Minerva Mills Vs Union of India

Author: Tanisha Pandey, 1st Year, BBA LLB, New Law College, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, Pune.
The article has been written by the author while pursuing the internship programme with us.


Minerva Mills Ltd. Vs Union of India is regarded as one of the remarkable decisions which preserved the basic structure of the constitution from being changed by parliament. The legitimacy of section 4 and 55 of 42nd Amendment Act, 1986 gave the parliament immense ability to alter the constitution and thus were abated by the Supreme Court. Appellant: Minerva Mills Ltd. And Ors. Respondent: Union of India And Ors. Bench: Y.V. Chandrachud (then the CJI), P.N. Bhagwati JJ, P.S. Kailasam, N.L. Untwalia and A.C. Gupta. Court: The Supreme Court of India Citation: AIR 1980 SC 1789, 1981 SCR(1) 206 Decided On 31/07/1980

Facts of the Case

  • Minerva Mills Ltd. is a constrained organization managing material in Karnataka. The other appellants are the investors in Minerva Mills. On 20th August 1970, the parliament, in the anxiety of the significant fall underway of Minerva Mills, delegated a board of trustees under the section 15 of Industries Development and Regulation Act, 1951 to produce an examination of the undertakings of Minerva Mills Ltd.[1]
  •  After the accommodation of the advisory group report, the Central Government passed request under section 18A of the 1951 Act that approved the National Textile Corporation Ltd., to assume control over the administration of the Mills on the ground of[2] blunder of the organization undertakings. Henceforth, this endeavour was nationalized and taken over by the parliament under the arrangements of Sick Textile Undertakings Act, 1974. From there on, the appellants tested this request under the watchful eye of the High Court. The High Court disbanded its appeal.
  •  The appellants, subsequently, documented a writ request under the steady gaze of the supreme court under article 32 of the constitution of India. They tested the ability to defend and legitimacy of the accompanying sections 5(b), 19(3), 21, 25 and 27, of Sick Textile Undertakings Act, 1974.[3]
  •  The section 4 and 55 of constitution 42nd Amendment, 1976 and the supremacy given to Directive Principles of State Policy over Fundamental Rights were discussed.[4][5]

Petitioner’s Argument

  • The parliament’s capacity of altering the constitution is constrained and there are characteristic constraints inside the Constitution to confine the extent of revision under article 368. The reach of article 368 is clearly to adjust the constitution in a way that there is no alteration in the basic structure of the constitution.[6]
  •  In spite of the fact that the state is committed by the Constitution that while constructing laws they need to mandatorily analyze the Directive Principles of the State Policy, the accomplishment of such DPSP is just through allowable methods. The Parliament so as to accomplish DPSP can’t supersede Fundamental Rights. The 42nd Amendment under section 55 removes the influenced parties’ right to lawful right which is a fundamental pitch of representative government.[7]
  •  Finding some kind of equilibrium between the arrangements of Part III and Part IV is the place equity lies and making one section docile to another would just prompt disorder.
  •  There would be no significance to a majority rule government if the forces of a foundation are to be made supreme by the Constitution. To run a smooth vote based system there must be checks and parities upon every organization of the legislature. There need not really be an infringement of Part III for the satisfaction of arrangements of Part IV.

Respondent’s Argument

  •  In the course of accomplishing the DPSP’s, there is an unexpected injury to Fundamental Rights then it can’t be seen as an infringement of basic structure. The order standards itself are necessary for the working of the country hence, the accomplishment of these indispensable standards can’t be said as an infringement.
  •  Additionally, if any injury is raised to the Part III arrangements, at that point it can’t be named as an infringement of basic structure. The parliament, so as to accomplish the difficult to get objectives referenced under Part IV, must be finest in its sphere and there ought not to be any kind of constraint upon it. In this manner, there ought not to be any suggested or characteristic constraints upon the changing intensity of parliament.
  •  This contention between the chain of command of arrangements is an issue of scholastic intrigue along with these parameters the courts ought to stay remote of such issues.


The judgement came in the ratio of 4:1. The dominant part struck down section 55 and 4 of the 42nd Amendment as it was disregarding fundamental structure subsequently maintaining the basic structure principle set in Kesavananda Bharati. The court held that recently presented clause 4 and 5 were really embedded to bar the courts to engage any test on the subject of legitimacy of the protected changes. The court held section 55 of the alteration is void since it initially made the test in court unthinkable and secondly, it evacuates all the limitations on the intensity of Parliament under Article 368. The court appropriately deciphered the genuine object of these new conditions which was to discard the impediments forced by Kesavananda on parliament. Accordingly, it held section 4 and 55 of the 42nd Constitutional (Amendment) Act, 1976 as not constitutional and illegal.[8] The court likewise clarified the relation between the arrangements of Part III and Part IV of the constitution. The court laid emphasis on the entire constitution which settles on the basis of Part III and Part IV. To give outright power to one over another will shake the establishment of the Constitution. In this way, re-establishing the judgment of Kesavananda on the purpose of Art. 31 C the court abated section 4 of 42nd amendment. [9]

Legal Analysis

The parliament subsequent to feel bothered by the choice of the Supreme Court in Indira Gandhi Nehru v. RajNarain passed the 42nd Amendment Act 1976. This change was a dark stain on the honourable arrangement of article 368. This revision made unequivocal something which nobody can envision from an equitably chosen parliament. This revision made the test of constitutional amendments in the official courtrooms baseless, further it plainly set out that there is no kind of impediment on the parliament’s competency with regards to constitutional amendments. This revision was made so parliament can unafraid of any foundation to do whatever is important to fulfil their political instability. This revision even enabled parliament to re-work on the whole constitution and transform this democratic country into a totalitarian system. In certainty, it was observed that it isn’t the responsibility of the judiciary to scrutinize the legitimacy of laws rather it is their obligation. The parliament can’t even by a consistent vote in the two houses strip this privilege in the aspect of the fact that judicial review is a fundamental structure of the constitution. [10] The contention that the legislature progressed with regards to such a horrendous law was that to accomplish the objectives articulated in Part IV it is important to make parliament supreme when in all actuality the parliament was making it escape from the grasp of the judiciary. The parliament was fighting that since Part IV arrangements are likewise essential structure along with these parameters the accomplishment of such arrangements can’t be named as an infringement of fundamental structure. The council additionally said that if an accidental physical issue is caused to Part III arrangements during the time spent satisfying Part IV arrangements it would not be an infringement of essential highlights of the constitution. There can be an accomplishment of Part IV arrangements without the annulment of Part III arrangements. The court additionally set out that this agreeable relation between Part III and Part IV is an essential element of the constitution.


The significance of the judgment lies in the manner it awards certainty to the discussion that was going on since 1951. In my thinking, the judgment, at last, lays the discussion on the purpose of restriction on parliament’s capacity in correcting the constitution when it held that the parliament can’t alter the essential structure of the constitution. After a progressive loss in Golaknath, Kesavananda Bharati and Indira Nehru Gandhi the parliament frantically revised the constitution and embedded an immediate law asserting that there can be an impediment on parliament’s capacity of change just as there should be no provocation courtrooms on the corrections. In my perspective from this landmark judgement, judicial review is something very essential that the parliament can’t take away while constructing law. [11][12] The arrangements of Part IV must be accomplished however without an annulment of Fundamental Rights which is the strongest part of the whole judgement and anything which shakes this stability contravenes the basic equalization of the constitution. Subsequently, the court in clear terms set out that the harmony between DPSP and FR s is the basic structure of the constitution.


[1] Section 15. Power to cause an investigation to be made into scheduled industries or industrial undertakings.

[2] Section 18A. Power to take over industrial undertakings without investigation under certain circumstances

[3] Article 32 provides the right to Constitutional remedies which means that a person has the right to move to the Supreme Court (and high courts also) for getting his fundamental rights protected.

[4] As per Article 19 of Part III of the Indian constitution, the fundamental rights of people such as freedom of speech and expression, gathering peaceably without arms and forming associations or unions shall not affect the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India but not the unity of India.

[5] Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) are mentioned in Part 4 of the Indian constitution from articles 36 to 51.

[6] Article 368 in Part XX of the Constitution deals with the powers of the Parliament to amend (i.e. to modify) the Constitution and its procedure.

[7] Section 55: No amendment of the Constitution (including the provisions of Part III; made for purporting to have been made under this article (whether before or after the commencement of Section 55 of the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976) shall be called in question in any court on any ground.

[8] Section 4 amended Article 31C of the Constitution by substituting the words and figures “all or any of the principles laid down in Part Iv for the words and figures “the principles specified in Clause (b) or Clause (c) of Article 39”.

[9] Article 31 C states no law giving effect to the policy of the State towards securing all or any of the principles laid down in Part IV shall be deemed to be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with, or takes away or abridges any of the rights conferred by Article 14, Article 19 or Article 31, and no law containing a declaration that it is for giving effect to such policy shall be called in question in any court

[10] Indira Nehru Gandhi (Smt.) vs Raj Narain & Anr 1975 AIR 1590, 1975 SCC (2) 159

[11] Kesavananda Bharati Sripadagalvaru and Ors. v. State of Kerala and Anr. (1973) 4 SCC 225: AIR 1973 SC 1461

[12] Golaknath v. State Of Punjab (1967 AIR 1643, 1967 SCR (2) (762)

DISCLAIMER: Views and opinions as expressed in the Research Articles are solely of the author and any member of the core team of the website shall not be liable for the same.

Related posts