Judgement of the day: Waman Rao and Ors v. Union of India


Y Chandrachud, A Sen, P Bhagwati, V K Iyer


In the Waman Rao case, the Supreme Court again reiterated the basic structure of the doctrine. The Waman Rao case held that the amendment made to the 9th schedule until the Keshavnanda Bharti judgement are valid, and those passed after that date can be subject to scrutiny, through this it drew a line of demarcation.

This case basically emerged as a review of the Dattatraya case where article 31A and 31B of the constitution were brought into the question stating that they infringe the basic structure of the constitution. The validity of the unamended article 31C was also put in front of the bench. The argument was brought in relation to as to how the Maharashtra agricultural lands act 1962, which imposed a ceiling on agricultural land and how the protective shield violate certain fundamental rights given under the third part of the constitution.


The court stated that the amendment brought was aimed in removing economic gap in the society and there are chances that certain inequalities may arise but it is impossible for any government to remove all such disparities without any hardships. Thus, it does not effect the basic structure. The court stated that the doctrine can only be applied to the law protected by the article and not on the articles itself.

This decision is considered as on the bench mark judgement in the constitutional jurisprudence of India. It clarifies the doubts that arose in the Keshavnanda case. It has set up a clear line of demarcation to avoid all kinds of doubts.

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