Sajjan Singh vs State of Rajasthan Case Summary 1954 SC

 Sajjan Singh vs State of Rajasthan Case Summary

Sajjan Singh vs State of Rajasthan is an important case regarding the basic structure of our Indian constitution. There are some fundamental characteristics of the Indian Constitution that cannot be changed because they are the most important part of the Indian Constitution. Fundamental Rights are the key features that have been granted to all citizens of the country, according to Justice Khanna. Prior to introducing the basic structure, any part of the Constitution, including Fundamental Rights, could be amended by the Parliament under Article 368 of the Indian Constitution.

FACTS:

  1. Seventeenth Amendment Act protects certain acts that are passed by the State Legislatures by including them in the Ninth Schedule under Article 31B, which might be assailed by Articles 14, 19, and 31 of the Constitution of India.
  2. The (Seventeenth Constitutional Amendment) Act, of 1964 was challenged before the Apex Court of India because it affected the powers that are prescribed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and have not followed the special procedure as laid down under Article 368 of the Constitution of India.
  3. The question of the Sankari Prasad Case was again raised whether the fundamental rights can be amended or not.
  4. The Ninth Schedule comprises certain statutes relating to the property and the specialty of the Ninth schedule was that it is not subjected to judicial review and because of that right to judicial review was taken away, which is one of the basic features of the constitution. The principle of Pith and Substance was applied to this case.

ISSUES:

Whether changing a fundamental element of the Constitution can be considered merely an amendment or rewriting a portion of the Constitution; and, if the latter, would it fall under Article 368’s purview?

CONTENTIONS:

Appellant’s contention

  • The major argument was that the method required by the proviso should have been followed when altering the relevant provisions of the Constitution.
  • Whether the Amendment Act, in so far as it purports to take away or abridge the rights conferred by Part III of the Constitution, falls within the prohibition of Art. 13(2); and (b) whether Arts. 31A and 31B seek to make changes in Arts. 132, 136, or 226 or in any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule, and thus must satisfy the requirements of the proviso to Art. 368. This Court dismissed both of these arguments.

Respondent’s contention

  • The respondents contended that the suit is premature and liable to be dismissed.

RATIO DECIDENDI:

  • It would, thus, appear that the broad scheme of Art. 368 is that if Parliament proposes to amend any provision of the Constitution not enshrined in the proviso, the procedure prescribed by the main part of the Article has to be followed.
  • A majority of the total membership of each House, as well as a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting, must pass the Bill proposed for the purpose of making the alteration in question.
  •  A bill proposing to change the relevant parts of the Constitution must gain sufficient support from members of both Houses, according to this condition. As a result, a two-part criterion has been established in this regard.
  • After the bill has been passed, it must be brought to the President for his consent, and once he has given his assent, the Constitution will be changed in conformity with the bill’s wording.

DECISION:

  • The Supreme Court held that Article 368 of the Indian Constitution empowers the Parliament to amend any article of the Constitution.
  • Once again, it was said that Article 13 is just limited to the ordinary laws and not the constitutional amendment, whereas the scope of article 368 is limited to constitutional law.
  • According to the majority decision, it was held that Parliament has the power to amend the fundamental rights of the people.

CONCLUSION:

  • The importance and significance of fundamental rights must be acknowledged, and the guarantee to citizens contained in Part III’s relevant provisions can rightly be described as the very foundation and cornerstone of the democratic way of life ushered by the Constitution.
  • The Constitution specifies three modes of the amendment, and even if the provisions of Art. 368 grant Parliament the power to amend the Constitution, it must be determined whether that power can be exercised regarding any of the Constitution’s basic features as long as the preamble remains unamended.

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Om Ram

Om Ram

Om Ram is currently a 2nd-year LL.B. student at Campus Law Centre, Delhi University. Previously he did Life Sciences from SVC, Delhi University. He shows his life journey by making Legal Vlogs on a YouTube channel named 'Om Ram'. He has interests in Law, Science & Film making. Some of his notable work related to photography and other interests can be seen on his Instagram. He also has a channel named 'Law Planet' where he along with his sister makes videos to make people aware of laws and their rights.
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