Important Amendment

The Indian Constitution, adopted in 1950, is not a static document but can be amended to accommodate changing circumstances and needs. Amendments to the constitution are made under Article 368. Here are some key points about the process and significance of constitutional amendments in India:

Amendment Procedure

  1. Initiation: Amendments can be initiated by either house of Parliament. In some cases, they may require a special majority in both houses.

  2. Special Majority: Most amendments require a special majority, which means:

    • A two-thirds majority of the members present and voting in each house of Parliament, and
    • A majority of the total membership of each house.
  3. Ratification by States: Some amendments that affect the federal structure or powers of states require ratification by at least half of the state legislatures.

  4. President's Assent: After being passed by both houses and receiving ratification (if needed), the amendment is presented to the President for assent. The President has no discretion in the matter and must give assent.

Significance of Amendments

  1. Adapting to Changing Times: Amendments allow the constitution to remain relevant in changing social, political, and economic circumstances.

  2. Expansion of Fundamental Rights: Amendments have expanded the scope of fundamental rights, ensuring greater protection for citizens.

  3. Reorganization of States: Some amendments have facilitated the reorganization of states along linguistic lines, leading to the creation of new states and union territories.

  4. Protection of Minorities: Amendments have aimed to protect the rights and interests of minority communities in India.

  5. Economic Reforms: Amendments have played a role in implementing economic reforms, such as the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

  6. Political Reforms: Amendments have introduced political reforms, such as the Anti-Defection Law and reservation of seats for women in local bodies.

Controversial Amendments

  • Twenty-Fourth Amendment (1971): Placed the right to property under the directive principles, making it no longer a fundamental right.

  • Forty-Second Amendment (1976): Introduced significant changes, including the words "socialist," "secular," and "integrity" in the Preamble. It also made changes to emergency provisions.

  • Eighty-Sixth Amendment (2002): Introduced the concept of reservation for economically weaker sections among the general category.

  • Ninety-Ninth Amendment (2014): Enabled the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for the appointment of judges, later struck down by the Supreme Court.

Some Important Amendment : 

1. First Amendment Act (1951)

  • Freedom of Speech and Expression: Added reasonable restrictions to the freedom of speech and expression to protect public order, decency, and morality.

2. Seventh Amendment Act (1956)

  • Reorganization of States: Facilitated the reorganization of states on linguistic lines and the creation of new states and union territories.

3. Tenth Amendment Act (1961)

  • Extension of Scheduled Areas: Extended the provisions related to Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes to some tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and Mizoram.

4. Twenty-Fourth Amendment Act (1971)

  • Fundamental Rights: Placed the right to property under the directive principles, making it no longer a fundamental right.

5. Forty-Second Amendment Act (1976)

  • Fundamental Rights: Added the words "socialist," "secular," and "integrity" to the Preamble.
  • Election of President: Laid down the procedure for the election of the President.
  • Emergency Provisions: Made changes to the emergency provisions.

6. Forty-Third Amendment Act (1977)

  • Property Rights: Inserted Article 31C, giving precedence to laws aimed at implementing Directive Principles of State Policy over fundamental rights.

7. Fifty-Second Amendment Act (1985)

  • Anti-Defection Law: Added the Tenth Schedule, commonly known as the Anti-Defection Law, to prevent defection by members of Parliament and state legislatures.

8. Seventy-Third Amendment Act (1992)

  • Panchayati Raj: Provided constitutional status to Panchayati Raj institutions, decentralizing power to rural local bodies.

9. Seventy-Fourth Amendment Act (1992)

  • Urban Local Bodies: Provided constitutional status to urban local bodies, decentralizing power to municipal corporations.

10. Eighty-Sixth Amendment Act (2002)

  • Right to Education: Inserted Article 21A to provide free and compulsory education for children aged 6-14 years as a fundamental right.

11. One Hundred and First Amendment Act (2016)

  • Goods and Services Tax (GST): Introduced a uniform nationwide GST, replacing a complex system of indirect taxes.

12. One Hundred and Third Amendment Act (2019)

  • Economic Reservation: Provided 10% reservation in educational institutions and government jobs for economically weaker sections among the general category.