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Berubari | Re: The Berubari Union (1960)

Case Summary

Background :

The Berubari Case, officially known as "Re: The Berubari Union and Exchange of Enclaves," is a significant legal proceeding in Indian constitutional history that dealt with territorial disputes between India and Pakistan. The Berubari Union, located in the present-day Cooch Behar district of West Bengal, was a contentious area claimed by both India and Pakistan following the partition of British India in 1947.

In 1960, the Government of India initiated proceedings before the Supreme Court seeking a determination on the constitutionality of the proposed agreement to cede part of the Berubari Union to Pakistan. The agreement was made in the context of resolving territorial disputes and promoting friendly relations between the two countries.


In its judgment delivered in 1960, the Supreme Court of India ruled that the proposed agreement to cede part of the Berubari Union to Pakistan required a constitutional amendment under Article 368 of the Indian Constitution. The court held that altering the boundaries of Indian territory could not be accomplished through executive action alone but required parliamentary approval through a constitutional amendment. The judgment emphasized the supremacy of the Indian Constitution and the importance of adhering to constitutional procedures for territorial changes.


The Berubari Case had significant implications for Indian federalism, constitutional governance, and foreign relations. The judgment reaffirmed the principle that any alteration of Indian territory must be in accordance with constitutional provisions and parliamentary procedures. It highlighted the judiciary's role in safeguarding constitutional principles and ensuring adherence to legal norms, particularly in matters of national significance. Additionally, the case underscored the complexities of territorial disputes and the importance of diplomatic efforts in resolving international conflicts peacefully.

List of Linked Cases:

Golaknath v. State of Punjab (1967)

Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973)

State of West Bengal v. Union of India (1963)

State of Madhya Pradesh v. Bharat Singh (1967)

N. Masthan Sahib v. Chief Secretary to the Government of Andhra Pradesh (1962)

State of Bombay v. United Motors (India) Ltd. (1953)