The Ninth Schedule Case: The Supreme Court of India.

The Supreme Court of India passed a judgment on the 11th of January, 2007 in which it upheld the basic structure of the constitution laid down in the Kesavananda Bharti case, the court also declared that the laws inserted in the Ninth Schedule are not free from Judicial Review. This was seen in the case of I.R. Coelho (Dead) By Lrs vs State Of Tamil Nadu & Ors (AIR 2007 SC 861.) and the case was presided over by Justice Y.K. Sabharwal, Justice Ashok Bhan, Justice Arijit Pasayat, Justice B.P. Singh, Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice C.K. Thakker, Justice P.K. Balasubramanyan, Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice D.K. Jain.


The case came from a referral order issued by a five-judge constitution bench in 1999. The Gudalur Janmam Estates (Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari) Act, 1969, which vested forest lands in the Janmam estates in the State of Tamil Nadu, was overturned by the Supreme Court in Balmadies Plantations Ltd. & Anr. v. State of Tamil Nadu, as it fell outside the scope of protection provided to agrarian reforms under Article 31-A of the Constitution. The Janmam Act was incorporated into the ninth schedule of the Constitution (Thirty-fourth Amendment) Act, which was challenged. The constitution bench stated in its referral decision that, in accordance with Waman Rao & Ors. v. Union of India & Ors, modifications to the Constitution made on or after 24.4.1973 (the date of the Kesavananda Bharati verdict), putting various legislation in the ninth schedule, were subject to challenge on the grounds that such amendments are outside of Parliament’s constituent power since they weaken the fundamental framework of the Constitution. The Supreme Court considered the situation and raised the following issues to be addressed:

  1. Is it admissible to make the ninth Schedule inoculated from the Judicial Review of the Supreme Court?
  2. Is it possible that the Basic Structure test would include the Judicial Review of Ninth Schedule laws on the rationale of Fundamental Rights?



The Court collectively held that it was not passable for the parliament to get away from the examination of the Basic Structure doctrine by tracking down plainly sly ways of getting around it. The essential design doctrine is the actual pith of the Constitution and any laws, rules, and regulations that abuse its substance can’t be permitted to go on in this bold way. Assuming any laws in the Ninth Schedule were conflicting with Part III, they are at risk to be struck down by this Court. The Ninth Schedule was a piece of the Constitution and as such any changes made to these parts which sidestep the limitations that are set up can’t be permitted to proceed to the burden of deep-rooted standards. These additions to the Ninth Schedule are an endeavor to attack the circle of key freedoms and as such these attacks must be managed to save innate rights.

The fundamental rights can be amended, abrogated, or abridged insofar as the Basic Structure of the Constitution isn’t obliterated. The shortfall of such rules for practicing such power implies nonappearance of sacred control would bring about the obliteration of constitutionalism and the making of parliamentary authority. The Parliament has the ability to amend the provisions of Part III, yet dependent upon the limits of the Basic Structure tenet. A law embedded in the Ninth Schedule or in some other parts of the Constitution would either repeal or shorten the freedoms ensured in Part III of the Constitution might contravene the Basic Structure doctrine or may not. In the event that the above condition is tried to be positive, such law would be approved by the Judicial Review force of the court.

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