Doctrine Of Proportionality [UPSC Notes for GS II]

This article will describe in detail the meaning of the Doctrine Of Proportionality for Indian Polity.

These UPSC Notes on the Doctrine Of Proportionality as in the recent judgements are aligned with the UPSC Syllabus and aspirants should prepare this topic for General Studies Paper-II.

The concept of Proportionality was recently talked about in the above-mentioned judgements; hence the topic is important for the IAS Mains.

IAS Exam aspirants can find more notes for UPSC Mains General Studies topics from the links given at the end of the article.

To complement your preparation for UPSC 2021, check the following links:

Doctrine Of Proportionality

Context: Relevance in Puttaswamy (Privacy) judgment and Aadhar judgement.

Hon’ble Chandrachud J. Supreme Court judge in Puttaswamy (Privacy) judgment, notes that any invasion of life or personal liberty must meet the three requirements of:

  • Legality, i.e. there must be a law in existence 
  • Legitimate aim/State interest, which he  illustrates as including goals like national security, proper deployment of national resources, and protection of revenue, social welfare; and
  • Proportionality of the legitimate aims with the object sought to be achieved. There should be a rational nexus between the objects and the means adopted to achieve them. 

Aspirants can refer the UPSC Mains Syllabus at the linked article.

  • The concept of proportionality is used as a criterion of fairness and justice in statutory interpretation processes, as a logical method to assist in discerning the correct balance between the objects of legislation and the means adopted to achieve them.
  • The doctrine of Proportionality is related to the principle of interpretation of statutory provisions which maintain fairness and justice.
  • It is a kind of restriction for the administrative action or legislative enactments from being drastic when it is utilised for securing desired results so that a sense of proportion is maintained between its goals together with preserving public interest with least effect on the rights of the individual.
  • This criterion was also applied in Aadhar case.

Doctrine Of Proportionality (UPSC Notes – GS 2)-Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions about Doctrine of Proportionality


What is doctrine of proportionality in administrative law?

Proportionality means that the administrative action should not be more drastic than it ought to be for obtaining the desired result. This implies that canon should not be used to shoot a sparrow. Thus this doctrine tries to balance means with ends.

Which case introduced the doctrine of proportionality?

In India the doctrine of proportionality was adopted by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Om Kumar v. Union of India.

Aspirants can check BYJU’S UPSC Notes page for free GS1, GS2, and GS 3 notes.

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