THE THEORY OF BASIC STRUCTURE: Saviour of the Constitution and Democracy


ISBN 9789350028278


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ISBN 9789350028278


“Evidently, this book is the product of humongous industry of the author.A well conceptualised work on a boiling topic, being published at a time when we are celebrating Golden jubilee of the verdict, handed down by13 wise Judges of the Supreme Court of India, in Kesavan and Bharati.The lucidity with which the author has untangled the nuanced aspects of the doctrine of basic structure and explicated about the future of the doctrine, makes this book a must read. I wish all the success for this book and its author and hope they will get the recognition it deserves.”Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, former judge, Supreme Court

“This work is a magisterial tribute to the basic structure doctrine, by one of its scholarly admirers. The author is a thinker- lawyer, who has always articulated his views with cogency and restraint. Here, he engages carefully with critics of the doctrine, including myself. In the light of my own migration, over a quarter of a century, from the position of a “total” critic to that of a “qualified, chastened” one, I found the book very stimulating.”Raju Ramachandran, Senior Advocate & Former Additional Solicitor General of India

“Vijay Kumar, assumes the role of a sentinel, and builds an impregnable fortress, to zealously guard the Basic Structure doctrine. The avalanche of reasons articulated by the author, can convert fence sitters to staunch votaries in support of the doctrine. Even those who are daggers drawn with it, have ample food for thought. The research undertaken for the book is breathtaking. A mine of instruction, the book is a must keep and a must read.”K.V. Viswanathan, Senior Advocate and former Additional Solicitor General

This book seeks to re-evaluate the theory of basic structure at the theoretical level in the light of spurt of writings on unamendability of the foundational principles of the Constitution in the recent times from the larger canvas of democratic constitutionalism. Therefore, this book is as much an exercise in political theory as in constitutional jurisprudence. After straddling both the domain of case law and theoretical exploration, the book argues that the features of basic structure delineated by the Supreme Court on case to case basis in the last 50 years correspond with the ‘Idea of India.’ The book has privileged the identity grounded in the definition of citizenship in the Constitution by subordinating the identity rooted in ascripted categories. By raising the question whether the doctrine of basic structure has eroded or entrenched the democracy?, the book concludes that overarching values of the Constitution identified by the Supreme Court far from diminishing have strengthened democracy.

Vijay Kumar after doing an MA in Modern History and LL B. from the campus law centre of the Delhi University, the author embarked on his profession towards the end of 1990 and since then has been practising mainly in the Supreme Coirt. The author joined the office of one of the busiest Advocate-on-Records, Shri A.M. Khanwilkar (as Justice Khanwilkar then was). In 2021, the Author was designated as Senior advocate by the Supremet Court. In 2012, the Author wrote his first book writing on constitutional issues, in both mainstream magazines and academic journals for the last thirty years.


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