It was his case that the Supreme Court laid down the principle that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered
Kasaragod (Kerala): Kesavananda Bharati, on whose petition the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgement that the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be altered, died here on Sunday.
Police said Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru died at the Edaneer Mutt at 3.30 am Sunday due to age-related ailments.
The case in which Keshavananda Bharati challenged the Kerala land reform laws nearly four decades ago set the principle that the Supreme Court is the guardian of the basic structure of the Constitution and the verdict involved 13 judges, the largest bench ever to sit in the apex court.
While the seer did not get the relief he wanted, the case became significant for its landmark judgment which clipped the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and simultaneously gave the judiciary the authority to review any amendment.
Former Judge of Madras High Court Justice K Chandru said, "The Kesavananda Bharati case is significant for its ruling that the Constitution can be amended but not the basic structure."
Senior advocate Arvind P Datar said when some parcels of land of the Edaneer Mutt were acquired under the land reform laws of Kerala, Bharati moved the Kerala High Court against it and partly succeeded in stopping the acquisition.
However, when the 29th Constitutional Amendment was adopted by Parliament giving protection to Kerala's laws, the seer moved the Supreme Court challenging it.
The apex court ruled that the 29th Amendment was valid and held that the two Kerala land acts that were included in the Ninth Schedule are entitled to the protection of Article 31B of the (validation of certain acts and regulations) Constitution.
The verdict held that though Parliament has the power to amend under Article 368 of the Constitution, it did not have the power to emasculate its basic features.
The case of Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala was heard for 68 days and continues to be the longest hearing to have taken place in the top court.
The hearing in the case commenced on October 31, 1972, and concluded on March 23, 1973 and it's the most referred to case name in Indian Constitutional law.