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The Court and the Constitution of IndiaSummit and Shallows$
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O. Chinnappa Reddy

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780198066286

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198066286.001.0001

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Democracy Denuded

Democracy Denuded

The Aftermath of Kesavananda, Emergency, and Supersession of Judges

(p.65) Chapter 8 Democracy Denuded
The Court and the Constitution of India

O. Chinnappa Reddy

Oxford University Press

Though Golaknath, which denied to Parliament the power to amend the Constitution so as to alter, abridge, or take away any of the fundamental rights guaranteed by Part III of the Indian Constitution was overruled by Kesavananda Bharati, the political executive found it immediately unacceptable as the Supreme Court reserved to itself the power to pronounce upon the question whether or not an amendment offended the basic structure. When the question of appointing a successor to Chief Justice Sikri arose in 1973, soon after the judgment was pronounced in Kesavananda, three senior judges, Justices Shelat, Grover, and Hegde were superseded and their junior, Justice A. N. Ray, was appointed Chief Justice. The year 1973 was indeed a watershed in the constitutional history of India. The road signposts clearly changed from democracy to authoritarianism. This chapter examines the constitutional amendments adopted in India, the declaration of emergency in the wake of protests against Indira Gandhi's election to Parliament, and the supersession of the three senior judges in relation to the Kesavananda case.

Keywords:   Kesavananda Bharati, emergency, Constitution, Supreme Court, Indira Gandhi, supersession, judges, constitutional amendments, fundamental rights, election

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