What constitutes the doctrine of ‘basic features’ as introduced into the constitution of India by the judiciary?


Supreme court has come out of ‘basic features’ of the constitution since its Observation beginning with Golak Nath case and Culminating with Keshwannada. Since then Supreme Court has been repeating the doctrine of basic features which is immune from the power of amendment conferred by Art, 368, which according to the court, was subject to implied Limitations.

The question what is the limit of Parliament regarding the amendment of the constitution under Article 368, was finally decided by the supreme court in the case of Keshvanand Bharti – 1973, in which it was held that the Parliament can amend the constitution but it has no power to destroy the basic structure or Framework. Some features of the constitution are too vital to be amendable. In this case, the theory of basic features was, for the first time laid down.

However, the court did not finally declare what constitutes the basic features of the constitution, but it enlisted some categories as the basic feature in this list. At and thus they save the interest of their people through representation.


Control through Information – People and through them, members of Parliaments have unlimited right to seek information regarding any policy formed or steps taken by the executives. They ask information and keep control over any irresponsible acts.
Control by Suggestions – Parliament makes some useful suggestions during the discussion of any policy. Members do not allow the executive to make defective policies.

A strong and ideal opposition is much required to effectively control the union executive. In India, our Parliament never get such a stronger opposition. Small and regional parties in opposition, which do not have uniform ideologies cannot effectively control the union executive, however, sometimes they can cause obstacles. Moreover, corrupt political practices and selfish political motives of the parliamentary have lost the effectiveness of parliamentaries control.

If the Government has more than required majority in parliament, then too, no effective control can be practiced over them.
Due to all these factors, sometimes parliamentary control over the union executive proves ineffective.
Present some of the basic features of the constitution of

  1. Rule of Law
  2. Judicial Review
  3. Harmony and balance between fundamental rights and directive principles.
  4. Fundamental rights in certain cases.
  5. Democracy: free and fair elections.
  6. Jurisdiction of the supreme court under Article – 32.
  7. Limited power of parliament to amend the constitution.
  8. Independence of Judiciary
  9. Secularism
  10. Separation of power
  11. Sovereignty and integrity of the State.

All these, besides some others constitute the basic features of the constitution, which cannot be amended. If the amendment aims to destroy any of the basic features of the constitution, it shall be held ultra virus and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

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