Chapter 12: AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION
Indian Constitution is neither rigid [needing
special procedure to amend like USA etc.] nor flexible
[can be amended as
ordinary laws]. It is a synthesis of both. Article 368
deals with matters
regarding amendment to the constitution. After the
Keshavnanda bharati case, SC
ruled that parliament can’t amend the “basic structure of
the constitution” [a
Procedure to amend the
A bill to amend the constitution
must be introduced either by private member or
minister. This doesn’t need
assent of the president. It can be done in any house. It
must be passed by a
special majority i.e. a majority (that is, more than 50
per cent) of the total
membership of the House and a majority of two-thirds of
the members of the
House present and voting.
The same procedure is repeated in
other house and then it is sent to the president for
assent. President must
give assent to it compulsorily.
If an amendment is to the federal
features of the constitution, half the state legislatures
should approve it by
simple majority, then it is sent for president’s assent. A
amendment can’t be made by ordinance. Also no
provision for joint sitting is
available in case of disagreement.
- Passed by a simple majority [not
considered as amendments to the constitution]
- Passed by special majority
- Passed by special majority and
needs ratification by half the state legislatures as
they affect the federal structure of the constitution.
[No time limit for the
states to give decision]. The below parts of the
constitution belong to this
Parts of the constitution that affect Federal
of the President and its manner.
of the executive power of the Union and the states.
Court and high courts.
of legislative powers between the Union and the states.
of the lists in the Seventh Schedule.
of states in Parliament.
of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure
(Article 368 itself).
Thus the constitution has been
kept flexible so as to be able to adapt itself to change.
of the process:
No amendment can originate from
states. Some parts can be amended as a normal legislation.
No time limit given
to states for approval.
There is a wide scope for judicial review in
process due to the amendment procedure being sketchy.
Only half the states need
to be consulted for amending parts related to federal
Important Amendments to the Constitution
- 19th - Abolish election tribunals
- 86th - Right to education.
- 65th - National commission of SC and ST formed.
- 91st - Restrict council of ministers to 15% of legislative assembly.
- 42nd - Added Secular to the preamble. Introduced Fundamental duties. Restricted powers of Supreme court. Made it obligatory for President to follow recommendations of the Cabinet. Thus this was called "Mini Constitution".
- 38th - President and Governor can have ordinance making powers.
- 61st - Voting age reduced to 18 years.
- 26th - Abolished privy purses of Princes.
- 52nd - Controlled defection.
- 88th - Introduction of service tax
- 80th - 29% central revenue shall be shared with states.
- 75th - Rent control tribunals in states.
- 69th - Delhi given National Capital Region status and a legislative assembly.
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