MINERVA MILLS v. UNION OF INDIA
AIR 1980 SC 1789
FACTS AND ISSUES
Sections 4 and 55 of the 42nd Amendment Act were at the root of the controversy at Minerva
Mills. The Hon'ble Court had to determine if the basic structure of the Constitution was breached
by Sections 4 and 55 of the Act.
Section 4 of the Act amended Article 31C and ruled that any law made pursuant to the Directive
Principles of State Policy, which is inconsistent with Articles 14, 19 and 21 will not be void nor
can be challenged before a Court of law. In addition, Section 55 added clauses 4 and 5 to Article
368. Clause 5 granted Parliament the power to enact amendments that could change or kill the
identity of the Constitution, while clause 4 fully curtailed the judicial review of amendments.
The court held Section 55 of the amendment act 1976 void since it firstly made challenge in
court impossible and secondly it removed all the restrictions on the power of Parliament under
Article 368. The majority held that the limited amending power of the Parliament was itself a
basic feature of the Constitution
Section 4 of the amendment act 1976 which tried to separate Article 14, 19 and 21 from Article
31 C was held void as it destroyed the basic feature. The articles mentioned under Article 14, 19
and 21 are essential elements of a modern democracy. These rights are clearly without any doubt
universal because of their presence in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Therefore,the
court struck down Section 4 of the amendment act 1976.