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I.C. Golaknath and Ors v. State of Punjab (1967)

Case Summary


The case of I.C. Golaknath and Ors v. State of Punjab (1967) is a significant legal proceeding that deals with the interpretation of fundamental rights under the Indian Constitution. I.C. Golaknath and others, who were landowners in the state of Punjab, challenged the constitutional validity of the First Amendment to the Indian Constitution, specifically questioning the amendment's provisions that placed restrictions on the right to property.


In its judgment delivered in 1967, the Supreme Court of India ruled in favor of the petitioners and held that Parliament did not have the power to amend fundamental rights, including the right to property, under Articles 13, 14, and 368 of the Indian Constitution. The court emphasized that fundamental rights were sacrosanct and could not be abridged or taken away through constitutional amendments. This landmark judgment established the principle of "basic structure" doctrine, which holds that certain essential features of the Constitution, including fundamental rights, are beyond the amending power of the legislature.


The judgment in I.C. Golaknath v. State of Punjab had far-reaching implications for constitutional law and the balance of power between the judiciary and the legislature in India. It marked a significant shift in the interpretation of the amending power of Parliament and limited its authority to alter fundamental rights. The decision underscored the supremacy of the Constitution and the role of the judiciary in safeguarding its core principles. Additionally, the case led to subsequent amendments to the Indian Constitution, including the 24th Amendment in 1971 and the 42nd Amendment in 1976, which sought to curtail the scope of judicial review and reassert parliamentary sovereignty.

List of Linked Cases:

Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973)

Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975)

Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India (1980)

Sajjan Singh v. State of Rajasthan (1965)

State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain (1975)

Keshavananda Bharati Educational Institution v. State of Kerala (2003)