Minerva Mills v. UOI [AIR 1980 SC 1789]

Parliamentary power to amend the Constitution is restricted by the Basic Structure and hence 42nd Amendment Act was held unconstitutional.

Bench – A.C. Gupta, PS Kailasam, PN Bhagwati, NL Untwalia and Y.V. Chandrachud.

Facts – Minerva Mills, located in the state of Karnataka, was a textile mill that mass produced silk garments and sold them to the general population. The central government, on the other hand, was sceptical that the company satisfied the criteria for being classified as a sick industry.

The Central Government established a Committee under Section 15 of the Industries (Development and Regulation) Act, 1951 in 1970 to compile a comprehensive assessment on Minerva Mills\’ operations. The Central Government then authorized a National Textile Corporation Limited to take over the operation of Minerva Mills under Section 18A of the 1951 Act, based on the Committee\’s recommendation.

The petitioner, even so, was unable to question the element of the 39th Amendment Act because the Parliament had previously placed the Nationalization Act, 1974 into the Ninth Schedule, meaning that every concern to the said act would fall beyond the scope of judicial review, which was precluded by the 42nd Amendment.

Issues – Whether 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 is constitutionally valid or not?

Judgment – The constitutional validity of the 42nd amendment, which, among other things, presented for the deprivation of judicial review of constitutional amendments and explicitly imparted unrestricted amendment authority to the Parliament, was questioned in this particular instance since it was deemed to be in violation of the Constitution\’s basic structure.

In this decision, the Court overruled the 4th and 5th Clause of Article 368 by a 4:1 majority, ruling that they contradicted the Constitution\’s basic structure. The Hon\’ble Court held that the Constitution is supreme, even to the Parliament because the Parliament\’s power is restricted in terms of the alterations it can conduct. It was adjudged by the court that the newly proposed Clauses 4 and 5 which were inserted by 42nd Amendment Act were created to prevent courts from hearing any dispute to the constitutional modifications\’ legitimacy. The verdict uniformly knocked down the 42nd Amendment, as well as Section 55 of the 1976 Amendment Act. It went on to say that any amendment that limits the opportunity to affect amendments in court and eliminates any restrictions on parliament\’s power is unlawful and in violation of the constitution\’s basic structure.

The court ruled that Judicial Review is something that can\’t be taken away even when it comes to establishing laws. The court further examined the relationship between Part III and Part IV provisions, concluding that there will be no abdication of Fundamental Rights in the process of implementing Part IV requirements.

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