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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the constitutional framework for fundamental rights in India. It considers three key issues raised by Part III: the application of fundamental rights to private actors (the ‘actor’ question); the applicability of fundamental rights to personal laws and to constitutional amendments (the ‘form’ question); and the effect of unconstitutionality on the validity of a law (the ‘effect’ question). The chapter focuses upon how the Supreme Court has interpreted the meaning of ‘State’ under Article 12, highlighting the structuralist understanding that it has provided, and also considering the contentious question of whether the judiciary should be regarded as ‘State’ for the purposes of Part III of the Constitution. It also examines the meaning of ‘law’ in Article 13 of the Constitution and concludes with an analysis of the doctrine of severability and the doctrine of eclipse.

Keywords: constitutional amendments, doctrine of eclipse, doctrine of severability, fundamental rights, India, Indian Constitution, judiciary, personal laws, private actors, unconstitutionality

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