Constitution bench (India)

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Constitution bench is the name given to the benches of the Supreme Court of India which consist of at least five judges of the court which sit to decide any case “involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation” of the Constitution of India or "for the purpose of hearing any reference" made by the President of India under Article 143[1]. This provision has been mandated by Article 145 (3) of the Constitution of India.[2][3] The Chief Justice of India has the power to constitute a Constitution Bench and refer cases to it.[4]

Constitution benches have decided many of India’s best-known and most important Supreme Court cases, such as A. K. Gopalan v. State of Madras, Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (basic structure doctrine) and Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India (OBC reservations) etc.[3]


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  2. ^ "Constitution of India, as on 29 July 2008" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 September 2014. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Interpreting the Constitution: Supreme Court Constitution Benches since Independence" (Magazine). Economic and Political Weekly. Sameeksha Trust. XLVI (9). ISSN 0012-9976. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  4. ^ S., Rukmini (14 November 2013). "Cases decided by Constitution Benches dropping". The Hindu. Retrieved 26 April 2014.

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