Notes and Articles for Law students

User Tools

Site Tools


Can Law/Ordinance passed by State or Center nullify Judgment of Supreme Court of India

The concept of Parliamentary Sovereignty has dogged the Courts ever since the Judiciary started gaining importance as a branch of the State. Whether Courts are supreme, or whether Parliament is sacrosanct is something several judges have struggled with in the past, and will continue to do so in future.

In India, it has been readily accepted by Courts that Parliament reigns over all areas of law, except for the Constitution, which is jealously guarded by the Court. Thus, while legislation may nullify the effect of a Supreme Court judgement in any other area, the basic structure doctrine of the Constitution laid down in Keshavananda Bharati and upheld in succeeding judgements means that a judgement of the Supreme Court in the realm of Constitutional law isn't as easily circumvented.

Law cannot nullify a Supreme Court Judgment,but many times (not every time) it may nullify the effect of a judgment by Supreme Court/High Court.The effect of judgment can be nullified by rectifying the illegality pointed out in the judgment.

When Can law/ordinance nullify the effect Of Supreme Court / High Court Judgments?

There are two instances where law can nullify the effect of a judgment

  1. Effect of a judgment based on a law can be nullified by altering the law after rectifying the reasons for the judgment mentioned by the court. Eg:
    • Jallikkatu case. In this case court held that Jallikkatu (a sport existing in Tamil Nadu) was illegal according to the THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, 1960. Following the judgment state government banned jallikkatu.Huge protest occurred against this decision.Due to the protest Tamil Nadu Government passed an Ordinance(Concurrent list) amending the Central Law (THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, 1960) with the consent of The President of India under Article.252(2).By this ordinance jallikkattu became legal because the provisions of THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT, 1960 act which Supreme Court held are against jallikkatu no more applies to State of T.N
    • If Supreme Court strikes down any rule/order/notification as is against a law/ordinance passed by state/central, the rule/order/notification can again be brought into force after amending the law/ordinance so as to remove the reasons pointed out by the court for the former to be against later.
  2. A law made by Supreme Court Under Article.141 can be nullified by a new law by state/central law (if they have power to make law on that subject).

When Can law/ordinance cannot nullify the effect Of Supreme Court / High Court Judgments?

  1. An interpretation given to constitution by a constitutional bench cannot be nullified by a law/ordinance.
    Eg:- SC has interpreted that
    1. Article 21, Right to life includes; Right to privacy,Right to education,Right to good environment etc.
    2. Arbitrary acts of government is against Article 14 (Right to Equality) and can be challenged in Constitutional Courts.
  2. If Supreme Court strikes down any law/ordinance/notification/rule as violative of Constitution,such laws cannot be reenacted with same effect.
    1. Section 377 of Indian Penal Code
    2. Adultery Judgment
    3. Sabarimala Case

If a law/ordinance is enacted or reenacted in the above case against SC/HC judgment ,SC and HC may (if it is against the Constitutional interpretation of SC or if it was previously striked down by SC, the HC shall) strike it down again and such law would deemed to be void ab intio.
But parliament may under Article 368 amend the Constitution after following the special procedures and nullify the effect of such judgments by removing the reasons for such laws to be against the constitution.

Such an amendment shouldn't be against the Basic Structure of constitution ( Keshavananda Bharati Judgment ) .
If Supreme Court finds that the amendment is against Basic Structure of Constitution it can strike down such a constitutional amendment. Eg: NJAC Act (99th Constitutional Amendment Passed by the central legislature with 100% votes and ratified by majority of state legislatures in India) was strike down by Supreme Court as being against the Independence Of Judiciary.

So Parliament reigns over all areas of law, except for the Constitution, which is jealously guarded by the Court because it is finally Supreme Court who decides what is the Basic Structure of Indian Constitution and no amendment of Constitution can be against Basic Structure Doctrine.

Navigation: Home»General Notes