MADURAI:Citing a popular fable, Supreme Court Judge Rohinton Fali Nariman said on Saturday that the basic structure of the Constitution is like how blind men perceived the elephant.
Delivering a special address on the ‘Doctrine of Basic Structure under the Indian Constitution’ as part the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Bar Association decennial lecture series at the court premises, Justice Rohinton observed that like a group of blind men perceived the elephant differently after touching different parts of it, perception differed among the judicial fraternity on the basic structure of the Constitution.
Rohinton stated that the preamble of the Indian Constitution and article 368 provides ample scope for formulating the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.
Detailing this further, he said that important features of preamble were secular democratic republic, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity ensure unity in diversity, respect individual freedom and faith, belief and worship of each individual, besides assuring individual rights for the expression of thoughts.
Earlier dwelling on the vision of the Indian Constitution makers prior to Independence, Rohinton said that when the Assembly framed the Indian Constitution, the provinces were based on the Government of Indian Act 1935.
“As per the Act, adult franchises was confined only to a limited population. However, the Assembly felt that such decisions were better left to Parliament,” he said.
But, he added, “When they allowed the Parliament to frame or amend the law, they ensured that it needed ratification from both the Houses (Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha),” he said, referring to the checks and balances.