Emerging Perspectives in Constitutional Interpretation: A Shift from Originalism to Purposive Interpretation

  • Devansh Sharma
  • Show Author Details
  • Devansh Sharma

    Student at BML Munjal University, India

  • img Download Full Paper


In this Article, my purpose is to explain the evolutionary change in Constitutional Interpretation from originalism to purposive form of interpretation (in the Indian context). To explain such change, I will be looking at two landmark Supreme Court judgements- namely Ak Gopalan and Maneka Gandhi. The article will help the reader understand, how the Indian judiciary has taken a halt from its initial form of interpretation which was based on the intent of the Constitutional makers. And has preferred an approach which signifies the intent of the Constitution itself. In the first part of the article, I will deal with the historical origin of the term ‘procedure established by law’. Here I will examine the reasons which prompted the Constituent Assembly to choose ‘procedure established by law’ over the American ‘due process’ clause. The second part of my article will engage with the case of Ak Gopalan v. State of Madras. In this part I will help the reader understand, how the court applied a narrow and originalist interpretation to Article 21 of the Constitution. The third part of the article will deal with the newer ‘purposive’ form of interpretation adopted by the Indian judiciary in Constitutional interpretation. In this part, first I will begin by explaining the object/purpose of purposive interpretation. Second, how the SC applied the principles of purposive interpretation in the Maneka Gandhi case. Third, how the Indian judiciary since the Maneka Gandhi case has preferred a purposive approach to interpret the Indian Constitution, in its criminal justice system.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 2, Page 2353 – 2359

DOI: https://doij.org/10.10000/IJLMH.114680

Creative Commons

This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


Copyright © IJLMH 2021