Waman Rao And Ors v. Union Of India And Ors.

Title:  Waman Rao And Ors v. Union Of India And Ors.

Citation: 1981 2 SCR 1

Benches:  Y Chandrachud, A Sen, P Bhagwati, V Tulzapurkar, V K Iyer

Law Points:  Article 31 A and B of the Constitution of India


There was an Act called Maharashtra Agricultural Lands (Ceiling on Holdings) Act 1962, hereinafter referred to because the Act, imposed a ceiling on agricultural lands. Thereafter the ceiling was revised from time to time and certain other amendments were brought into operation. The validity of those Acts was challenged before the Bombay tribunal on the bottom that they remove the basic rights. Articles 31A and 31B were also brought under the purview of challenge on the bottom that they infringe the fundamental structure of the constitution. But within the Supreme Court level, all challenges were rejected. Against the choice, the appeal was filed within the Supreme Court within the case of Dattatraya Govind v. State of Maharashtra[1]. But those appeals were also dismissed on reasons stated by the Court. As judgment was delivered during an emergency. Because the emergency had been revoked the petitions were filed within the Court seeking review of the Dattatray case. Therefore, this case has basically emerged as a review of the Dattatraya case.

Parties Contention

In this case, the most challenge was the constitutional validity of Articles 31A, 31B and un-amended article 31C. It absolutely was strongly argued against the protective nature of those articles which exclude all possibilities of a challenge to the laws included under the shield. They argued that such a shield will violate certain fundamental rights exalt under part III of the constitution. The appellants replied that the very provisions of the constitution which the respondents rely on to save lots of impugned laws are invalid because the later amendments infringe the fundamental essential structure of the constitution as propounded in Keshavananda Bharati Case. The Petitioners also challenged the validity of the constitutional fortieth amendment on the bottom that it had been passed in such a duration when the Parliament wasn’t in lawful existence because it was on an extended tenure.

Critical Appraisal

The decision of WamanRao v. Union of India[2] is thought to be one of the benchmarks within the constitutional jurisprudence of India. This case is a very way novel one because it re-clarifies various doubts that arose out of the KeshavanandaBharati case. It’s founded a transparent line of demarcation to avoid all quite future doubts also.

This judgment could be a sound one within the sense that before coming to make your mind up the problems directly the Court has taken a really wide consideration of assorted other things. Reform could be a scheme that was introduced by the govt. immediately after attaining freedom. The framers of the constitution have given adequate space within the constitution itself for reform and thus one can easily infer that this really important aspect.

The constitution was amended within the year 1951 for the primary time. This amendment led to several modifications within the fundamental rights and commenced the age of reform through the constitutional mechanism. It’s introduced two new articles namely 31A and 31B and also the infamous ninth schedule so on make the laws acquiring zamindaris unchallengeable within the Court of law. This has due to the reform legislation were being challenged before various high courts like Patna, Nagpur, Allahabad etc on the bottom of inconsistency with the elemental rights especially Article 14. But the judicature varied in their opinions. These varieties of litigations were causing delay within the process of agrarian reforms which was speculated to be speedy. Therefore it had been thought to bypass these wasteful litigations so as to administer true effect to the reform process.

Nehru was an infatuated supporter of the scheme of agrarian reforms which was considered the process of social reform and social engineering. The centre wanted to get rid of any impediment to such reform laws being declared invalid by the courts and hence the amendment was made. During this regard, the ninth schedule was a very important innovation within the area of the constitutional amendment. a replacement technique of bypassing review was initiated. Any Act which is incorporated during this schedule became fully protected against any reasonably during a Court of law under any fundamental right.

Article 31C was introduced by the twenty amendments Act to the constitution. This clause declares that a law giving impact to the state policy towards securing the directive principles contained below articles 39b or c wouldn’t be command void due to its inconsistency with articles 14, 19 and 31. Currently, within the gift case, the Court has spoken the case of KeshavanadaBharati case within which the majority of the judges commend this text constitutionally valid. Thus the Court has not gone into abundant detail. The precedent worth of the KeshavanandaBharati Case was enough for the Court to come to a decision on the validity of this text. I completely believe the observation of the Court as so much because the validity of this text is bothered. This text is supposed for the protection of these laws that are to administer impact to the directive principles of state policy below Article 39(b) and (c). And laws created for this purpose should be command sensible and valid as they aim to realize bound larger profit for the society.


Supreme Court in the WamanRao case all over again reiterated and applied the school of thought of the essential options of the Constitution. During this case, the implications of the essential structure school of thought for Article31-B were re-examined. The Court John Drew a line of demarcation on April twenty-fourth, 1973 (the date of KesavanandaBharti’s decision[3]) and command it shouldn’t be applied retrospectively to open the validity of any change to the Constitution that befell before 24-04-1973. It meant all the amendments that else to the Ninth Schedule before that date were valid.

All future amendments were a command to be contestable on the grounds that the Acts and laws, that they inserted within the Ninth Schedule, broken the essential structure. The choice of this case could be a landmark one within the constitutional jurisprudence of Bharat. This case has helped indecisive a satisfactory technique of conserving the settled position and to deal with grievances relating to the violation of elementary rights.


The decision of this case a landmark one within the constitutional jurisprudence of Bharat. This case has helped indecisive a satisfactory technique of conserving the settled position and to deal with grievances relating to the violation of elementary rights. The judgment seems to be a sound one because it has created a line of determination between the Acts previous to and when the KeshavanandaBharati case. Currently, it’s easier to decide as to that laws may be challenged and that isn’t. However, the judgment left bound areas whereas managing Article 31C and therefore the school of thought of stare decisis. But if these 2 aspects are corrected then this judgment is incredibly sound and effective.





[1] 1977 (2) SCR 790

[2] 13 November 1980

[3] 24 April 1973

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