GUG8BSMlGfYiGUd7TpCpTpYpBA==

Important Amendments of the Constitution

 Important Amendments of the Constitution

The Amendments to the constitution can be made only by an Act of the Parliament and in no other manner. Curious to know more? Read on.

Introduction

Adopted initially on the 26th of November 1949, the Constitution of India subsequently came into effect on the 26th of January 1950.  In commemoration of the same, this particular day is annually celebrated as the National Law Day/Constitution Day.  It is a sacred document that lays down different provisions which guarantee the fundamental rights of all Indian citizens.  Known as the longest written document in the world, constant changes have been made to the same in the form of Important Amendments of the Constitution.

Historical Amendments 

Article 368 is one of the most important Amendments of the Constitution which granted the Parliament to make required changes to it in the form of amendments.  This article is included in Part XX of the Indian Constitution and elucidates the powers bestowed on the Parliament towards making important amendments to the Constitution.  According to the above provision, important amendments of the Constitution can be made by the Parliament through its constituent power.  This can be done through adding, modifying, or repealing any of the existing provisions in the constitution by ensuring they are in agreement with the basic structure of the constitution which denote key aspects like supremacy, sovereignty, unity, and the democratic and the republic structure of the Indian government.  

Explained further in this article, are the procedures that are to be followed by the Parliament while making important Amendments to the Constitution.

The Procedure for making important Amendments of the Constitution

The first step towards initiating amendments to the constitution is to introduce a bill for that particular purpose in either of the houses of the Parliament – Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.

Introduction of such a bill does not require the permission or approval of the President of India.

Introduction of a bill for making important amendments to the constitution can be done either by a minister or a private individual who is an Indian citizen.  

There is a requirement of a special majority to be fulfilled in each of the houses of the Parliament in which the bill is introduced. 

The majority that is required should be equal to the full membership of the house along with a two-thirds majority of those who are present in the house at the time of the voting process that is conducted for the bill.

The bill should be passed in each of the houses of the Parliament separately.

There is no scope for a joint sitting of both houses and its members in case of a disagreement.

Bills that are introduced with an objective of amending the existing constitutional provisions, require ratification from state legislatures from at least 50% of the total number of states, with a simple majority.

A few important Amendments of the Constitution

Listed below are few of the important amendments to the Constitution that were made over the years.

24th Amendment to the Constitution made in the year 1971

The 24th amendment is an important amendment to the Constitution that invalidated the decision of the court in one of the lawsuits of the 1960s named the I.C Golaknath vs State of Punjab. As per the original ruling of the court in this lawsuit, the Constitution was not permitted to introduce any changes or modifications that might potentially restrict or limit fundamental rights of the citizens.  However, with the 24th amendment that was made in 1971, existing Articles of the Indian constitution – no. 13 and no. 358 to be precise, were amended, and the same denoted introducing minimal or insignificant change to the fundamental rights.

61st Amendment Act introduced in 1989

This was another important amendment of the Constitution that was brought about with an objective of helping the younger citizens of the country.  Through this amendment, the minimum age requirement for voting for both the Lok Sabha elections as well as the Legislative Assembly elections from the former age of 21 years to 18 years.  It was in the month of December 1988, this bill for making amendments to the Constitution was introduced in the Parliament under the visionary leadership of the then Minister for Water Resources, Shri. B. Shankaranand.  He felt that Indian youth are better educated and much more enlightened than their previous generation, and thus, reducing the minimum age to vote would offer them a chance to take active participation in the nation’s politics.  

73rd Amendment Act of the year 1992

This is another important amendment to the Constitution that enabled the village panchayats of the country to operate as independent self-governments.  Under the provisions made by the amendment, it was important that every state in the country have ‘Panchayati Raj’ that would make use of their geographic, social, and political knowledge, to implement the required measures for improvement and progress of their villages.