BASIC STRUCTURE DOCTRINE (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     16th September 2023        
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Context: The Chief Justice of India recently chose not to speak on the basic structure doctrine, emphasizing his preference to convey his stance through his judgments rather than making public pronouncements outside the court.


  • Introduced by: Indian Judiciary on 24th April 1973.
  • Establishment: Keshavananda Bharati case to restrict the amending powers of the Parliament.
  • This limitation ensures that the 'Basic Structure of the Constitution' cannot be altered through the exercise of its 'constituent power' under Article 368 of the Indian Constitution.

Basic Structure of Doctrine

  • Definition: Some important parts of the Constitution cannot be changed or removed by the Parliament through an amendment.
  • Not Mention in Constitution: It's interesting to note that the Constitution of India doesn't include the term "Basic Structure" anywhere.
  • Aim of the Doctrine: To safeguard the essence of Indian democracy and uphold the rights and freedoms of its citizens.
  • Soul of the Constitution: The essence of the Constitution, inseparable from the values expressed in the Preamble, is vital for the document's integrity and the sanctity of its principles.

Components of Basic Structure

  • Supremacy of the Constitution
  • Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity
  • Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary
  • Judicial review
  • Parliamentary system
  • Rule of law
  • Principle of equality
  • Free and fair elections
  • Independence of Judiciary
  • Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution
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