Kesavananda Bharati, petitioner in basic Constitution doctrine case, dies

Kesavananda Bharti
The case in which Bharati had challenged a Kerala Land Reform Act nearly four decades ago set the principle that the Supreme Court is the guardian of the basic structure of the Constitution and the verdict involved 13 judges the largest bench ever to sit in the apex court. Photo: Twitter

Kesavananda Bharati, a petitioner in a case that led to the Supreme Court evolving the celebrated doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution, died in Kerala’s Kasaragod district on Sunday.

Police said the 79-year old Kerala-based seer Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru died at the Edaneer Mutt here due to age-related ailments.

“As per the information with us, he passed away around 3.30 am on Sunday,” the police told PTI.

The case in which Bharati had challenged a Kerala Land Reform Act nearly four decades ago set the principle that the Supreme Court is the guardian of the basic structure of the Constitution and the verdict involved 13 judges the largest bench ever to sit in the apex court.

The case of Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala was heard for 68 days and continues to hold the top spot for the longest proceedings ever to have taken place in the top court.

The hearing in the case commenced on October 31, 1972, and concluded on March 23, 1973 and its the most referred to case name in Indian Constitutional law.

When asked about the importance of the verdict, former Judge of Madras High Court Justice K Chandru told PTI: “The Kesavananda Bharati case is significant for its ruling that
the Constitution can be amended but not the basic structure.”

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