(1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.

 

(2) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part.

 

(3) Without prejudice to the powers conferred on the Supreme Court by clauses (1) and (2), Parliament may by law empower any other court to exercise within the local limits of its jurisdiction all or any of the powers exercisable by the Supreme Court under clause (2).

 

(4) The right guaranteed by this article shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by this Constitution.

Debate Summary

Article 25, Draft Constitution of India, 1948

(1) The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed.

(2) The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders in the nature of the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by this Part.

(3) Parliament may by law empower any other court to exercise within the local limits of its jurisdiction all or any of the powers exercisable by the Supreme Court under clause (2) of this article.

(4) The rights guaranteed by this article shall not be suspended except as otherwise provided for by this Constitution.

The Constituent Assembly took up Draft 25 for debate on the 9 December 1948. The Draft Article gives citizens the right to approach the Supreme Court for constitutional remedies when their fundamental rights are violated

The Assembly was unanimous about the importance of the Article. Members referred to the provision in terms that included ‘the crowning section’ and ‘very soul… and the very heart of the Constitution’. However, some amendments were moved.

A member wanted to remove the mention of specific writs in the provision. He felt that this would constrain judges: they would not be able to evolve new writs in the future. Another member was unhappy with clause 4 that allowed the suspension of the Draft Article – in effect suspending all fundamental rights – which he termed as a ‘dangerous situation’.

It was clarified that the specific writs mentioned in the provision were in existence in Great Britain for a very long time, they have been tried and tested, and most lawyers, judges and jurists were familiar with them. It was further argued that it was near to impossible to improve upon the existing writs and therefore there really was no possibility of new writs emerging. On the question of suspension of the Draft Article, it was argued that is was reasonable to suspend or limit fundamental rights during an emergency, where the very life of the state was in danger.

The Draft Article was adopted with some amendments.