IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS IN OUR CONSTITUTION
1st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1951 made several changes to Fundamental Rights provisions of the Constitution and provided against abuse of freedom of speech and expression, validation of Zamindari abolition laws and clarified that Right to Equality does not bar the enactment of laws which provide special consideration for weaker sections of the society. These acts and regulations were placed under 9th Schedule. These acts and regulations were awarded judicial immunity i.e. their validity cannot be challenged in any court of law, but present position is that acts and regulations placed under 9th schedule can also be judicially challenged.
7th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1956 reorganisation of states on linguistic basis was made through this amendment act.
26th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971 privy-purses of Princely States were abolished by this amendment in Constitution.
31st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1973 by this amendment number of seats in Lok Sabha was increased from 525 to 545.
42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976. This amendment act is also known as Mini-Constitution of India. Originally we had 395 articles in our Constitution. By this single amendment more than 200 articles of the Constitution were amended. After proclamation of National Emergency (Internal) by the President on 25th June, 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi became a dictator. Union Government constituted a committee under the Chairmanship of Sardar Swaran Singh to recommended desirable amendments in our Constitution. On the recommendations of Sardar Swaran Singh committee, Constitution was amended drastically by 42nd Constitution Amendment Act 1976. Our Constitution was severally damaged by this amendment. Some of the major provisions of this amendment act are as follows:–
(i) The proclamation of National Emergency by President was awarded Judicial immunity i.e. such a proclamation cannot be judicially challenged.
(ii) Tenure of Lok Sabha was increased from 5 to 6 years.
(iii) Preamble of our Constitution was amended. Three new words– Socialist, Secular and integrity were added in our Preamble.
(iv) Fundamental Duties (ten) were added in Part-IV(A), Article 51(A) of our Constitution. (Presently we have (Eleven) Fundamental Duties)
(v) Parliament was awarded absolute power to amend any part of the Constitution to any extent and any such amendment cannot be challenged in any Court on any ground.
(vi) Directive Principles of States Policy (DPSP) were awarded precedence over Fundamental Rights (F.R.).
(vii) The subject Education was transferred from State List to Concurrent List.
(viii) The powers of Supreme Court and High Court were reduced.
(ix) Article 356 was amended, President can proclaim State Emergency for one year instead of 6 months in one go, and the same can be extended up to 3 years by one year each time.
(x) Article 74 of the Constitution was amendment and it was made mandatory for the President to act on the advice of Prime Minister. The option of sending back the advice by the President for reconsideration was abolished.
Reasons of 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, 1976
(a) More powers were transferred from State Governments to Central Government to make Centre Stronger.
(b) To enhance the powers of Prime Minister and to reduce the power of President.
(c) To award absolute power to Parliament regarding amendment in Constitution to any extent and providing these amendments judicial immunity.
(d) To exclude the Courts to Settle Election disputes.
(e) To give precedence to DPSP over Fundamental Rights.
(f) To enhance the powers of legislature and executive and reduce the powers of Judiciary.
43rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1977. After the Lok Sabha election held in March 1977, Congrass Party was defeated and Janta Party under the leadership of Morarji Desai came into power. The leaders of Janta Party were suffers due to emergency. After attaining power in 1977, 43rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1977 was passed to restore the Jurisdiction of Supreme Court and High Courts earlier curtailed by 42nd C.A.A. 1976. This amendment also deleted Article 31(D) which gave special powers to parliament to enact certain laws in respect of Anti National Activities because Article 31(D) was misused to suppress the opposition.
44th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1978. This act is also known as Antidote of 42nd C.A.A. 1976. As severe damage to constitution was made by 42nd C.A.A. 1976, the position of Constitution before 42nd C.A.A. 1976 was restored.
The major provisions of 44th C.A.A. 1978 are as follows:
(i) Tenure of Lok Sabha was reduced from 6 years to 5 years.
(ii) The proclamation of National Emergency by President can be judicially challenged.
(iii) President can send back the advice for reconsideration once.
(iv) Fundamental Rights under Article 20 & 21 rights (right to life and freedom) were made absolute rights and cannot be suspended even during National Emergency.
(v) The ground for proclamation of National Emergency (Internal) was changed from internal disturbances to armed rebellion. Now ground for Proclamation of National Emergency by President is war or External Aggression or Armed Rebillion.
(vi) President can proclaim State Emergency under Article 356 in one go for 6 months instead of one year.
(vii) Fundamental Rights to property under Article 31 was abolished. Now, Right to property is a Constitutional Right under Article 300(A). As now right to property is not a Fundamental Right, we cannot move direct to Supreme Court for protection of our this Constitutional Right.
(viii) President can proclaim National Emergency only on written advice of Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister and the same must be approved by both houses of Parliament within one month by their Special Majority (2/3 majority).
(ix) Now, President can proclaim National Emergency in whole of India, in some parts of India, in some states, one state or in a part of a state.
(x) If Lok Sabha passes a resolution to disapprove National Emergency by its Simple Majority then President is bound to revoke National Emergency.
(xi) If 1/10th members of Lok Sabha i.e., 55 members ask the President to call a Special Session of Lok Sabha to disapprove National Emergency then President is bound to call a Special Session of Lok Sabha within 14 days.
(xii) The maximum period of State Emergency was reduced from 3 years to 1 year (By Six Months in one go and can be extended for another six months only).But under two circumstances, President rule in a particular state can be extended up to 3 years (By Six Months each time).
(a) If there is National Emergency in India or in that particular state or in part of that particular state.
(b) If Election Commission certifies difficulty in holding free and fair elections for the legislative assembly of the concerned state.
On 31st July, 1980 in Minerva Mills vs. Union of India case, Supreme Court declared two provisions of 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1976 as Unconstitutional.
(a) Any constitution amendment by Parliament cannot be challenged in any Court on any ground.
(b) Precedence to DPSP over Fundamental Rights.
52nd Constitutional Amendment Act 1985 (Anti Defection Law). This amendment was passed during Rajiv Gandhi Government to check evil practice of defection. If an elected member of Lok Sabha or State Vidhan Sabha leave his party from whose ticket he was elected and join another party then his membership from the house can be cancelled.
61st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1989. This amendment was made during Rajiv Gandhi Government. Through this amendment, voting age was reduced from 21 years to 18 years.
69th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1991. The name of Union Territory of Delhi was changed to National Capital Territory of Delhi and provision for Legislative Assembly for Delhi was made.
73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992. Constitutional Status was awarded to Panchayati Raj w.e.f. 24-04-1993 by this amendment and placed under XI Schedule (Article 243). We get the inspiration to start Panchayati Raj in India from Article 40 under the DPSP. As now Panchayati Raj has been awarded Constitution status by this amendment, now Panchayati Raj is a Constitutional Body under Article 243 of the Constitution placed under Schedule XI.
74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992. Also known as Nagarpalika Act deals with Municipalities in Article 243(P) to Article 243(ZG), came into force on 1st June, 1993 and placed under XII Schedule of the Constitution.
86th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2002 This amendment provides Fundamental Rights to education to every children between the age of 6 to 14 years under Article 21(A). One more Fundamental Duty (11th) was added in Part-IV(A), Article 51(A). Now it is the Fundamental Duty of every Parent to send their Children between the age group of 6 to 14 years for Primary education.
91st Constitutional Amendment Act 2003 This amendment restrict the maximum size of Union Council of Ministers including Prime Minister to be not more than 15% of the total strength of Lok Sabha and similarly maximum strength of State Council of Ministers in a State including Chief Minister cannot be more than 15% the total strength of Vidhan Sabha. (The minimum size of a State Council of Ministers including Chief Minister cannot be less than 12 in any State. However, Supreme Court ruled that if a Chief Minister forms his State Council of Ministers having less than 12 minister including himself, even then the State Council of Minister cannot be called Unconstitutional.)
92nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2004 VIII schedule of our Constitution has list of official Indian Languages— (English is not included). Originally 14 Indian Languages were in this schedule. Presently this schedule has 22 Indian Languages. By 92nd Constitutional Amendment Act 2004, four Indian Languages were included in this list— Bodo, Dogri, Santhali, Maithili.
99th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2014
(121st Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2014)
The Collegiums of Supreme Court recommends names for appointment as Chief Justice of India, Judges of Supreme Court. Chief Justice of High Courts, Judges of High Courts and transfer of Chief Justice and Judges of a High Court to another High Court. Collegium consist of Chief Justice of India and four Senior Judges of Supreme Court. There is no transparency or accountability in this system recommendation of names for appointment in Higher Judiciary or in their transfers.
Modi Government came to power in May, 2014 and to make appointment and transfers process in higher Judiciary more transparent and accountable, the necessary amendment in our Constitution was made through 99th C.A.A. 2014. This amendment provide for formation of a National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC). NJAC was established on 13th April, 2015 under Article 124(A) to replace the collegium system. CJI Justice H.L. Dattu refuse to take part in NJAC.
Composition of NJAC
NJAC had six members including Chairperson:
Chairperson- (Ex. Officio - Chief Justice of India)
Member -(Ex. Officio - Senior Judge of Supreme Court)
Member - (Ex. Officio - Senior Judge of Supreme Court)
Member - (Ex. Officio - Union Minister of Law & Justice)
Member - These two eminent members to be nominated by a Committee Consisting of CJI + PM + Leader of opposition (L.S.). At least one member will be from SC/ST/OBC/ Minority/woman)
Member - These two eminent members to be nominated by a Committee Consisting of CJI + PM + Leader of opposition (L.S.). At least one member will be from SC/ST/OBC/ Minority/woman)
Two eminent members shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination.
Functions of NJAC
1. To recommend names for appointment as CJI, Judges of Supreme Court, Chief Justice and Judges of various High Court and transfer of Chief-Justice and Judges of a High Court to another High Court.
2. To ensure that the person recommended are of ability and should meet merit and other criteria mentioned in regulations related to the act.
The NJAC shall not recommend a person for appointment if any two members do not agree to such recommendation.
Present position of NJAC
A petition was filed in Supreme Court challenging the Constitutional Validity of NJAC. Supreme Court accepted the petition and stayed NJAC to make any recommendations. Supreme Court on 16th October, 2015 scrapped NJAC stating it as an Unconstitutional body as it violates Articles 50 of Constitution under Directive Principles of State Policy (D.P.S.P.). Article 50 states separation of judiciary from executive. Supreme Court ruled that D.P.S.P. comes under basic structure of the Constitutional and Parliament cannot amend the basic structure of the Constitution.
Union Govt. filed a review petition in Supreme Court. Five Judges Constitution Bench of Supreme Court headed by CJI Ranjan Gagoi dismissed review petition against striking down of NJAC and ruled Collegium system to stay.
NJAC could not make even a single recommendation, earlier due to stay by Supreme Court and later on declaration of it as an Unconstitutional Body. At present, system of Collegium of Supreme Court has been prevailing in our Country.
100th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2015
(119th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2013)
By this amendment we resolved 45 years long Border dispute with Bangladesh. We received 51 Bangaldeshi Enclaves and Bangladesh received 111 Indian Enclaves. Enclaves exchanged on mid-night of 31st July, 2015. India lost about 40 sq. kilometre of area, but the border dispute with Bangladesh was resolved.
101st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016
(122nd Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2014)
Goods & Service Tax (GST):
In India we used to have more than 17 indirect taxes such as a excise duty, service tax, VAT, entertainment tax, taxes on lotteries, Betting, and gambling, entry tax, octroi, luxury tax etc. The whole taxation system was very cumbersome, difficult to operate and used to breed corruption. The effort to bring all indirect taxes under one tax (GST) was started by Atal Bihari Government during 1999 to 2004. Congress Party apposed the plan to implement GST by Atal Bihari Government. During Manmohan Singh government between 2004 to 2014, Union government tried to implement GST but was apposed by BJP. Modi Government came into power in May, 2014 and started planning to implement GST to boost Make in India programme, to invite Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), to easy the taxation system and to stop tax evasion and corruption. This time the efforts of Modi Government to implement GST were apposed by Congress and other opposition parties.
GST system has been working successfully in more than 165 Countries. France was the first country to implement GST to reduce tax evasion. We have chosen Canadian Model of GST. Finally GST was implemented in India with w.e.f. 1st July, 2017 through 101st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2016. We have merged 17 indirect taxes into one tax (GST).
GST is regulated by GST Council with its Head Quarter (Secretariat) at Delhi. Union Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitaram) is Ex-officio Chairperson of GST Council. Minister of State Finance (Pankaj Choudhary) is ex-officio Deputy Head. Finance Minister of all states and representative of Union Territories are also members of GST Council. Union Revenue Secretary (Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey) is ex-officio secretary of GST Council. Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi do take part in GST Council as representative of Delhi.
Five Petroleum Products (Petroleum Crude, Diesel, Petrol, ATF (Aviation Turbine Fuel) & Natural Gas) and Alcohol for human consumption has been temporarily kept out of perview of GST. Different taxes such as Excise duty, VAT etc are still applicable on these items instead of GST.
GST is a 4 tier system with tax rate as 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.
We have different slabs of GST rate as follows:
Exempted Goods (No GST is applicable) – Rakhi, bread, Salt, Sanitary napkin, Fruits & vegetable, cereals, Contraceptives, semen, human blood vaccines, live animals except horses, maps, book, newspapers, eggs, kajal, etc.
GST 5% - Frozen vegetables, fertilizers, spices, plastic waste, etc.
GST 12% - Ghee, Nuts, purses, hand bags, cell phones, etc.
GST 18% - hair oil, shampoo, mineral water, washing machine, T.V., video game etc.
GST 28% - Luxury Cars, Cigarettes, Pan Masala, Luxury watches, Aerated Drinks, etc.
102nd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2018
(123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017)
We had National Commission for Backward Classes as a statutory body. To give this Commission a Constitutional Status as per as National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) and National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST), 102nd C.A.A., 2018 was made. This amendment inserted Article 338 (B) to provide more powers to (NCBC) and upgraded its status from Statutory Body to a Constitutional Body.
The Chairperson and Members of NCBC are appointed by President.
Tenure of Chairperson and Members is three years, Chairperson is appointed from among who is or has been a judge of Supreme Court or High Court.
Members of the Commission are social scientists and have special knowledge of matters relating to backward classes.
This Commission has a secretary. The rank of Secretary of the Commission is equal to the secretary in Union Government.
Composition of (NCBC)
Chairman Bhagwan Lal Sahni
V. Chairman Dr. Lokesh Prajapati
Member Achary Thalloju
Member Sudha Yadav
Member Kaushlendra Sugh Patel
Secretary Anand Kumar
The Commission Considers inclusions and exclusions from the list of Communities notified as backward for reservations in government jobs and in educational institutions and tender the needful advice to the Central Government.
Initially NCBC was not empowered to look into the grievances of persons of other backward classes but consequent to 102nd CAA, 2018 and the insertion of Article 338-B, these powers are now vested in NCBC. NCBC now has more teeth.
103rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019
(124th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019)
By this amendment Article 15 & 16 of the Constitution has been amended by adding a clause which allows states to make special provisions for the advancement of any Economically Weaker Sections of citizens. This amendment provides 10% reservation in government jobs and in educational institutions to Economically Weaker Classes in General Category.
Criteria of Economically Weaker Section in General Category for availing this reservation:
(1) Annual income should less than Rs. 8 lakh.
(2) Must not owning more than 5 acres of agriculture land.
(3) Must not own a flat of 1000 sq. feet. or more.
(4) Must not have land of 100 sq. yards. or more in notified municipality areas and 200 sq. yards. or more in non notified areas.
Union Government has implemented the provision of this act w.e.f. 14th January, 2019. Provisions of this act are applicable in all government jobs, in all government educational institutions, in Private Schools but not in minority institutions.
The act was challenged in Supreme Court on the ground that this act is against the verdict of Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney vs.Union of India case, 1992 in which Supreme Court had laid a cap of 50% on quotas i.e., reservation cannot exceed more than 50%. Supreme Court accepted the petition but refused to give stay on its implementation. Later Supreme Court ruled the provisions of this act as Constitutional.
125th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019
The Constitution 125th Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced in R.S. by the then Home Minister Rajnath Singh on 6th February, 2019. The Bill amends provisions related to Finance Commission and the Sixth schedule of the Constitution. The Sixth Schedule is related to the administration of tribal areas in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura & Mizoram.
(The Bill is still pending for the approval of Parliament).
104th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2019
(126th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2019)
We have reservation for Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribes in Lok Sabha and in State Legislative Assembles for the last 70 years. This reservation was expiring on 25th January, 2020. By this amendment the reservation has been extended for another 10 years i.e., upto 25th January, 2030. By this amendment reservation has been extended for a period of seventy years to eighty years). Also by this amendment the provision of nomination of two seats in Lok Sabha by the President nomination of one seat each in 14 state assemblies by the state the then governor from Anglo Indian Community has been removed. The reason cited by then Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is that the Anglo Indian Population in India was Just 296 in the 2011 census though number is disputed.
105th Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2021
(127th Constitution Amendment Bill 2021)
Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar introduced 127th Constitution Amendment Bill 2021 in Lok Sabha on 9th Aug 2021, to restore the power of states to make their own OBC lists. This bill was been introduced to bypass Supreme Court ruling of 5th May 2021 in which Supreme Court Struck down the Maharashtra Govt Law which gave reservation for Maratha Community in education and in state govt jobs in Maharashtra and said it violates “right to equality”. Supreme Court said that only the centre could notify Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC’s) and not the states. President on the basis of recommendations of National Commission for Backward Classes would determine which communities would be included in states OBC lists.
The amendment is necessary to restore the powers of state government to maintain a state list of OBC’s which was taken away by Supreme Court interpretation. If the state list gets abolished, nearly 671 OBC communities would lose access to reservations in educational institutions & in govt jobs. This could adversely impact nearly 1/5th of the total OBC communities.
The purpose of this bill is ensure that states can maintain the state list of OBC’s as was the system prior to Supreme Court judgment. The state OBC’s list will be completely taken out of the ambit of president and will be notified by the state assembly.
As we know Jats in Haryana, Marathas in Maharashtra, Patels in Gujrat, Gurjars in Rajasthan, Lingayats in Karnataka etc. have been demanding inclusion of their castes in OBC list. The states will become competent by this amendment to include these castes in their state OBC’s lists and provide them reservation in educational institutions and in state govt. jobs.
Elections for the 5 State Legislative Assemblies are in pipeline. Ruling BJP plans to get support from OBC communities especially in crucial Uttar Pradesh. The Political angle of this bill has forced the opposition parties too to support the bill. They have no option but to support the bill.
This Bill required to be passed by both houses of Parliament separately by their special majority i.e by 2/3rd majority. No joint sitting of Parliament can be held to pass a Constitutional Amendment Bill, Money Bill or Finance Bill.
Earlier Mr. Jimyong Kim from S. Korea was president of WBG but due to differences with Trump administration, he resigned.
This bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 10th August 2021. 386 members supported the bill and no member opposed it. Rajya Sabha passed this bill on 11th August 2021 by 187 votes with no vote in opposition.
After getting the accent of President on 18th August 2021, this bill became. 105th Constitution Amendment Act 2021. It shall come into force on such date as the Central Govt may by notification in the official gazette appoint.
105th Amendment Amends Act 338-B and 342A to restore states power to make their own OBC lists annulling Supreme Court judgment of 5th May 2021 in Marathwada Reservation case.
Art. 338-B deals with the structure, duties & powers of NCBC and Art. 342A deals with the powers of the president to notify a particular caste as socially and educationally backward communities (SEBCs).
Members of Parliament have demanded that the 50% ceiling on quotas imposed by Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney case 1992 should be done away because the limit was imposed 30 years ago but the Supreme Court has repeatedly taken a stand that the cap should remain. The Indra Sawhney order spoke about breaching it but only in exceptional circumstances and for communities who are out of the mainstream.