Case Study- Indira Nehru Gandhi v. Raj Narain, AIR 1975

Warrant of arrest may be directed to stay persona – Kanoon

 Indira Nehru Gandhi (Petitioner)


Raj Narain & Another (Respondent)

CASE NUMBER – Review Petition in Civil Appeal Nos. 887 and 909 of 1975.

EQUIVALENT CITATION – 1976- (003)-SCC-0321-SC-1977-AIR-0069-SC



  • A.N. Ray
  • H.R. Khanna
  • M.H. Beg
  • K.K. Mathew



This is a case regarding Election Disputes involving the Prime Minister and Purpose of 39th Amendment of the Constitution.



  • In this case, an appeal was filed by the appellant against the decision of the Allahabad High Court invalidating Smt. Indira Gandhi’s election on the ground of corrupt practices. In the meantime, the Parliament passed the 39th Constitutional Amendment, which introduced and added  a new Article 392A to the Constitution of India.
  • It was stated by this Article 392A that the election of the Prime Minster and the Speaker cannot be challenged in any court in the country. It can be rather challenged before a committee formed by the Parliament itself.
  • Although the Supreme Court validated the election of Indira Gandhi but declared the 39th Amendment to be unconstitutional as it violated  the basic structure of the constitution.
  • The 39th Amendment was made to validate with retrospective effect the election of the then Prime  Minister which was set aside by the Allahabad High Court.



  • The main question involved in the case was of the validity of clause (4) of the Constitution 39th Amendment Act, 1975. The contention was that this clause in question not only wiped out the High Court judgement but also the election and the law relating thereto.




  • The clause of struck down by the Court on the ground that it violated free and fair elections which was an essential feature that formed the Basic Stuctute of teh Indian Constitution. The exclusion of judicial review in election disputes in this manner resulted in damaging the Basic Structure.
  • The Supreme Court held clause (4) of the Constitution 39th Amendment Act, 1975 as unconstitutional and void on the ground that it was outright denial of the Right to Equality enshrined in Article 14, It was held by the Court that these provision were arbitrary and were calculated to damaged and destroy the Rule of Law.
  • Justice H.R. Khanna held, that the democracy is the Basic Structure of the Constitution and it includes free and fair election whcih cannot be violated.
  • The Supreme Court in this case, added the following feature as ‘Basic Features” to the list of basic features laid down in Keshavananda’s Case. These are –
  1. Rule of Law
  2. Democracy, that implies free and fair elections
  3. Judicial Review
  4. Jurisdiction of Supreme Court under Article 32.





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