top of page

Case Comment: Keshavan Madhavan Menon V. State Of Bombay

Isha Khurana, BBA LLB (Honours), Jindal Global Law School


The case of Keshavan Madhava Menon v. State of Bombay1 gives us an insight into how fundamental rights, which weren’t in existence before the commencement of the constitution, would interact with pre-constitution laws post said commencement. Here, the appellant was charged with an offence under the Indian Press (Emergency Powers) Act,2 for a publication dated September 1949. The Constitution of India as we know it, wasn’t in existence then. This implies that the fundamental rights granted by part III were non-existent and it was thus put forth by the court that they couldn’t be applied to past events. The judgement goes through the course of analysing whether there is a retrospective nature of the Constitution, more specifically, the fundamental rights. This essay thus seeks to map through and gain a deeper understanding of the rationale provided by the judges in the instant case. The essential aspects of how the judges established the lack of the retrospective effect of the Constitution, and how an individual can’t aim to exercise a right they don’t have at a particular time are addressed. The discourse then dives into the interpretation of multiple key phrases such as the spirit of the constitution, the arguments revolving around the prospective nature of Article 13 (1), and more particularly the letter of the Constitution. Lastly, future developments and precedents that were established due to the Keshavan case are addressed, which highlights the importance this case holds in law as we see it today.

Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

Submit Manuscript: Click here

Open Access Logo


​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

bottom of page