EDEN IAS

AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION | GS ARTICLES

<ul>
<li style=”margin-left:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Article 368 in Part XX of the Constitution deals with the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:11px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>&nbsp;It states that the Parliament may, in exercise of its constituent power, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down for the purpose.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:11px; margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>However, the Parliament cannot amend those provisions which form the &lsquo;basic structure&rsquo; of the Constitution. This was ruled by the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973).</span></span></span></li>
</ul>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>The procedure for the amendment of the Constitution as laid down in Article 368 is as follows</b>:</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>1. An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a bill for the purpose in</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>either House of Parliament and not in the state legislatures.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>2. The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member and does not require prior</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>permission of the president.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>3. The bill must be passed in each House by a special majority, that is, a majority of the total</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>membership of the House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of the House present and voting.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>4. Each House must pass the bill separately. In case of a disagreement between the two Houses, there is</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>no provision for holding a joint sitting of the two Houses for the purpose of deliberation and passage of</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>the bill.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>5. If the bill seeks to amend the federal provisions of the Constitution, it must also be ratified by the</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>legislatures of half of the states by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of the House</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>present and voting.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>6. After duly passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the state legislatures, where</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>necessary, the bill is presented to the president for assent.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>7. The president must give his assent to the bill. He can neither withhold his assent to the bill nor return</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>8. After the president&rsquo;s assent, the bill becomes an Act (i.e., a constitutional amendment act) and the</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Constitution stands amended in accordance with the terms of the Act.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Article 368 provides for two types of amendments, that is, by a special majority of Parliament and also</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Through the ratification of not less than half of the states by a simple majority.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>But, some other articles provide for the some changes of certain provisions of the Constitution by a</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Simple majority of Parliament, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>(Similar to the ordinary legislative process). Notably, these changes are not deemed to be</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Amendments of the Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Therefore, the text of the Constitution can be changed in three ways:</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>By Simple Majority of Parliament</b>:</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>A number of provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two Houses of</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Parliament outside the scope of Article 368. These provisions include:</span></span></span></p>

<ul>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Admission or establishment of new states.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>&nbsp;Second Schedule&ndash;emoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of the president, the governors, the Speakers, judges, etc.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Quorum in Parliament.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Rules of procedure in Parliament.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Use of English language in Parliament.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Number of puisne judges in the Supreme Court.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Conferment of more jurisdiction on the Supreme Court.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Use of official language.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Citizenship&ndash;acquisition and termination.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Elections to Parliament and state legislatures.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Delimitation of constituencies.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Union territories.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Fifth Schedule&ndash;administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Sixth Schedule&ndash;administration of tribal areas.</span></span></span></li>
</ul>

<p style=”margin-left:48px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b><span style=”font-size:12.0pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”>By Special Majority of Parliament:</span></span></b></span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-left:48px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>The majority of the provisions in the Constitution need to be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, that is, a majority of the total membership of each House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting. The expression &lsquo;total membership&rsquo; means the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of fact whether there are vacancies or absentees. &lsquo;</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-left:48px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>The provisions which can be amended by this way include:</b></span></span></span></p>

<ul>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Fundamental Rights;</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Directive Principles of State Policy; and</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:8px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>All other provisions which are not covered by the first and third categories.</span></span></span></li>
</ul>

<ul>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>By Special Majority of Parliament and Consent of States:</span></span></span></li>
</ul>

<p style=”margin-left:48px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Those provisions of the Constitution which are related to the federal structure of the polity can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and also with the consent of half of the state legislatures by a simple majority. If one or some or all the remaining states take no action on the bill, it does not matter; the moment half of the states give their consent, the formality is completed. There is no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill.</span></span></span></p>

<p style=”margin-left:48px”>&nbsp;</p>

<p style=”margin-left:48px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”><b>The following provisions can be amended in this way:</b></span></span></span></p>

<ul>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Election of the President and its manner.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Supreme Court and high courts.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the states.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Goods and Services Tax Council.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Any of the lists in the Seventh Schedule.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Representation of states in Parliament.</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (Article 368 itself).</span></span></span></li>
<li style=”margin-left:56px; margin-bottom:13px”><span style=”font-size:11pt”><span style=”line-height:115%”><span style=”font-family:Calibri,sans-serif”>Federal features can be amended only after the ratification by not less than half of the states is obtained.</span></span></span></li>
</ul>

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