Textualist Approach:

In its early years, the Supreme Court adopted a textualist approach, focusing on the plain meaning of the words used in the Constitution

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üA.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras (1950) – Court was called upon to interpret the fundamental rights under Part III.

üUnder it, Preventive detention was challenged as inconsistent with Articles 19 (the right to freedom), 21 (the right to life) and 22 (the protection against arbitrary arrest and detention). 

üThe Supreme Court decided that each of those articles covered entirely different subject matter, and were to be read as separate codes rather than being read together.

üIn its early years, the Court read the Constitution literally, concluding that there were no limitations on Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.

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At this phase, the Court began exploring other methods of interpretation.

Appeals to the text of the Constitution were gradually overtaken by appeals to the Constitution’s overall structure and coherence.