Shankari Prasad v. Union of India

Question:

  • Whether the Constitution (First Amendment) Act 1951, which was passed by the provisional Parliament to insert articles 31A and 31B, is ultra vires and unconstitutional?

Judgment:

  • “Although “law” must ordinarily include constitutional law, there is a clear demarcation between ordinary law, which is made in exercise of legislative power, and constitutional law, which is made in exercise of constituent power.”
  • “The terms of article 368 are perfectly general and empower Parliament to amend the Constitution, without any exception whatever. Had it been intended to save the fundamental rights from the operation of that provision, it would have been perfectly easy to make that intention clear by adding a proviso to that effect. In short, we have here two articles each of which is widely phrased, but conflicts in its operation with the other. Harmonious construction requires that one should be read as controlled and qualified by the other.”
  • “In the context of article 13, “law” must be taken to mean rules or regulations made in exercise of ordinary legislative power and not amendments to the Constitution made in exercise of constituent power, with the result that article 13(2) does not affect amendments made under article 368.”