Keshavananda Bharati’s petition to the Supreme Court in 1970 led to a landmark judgement. He challenged the Kerala government’s attempts to impose restrictions over the mutt property. Keshavananda was the head of Edneer Mutt at Kasaragod in Kerala. He moved the Supreme Court in March 1970 challenging the Kerala government’s takeover of land owned by the Mutt as per the Land Reforms Act of 1969.
Due to this takeover, the Mutt lost its properties and was struggling for funds due to lack of financial resources for charitable activities. Keshavananda sought enforcement of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 14, 19(1)f, 25 and 26. The petition was heard by a Full Bench comprising of 13 judges which was the largest bench in the history of the Supreme Court. In a wafer thin majority,of 7-6, the Court ruled that the basic structure of the Constitution is inviolable and cannot be amended by the Parliament.Keshavananda passed away on Sunday at the age of 79 after being indisposed for a couple of weeks.