What is doctrine of proportionality?

  • Proportionality is a ground for judicial review. In India, the doctrine of proportionality was adopted by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Om Kumar v. Union of India
  • Proportionality means that the administrative action should not be more drastic than it ought to be for obtaining the desired result.
  • In K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017) case, the court held that any restriction placed on the right must conform to a doctrine of proportionality. This requires few tests,
    1. State action must have a legislative mandate
    2. The action must show that the objective of its law is founded on a legitimate governmental aim
    3. It must be proportionate, i.e., such state action — both in its nature and extent, must be necessary for a democratic society. Further, such action must have no alternative and less intrusive measures available to achieve the same objective
  • The principle of proportionality calls for striking down of laws that are excessively harsh or disproportionate.
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