AMENDMENT IN OUR CONSTITUTION
(Part XX Article 368)
Our Constitution is basic law of our Country. Our Constitution is basically governed by Constitutional provisions. Law can never be static but keeps on changing as per the need of the time. Our Constitution was implemented on 26th January, 1950. More than 71 years have passed and many changes in Political, Economic and Social field have been witnessed in our Country. During 71 years we have made 105 Amendment in our Constitution. The Constitution of U.S.A. was implemented in 1789, has been amended 27 times in the last nearly 230 years.
Our parliament has power to amend our Constitution Supreme Court in Beru-Bari Case 1960 ruled that Preamble is not a part of Constitution, but in 1973 in Kashvanand Bharati Case, Supreme Court changed its earlier verdict and ruled that preamble is not only a part of the Constitution but also reflects goal and inspirations of our Constitution. In 1967, in Golak Nath case Supreme Court ruled that parliament cannot amend Fundamental Rights of the citizens, but by 24th Constitution Amendment Act 1971, parliament amended our Constitution to nullify the ruling of Supreme Court in Golak Nath case by awarding power to the parliament that parliament can amend Fundamental Rights of the citizens. 24th C.A.A. 1971 was challenged in Supreme Court and Supreme Court in Keshvanand Bharti case 1973, gave the ruling that parliament can amend Fundamental Rights of the citizens but basic structure of the Constitution cannot be amended. By 42nd C.A.A. 1976, parliament was given absolute power to amend Constitution to any extent and any such amendment in constitution by the Parliament cannot be challenged in any Court of Law.
Supreme Court in 1980 in Minerva Mills case gave the ruling that any amendment in Constitution by Parliament can be challenged in Court of Law. In 2015, Supreme Court scraped National Judicial Appointment Commission established through 99th C.A.A. 2014, stating NJAC as Unconstitutional as it violates Article 50 of the Constitution under Directive Principles of State Policy (Article 50 States separation of Judiciary from Executive). Supreme Court ruled that D.P.S.P. do come under basic structure of the Constitution and basic structure of the Constitution cannot be amended by the Parliament.
The Present situation is that Parliament can amend our Constitution but parliament does not have unlimited power to amend the constitution. Parliament can not amend basic structure of the Constitution and any amendment in Constitution by the Parliament can be judicially challenged.
Constitution Amendment Bill can be introduced in either house of Parliament.
Joint seating of both houses of parliament cannot be held to pass a Constitution amendment bill. It has to be passed by both houses of parliament separately. President cannot use his Veto-Power on Constitution Amendment Bill after it has been passed by both houses of parliament. He cannot return the bill for reconsideration. He has to give his accent on Constitutional Amendment bill after it has been passed by both houses of parliament.
Procedure of Amendment in Constitution
First of all a Constitutional Amendment bill is introduced in either house of the parliament. There are three ways by which parliament can pass a Constitution amendment bill.
1) By simple majority of both houses of parliament.
2) By special majority i.e., 2/3rd majority of both houses of parliament.
3) By special majority i.e., 2/3rd majority of both houses of parliament plus rectification by atleast half of the state legislative assemblies by their simple majority.
(1) Amendments in Constitution that can be done by simple majority of both houses of parliament.
The following provisions in our Constitution can be amended by this procedure:
a) Creation or abolition of a state, any amendment in boundaries of a State, change of name of a state, etc.
b) Any amendment in citizenship provisions in our Constitution.
c) Any amendment in administration of Union Territories provisions in our Constitution
d) Creation or abolition of Legislative Council (Vidhan Parishad) in a state.
2) By special majority of both houses of parliament.
All provisions of our Constitution can be amended by our parliament through this method except provisions mentioned in first and third types.
3) By special majority of both houses of parliament plus rectification by atleast half of the state legislative assemblies by their simple majority.
The following provisions in our Constitution can be amended by using this method:
a) Any amendment in election procedure of President.
b) Any amendment in impeachment procedure of President.
c) Any amendment in three lists under (Article 246) (7th Schedule) under division of Powers.
d) Any amendment in provisions relating to representations of states in Rajya Sabha.
e) Any amendment in Judicial system of the country.
f) Any amendment in revenue provisions between Centre and States.
g) Any amendment in (Article 368) itself.
Note: Preamble of the Constitution has been amended once. By 42nd CAA 1976, three new words were added in Preamble (Socialist, Secular and integrity).