Doctrine of Eclipse

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 11, 2022, 13:08

The Doctrine Of Eclipse is a principle that states that any law which is inconsistent with the fundamental rights is not invalid. The conflict or inconsistency in the situation can be exempted through a constitutional amendment. Thus, the amendment will terminate the eclipse, making the law completely valid.

In the Indian Constitution, the Doctrine of Eclipse is contented in Article 13 (1). Article 13 states that any law made before the Constitution ought to be consistent with the Part-III of the Constitution. Therefore, with the introduction of the Doctrine of Eclipse, any law inconsistent with the Part III of the Indian Constitution will not be entirely void. Only the section that infringes on the Fundamental right will be considered invalid.

Elements of Doctrine of Eclipse

  • It should be a law formulated before the commencement of the Indian Constitution.
  • The law is not dead; it is only over-shadowed by fundamental rights.
  • The law in question should have infringements or conflict with the fundamental constitutional rights.
  • If any amendment is made to the fundamental right, it will make the impugned law fully operative.

Crucial Court Cases Related to Doctrine Of Eclipse

Several critical court cases rulings are related to this Doctrine. It is recommended that one does an in-depth study on each of them. To name a few:

  • Bhikaji Narain Dhakras v. State of Madhya Pradesh

The C.P and Berar Motor Vehicles Amendment Act of 1947 was challenged in the court for violating Article 19 (1) (g) of the Indian Constitution.

  • Keshav Madhav Menon v. the State of Bombay

The case was not resolved when the Constitution was implemented. This raised issues about the retrospective nature of Article 13 (1) and usage of the term invalid.

  • Behram Khurshid Pesikaka V State of Bombay

The appellant used another case- State of Bombay and Another v. F. N. Balsara to declare section 13 (b) of the Act void. The appellant drove under the influence and used a prior case to get a favoured judgment.

  • Sagir Ahmed v. State of Uttar Pradesh

The Supreme Court ruled out that the Doctrine of Eclipse was only applicable to laws made before the commencement of the Constitution and not after.

Apart from the court rulings mentioned above, there are several other landmark cases that showcase the applicability and importance of the Doctrine of Eclipse. Its introduction to the Indian Constitution has helped several citizens to protect their rights.

More Current Affair Topics
AIIBAir Masses
Amarnath YatraAshgabat Agreement
Ashuganj PortBengal Sultanate
Bhaja CavesAir Pollutants
Achanakmar Amarkantak Biosphere ReserveAsian Clearing Union

FAQs on Doctrine of Eclipse

Q.1. When was the Doctrine of Eclipse formulated?

The Apex court of Madhya Pradesh formulated the Doctrine of Eclipse in 1955 during the landmark case of Bhikaji Narain Dhakras v. the State of Madhya Pradesh.

Q.2. Does the Doctrine of Eclipse apply to everyone?

No. The Doctrine of Eclipse is only applicable to citizens. The term “void” in Article 13 (2) means it is void against a person who doesn’t have fundamental rights, and non-citizens aren’t given fundamental rights.

Q.3. State the difference between Doctrine of Eclipse and Doctrine of Severability?

The primary difference between them is Doctrine of Eclipse applies to only pre-constitutional laws, whereas the Doctrine of Severability applies to both pre and post-constitutional laws.

Q.4. Explain the implementation of Doctrine of Eclipse for Article 368

The Indian Parliament was making amendments that were essentially weakening the power of the fundamental rights of the citizens. Thus, the Supreme Court applied the Doctrine of Eclipse to Article 368 to take some control away from the legislature. It is the only recorded case where the Doctrine of Eclipse is applied to a post-constitutional law.