“Constitution Day Guest Lecture on “Revisiting Kesavananda Bharati and the Basic Structure Doctrine in Contemporary Times.””

 The Constitutional Law Society, National Law University Odisha, is delighted to invite you to a Guest Lecture on the occasion of Constitution Day or National Law Day, on the 26th of November, 2022 on the theme of “Revisiting Kesavananda Bharati and the Basic Structure Doctrine in Contemporary Times”. We will be joined for this Guest Lecture by our eminent panelists, Mr. Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj and Prof. G Mohan Gopal.  


Background to the Theme

 In 1973, the Supreme Court propounded the Doctrine of Basic Structure, aimed at curbing transgressions of the fundamental ethos of the Indian Constitution by the Legislature. Since then, any legislation drafted, impacting the Constitution, has been primarily evaluated on the altars of the Basic Structure Doctrine.

But in the past 50 years, since its formulation, the Judiciary is still not without ambiguity on the question as to what exactly the term ‘Basic Structure’ constitutes. Initially, the doctrine was applied to test the validity of Constitutional Amendments. But issues started cropping up when the Judiciary started expanding the ambit of the doctrine, to effectively overrule any law under the scope of Article 13(3) as was ratified in the cases of the Madras Bar Association and Supreme Court Advocate Association. Today, the Courts also entertain everyday legislative measures under the ambit of ‘Basic Structure’.

This new enlargement of the scope of the doctrine puts at risk crucial legislation and executive actions. It may become difficult for any government to function effectively if every other legislation passed by it is pegged before the Courts on grounds of basic structure. It is, therefore, a matter of consideration if such a scheme would lead to policy paralysis.  

The question that now needs to be answered is if the basic structure doctrine which claims to preserve the core values of the Constitution’s basic structure, has itself proved to be against the structure of the original Constitution by striking at, and majorly obliterating, the doctrine of separation of powers, which is a core feature of the original Constitution by way of being judicial excess?

While the debate comprising of the above competing arguments lay dormant in the past decade, it has again been rekindled with the recent judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Janhit Abhiyan v. Union of India, wherein we have witnessed S. Ravindra Bhat J. and J.B. Pardiwala J. exchange contrasting opinions on the same. Through the medium of our discussion, we seek to explore informed and equitable views on the above questions. 

As several legislations get tested on the pedestal of basic structure, and as the doctrine itself reaches 50 years of operation, it becomes pertinent to discuss the aforementioned developments in light of Constitutional theory and jurisprudence. 

 About our Panelists:

 Dr. G Mohan Gopal is a leading Constitutional Law expert and Scholar. He was Director of the National Judicial Academy of the Supreme Court of India from 2006 to 2011. From 2012-2019 Prof. Gopal was the founder Chair of the National Court Management Systems Committee of the Supreme Court of India. Prof. Gopal is former Director (Vice-Chancellor) of the National Law School of India, Bengaluru. He continues to work actively on current judicial and legal issues and reform of legal and judicial institutions.

 Mr. Shrutanjaya Bhardwaj is a practicing advocate at the Supreme Court. His practice areas are constitutional law, criminal law, service law, and arbitration law. He completed his B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) from the National Law University, Delhi, and his LL.M. in Constitutional Law, Media Law, and Human Rights from the University of Michigan Law School. He also served as visiting faculty to several esteemed institutions such as the University of Delhi (Faculty of Law), the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, and his alma mater, the National Law University, Delhi.


Event Details and Organisation 

The event is being organised online on the 26th of November and will be hosted over Google Meet. The lecture shall be scheduled from 6-7 pm on the 26th of November.

 The meeting link for the same is :


Constitutional Law Society,

National Law University, Odisha



National Law University Odisha

Kathajodi Campus, SEC - 13, CDA, Cuttack – 753015, Odisha (India),
Ph.: +91 671 2338018 | Fax: +91 671 2338004