The Founding Fathers of the Indian Constitution gave the power to amend the Constitution to the Parliament under Article 368 in order to meet the exigencies and necessities in future. A Constitution is a living document which must be changed according to the needs of the society otherwise it will act as an obstacle in the progress and development of the nation. However, Article 368 does not provide any expressed limitation on the amending powers of the Parliament. Taking the undue advantage of the same, the Parliament abused the powers to have absolute control and supremacy on the Constitution. The Constitution is a general will of the people whose ultimate control cannot be given to anyone who use it as a sword against the public interest. The Parliament used amending power arbitrarily and introduced many undesirable changes which were against the public interest, aggrieved by such amendments the people started challenging them in the Court of Law.
The Indian Judiciary examined the situation thoroughly and took the most appropriate decision of limiting the amending powers of the Parliament by evolving the ‘Doctrine of Basic Structure’. This Doctrine was evolved by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the landmark case of ‘Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973)’ in which it was held that Article 368 does not empower the Parliament to amend the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
Over the years the Doctrine of Basic Structure has proved to be a safeguard against all the arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable amendments that harmed the spirit, identity and foundation of the Constitution. This Doctrine acted as a medium for achieving the objective as mentioned in the Preamble like providing Justice, promoting Equality and preserving the Dignity of the Individuals.
This paper deals with the scope and development of the Doctrine of Basic Structure and how it has been acting as a safeguard to the spirit and identity of the Constitution over the past decades.