Important Doctrines and Their Applicability on Indian Constitution with case laws

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Important Doctrines and Their Applicability on Indian Constitution with case laws

In Law Doctrines are very important.  In constitutional law there are many doctrines are use in all countries constitution. In Indian Constitution has many important doctrines. Here you can read some important doctrines: 

1. Doctrine of Basic Structure:

  • The basic structure doctrine depicts that the Constitution of India has certain basic features that can’t be altered or destroyed through amendments by the parliament.
  •  Basic features of the Indian Constitution are not explicitly defined by the Judiciary. It is widely believed that democracy, federalism, independence of the judiciary, secularism etc. are part of the basic features.
  • This doctrine was first expressed in Kesavananda Bharati v. The State of Kerala (1973)

2. Rule of Harmonious Construction

  •  Constitutional provisions should not be construed in isolation from all other parts of the Constitution, but should be construed as to harmonize with those other parts.
  • This doctrine was brought about to bring harmony between the different lists mentioned in Schedule 7 of the Constitution of India.
  • The Supreme Court laid down five principles of rule of Harmonious Construction in the landmark case of CIT v. Hindustan Bulk Carriers.

3. Doctrine of Eclipse

  • This doctrine is applicable to pre-existing laws under Article 13(1).
  •  Article 13 provides that any law which made before the commencement of constitution must be consistent with the part III of the constitution. If any statue is inconsistent with the provisions of part III of the constitution such statue shall become void. At the same time such statue not be treated as Dead unless it is abolish by Parliament. It will be treated as dormant or remains eclipsed to the extent it comes under the shadow of the fundamental rights.
  • Supreme Court first applied this doctrine in the case of Bhikaii v. State of M.P, where it applied to pre-constitutional law. The extension to the post-constitutional law was stated in the case of Dulare Lodh v. ADJ Kanpur. Hari Singh v. V. Military Estate Officers Delhi AIR 1972- Supreme Court held that Punjab Premises Act was inconsistent with Article 14 was void

4. Doctrine of severability

  •  When a statute is in part void, it will be enforced as regard the rest, if that is severable from what is invalid,
  • Article 13 states that the portion that is invalid should be struck off and not the entire one. The valid part can be kept. However, it should be kept in mind that even after separation; the remaining part should not become ambiguous. If the remaining part becomes ambiguous, then the whole statute would be declared void and of no use.
  •  R.M.D.C v. UOI is considered to be one of the most important cases on the Doctrine of Severability.

” When a legislature whose authority is subject to limitations aforesaid enacts a law which a wholly in excess of its powers of it is entirely void and must be completely ignored.  

5. Doctrine of Pith and Substance:

  •  Pith and Substance mean the true nature of law.
  • Doctrine of Pith and Substance says that where the question arise of determining whether a particular law relates to a particular subject (mentioned in one List or another), the court looks to the substance of the matter..
  • The State of Bombay and another v. E.N. Balsara; is the first important judgment of the Supreme Court that took recourse to the Doctrine of Pith and Substance.
6. Doctrine of Incidental or Ancillary Powers
  • This principle is an addition to the doctrine of Pith and Substance.
  • The doctrine established that the power to legislate on a subject also includes power to legislate on ancillary matters that are reasonably connected to that subject.
  •  It was held in the case of State of Rajasthan v. Chawala AIR 1959, the power to legislate on a topic includes the power to legislate on an ancillary matter which can be said to be reasonably included in the topics. 

7. Doctrine of Repugnancy

  • The term “repugnancy” means inconsistency between state made law and Union made law.
  • Article 254 establish the “Doctrine of Repugnancy” which act as a safeguard to solve disputes arising between the States and Union.
  • M. Karunanidhi v. UOI, (1979), is one of the most authoritative judgments on Doctrine of Repugnancy, SC summarized, test and principles of repugnancy.  

8. Doctrine of Colorable Legislation

  • The literal meaning of Colorable Legislation is that under the ‘color’ or ‘guise’ of power conferred for one particular purpose, the legislature can’t seek to achieve some other purpose which it is otherwise not competent to legislate on.
  • This Doctrine also traces its origin to a Latin Maxim: “Quando aliquid prohibetur ex directo, prohibrtur ET per obliquum.” (Whatever legislature can’t do directly, it can ‘t do indirectly.)
  • One of the most cogent and lucid explanations relating to this doctrine was give in the case of K.C. Gaiapati Naravana Deo and Other v. The State of Orissa.

9. Doctrine of Territorial Nexus

  •  Article 245 states a state legislation can make laws on the territory of the state and not on extraterritorial laws provided there is nexus or connection between the state and the object of the legislation.
  •  Article 245(1) states that the Parliament of India can make laws for the whole or any territory of India. Similarly, a state legislation can do the same. Such laws can’t be declared invalid on the growth that they are extraterritorial according to Article 245(2). To determine whether a particular legislation is within the territorial nexus or not, this doctrine is applied.
  • Supreme Court applied this doctrine in the case of Tata Iron Steel v. the State of Bihar.  

10. Doctrine of Judicial Review

  • Article 13 Judicial Review refers to the power of the judiciary to interpret the constitution and to declare any such law or order of the legislature and executive void, if it finds them in conflict the Constitution of India.
  • Judicial Review Power is used by both the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • Judicial Review can’t be conduced in respect of the incorporated in the 9th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The foundation of Indian SC review power was laid firmly in A.K.Gopalan v. State of Madras.
These Doctrines are very important for any competitive exam such as Judicial Services, CLAT, DU LLB, LLM Entrance etc.


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