India: What are some of the interesting facts about India? by Tejasvita Apte
Answer by Tejasvita Apte:
That India is a democracy today owing to the Supreme Court's judgment with a wafer thin majority of 7:6!
4 decades back India dealt with a situation where her very foundation was shaken. This happened in 1975 with the declaration of Emergency by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
The path she chose for India could have taken us down to the bowels of Anarchy. For such were her actions!
The saving grace was the glorious institution that we call Supreme Court. The case I am talking about is none other than Kesavananda Bharti v. State of Kerala.
The issue was with reference to the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution. Can the Parliament amend any part of the Constitution? Or there are certain basic features that are beyond amendments? For instance, can the Parliament take away people's Fundamental Rights?
In this case, with a ratio of 7:6, the Supreme Court laid down the 'Basic structure doctrine' which says that Parliament can amend any part of the Constitution as long as it doesn't violate the basic features of the Constitution.
This most important part of the judgment is a mere paragraph towards the end written by Justice H.R. Khanna. This paragraph is what made the ratio 7:6!
The man instrumental in saving our democracy other than Justice Khanna is none other that eminent lawyer Nani Palkhivala. Sadly today, very few Indians outside the field of law have heard of him.
For more about emergency, read –