What is a Constitutional Bench?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The Constitutional Bench refers to the judiciaries of the Indian Supreme Court, which must consist of at least five judges. The judges convene to hear any case “regarding a valuable question of legislation as to the interpretation” of the Indian Constitution or “to hear any reference” made by the President of India under Article 143.

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Constitutional Bench

Smaller Courts have also ruled on constitutional issues in a number of cases. Only by judicial order can a topic be referred to a larger Bench. Many of India’s most well-known Supreme Court cases have been chosen by Constitution benches, including:

  • Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (basic structure doctrine)
  • Ashoka Kumar Thakur v. Union of India (OBC reservations)
  • A. K. Gopalan v. State of Madras.

Article 145 (3) of the Indian Constitution requires this provision. The Chief Justice of India has the authority to form a Constitution Bench and refer issues to it.

However, a 13-judge Court was formed without a judicial declaration of reference to examine the well-known Kesavananda Bharati judgment and had to be dissolved after two days of tense hearings.

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