The Supreme Court in Sankari Prasad and Sajjan Singh had upheld the power of the State to amend the Constitution, including the provisions relating to Fundamental Rights, thus conferring wide powers on the Parliament. In the subsequent case of Golak Nath, the Supreme Court took a different stand and upheld the sanctity of Fundamental Rights above the power of State to amend the same.
of Case: I. C. Golaknath & Ors v State of Punjab & Anr
1967 AIR 1643
K. SUBBA RAO (CJ)
Whether Fundamental Rights can be amended – power of Parliament to amend
Facts: The Punjab Security of Land Tenures Act (1953) and of the Mysore
Land Reforms Act (1962) were challenged under Art 32 of the Constitution by the
petitioners who were deprived of a few acres of their land under the impugned legislations.
The 17th Constitution
(Amendment) Act was also challenged as unconstitutional, as it enabled the inclusion
of the impugned Acts in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution.
More than a mere battle on property and
land, the friction between the Court and the Legislature began to become
evident from here on ahead.
Decision: The Court held that Fundamental Rights cannot be abridged by the
Parliament under the procedure given in Art.368. The Court also clarified that
an Amendment to the Constitution is 'law' within the meaning of Art. 13(2) and is therefore subject to Part III of
Portions of the Judgment:
rights are the primordial rights necessary for the development of human
Constituent Assembly, it so minded, could certainly have conferred an express
legislative power on Parliament to amend the Constitution by ordinary
Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act, 1964, inasmuch as it takes away or
abridges fundamental rights was beyond 'the amending power of Parliament and
void because of contravention of Art.
Statutes (Indian Kanoon)
Constitution of India
17th Constitution (Amendment) Act