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'The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution.' Discuss critically.

ChatGPT Answer #

The statement that the Supreme Court of India keeps a check on the arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution is a subject of critical discussion. While the Indian judiciary has played a significant role in upholding the basic structure of the Constitution, it has also been criticized for certain decisions that seemingly encroach upon the powers of the Parliament.

On one hand, the Supreme Court's power of judicial review allows it to strike down any act of the Parliament that violates the basic structure of the Constitution. This has been instrumental in ensuring that the Parliament does not exercise arbitrary power and maintains constitutional limits. The court has, on numerous occasions, struck down amendments that were against the fundamental rights or the basic features of the Constitution, such as the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973) that established the doctrine of basic structure.

However, critics argue that the Court's power of judicial review has sometimes been excessively used, and it has overstepped its boundaries by striking down validly enacted constitutional amendments. This has raised concerns about judicial activism and the judiciary's interference in the legislative domain. For example, in the NJAC case (2015), the Supreme Court struck down a constitutional amendment that aimed to reform the process of judicial appointments, arguing that it violated the independence of the judiciary. Critics argue that such decisions undermine the democratic mandate of the Parliament and its ability to carry out necessary constitutional reforms.

Moreover, the process of amending the Constitution itself is designed to strike a balance between the powers of the Parliament and the judiciary. Article 368 of the Constitution provides for a detailed procedure for amending the Constitution, including a mandatory requirement of ratification by a majority of states. This emphasizes that amending the Constitution is not an arbitrary power of the Parliament but a deliberate process that involves various checks and balances.

In conclusion, while the Supreme Court of India has played a crucial role in checking the arbitrary power of the Parliament through its power of judicial review, there remains a scope for critical discussion. The court's intervention should strike a balance between upholding the basic structure of the Constitution and respecting the democratic process of constitutional amendment by the Parliament. The relationship between the court and the Parliament needs to be constantly assessed and debated to ensure a healthy system of checks and balances.

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