section 29(4) of the Ceylon Constitution were read by the Judicial Committee to cover an amendment or repeal by inconsistent act. The plain words amend or repeal did not admit ambiguity.

1050. To introduce into our Constitution the doctrine of implied and inherent limitations on the meaning of the word “amendment” by upholding the power to amend the essential features but not the core on the theory that only people can change by referendum is to rewrite the Constitution. The decisions in Ranasinghe case [1964] UKPC 1; 1965 A.C. 172 and Kariappar case 1968 A.C. 717 are authorities for two propositions. First, that in the exercise of the pouter of amendment a controlled Constitution can be converted into an uncontrolled one. Second, the word “amendment” means alteration. In Ibralebbe case 1964 A.C. 900 the Judicial Committee said that if the Ceylon legislature abrogated the appeal to the Privy Council it would be an amendment of its judicial structure.

1051. The decision in Mangal Singh v. Union of India [1966] INSC 251; (1967) 2 S.C.R. 109 has been relied on by Mr. Palkhivala in support of the proposition that the power of amendment is subject to implied limitation. Article 4 of the Constitution which was interpreted in Mangal Singh case has to be read with Articles 2 and 3. Article 4 contains a limited power of amendment, limited to amend Schedules 1 and 4 as may be necessary to give effect to a law mentioned in Articles 2 and 3 and of making supplemental, incidental and consequential provisions. Shah, J. in Mangal Singh case said that power with which Parliament is invested by Articles 2 and 3 is a power to admit, establish or form new States or to admit, establish or admit new States which conform to the democratic pattern envisaged by the Constitution and is not a power to override the Constitutional scheme. It is manifest that when a new State is created in accordance with Articles 2 and 3 the amendment under Article 4 will be followed up as necessary to give effect to the same.

Such an amendment does not override the Constitutional scheme. It is an amending power of a limited nature and is supplemental, incidental or consequential to the admission, establishment or formation of a State as contemplated by the Constitution.

This decision does not say that there are implied limitations to the amending power.

1052. The petitioner challenges the legality and the validity of the Constitution (25th) Amendment Act.

1053. The Constitution (25th) Amendment Act has first amended Article 31(2), second added Article 31 (2B) and third introduced Article 31C. Article 31(2) is amended in two respects. First, it substituted the word “amount” for the word “compensation” for property acquired or requisitioned. Second, it is provided that the acquisition or requisition law shall not be called in question on the ground that whole or any part of the amount is to be given otherwise than in cash. Article 31 (2B) has been inserted to the effect that nothing in Sub-clause (f) of Clause (1) of Article 19 shall effect any such law as is referred to in Clause (2).

1054. Article 31C states that notwithstanding anything contained in Article 13 no law giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Article 39 shall be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Article 14 or Article 19 or Article 31 and no law containing a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy shall be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy. It is provided that where such law is made by the legislature of a State the provisions of this Article shall not apply thereto unless such law having been reserved for the consideration of the President has received his assent.

1055. The basic controversy is really regarding the right to property and the acquisition of property by the State. The Constitution of India was intended to achieve political liberty on the one hand and economic and social, liberty on the other for all citizens of India. The Directive Principles in the Constitution are also fundamental in the governance of the country and it shall be the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws. That is Article 37. It can be achieved by making changes in the economic and social structure of the society.

1056. The resolutions of the Congress in 1929, 1931, 1945 and the objective resolution of 22 January, 1947 and the resolution of All-India Congress Working Committee in 1947 are not only a remembrance of things past. In 1929 the Congress resolution was that it was essential to make revolutionary changes in the economic and social structure of the society and to remove the gross inequalities. It was also resolved that political freedom must include the economic freedom of the starving millions. In such economic and social programme the State is to own or control the key industries and services, mineral resources, railways, waterways, shipping and other means of public transport. In 1945 the Working Committee said that the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of individuals and groups was to be prevented. Social control of the mineral resources and of the principal methods of production and distribution in land, industry and in other departments of national activity would be necessary to develop the country into cooperative commonwealth. In the case of industries which in their nature must be run on a large scale and on centralised basis, it was felt that they should belong to the community and they should be so organised that the workers become not only co-sharers in the profits but also increasingly associated with the management and administration of the industry. Land and all other means of production as well as distribution and exchange must belong to and be regulated by the community in its own interest. The framers of the Constitution wanted a social structure which would avoid the acquisitive economy of private capitalism and the regimentation of a totalitarian State.

1057. In this background the Constitution was created with the object of effecting social revolution. The core of the commitment to the social revolution lies in Part III and Part IV of the Constitution. They are described to be “conscience of the Constitution”. The object of Part III was to “liberate the power of man equally for distribution to the common good”. The State would have to bear the responsibility for the welfare of citizens. The Directive Principles are a declaration of economic independence so that our country men would have economic as well as political control of the country.

1058. The centre of the fundamental rights is said by Mr. Palkhivala to be Articles 14, 19 and 31. It is right to property. But the Directive Principles are also fundamental. They can be effective if they are to prevail over fundamental rights of a few in order to subserve the common good and not to allow economic system to result to the common detriment.

It is the duty of the State to promote common good. If the motives for co-operating with others consist in the mere desire to promote their private good they would be treating their fellowmen as means only and not also an end. The notion of common good was needed to explain away the difference between the principles of reasonable self love and benevolence. The distribution of material resources is to subserve the common good. The ownership and control of the material resources is to subserve common good. The economic system is to work in such a manner that there is no concentration of wealth to the common detriment. Again, the economic system is to work in such a manner that the means of production are not used to the common detriment.

1059. The declaration of human rights on which Mr. Palkhivala relied for the unamendability of fundamental rights is rightly said by the Attorney General to be no impediment to the power of amendment nor to support the petitioner’s contention regarding the inviolability of the right to property. For the purpose of promoting the general welfare in a democratic State the Directive Principles were said by the Attorney General to be fundamental in achieving rights of men and economic and social rights for human dignity. Every citizen asserts enjoyment for fundamental rights under the Constitution. It becomes the corresponding duty of every citizen to give effect to fundamental rights of all citizens, dignity of all citizens, by allowing the State to achieve the Directive Principles. The duty of the State is not limited to the protection of individual interest but extends to acts for the achievement of the general welfare in all cases where it can safely act and the only limitations on the governmental actions are dictated by the experience of the needs of time. A fundamental right may be regarded as fundamental by one generation. It may be considered to be inconvenient limitation upon legislative power by another generation. Popular sovereignty means that the interest which prevails must be the interest of the mass of men. If rights are built upon property those who have no property will have no rights. That is why the State has to balance interest of the individual with the interest of the society. Industrial democracy is the necessary complement to polticial democracy. The State has to serve its members by organising an avenue of consumption. This can be done by socialisation of those elements in the common welfare which are integral to the well being of the community.

1060. The petitioner’s challenge to the amendment on Article 31(2) is as follows. The right to property is one of the essential features of the Constitution. It is the hand maid to various other fundamental rights. The right to freedom of the Press under Article 19(1)(a) is meaningless if the publisher could be deprived of his printing plant and the building in which it is housed without compensation. The fundamental right under Article 19(1)(c) to form trade unions will be denuded of its true content if the property of a trade union could be acquired by the State without compensation. The right to practise any profession or carry on any occupation, trade or business under Article 19(1)(g) will be the right to do forced labour for the State if the net savings from the fruits of a citizen’s personal exertion are liable to be acquired by the State without compensation. The freedom of religion in Article 26 will lose a great deal of its efficacy if the institutions maintained by a community for its religious and charitable purposes could be acquired without compensation. The implication of the proviso to Article 31(2) is that the State may fix such an amount for acquisition of the property as may abridge or abrogate any of the other fundamental rights. Exercise of fundamental rights would be affected by the deprivation of property without compensation in the legal sense and the only exception to this power of the State is the case of educational institution dealt with in the proviso.

Article 31(2) as a result of the Constitution (25th) Amendment Act will empower the State to fix an amount on a basis which need not be disclosed even to the members of the legislature and which may have no relation to the property sought to be acquired. The amount is not to satisfy any of the principles of compensation. It need not be paid in cash and it will yet not be considered to be a ground of challenge to the validity of law. Article 31(2) has nothing to do with estate, zamindaries, land reforms or agrarian reforms which are specifically dealt with by Article 31A.

1061. The right to acquire, hold and dispose of property under Article 19(1)(f) is subject under Article 19(5) to reasonable restrictions in the interests of the general public If Article 19(5) permits such reasonable restrictions it is said by the petitioner that the only object of making Article 19(1)(f) inapplicable by Article 31(2B) is to enable acquisition and requisition laws to contain restrictions or provisions which are unreasonable and not in the public interest. Reliance was placed by Mr. Palkhivala on the Bank Nationalisation case [1970] INSC 18; (1970) 3 S.C.R. 530 and the observations at p. 577 that if Article 19(1)(f) applied to acquisition or requisition, law which permitted a property to be taken without the owner being heard where the rules of natural justice would require the owner to be heard, would be void as offending Article 19(1)(f). Extracting that observation it is said that the amount fixed without giving him a hearing or amending the Land Acquisition Act to provide that any man’s land or house can be acquired without notice to the owner to show cause or to prove what amount should be fairly paid to him for the property acquired will damage the essence or core of fundamental right to property.

1062. After the substitution of the neutral expression “amount” for “compensation” in Article 31(2) by the Constitution (25th) Amendment Act the Article still binds the legislature to provide for the giving to the owner a sum of money either in cash or otherwise. The legislature may either lay down principles for the determination of the amount or may itself fix the amount. Before the amendment the interpretation of Article 31(2) was that the law was bound to provide for the payment of compensation in the sense of equivalent in value of the property acquired. This was the interpretation given in the Bank Nationalisation case even after the Constitution 24th Amendment Act, which said that the adequacy of compensation could not be challenged. The Constitution 25th Amendment Act states that the law no longer need provide for the giving of equivalent in value of the acquired property. The quantum of the amount if directly fixed by the law and the principles for its quantification are matters for legislative judgment. Specification of principles means laying down general guiding rules applicable to all persons or transactions covered thereby. In fixing the amount the legislature will act on the general nature of the legislative power. The principle may be specified. The principle which may be acted upon by the legislature in fixing the amount may include considerations of social justice as against the equivalent in value of the property acquired. Considerations of social justice will include the relevant Directive Principles particularly in Article 39(b) and (c). These principles are to subserve the common good and to prevent common detriment. The question of adequacy has been excluded from Article 31(2) by the Constitution Fourth Amendment Act. It cannot be said that the legislature would be under the necessity of providing a standard to measure an adequacy with reference to fixing the amount. The Constitution does not allow judicial review of a law on the ground of adequacy of the amount and the manner as to how such amount is to be given otherwise than in cash.

1063. If the word “compensation” as it stood prior to the amendment of Article 31(2) must mean equivalent value in cash it is said by the Solicitor General that the concentration of wealth will remain unchanged and justice social, economic, and political amplified in Articles 39, 41, 42, 43, 45, 46 and 47 will be thwarted. The fulfilment of the Directive Principles is in a sense more fundamental than the mere right to property. Re- adjustment in the social order may not be practicable in a smooth manner unless the Directive Principles are effectively implemented. The emergence of a new social order is a challenge to present day civilisation. If nations wanted independence and supremacy in the latter half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century individual dignity, individual freedom, individual status in a well organised and well planned society are opening the frontiers since the mid-century. In this background the 25th Amendment protects the law in one respect, namely, that amount payable to the owner is no longer to be measured by the standard of equivalent in value of the acquired property. The quantum cannot be a matter for judicial review. Ever since the Fourth Amendment the adequacy of compensation is excluded by the Constitution. The reason is that the Constitution declares in clear terms that adequacy is not justiciable and therefore, it cannot be made justiciable in an indirect manner by holding that the same subject matter which is expressly barred is contained implicitly in some other provision and is, therefore, open to examination.

1064. Just as principles which were irrelevant to compensation were invalid prior to the Constitution 25th Amendment it was said that if any principles are adopted which are irrelevant to the concept of amount as a legal concept or as having a norm the law would be invalid because the amount would be purely at the will or at the discretion of the State.

Therefore, it was said that when the law fixes the amount it might indicate the principles on which the amount had been arrived at or the Court might enquire into on which the amount had been fixed. Any contrary view according to the petitioner would mean that under Article 31(2) state would have authority to specify principles which could be arbitrary or specify the amount which could be arbitrary.

1065. It was also said that as a result of the proviso to Article 31(2) after the 25th Amendment the law providing for compulsory acquisition of property of an educational institution established by a minority referred to in Article 31(1) the State was to ensure that the amount fixed or determined was such as would not restrict or abrogate the right guaranteed under that clause. The amount would have to be higher than the amount which would be sufficient not to damage the essence of that right. But under Article 31(2) after the 25th Amendment where the proviso did not apply it was said that the core or essence of the fundamental rights would be damaged or destroyed.

1066. The word “amount” in Article 31(2) after the 25th Amendment is to be read in the entire collocation of words. No law shall be called in question in any Court on the ground that the amount so fixed or determined is inadequate or the whole or part of it or any part of such amount is given in cash. In Article 31(2) the use of the word “amount” in conjunction with payment in cash shows that a sum of money is being spoken of. Amount is a sum meaning a quantity or amount of money, or, in other words, amount means a sum of money.

1067. Article 31(2) prior to as well as after the 25th Amendment indicates two alternatives to the legislatures either to specify the principles for determination of the amount or to fix the amount or “compensation” prior to the amendment. In fixing the amount or compensation the legislature is not required to set out in the law the principles on which compensation had been fixed in the unamended clause or the amount is fixed in the amended clause.

1068. Article 19(1)(f) provides that all citizens shall have the right to hold, acquire or dispose of property whereas Article 31(2) deals with law by which the property is acquired. Such law acquiring property directly extinguishes the right to hold or dispose of property acquired. Article 19(1)(f) is excluded from Article 31(2) in order to make Article 31(2) self contained. The right to hold property cannot coexist with the right of the State to acquire property. That is why Article 31(2) is to be read with Article 31A, 31B and 31C, all the Articles being under the heading “Right to Property”.

1069. It has been held by this Court in F.N. Rana case [1963] INSC 215; (1964) 5 S.C.R. 294 that Land Acquisition Act does not give the right of quasi-judicial procedure or the requirements of natural justice as Section 5A of that Act has been held to be administrative. It has also been held by this Court that a Requisition Act which did not give a right of representation before an order for requisition was made did not violate Article 19(1)(f). (See S.N. Nandi v. State of West Bengal [1971] INSC 58; A.I.R. 1971 SC 961).

1070. The other part of the 25th Amendment which is challenged by the petitioner is Article 31C. Article 31C is said by Mr. Palkhivala to destroy several essential features of the Constitution for these reasons. First, there is a distinction between cases where the fundamental rights are amended and laws which would have been void before the 25th Amendment are permitted to be validly passed and cases where the fundamental rights remain unamended but the laws which are void as offending those rights are validated by a legal fiction that they shall not be deemed to be void. The law is in the first case Constitutional in reality whereas in the second case the law is unConstitutional in reality but is deemed by a fiction of law not to be void with the result that laws which violate the Constitution are validated and there is a repudiation of the Constitution. If Article 31C is valid it would be permissible to Parliament to amend the Constitution so as to declare all laws to be valid which are passed by Parliament or State legislatures in excess of legislative competence or which violate basic human rights enshrined in Part III or the freedom of inter-State Trade in Article 301. Article 31C gives a blank charter to Parliament and the State legislatures to defy the Constitution or damage or destroy the supremacy of the Constitution. Secondly, Article 31C subordinates fundamental rights to Directive Principles. The right to enforce fundamental rights is guaranteed under Article

32. The Directive Principles are not enforceable by reason of Article 37. Yet it is said that while giving effect to Directive Principles fundamental rights are abrogated. Thirdly, whereas an amendment of a single fundamental right would require a majority of at least two-thirds of the members of Parliament present and voting, a law within Article 31C which overrides and violates several fundamental rights can be passed by a simple majority. Fourthly, every fundamental right is an essential feature of the Constitution and Article 31C purports to take away a large number of those fundamental rights. Fifthly, the Court is precluded from considering whether law under Article 31C is such that it can possibly secure Directive Principles in question. Sixthly, no State legislature can amend the fundamental rights or any other part of the Constitution but Article 31C empowers the State legislaure to pass laws which virtually involve repeal of the fundamental rights.

Power of amending the Constitution is delegated to State legislatures.

1071. Finally, it is said that the fundamental rights under Article 14, 19 and 31 which are sought to be superseded by Article 31C are necessary to make meaningful specific rights of the minorities which are guaranteed by Articles 25 to 30. The proviso to Article 31(2) shows that in the case of acquisition of property of an educational institution established by a minority an amount fixed should be such as not to restrict or abrogate the right of the minorities under Article 31. It is, therefore, said that the implication is that if property is acquired in cases other than those of minorities an amount can be fixed which restricts or abrogates any of the fundamental rights. Again, it is said that if a law violates the right of the minority under Articles 25 to 30 such a law would be no law. Therefore, deprivation of property under such law would violate Article 31(1). But the 25th Amendment by Article 31C abrogates Article 31(1) and minorities can be deprived of their properties held privately or upon public, charitable or religious trusts by law which violates Articles 25 to 30.

1072. The pre-eminent feature of Article 31C is that it protects only law. Therefore, any question of violation of Article 31(1) does not arise. Law referred to in Article 31C must be made either by Parliament or by the State legislature, according to the legislative procedure for enacting a law. There are several Articles in the Constitution where the expression “law” with reference to the authority to make law has been used. These are Articles 17, 19(2) to (6), 21, 22, 23(1), 26, 31, 33, 34 and 35. These Articles indicate that the expression “law” there means law made by the legislature in accordance with its ordinary legislative procedure. The expression “law” does not include within itself ordinance, order, bye-law; rule, regulation, notification, custom or usage having the force of law nor an amendment of the Constitution in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article 368. In Article 13 the term “law” has been used in a wide sense. For this a definition was given in Article 13(3) to include certain other categories. The definition in Article 13(3) is expressly limited for Article 13. Law in Article 31C must have the same meaning as it has in other Articles generally, namely, a statute passed by the legislature.

1073. It is true that such law may need details to be filled up by other agencies but the essential elements of Article 31C must be supplied directly by that enactment. A question arose with reference to Article 254 as to whether a clause of the Sugar Control Order 1955 made under the Essential Commodities Act had the effect of repealing the corresponding Uttar Pradesh State Law. This Court held that the power of repeal was vested in Parliament and Parliament alone could exercise it by enacting an appropriate provision in that regard. Parliament could not delegate the power of repeal to any executive authority. (See Ch. Tika Ramji and Ors. Etc. v. The State of Uttar Pradesh and Ors. [1956] INSC 30; 1956 S.C.R. 393).

1074. Article 31C is inextricably bound up with Article 39(b) and (c) because the purpose and the phraseology in both the Articles are essentially identifical. The legislative efforts to implement Directive Principles in Article 39 (b) and (c) were set in motion in some States to achieve reforms in land law. Articles 31A and 31B were introduced by the Constitution First Amendment Act 1951. The main reason for introducing Articles 31A and 31B was to exclude the operation of Part III as a whole from those provisions. The true relationship between Directive Principles in Part IV and the fundamental rights in Part III became clear. It was realised that though the liberty of individual was valuable it should not operate as an insurmountable barrier against the achievement of Directive Principles. In Sajjan Singh case [1964] INSC 246; (1965) 1 S.C.R. 933 it was said that “the rights of society are made paramount and they are placed above those of the individual”. In the Bihar Land Reforms case 1952 S.C.R. 889 it was said that “a fresh outlook which placed the general `interest of the community above the interest of the individuals, pervades over Constitution”.

1075. Law contemplated in Article 31C will operate on the ownership and control of the material resources of the community to be distributed as best to subserve the common good. The operation of the economic system should not result in concentration of wealth.

Means of production should not be used to the common detriment. The ownership and control of the material resources of the community can be achieved by nationalisation and planned economy. The operation of the economic system will mean imposition of control on the production, supply and distributions of products of key industries and essential commodities. There can be laws within Schedule 7 List III Entries No. 42, 43;

List I Entry No. 52 to 54 and List II Entries No. 23, 24, 26 and 27.

1076. The provisions in Article 31C that no law containing a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy shall be called in question in any court on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy was questioned by the petitioner to exclude judicial review and, therefore, to be illegal. Article 31C was in the second place said to enable the State legislatures to make discriminatory laws destructive of the integrity of India.

Thirdly, Article 31C was said to delegate the amending power to State legislatures or Parliament in its ordinary legislative capacity.

1077. The declaration mentioned in Article 31C is for giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing the principles in Article 39 (b) or (c). Such a declaration in a law shall not be called in question on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy.

The laws which receive protection under Article 31C are laws for securing the Directive Principles of Articles 39(b) and (c). The nexus or connection between the law and the objectives set out in Article 39(b) and (c) is a condition precedent for the applicability of Article 31C. On behalf of the Union and the State it was not contended that whether there was such nexus or not was not justiciable. The real reason for making the declaration free from question in a Court of law on the ground that it does not give effect to such policy is to leave legislative policy and wisdom to the legislature. The legislative measure might not according to some views give effect to Directive Principles. Therefore, legislatures are left in charge of formulating their policy and giving effect to it through legislation. It is the assessment and judgment of such measures which is sought to be excluded from judicial review by the declaration.

1078. In order to decide whether a statute is within Article 31C the court may examine the nature and the character of legislation and the matter dealt with as to whether there is any nexus or the law to the principles mentioned in Article 39(b) and (c). If it appears that there no nexus between the legislation and the objectives and principles mentioned in Article 39(b) and (c) the legislation will not be within the protective umbrella. The Court can tear the veil to decide the real nature of the statute if the facts and circumstances warrant such a course.

1079. The reason for excepting Articles 14, 19 and 31 from Article 31C is the same as in Article 31A. The Solicitor General rightly said that the fear of discrimination is allayed by three safeguards. The first and the foremost safeguard is the good sense of the legislature and the innate good sense of the community. The second safeguard is the President’s assent. The third safeguard is that in appropriate cases it can be found as to whether there is any nexus between law and Directive Principles sought to be achieved.

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