Doctrine Of Eclipse Meaning -
The Doctrine of Eclipse is based on the Principle that a law which violates Fundamental Rights is not nullity or void ab initio but becomes only unenforceable. It is Overshadowed by the Fundamental Rights and remains dormant, but it is not dead.
According to Article 13(1) of the Indian Constitution, all laws in force in the territory of India immediately before the commencement of this Constitution, in so far as they are inconsistent with the provisions of this Part, shall, to the extent of such inconsistency, be void. Such laws are not dead they come alive if the restrictions posed by the fundamental rights of the constitution are removed. Also, such eclipsed laws are operative for cases that arose before the commencement of the Constitution. Hence, the Current Fundamental Rights eclipse the Contravening part of those laws, rendering that part of the law as dormant.
Relevant Case Law -
1) Bhikaji Narain Vs State of Madhya Pradesh (AIR 1955 SC 781)
In this case provision of C.P. and Berar Motor vehicles Amendment Act, 1947 authorized the State Government to make up the entire motor transport business in the province to the exclusion of motor transport operators. This provision, though valid when enacted, became void on the be coming into force of the Constitution in 1950 as they violated Article 19 (1) (G) of the Constitution. However, 1951, clause (6) of Article 19 was amended by the constitution first Amendment Act, as so to authorize the Government to monopolies any business. The Supreme Court held that "the effect of the amendment was to remove the shadow and to make the impugned Act free from all blemish or infirmity".
It became enforceable against citizens as well as non-citizens after the constitutional impediment was removed. This law was merely Eclipsed for the time being by the fundamental rights. As soon as the eclipse is removed the law begins to operate from the date of such removal.
2) Deep Chand Vs State of Uttar Pradesh
In this case, the supreme court held that a post-constitutional law made under article 13 (2) which contravenes a fundamental right is nullity from its Inception and a stillborn law. It is void ab initio. The doctrine of eclipse does not apply to post-constitutional laws and therefore, a subsequent Constitutional Amendment cannot revive it. The Doctrine of eclipse applies only to pre-constitutional law and not post-constitutional law.
Doctrine of 'Precedent' in India