The Indian Constitution‘s Article 13, which is divided into four sections, strengthens and adds substance to the idea of basic rights. This article safeguards a person’s basic rights by declaring any law that interferes with freedom or is in any manner incompatible with a person’s fundamental rights to be invalid.

What is stated in Article 13?

(1) To the extent that they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, all laws that were in effect on Indian territory before the beginning of this Constitution shall be void.

(2) No law may be passed by the State that eliminates or restricts the rights granted by this Part, and any law that does so shall be null and void to the extent of the violation.

(3) Unless the context clearly dictates otherwise, law in article 13 refers to any ordinance, order, byelaw, rule, regulation, notification, custom, or usage that has the force of law in the territory of India. Laws that are currently in effect include any laws passed or made by the legislature or another competent authority in the territory of India prior to the start of this Constitution, even though they may not have been in effect at the time.

(4) This article does not apply to any changes made to the Constitution under Article 368, the Right to Equality.

Important cases involving article 13
  • The Supreme Court ruled in Ahmedabad Women’s Action Group v. Union of India (1997) that if religion personal laws are included in the laws that the legislature has codified, then the codification must be for the protection of fundamental rights.
  • The conundrum raised by the Narasu decision persists in the Triple Talaq decision and even afterward, further clouding the scope and meaning of law and “law in force” as stated in Article 13(3)(a) and (b).
  • The Hon’ble Supreme Court got the chance to observe the addition of personal laws in Article 13 in the 2017 case Shayara Bano v. Union of India and Ors. (commonly known as the Triple Talaq judgment). The Court, however, held that Muslim men’s rights to issue triple talaq and obtain divorces were arbitrary and unjustified because Shariat law is a statutory law that has been codified by the central legislative assembly.
  • According to Justice Fali Nariman and Justice Lalit, the 1937 Act qualified as a “law in force” under Article 13(3)(b). The Triple Talaq statute was declared incompatible with the Indian Constitution as a result. Justice Nariman also questioned the application of the Narusu Judgment that distinguished between the two categories of law.


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