Sushila Rao


This paper delineates the evolution of the Doctrine of Eclipse through judicial pronouncements by exploring its fundamental premises, and then delves into the contentious issue of extending its applicability to post-Constitutional laws. Eminent jurists posit themselves on opposing extremes of the academic spectrum on this point, and contradictory judicial pronouncements add to the confusion. The author submits that much of this debate has centered around whether any distinction can be made between laws void for lack of legislative competence and those void for violating constitutional limitations on legislative power, and whether the word "void" in Article 13(2) is to be accorded a meaning different from the meaning attached to it in Article 13(1); and seeks to explore these controversies in an attempt to clarify the current legal position. Finally, the author seeks to highlight one of the most crucial, yet, in India, often ignored features of the Doctrine, namely, its relevance as a tool for resolution of Centre-State disputes under Articles 251 and 254, and to reflect on whether it has outlived its utility