Kesavananda Bharati
Shri Kesavananda Bharati Swamiji with devotees at Maha Kumbha Mela held at Allahabad in Feb 2013 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Wikimedia Commons

On early Sunday morning, Shri Kesavananda Bharati passed away at the age of 80. The seer was often called the saviour of India's constitution after his role in establishing the 'basic structure' doctrine of the Indian constitution.

His landmark case Kesavananda Bharati versus the State of Kerala in the Supreme Court was the verdict that changed the course of Indian law. 

Kasevananda Bharati who fought for India's constitution

Kesavananda Bharati was the seer of the Edneer Mutt in Kasargod, Kerala. He passed away on Sunday at the age of 80. Following his loss, netizens have been heralding and remembering the seer for saving India's constitution.

A follower of Adi Shankaracharya, he was elected Chief Pontiff of the Mutt in 1961. He was also a master in Yakshagana and under him, the mutt patronised Kannada education and the arts. Incidentally, he was the only one among Shankaracharya's followers to object to the government's decision to open the vaults of the Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.

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Among his achievements and what he is fondly remembered for, he is also known for the landmark verdict in the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati versus State of Kerala case. In 1970, the seer filed a case against the government of Kerala opposing the state's attempt to put restrictions on the Mutt's property. 

Bharati had argued that this violated fundamental rights. He had challenged the Kerala Land Reforms (Amendment) Act, 1969. In 1973, the Supreme Court had delivered the verdict in a 7-6 ruling on March 23,  saying the parliament couldn't amend the 'basic structure' of the Indian constitution.

The ruling guaranteed the fundamental structure of the Indian constitution. While the ruling was heralded in ensuring that the fundamentals of the Indian constitution were not altered through majoritarianism, there were those who believed that the move was a check on the powers of the legislature by the judiciary.

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This was a move that led to Kesavananda Bharati to be called the 'saviour of the Indian constitution' and Indian democracy.