Article 13 by Charu V at LEXCLIQ

Meaning and Explanation of Article 13

Article 13 deals with the laws that are inconsistent and in derogation with the Fundamental Rights granted under Chapter III of the Constitution of India. As per clause (1), all pre – constitutional laws which are inconsistent with the fundamental rights shall be null and void once the constitution of our country commences. Clause (2) deals with the post-constitutional laws, whereby this Article mandates that the legislature shall not make any laws which is in violation to the fundamental rights.

  • Article 13 makes the fundamental rights enforceable through the court of law. This provision secures the Supremacy of the Constitution especially with respect to fundamental rights.
  • This Article provides for the power of Judicial review upon the Courts whereby by virtue of Article 32 and Article 226, the Supreme Court and the High Courts can declare any law void and unlawful if such law infringes any fundamental right.
  • Article 13 is observed by the Courts as charter for judicial review. This feature of judicial review is one of the basic and integral structures of our Constitution

Judicial Review under Article 13

  • Over the years, to uphold the principle of Natural Justice, the judicial review has evolved as a norm. Both the Supreme Court and High Courts of India have given the authority to rule on the constitutionality of administrative as well as legislative actions.

The power of this judicial review in several cases is exercised for the protection as well as enforcement of fundamental rights. The scope of judicial review has been expanded by Article 13 of the Indian Constitution in the case of A.K Gopalan vs. State of Madras3 the Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that Section 14 should be valid by removing preventive detention and when it is removed, it will not affect the whole act and it will remain valid as well as effective. In the case of D.S Nakara vs. Union of India, the whole act remained valid and the specific portion which was inconsistent with the fundamental rights was declared as invalid and this was done because it was quite easy for the court to separate from the consistent part.

Conundrum over Personal Laws being in the ambit of Article 13 Any “law in force” at the time of commencement of the Constitution of India or enacted after that which is in conflict with the fundamental rights will be void to that extent. In particular, if personal laws are covered by Articles 13 and 372 of the Constitution, they will be void to the extent that they are in contravention of fundamental rights provided in the Constitution.

Just like, Article 14 guarantees equality before law and equal protection of laws. Article 15 prescribes that no law can discriminate only on the grounds of sex, caste, etc. And Article 21 provides the fundamental right of life and personal liberty.

Need and importance of Article 13

  • The importance of Article 13 lies in the fact that in a democracy set-up like ours, it is essential to have a mechanism which would not allow them to enact laws to suit their ideologies and be inconsistent with our constitution.
  • Article 13 ensures the supremacy of the Constitution and also takes care of the fact that the people of this country would not be deprived of their fundamental rights through any legislation.

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