A seer from Edneer Mutt, Kesavananda Bharati, died early on Sunday at his ashram in north Kerala’s Kasaragod. He was 79.
Bharati’s property rights case in the Supreme Court in 1973 helped define basic rights under the Constitution,
It may be mentioned here that Bharati had filed a case challenging the Constitution (29th Amendment) Act, 1972, questioning the Kerala government move to take over the mutt property.
The challenge came at a time when the Indira Gandhi-led government had made changes to the 24th, 25th, 26th and 29th amendments of the Constitution to get the court to rule in favour of the government in bank nationalisation and privy purses cases.
The case was represented by senior lawyer Nani Palkhivala for Bharati, an ardent follower of Advaita philosophy.
The then chief justice of India Sarv Mitra Sikri had formed a 12-judge panel to preside over the case.
The Constitution bench ruled a wafer-thin 7-6 verdict that Parliament cannot alter the basic structure of the Constitution.
It may be mentioned here that Kesavananda Bharati’s case is known as a landmark case and many legal luminaries hailed him as the saviour of the Constitution.