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SC verdicts that have changed the Constitution

India is marking November 26 as the Constitution Day as a tribute to Dr BR Ambedkar, who is widely regarded as the architect of the Indian Constitution.

india Updated: Nov 26, 2015 13:50 IST
Nov 23, 1949: Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Sardar Patel and others attend the Constitution’s authentication ceremony.
Nov 23, 1949: Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, Sardar Patel and others attend the Constitution’s authentication ceremony.(HT Photo)

India is marking November 26 as the Constitution Day as a tribute to Dr BR Ambedkar, who is widely regarded as the architect of the Indian Constitution.

The Constitution was framed by borrowing features from different countries such as the US, the UK, France, Japan, Germany, the former Soviet Union (USSR) and others and defines the power of the government, spells out the rights and duties of the citizen.

The document has seen a number of changes since it came into force on January 26, 1950.

Here are the major Supreme Court verdicts that have effectively changed the Constitution:

1960: KM Nanavati v State of Maharashtra: This case ended jury trials in India.

1967: Golaknath vs State of Punjab: The SC ruled that Parliament cannot curtail fundamental rights guaranteed in the Constitution.

1973: Kesavananda Bharati Vs State of Kerala: The SC laid down the Basic Structure Doctrine in this case. It limited the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.

1976: ADM Jabalpur Vs S Shukla: The SC declared the right to move court for protection of Equality before law, protection of arrest without cause and right to life and liberty are remain suspended during an Emergency.

1978: Maneka Gandhi Vs Union of India: The SC ruled the fundamental rights are not mutually exclusive and are interlinked.

1980: Minerva Mills Vs Union of India: The SC ruled that the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution cannot be exercised to grant itself an unlimited power.

1992: Indira Sawhney Vs Union of India: The SC upheld the implementation of Mandal Commission recommendations for OBCs. It also defined the “creamy layer” criteria and put a 50% cap on quota.

1993: Supreme Court AoR Association vs UoI: The SC creates the collegium system of appointing judges in SC and HCs.

1994: SR Bommai Vs Union of India: SC laid down the guidelines in proving a majority under Article 356. The recent Arjun Munda case judgement was also passed with reference to the Bommai case.

1994: R Rajagopal Vs State of Tamil Nadu: The SC decided that the right to privacy was a part of right to personal liberty.

1997: Vishaka Vs State of Rajasthan: SC defined ‘Sexual harassment’ including at workplace and issued Vishaka guidelines that remained in force till 2013.

2003: People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India: The SC ruled candidates contesting elections must declare their assets, liabilities and criminal antecedents.

2007: SC rules that laws placed in the ninth schedule can be struck down if they violate basic structure of the Constitution.

2007: SC upholds expulsion of MPs in cash-for-query scam; rules that each House of Parliament has inherent power to expel its members.

2013: Lily Thomas vs Union of India: The SC ruled all politicians sentenced to more than two years in jail on a criminal conviction will be disqualified as an elected representative.

2013: Aruna R Shanbaug vs UoI: The Supreme Court issued guidelines allowing passive euthanasia.

2015: Supreme Court AoR Association vs UoI: The SC strikes down the NJAC Act.

Also Read | Major amendments to the Constitution since January 26, 1950

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