The case "I.R. Coelho (Dead) By LRs v. State of Tamil Nadu (2007)" is a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court of India, dealing with the interpretation of the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution and the power of judicial review. Here's a detailed summary:
- Petitioner: The legal representatives of I.R. Coelho, who had passed away.
- Respondent: The State of Tamil Nadu.
- Context: The case revolved around the constitutional validity of certain laws placed in the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
1. Constitutional Validity of Ninth Schedule: The main question was whether laws included in the Ninth Schedule were immune from judicial review.
2. Basic Structure Doctrine: Whether the basic structure doctrine, established in the Kesavananda Bharati case, applied to laws in the Ninth Schedule.
Supreme Court's Judgement
- Basic Structure Applicability: The Court held that even the laws placed under the Ninth Schedule are subject to judicial scrutiny. They are not immune if they violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
- Judicial Review: The judgement reaffirmed the power of judicial review as a basic feature of the Constitution. It stated that any law, including those in the Ninth Schedule, could be challenged if it violated fundamental rights that form part of the basic structure.
- Prospective Application: The ruling was to apply prospectively. This meant that only those laws included in the Ninth Schedule after April 24, 1973 (the date of the Kesavananda Bharati judgement), would be open to challenge on the ground of violating the basic structure.
- Enhanced Judicial Scrutiny: The ruling strengthened the power of the judiciary to review laws and acts that are in contravention of the basic structure, ensuring the protection of fundamental rights.
- Checks and Balances: It reinforced the principle of checks and balances within the Indian Constitution, ensuring that the legislature could not undermine fundamental rights by placing laws beyond judicial scrutiny in the Ninth Schedule.
This judgement is significant as it set a precedent for the application of the basic structure doctrine, ensuring that the fundamental rights and core principles of the Constitution cannot be overridden by legislative actions, even under the shield of the Ninth Schedule. It highlighted the role of the judiciary in protecting constitutional values and fundamental rights against potential misuse of legislative powers.