Author: Shree S. Shingade.
SCC Online SC 71;
1 KLT 623;
AIR 2007 SC 861.
NAMES OF PARTIES
Appellant: I.R. Coleho (Dead) By Legal Heirs;
Respondent: State of Tamil Nadu.
Justice Y.K. Sabharwal (CJ) (Assenting);
Justice Ashok Bhan (Assenting);
Justice Dr. Arijit Pasayat (Dissenting);
Justice B.P. Singh (Assenting);
Justice S.H. Kapadia (Assenting);
Justice C.K. Thakker (Assenting);
Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan (Dissenting);
Justice Altamas Kabir (Assenting);
Justice D.K. Jian (Assenting).
Petitioner: Mr. F.S. Nariman, Senior Advocate.
Union of India: Mr. Goolam E. Vahanvati, Solicitor General of India.
State of Tamil Nadu:
Mr. Soli J. Sorabjee, Senior Advocate;
Mr. T.R. Andhyarujina, Senior Advocate.
After the Supreme Court invalidated the Gudalur Janmam Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act 1969, in Balmadies Plantations Ltd. & Anr. v. State of Tamil Nadu, 1972, a five-judge constitutional panel was given this case in 1999. The Act was included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution by the Thirty-fourth Amendment Act, which was passed in 1974. Due to its arbitrary nature, the Calcutta High Court annulled Section 2(c) of the West Bengal Land Holding Revenue Act 1979. The 66th Amendment Act, passed in 1990, also included this Act to the Ninth Schedule. The bench of five judges heard a case concerning these amendments.
When the Constitution (First Amendment) Act of 1951 inserted Article 31-B with 13 articles in the Ninth Schedule, it was a one-time measure and it was legal as a one-time measure:
- It’s crucial to compare and contrast Article 31-A’s marginal notes (Saving of Laws Providing for Acquisition of Estates, etc.) with Article 31-B’s marginal notes (Validation of Certain Acts and Regulations).
- Article 31-B was not meant to be a general saving of legislation that was going to be written in the future, as evidenced by the use of the phrase “none of the Acts and Regulations Specified in the Ninth Schedule” rather than “none of the Acts and Regulations Specified and to be Specified in the Ninth Schedule”. Sankari Prasad decided to emphasize this in 1952.
- The declaration and any of its contents that apply to the Acts and regulations listed in the Ninth Schedule “will be regarded to be void or ever to have become void” due to significant historical events described in the Sajjan Singh from 1965 judgement.
The Supreme Court’s 1981 ruling in Waman Rao & Ors v. Indian Union and Others was cited by the constitutional bench. On April 24th of 1973, the day the Keshvananda Bharati case judgement was delivered, it was also decided that laws added to the Ninth Schedule through amendments may be challenged on the grounds that they contradict the essential structure. The guiding principles of Articles 14, 19, and 21 serve as an example of this. As a result, a larger bench of nine judges was assigned to the Waman Rao case to examine the verdict and determine the Supreme Court’s final attitude.
As a result of the majority ruling in Kesavananda Bharati that Article 368 does not allow Parliament to alter the fundamental structure or framework of the Constitution, there was no longer any justification for adding to the Ninth Schedule in order to provide a broad protection to the laws included therein, and the mechanism of making what was void by a deeming 9 fiction Article 31-B was itself in violation of one of the most fundamental features of the Constitution (viz. the High Courts under Article 226 and the Supreme Court under Article 32).
Legacy Left Behind By Kesavananda Bharti
Since Kesavananda Bharati in 1973, it is not legal to claim as Justice Patanjali Sastri did in Sankari Prasad that a constitutional amendment is necessary to make a statute that violates the Constitution legitimately valid.
The Waman Rao, Waman b Rao v. Union of India Supreme Court order from May 9th of 1980 stated that the various constitutional amendments that added to the Ninth Schedule on or after April 24th of 1973 were subject to challenge on the grounds that they, or any one or more of them, are outside of Parliament’s constituent power because they change the fundamental a key component of the Constitution’s structure. The clauses in the chapter on fundamental rights, with the exception of those relating to property rights in Articles 19(1)(f) and 31, did not meet the criterion of “basic or essential portions” of the Constitution.
Although they wouldn’t be restricted to that section alone, the essential or prerequisite elements of the Constitution would in reality have to contain Part III.
In the 1975 Indira Gandhi Election case, which was heard by Khanna, J., the provisions of the Thirty-ninth Amendment Act of 1975 were put through the “basic structural test.” He soon realized that his own somewhat ambiguous language in Kesavananda Bharati had contributed to the perception that the fund did not cover fundamental rights, and that they were not “essential or necessary aspects of the Constitution.” (himself a member of that Bench) had made it plain that he did not mean to imply that other fundamental rights were not included in the essential framework, only that property rights were never a part of it.
If it were determined that something other than what is stated in the fundamental rights chapter must be established in order for constitutional validity of constitutional amendments placing ordinary laws in the Ninth Schedule (post-April 1973) to be established, this would significantly increase legal uncertainty, almost like the “Chancellor’s foot,” and it would lead to spiraling litigation. Respectfully, it is suggested that the “basic framework” criteria should consider the rule of law, the separation of powers, secularism, and federalism in addition to other fundamental rights.
It is respectfully contended that doing so would not in any way prohibit Parliament from passing constitutional modifications that are both effective and legal. Acts added to the Ninth Schedule after April 1973 might still be challenged on the grounds that they violated fundamental rights. This point is amply illustrated by the Minerva Mills and Waman Rad decision. For instance, in Minerva Mills, the Court categorically rejected applying Article 31(C) to the entire field of directive principles (1980).
The Gudalur Janmann Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari), Act 1969 was deemed invalid by the court in Balmadies Plantations Ltd and Anr. because it invested forest tracts in the State of Tamil Nadu in the Janman estates. Agrarian reform strategies covered by Article 31-A of the Constitution did not apply to this method, it was determined in the present case. The Calcutta High Court ordered Section 2(c) of the West Bengal Land Holding Revenue Act 1979, to be unlawful because it was arbitrary and hence unconstitutional. The State of West Bengal’s request for special leave to appeal the ruling was also denied.
The Constitution (Thirty-fourth 34th Amendment) Act, the Constitution (Sixty-sixth 66th Amendment) Act, and the West Bengal Land Holding Revenue Act are to blame. The Ninth Schedule now includes the complete year 1979. A bench of five judges heard a challenge to these insertions. It is supported by two things: Because judicial review is a key component of the Constitution, adding an Act or a portion of an Act to the Ninth Schedule would interfere with or undermine the Constitution’s basic structure. In Waman Rao and v. Union of India, the Constitution Bench made that determination. On the grounds that they, or a combination of them, exceed the constitutive authority of Parliament because they change the fundamental principles or framework of the Constitution, any amendment to the Constitution made on or after April 24th, 1973, as well as the inclusion of various Acts and regulations therein, are subject to challenge. However, decisions in Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India followed.
Another instance is Maharao Sahib Shri Bhim Singhji v. Union of India, it was mentioned that the Waman Rao decision needs to be reviewed by a larger Bench and that it is unclear whether the Ninth Schedule can contain any acts, rules, or regulations that are found to violate Articles 14, 19, and 31, or whether only constitutional amendments that amend the Ninth Schedule can be declared invalid that harm or destroy the Constitution’s basic framework.
This judgement by a nine-judge panel led by Chief Justice Sabharwal was based in part on the Kesavananda Bharti case, popularly known as the Ninth Schedule Case. It backed up the validity of the doctrine of fundamental structure. The Court also upheld the judiciary’s ability to review any statute that, in its opinion, may in any way compromise the core tenets of the Constitution. The ongoing discussion regarding the applicability and application of the basic structural idea was effectively ended by this decision.
In Balmadies Plantations Ltd. & Anr. v. Tamil Nadu State, the Supreme Court issued a decision. It was unconstitutional to enact the Gudalur Janmam Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act in 1969. It was discussed collectively in the operational state by a Constitution Bench of five judges in 1999.
This has to be made clear that there were multiple layers of issues in the case, which were all together not but in fact solved in the stages of the case. Some of the issues where the question of law was discussed and yet some issues were decided in the functional deficit of the things. The Indian Constitution is a living, biological document. The framers of the Constitution were fully aware that changes in the times and societal demands would require amendments to the document. The legislature was given the authority to change the Constitution. India must be liberated from the zamindari system. In 1951, when the Ninth Schedule was added to the Constitution, the First Amendment was ratified. A list of federal and state legislation that are immune from judicial review is included in it.
The Ninth Schedule contains a detailed explanation of Article 31-B of the Indian Constitution. It used to only have 13 laws that dealt with land reforms, but now there are 284 laws that include topics including mines, trade, and reservations. In India, governments started utilizing the technology as a garbage can to enact land reforms. a constitutional trash can with endless capacity.
- As a result of the Kesavananda Bharati ruling, the Court’s principal inquiry was whether it was proper for the Parliament to add laws to the Ninth Schedule, exempting them from judicial review in conformity with the basic structural principle.
- It is significant to note that ever since the Ninth Schedule was introduced, different agrarian reform-related pieces of legislation have been included in it. Even though the majority of these laws had nothing to do with agrarian or socio-economic reforms, more laws were arbitrarily and randomly put to the Ninth Schedule over time in an effort to conceal them from judicial examination.
- It was abundantly plain that the legislature was attempting to avoid not only the restrictions imposed by the fundamental structure concept but also the judicial examination of legislation that was obviously outside the bounds of the Constitution by using the Ninth Schedule as a cover.
In hand the functional of the issues which were discussed in the respective case, it has to combined in particular views of the thing in all in one:
- If statutes under the Ninth Schedule should be exempt from judicial review in light of the Keshvananda Bharati judgement, noting that it breaches the fundamental structure, that was the central question before the Apex Court.
- The Ninth Schedule of the Constitution was designed to bring about legislative improvements in the agrarian sector, but over time, lawmakers started to utilize it as a way to evade judicial review. The Ninth Schedule offers how much legal immunity?
Justices Ashok Bhan, Arijit Pasayat, B.P. Singh, S.H. Kapadia, C.K. Thakker, P.K. Balasubramanyan, Altamas Kabir, and D.K Jain (JJ.). were also on the bench in addition to Justice Y.K. Sabharwal. Jain. Later, the Court decided that it is the responsibility of the judiciary to protect citizens’ fundamental rights. It was also brought up that Article 368 does not refer to the legislature as the first Constituent Assembly. Article 368 has a restriction that has to do with fundamental structure. The core framework could not be damaged or changed by any changes. Any law that goes against the core tenets of the Indian Constitution cannot be justified legally. The Court continued by emphasizing that Article 31-B was intended to facilitate legislative advances rather than serve as a defense against laws that violated people’s rights and obviated the need for judicial review.
- The Indian Constitution’s fundamental structure serves as its core foundation. Any legislative change that is determined to be in violation of Part 3 of the Indian Constitution even though it is contained in the Ninth Schedule will be overturned by the Courts.
- Every constitutional amendment that is being considered must be judged on its own merits. When deciding if a law is harming or obliterating the fundamental structure, one should take into account the “effect and influence” criteria. According to the “Effect and Impact Test,” the effect of the amendment on the entire Constitution, not just the part that is being modified, will be the decisive factor.
- Article 21 outlines the fundamental principles of the Constitution, which must be preserved by all constitutional modifications passed after April 24th of 1973, when read in connection with Articles 14 and 19.
- As a component of the essential structure, no statute may be shielded from judicial review. The legitimacy of the Ninth Schedule has already been confirmed by this court; hence it will not be challenged in accordance with the guidelines outlined in the decision. A statute that was added to the Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973 that contradicts Article 21 read with Article 19 and Article 14, as well as the guiding principles thereunder, may be questioned.
According to the court, the legislature could not avoid being examined under the basic structural concept. Because it is a cornerstone of the Indian Constitution, no act, rule, or regulation that violates its essential tenets can be permitted in this way. The Court may strike down any laws in the 9th schedule that clash with Part III. Thus, the court has the authority to review Schedule 9 as of April 24th of 1973.
Detractors of the judiciary claim that it is only aiming to limit the legislative branch’s authority enact laws including the Policies for citizens. Every time a new theory or doctrine is proposed, it not only makes the job of the legislator more difficult but also increases the level of ambiguity and uncertainty already existent in the fundamental structural doctrine. The judiciary has never provided a detailed breakdown of the structure’s essential components or a comprehensive inventory of all it truly consists of. Justice Mathew declared in the Indira Gandhi case that the Constitution, with some exceptions, case that “the concept of basic structure as a brooding omnipresence in the sky is too imprecise and undefined to offer a benchmark for the legitimacy of an ordinary statute” in 1975.
IR Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu is one of the Indian Supreme Court’s most important decisions to date (2007). It defended the necessity of judicial review and the court’s jurisdiction in this case. The case, also known as the 9th Schedule Case, was a lengthy discussion of Article 31-B of the Indian Constitution. The legislature’s attempt to prevent judicial scrutiny of laws that violate fundamental rights was failed as a result of this action. The 1973’s case Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala was cited as a precedent. The judiciary’s role as the last arbitrator of legal interpretation was then restored.
9th Schedule Laws Not Beyond Judicial Review
In a landmark decision in I.R. Coelho (dead) by LR v. State of Tamil Nadu, a 9-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice Y. K. Sabharwal held that any laws added to the Ninth Schedule after April 24th of 1973, when Keshvananda Bharati’s decision was handed down, will be subject to challenge. The bench also included Ashok Bhan, Arijit Pasayat, B.P. Singh, S (JJ.). The Court ruled that even if an Act is added to the Constitution’s Ninth Schedule, its provisions could still be challenged on the grounds that they undermine or destroy its core component if the fundamental rights pertaining to it are removed or repealed. The Ninth Schedule was introduced through Article 31 (b) by the First Constitution (Amendment) Act, 1951.
The Ninth Schedule was developed to stop the Court from invalidating state-level land reform legislation. Later on, it was broadened to cover all laws, such as those governing elections, mines and minerals, labor relations, property requisition, monopolies, nationalization of the coal or copper industries, general insurance, sick industries, acquiring the Altcock Ashdown Company, the Kerala Chilies Act, Tamil Nadu reservations of 69%, and many others.
Supreme Court Intervention
No principle underlies this selection, the addition of the Tamil Nadu Act was made possible by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Mandal case, which indicated that the overall amount of reservation could not exceed 50%. The petitioners in the current case questioned the legality of many Central and State laws included in the Ninth Schedule, including the Tamil Nadu Reservation Act. However, if a law is found to violate fundamental rights included in the Ninth Schedule after the date of the judgement in the Keshavananda Bharati case, such a violation will be subject to further challenge on the grounds that it undermines or damages the fundamental structure. The court stated that since the Apex Court had upheld the legality of any Ninth Schedule law, it would not be subject to further challenge in law mentioned in the Constitution of India.
The Supreme Court’s judgment in L.R. Coelho case has rightly taken the concerted efforts of the Centre and State political class trying to thwart (destroy) the very edifice of our Constitution to increase their vote banks. The framers of the Constitution had never dreamt of such a provision which would totally ban the judicial review of such a vast mass of legislation destroying the basic feature of the Constitution by making the fundamental rights of citizens a nullity. “To distrust the judiciary marks the beginning of the end of society” Justice Krishna lyer said in a judgment in 1981 (4) SCC 387, quoting a leading western scholar.
Differences in the Systematics
The Court in I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu, presided over by Chief Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, and consisting of Justices Ashok Bhan, Arijit Pasayat, B.P. Singh, S.H. Kapadia, C.P. Thakkar, P.K. Balasubramanyan, Altmas Kabir, and D.K. Jain, held that any laws added to the Ninth Schedule after April 24th of 1974 will be subject to judcial review. The Court ruled that even if an Act is added to the Ninth Schedule as a result of a Constitutional amendment, its provisions might still be challenged on the grounds that they impair or destroy the Constitution’s core characteristic if the corresponding fundamental rights are removed or repealed.
The Ninth Schedule was added to the Constitution by Article 31 (B) of the First Constitutional (Amendment) Act of 1951. In order to stop the Court from invalidating state-enacted land reform laws, the Ninth Schedule was developed. Later, it changed into an omnibus that contained all legislation pertaining to elections. the nationalization of the coal or copper industries, labor relations, property confiscation, monopolies, general insurance, and ill industries acquiring the Altcock Ashdown Company. Put Kerala Chilies to use, other measures were included in addition to the 69% reservation for Tamil Nadu. This decision was not inspired by any particular principle. Currently, 284 Acts have been added to it.
The Tamil Nadu Act was incorporated as a result of the Supreme Court’s Mandal case ruling, which stated that the total percentage of reservations may not be higher than 50%. The situation at hand. One of the Central and State laws listed in the Ninth Schedule that was questioned by MPs was the Tamil Nadu Reservation Act. After the Keshawanand Bharti case verdict, however, if a statute is determined to infringe one of the fundamental rights listed in the Ninth Schedule, the violation may be challenged on the grounds that it weakens or harms the Constitution’s core principles. The Court declared that the Apex Court had upheld the legality of all Ninth Schedule laws, hence they would no longer be subject to further dispute.
In a system of constitutional law that is always evolving and necessitates new adjustments, the decision has strengthened the fundamental structural theory even more. It was emphasized once more how important judicial review is as a potent tool for protecting people’s rights. The ninth schedule was initially just meant to bring about land reforms, but it quickly became a tool in the hands of the legislature, which took advantage of its position of power, and it lost its original intent. The judiciary made it quite clear through this case that anything that goes against the fundamental principles will be overturned. Removing the shield that emphasized the idea of fundamental structure.
Rather from the begging the Government of India, whether it’s any particular party tries to take over some of the functions of Judiciary or the Executive from there hand, or would like to make some of the statues or laws to put in kind of retractation which should not be disturbed by the virtue of Judicial Review which some time will also violate the Fundamental Rights of the citizen, rather disturbing the Basic Structure of the Indian Constitution which needs to be followed-studied and Stopped from being in state of Monopoly.
Though the case of I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu, it was decided by the Supreme Court of the Country that the Ninth Schedule does comes under the amt of the Judicial Review. If any law made by the Union or the State, if it violates the Basic Structure of the Constitution will be held Void Ab Initio with in the Ambit of the Constitution of India.