Important Amendments in the Indian Constitution
India’s constitution is neither rigid nor flexible. Parliament is empowered to amend the Indian Constitution under Article 368, subjected to ‘Basic structure of Constitution’. It is done in three ways:
- By simple majority
- By special majority
- By special majority with ratification by half of the states.
First Constitutional Amendment Act, 1951
- Added Ninth schedule to protect land reforms and other laws from the scrutiny of Judicial review.
- Insertion of new Article 31A and Article 31 B.
- Amended Article 19 by adding three more ground of reasonable restriction on freedom of speech and expression.
Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956
- State reorganization on a linguistic basis. Abolished classification of states into four categories and reorganized them into 14 states and 6 UTs.
- Appointment of a Governor for two or more states.
- Establishment of common High Court for two or more states, extended jurisdiction of the High Court to union territories. Appointment of additional and acting judges of High Court.
- Insertion of new Article 350 A (instruction in mother-tongue at primary education to children belonging to linguistic minority) and 350B (Special Officer for linguistic minorities is provided) in part XVII.
Eighth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1960
• Extended reservation of seats for the SCs and STs and special representation for Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and state legislature.
Twenty-Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971
- Amended Article 368 and Article 13, affirming the power of Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution including fundamental rights.
- When an amendment to the Constitution adopted by both Houses of Parliament is submitted to the President for his approval, he is obliged to give his consent.
Twenty-Fifth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971
- Curtailment of the fundamental right to property.
- Insertion of new Article 31 C, which provides that if any law is passed in order to give result to the DPSP contained in 39(b) and (c), that law will not be considered to be void on the ground that it removes or reduces any of the rights under Article 14, 19 or 31 and will not be challenged on the ground that it doesn’t give effect to those principles.
Twenty-Sixth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971
• Insertion of Article 363 A giving effect to the abolishment of Privy purse paid to former rulers of princely states.
Forty-Second Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976
- Amendment in Preamble by addition of three words- ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and
- Addition of new Part IVA (Article 51 A) for fundamental duties.
- Insertion of new Article 31 D for saving laws in respect of anti-national activities, taking precedence over fundamental rights.
- Insertion of new Article 32 A for Constitutional validity of State laws not to be considered in proceedings under Article 32. Also added Article 226 A for Constitutional validity of Central laws not to be considered in proceedings under Article 226.
- Insertion of three new Articles regarding DPSP.
- Article 39 A: Free legal aid and Equal justice
- Article 43 A: Participation of workers in the management of industries and (ii) Article 48 A: Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife.
- Curtailment of power of Supreme Court and High Court with respect to judicial review and writ jurisdiction.
- Made Constitutional amendment beyond judicial review.
- The tenure (period) of Lok Sabha and State Legislative assemblies raised to 6 years by amending Article 83 and Article 172.
- Frozen seats in Lok Sabha and State
- Parliament is empowered to decide the powers, privileges and immunities of the members and the committees of each House of Parliament and State Legislature by amending Article 105 and Article 194.
- Added new Part XIV regarding administrative tribunal and tribunal for other matters under Article 323 A and 323 B.
- Addition of new Article 257 A for assistance to States by the deployment of armed forces or other forces of the Union.
- Creation of All India Judicial Services under Article 236.
- Facilitated a Proclamation of emergency in operation in any part of the territory of India.
- Made President bound by the advice of Council of Ministers by amending Article 74.
- Amendment in Seventh Schedule by shifting five subjects from the state list to the concurrent list
These are: (a) education, (b) forests, (c) protection of wild animals and birds, (d) weights and measures (e) administration of justice.
- Extended one-time duration of President’s rule from six months to one year.
Forty-Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1978
- Substituted term ‘Armed rebellion’ with earlier ‘Internal disturbance’ in case of national emergency.
- President can proclaim emergency only on the basis of written advice tendered by the cabinet.
- Removal of right to property from the list of fundamental right and recognized as a mere legal right.
- Provided that during national emergency fundamental right guaranteed under Article 20 and Article 21 cannot be suspended.
- Restored the original term of Lok Sabha and State Legislative assembly to five years.
- Restored the power of Election Commission in deciding matters related to election dispute of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Lok Sabha.
- Guaranteed right of the media to report the proceedings in Parliament and the State Legislatures freely and without censorship.
- Set some procedural safeguards with respect to a national emergency and President’s rule.
- Restored the powers of Supreme Court and High Court taken away in earlier amendments.
- In the case of issuing ordinances, the amendment did away with the provision that made the satisfaction of the President or Governor as final justification.
- President can now send back the advice of cabinet for reconsideration. Reconsidered advice, however, is binding on the President.
Sixty-First Constitutional Amendment Act, 1988
• Proposed to reduce the voting age from 21 years to 18 years for Lok Sabha and State legislative assembly election.
Sixty-Ninth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991
• Granted the National Capital a special status among the Union territories to ensure stability and permanence. Amendment also provided with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers for Delhi.
Seventy-Third Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 • Added new Part IX that gave Constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institution. Inserted new Eleventh schedule having 29 functions of Panchayat.
Seventy-Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992
• Granted Constitutional status to Urban Local Bodies. Added ‘The Municipalities’ as new Part XI-A in the Constitution. Inserted Twelfth schedule having 18 functions of the municipality.
Eighty-Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002
• Readjustment and rationalization of territorial constituencies, without altering the number of seats allotted in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative assemblies to be fixed on the basis of 1991 census till 2026.
Eighty-sixth Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002
- Inserted new Article 21-A in the Constitution which provided for free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years.
- Inserted Article 51-A as a fundamental duty which provided for the education of a child between the age of 6 and 14 years.
- Changes in the DPSP Article 45 which provided free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14 years.
Eighty-Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003
• Readjustment and rationalization of territorial constituencies in the states to be fixed as per 2001 census instead of earlier 1991 census.
Eighty-Ninth Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003
• Creation of two separate bodies out of combined body namely ‘National
Commission for Scheduled Castes’ under Article 338 and ‘National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ under Article 338-A.
Ninety-First Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003
- Inserted new clause Article 75 (1A): provides that the total number of ministers, including the PM, in the COM shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of LS.
PM- Prime Minister COM- Council of Ministers LS- Lok Sabha
- Inserted fresh clause Article 75 (1B): Provides that a member of either House of Parliament belonging to any political party that is disqualified on grounds of defection from being a member of that House shall also be disqualified from being a Minister.
- New clause Article 164(1A): Provides that the total number of ministers, including the CM, in the COM shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the State Legislative Assembly.
CM- Chief Minister COM- Council of Ministers
- Inserted new clause Article 164 (1B) which says, a member of Legislative assembly of the State or either House of State Legislature belonging to any political party who is disqualified on the ground of defection for being a member of that House shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a minister.
- Removal of the provision in Tenth Schedule pertaining to an exemption from disqualification in case of the split by one-third members of the legislature party.
Ninety-Seventh Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011
- It gave Constitutional protection to Co-operative societies by making the following changes.
- Right to form Co-operative society as a fundamental right under Article 19.
- Insertion of the new Directive Principle of State Policy under Article 45-B for promotion of Co-operative societies.
- Added new Part IX B under the Constitution as ‘The Co-operative societies’ under Article 243-ZH to 243-ZT.
Ninety-Ninth Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014
• Insertion of new Article 124-A which provided for the establishment of National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for the appointment and transfer of judges of the higher judiciary. However, it was later struck down by apex court and held as unconstitutional and void.
Hundredth Constitutional Amendment Act, 2015
• This amendment gave effect to the acquisition of territories by India and transfer of certain territories to Bangladesh in pursuance of the Land Boundary Agreement and its protocol entered into between the Governments of India and Bangladesh.
Hundred and First Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016
• Insertion of new Article 246-A, 269-A and 279-A for enrollment of Goods and Service Tax (GST) that made changes in Seventh Schedule and course of inter-state trade and commerce.
Hundred and Second Constitutional Amendment Act, 2018
• It provided for the establishment of National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) as a Constitutional body under Article 338-B of the Constitution. It is vested with the responsibility of considering inclusion and exclusion of communities in the list of backward communities for reservation in jobs.
Hundred and Third Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019
- In relation to the current reservation, the reservation of up to 10% for “economically weaker segments” in academic organizations and government jobs has been made.
- It gives effect to the mandate of the Directive Principle of State Policy under Article 46.
- It added new provisions under Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6) to permit the government to ensure the advancement of “economically weaker segments.”
Hundred and Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act, 2020
To extend the reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and states assemblies from Seventy years to Eighty years. Removed the reserved seats for the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies.
Till date, there are 104 amendments have been made in the Indian Constitution since its inception in 1950.