The Constitution of India is neither flexible nor rigid enough but it is a synthesis of both. So, under article 368 of Part XX (Constitution of India) provided the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedures but cannot amend those provisions which form the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution (As ruled by the Supreme Court in the Keshashavananda Bharti Case, 1973). The Constitution can be amended in three ways:
1. Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament
2. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament
3. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state legislature
Important Amendments to the Constitution
The first Amendment Act to the Indian Constitution was made in the year 1951
According to it, Articles 15, 19, 85, 87, 174, 176, 341, 342, and 376 were amended and Articles 31A and 3IB inserted and Ninth Schedule was added.
The Constitution (24th Amendment) Act, 1971: It affirmed the power of the Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution. After this amendment, the President is bound to assent to Constitution Amendment Bill. Education was transferred to the Concurrent List by this amendment.
The Constitution (31st Amendment) Act, 1973: increased the elective strength of the Lok Sabha from 525 to 545. Under the Act, the upper limit of representatives of the States goes up from 500 to 525 and that of the Union Territories decreases from 25 to 20.
The Constitution (36th Amendment) Act, 1975: By this Act, Sikkim became the 22nd State of the Indian Union.
The Constitution (37th Amendment) Act, 1975: was passed by Parliament on April 26, 1975, to provide for a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers to Arunachal Pradesh, the country’s north-easternmost Union Territory.
The Constitution (39th Amendment) Act, 1975: The Bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on August 7 and received Presidential assent on August 9,1975. The Act places beyond challenge in courts the election to Parliament of a person holding the office of Prime Minister or Speaker and the election of President and Vice-President.
The Constitution (40th Amendment) Act, 1976: This Amendment has a three-fold objective: (1) It places beyond challenge in courts some major Central laws; (2) It gives similar protection to several State enactments, mostly relating to land legislation, by including them in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution; and (3) It provides that the limits of the territorial waters, the Continental Shelf, the Exclusive Economic Zone and the maritime zones of India shall be specified from time to time by law made by Parliament.
The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976: It was enacted during the period of internal emergency. It was passed by Parliament on November 11, 1976 and received Presidential assent on December 18, 1976. The Amendment established beyond doubt the supremacy of Parliament over the other wings of Government; gave the Directive Principles precedence over the Fundamental Rights; enumerated for the first time a set of ten Fundamental Duties. It further imposed limits on the power and jurisdiction of the judiciary; raised the term of the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha from five to six years; authorised the use of Central armed forces in any State to deal with law and order problems, made the President bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers and envisaged the establishment of administrative tribunals for service matters of Government employees and also other tribunals for economic offences. The Act also clearly laid down that no Constitutional Amendment could be questioned in any court of law.
The Constitution (43rd Amendment) Act, 1978: It received the Presidential assent on April 13, 1978. This Act repeals the obnoxious provisions of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act passed during the Emergency. It restores civil liberties by deleting Article 3ID which gave powers to Parliament to curtail even legitimate trade union activity under the guise of legislation for the prevention of anti-national activities. The new law, which was ratified by more than half of the States in accordance with the Constitution, also restores legislative powers to the States to make appropriate provision for anti-national activities consistent with the Fundamental Rights. Under the Act, the judiciary has also been restored to its rightful place. The Supreme Court will now have power to invalidate State laws, a power taken away by the 42nd Amendment Act. The High Courts will also be able to go into the question of constitutional validity of Central laws thereby enabling persons living in distant places to obtain speedy justice without having to come to the Supreme Court.
The Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978: The Constitution (45 th Amendment) Bill, re-numbered as the 44th Amendment came into force on April 30, 1979, when the President gave his assent. The Act removes major distortions in the Constitution introduced during the Emergency. The duration of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies has been reduced from six to five years—the normal term which was extended during the Emergency under the 42nd Amendment to achieve some political purposes. The Right to Property ceases to be a Fundamental Right and becomes only a legal right according to the Constitution 44th Amendment. The Act also extends, for the first time since independence, constitutional protection for publication of the proceedings of Parliament and State Legislatures, except in cases where it is proved to be “malicious”. Another important feature of the Act is that any proclamation of Emergency need henceforward, be issued by the President only after receiving the advice of the Cabinet as a whole in writing. The President will not be called upon to act on the basis of advice by the Prime Minister on his own without consulting his Cabinet. Other safeguards provide that the proclamation will have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the members of both Houses of Parliament within a month. The 44th Amendment provides safeguards against future subversion of the Constitution for establishing an authoritarian regime. It contains provisions which are designed to make it impossible to impose the kind of emergency the country had experienced for 19 months.
The Constitution (45th Amendment) Act, 1980: The Act extends reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in Parliament and the State Assemblies and the representation of Anglo-Indians by nomination for a further period of 10 years.
The Constitution (46th Amendment) Bill, 1982: It seeks to authorise the government to prepare an authoritative text of the Constitution, in Hindi.
The Constitution (52nd Amendment) Act, 1985: The Act has made defection to another party, after elections illegal. Any member defecting to another party after elections will be disqualified from being Member of Parliament or State Legislature.
The Constitution (53rd Amendment) Act, 1986: It confers Statehood on Mizoram and ensures against unnecessary interference by the Central Government with the laws relating to spheres of social relationship and community conduct applicable to Mizoram.
The Constitution (54th Amendment) Act, 1986: It enhances the salaries of Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court of India. The salary of Chief Justice of India will be Rs 10,000; Chief Justice of High Courts Rs 9000; Judges of Supreme Court Rs 9000; and Judges of High Courts Rs 8000.
The Constitution (55th Amendment) Act, 1987: It grants Statehood to Arunachal Pradesh which consequently became the 24th State of the Indian Union.
The Constitution (56th Amendment) Act, 1987: It confers Statehood on Goa and forms a new Union Territory of Daman and Diu. Goa thus became the 25th State of the Indian Republic.
The Constitution (57th Amendment) Act, 1987: It made a special provision for the setting up of the new State of Goa. Consequently Daman and Diu were separated from the former to form a Union Territory.
The Constitution (58th Amendment) Act, 1988: It provides for special arrangements with regard to reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in the States of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. By amending Article 322 the adjustment of seats has been frozen until 2000 A.D.
The Constitution (59th Amendment) Act, 1988: It empowered the Central Government to impose Emergency in Punjab when deemed necessary. Under the amendment, President’s rule can be extended up to three years. Earlier maximum period was two years.
The Constitution (61st Amendment) Act, 1989: It lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
The Constitution (62nd Amendment) Act, 1989: It provided for the extension by another 10 years of reservation of seats in the Parliament and State Assemblies for the Scheduled Castes and Tribes and reservation for Anglo Indian community by nomination.
The Constitution (63rd Amendment) Act, 1989: It repealed Amendment 59 which empowered the government to impose emergency in Punjab.
The Constitution (64th Amendment) Act, 1990: It extended the President’s rule in Punjab by six months.
The Constitution (66th Amendment) Act, 1990: To bring land reforms within the purview of 9th Schedule of the Constitution.
The Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991: Delhi made National Capital Region. The Act also made provision for Legislative assembly and a council of ministers for Delhi.
The Constitution (70th Amendment) Act, 1992: Before this act was made Article 54 relating to the election of the President provided for an electoral college consisting only of the elected members of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of the States (not of Union Territories). The amendment provide for inclusion of members of legislature of Pondicherry and Delhi.
The Constitution (71st Amendment) Act, 1992: The act amends the 8th Schedule to the Constitution to include Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali Languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
The Constitution (72nd Amendment) Act, 1992: To make temporary provision for the determination of the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the State assembly of Tripura, until the re-adjustment of seats is made on the basis of the first census after the year 2000 under article 170 of the Constitution.
The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992: To ensure direct election to all seats in Panchayats; to reserve seats for SCs and STs in proportion to their population; and for reservation of not less than one third of the seats in Panchayats for women.
The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992: was made to ensure direct election to all seats in Nagarpalikas and Municipalities.
The Constitution (75th Amendment) Act 1994: It provides for setting up of State-level Rent Tribunals to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts, except that of the Supreme Court, under Article 136 of the Constitution.
The Constitution (76th Amendment) Act, 1994: It relates to the Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutes and of appointments or posts in the Services under a State, for Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The Supreme Court had ruled on November 16, 1992, that the total reservations under Article 16(40) of the Constitution should not exceed 50 per cent.
The Constitution (77th Amendment) Act, 1995: According to this Act, the Government have decided to continue the existing policy of reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
The Constitution (78th Amendment) Act, 1995: It includes land reform laws in the Ninth Schedule so that they cannot be challenged before the courts.
The Constitution (79th Amendment) Act, 1999: It extends the reservation of seats for SC, ST and Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies for next 10 years.
The Constitution (80th Amendment) Act, 2000: It deals with an alternative scheme for sharing taxes between the Union and the States.
The Constitution (81st Amendment) Act, 2000: It provides that the unfilled vacancies of a year reserved for SC/ST kept for being filled up in a year as per Article 16, shall be considered separately for filling vacancies in the succeeding year and the previous list will not be considered for filling the 50% quota of the respective year.
The Constitution (82nd Amendment) Act, 2000: It provides that nothing in the Article 355 shall prevent the State from making any provisions in favour of the members of SC/ST for relaxation in qualifying marks with respect to examination/job/promotion.
The Constitution (83rd Amendment) Act, 2000: The Act amended Article 243 M to provide that no reservation in Panchayats be made in favour of SC/ST in Arunachal Pradesh where the whole population is tribal.
The Constitution (84th Amendment) Act, 2001: Extended ban on readjustment of seats in the Lok Sabha and the state legislature assemblies for another 25 years (i.e., up to 2026) with same objective of encouraging population limiting measures.
The Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001: Provided for ‘consequential seniority’ in the case of promotion by the virtue of rule of reservation for the government servants belonging to the SCs and STs with retrospective effect from June 1995.
The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002: Provides Right to Education until the age of fourteen and early childhood care until the age of six.
The Constitution (87th Amendment) Act, 2003: Provided for readjustment and rationalisation of territorial constituencies in the states on the basis of the population figures of 2001 census and not 1991 census as provided earlier by the 84th Amendment Act of 2001.
The Constitution (88th Amendment) Act, 2003: Made provision for service tax (Article 268-A)
The Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003: Bifurcated the erstwhile combined National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two separate bodies, namely, National Commission of SCs (Article- 338) and National Commission of STs (338-A).
The Constitution (90th Amendment) Act, 2003: Provided for maintaining the erstwhile representation of the Scheduled Tribes in the Assam legislative assembly from the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (Article-332 (6))
The Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2004: Restricted the size of the Council of Ministers (CoM) to 15 percent of legislative members & strengthened the Anti Defection laws.
The Constitution (92nd Amendment) Act, 2004: Included Bodo, Dogri, Santali and Maithali as official languages.
The Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2006: Provided for 27 percent reservation for other backward classes in government as well as private higher educational institutions.
The Constitution (94th Amendment) Act, 2006: To provide for a Minister of Tribal Welfare in newly created Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh States including Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.
The Constitution (95th Amendment) Act, 2010: To extend the reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha and states assemblies from Sixty years to Seventy years
The Constitution (96th Amendment) Act, 2011: Substituted Odia for Oriya
The Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2012: Added the words "or co-operative societies" after the word "or unions" in Article 19(l) (c) and inserted article 43B related to promotion of co-operative societies and added Part-IXB that is The Co-operative Societies.
The Constitution (98th Amendment) Act, 2013: To empower the Governor of Karnataka to take steps to develop the Hyderabad-Karnataka Region.
The Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014: The amendment provides for the formation of a National Judicial Appointments Commission.
The Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015: The term the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015 was in news in the fourth week of May 2015 as the President of India Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 that related to the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh.
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