THE MAJOR AMENDMENTS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA
The constitution of India was brought into effect on 26th January, 1950. It is considered as the lengthiest constitution and India is considered as the largest democracy of the world. The constitution when enacted had 395 articles in 22 parts and eight schedules. The constitution has been Amended a.k.a changed many times after its enactment. The constitution when brought into effect was suitable for the period of its age but as time passed by and modernization, westernization, green revolution and technologies evolved the need of an evolutionary constitution also came into existence. Thus, the constitution allowed itself to be lawfully amended or changed as per the growing needs. Until now after the amendments combined in the 73 years of independence, the number of articles currently has reached to 448 whereas the total amendments made are 100 amendments. Yet all the other amendments combined do not have the significance of that of the 42nd as well as the 44th amendments. They have been considered as the most crucial amendments in the democracy of the country.
The 42nd Amendment
The 42nd Amendment, is officially known as The Constitution (Forty- Second amendment) Act, 1976. It was brought into effect during the National Emergency by Indira Gandhi led Indian National Congress. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on 2nd November, 1976. Almost all the parts of the Constitution including the Preamble of the Constitution were amended in the 42ndAmendment. Majority of the articles in the Constitution were changed, a few were repealed and some were added.
A committee was set up known as the Swaran Singh Committee, under the chairmanship of Minister of External Affairs, Mr. Swaran Singh. The objective of the committee was to study the question of amendment of the constitution in the light of experience. The 42nd Amendment gave a concrete form to the suggestions given by the Swaran Singh Committee.
The 42nd Amendment not only amended the Articles but also the Preamble. It added the word sovereign and secular; integrity to the preamble. The Preamble was changed from ‘Sovereign Republic Democracy’ to “Sovereign Socialist Secular Republic Democracy”; and ‘Unity of Nation’ was changed to Unity and Integrity of Nation.
The amendment of the following Article took place. Article 31, 31C, 39, 55, 74, 77, 81, 82, 83, 100, 102, 103, 105, 118, 145, 150, 166, 170, 172, 189, 191, 192, 194, 208, 217, 225, 226, 227, 228, 311, 312, 330, 352, 353, 356, 357, 358, 359, 366, 368, 371F. A few major amendments of the Act are stated as follows.
Article 74 was amended, according to which the President of the country shall act on the aid and advice of the cabinet. Accordingly, this decreases the power of the President individually and makes the president more dependent on the Cabinet.
Article 356 was amended, according to which the interval period after which the approval is required by the Parliament during the period of emergency was increased to a year from six months.
Article 357 was amended, according to which the laws that were passed during the period of emergency were not allowed to be changed right after the emergency. This was done in order to ensure the law stays even after the end of emergency. The laws amended in the emergency were allowed to be amended as stated in the provisions of the law.
Article 358 and 359 were amended, according to which the Fundamental Rights of the citizen were suspended; it also suspended enforcing the rights conferred by the constitution during an Emergency.
Article 51A was added in the Amendment that included Fundamental Duties in the Part 4 A.
The powers of Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court were curtailed by the Amendment. The Supreme Court had no power over the amendments made by the Parliament and it could not be changed. Judicial review was curtailed further by curtailing the writ jurisdiction of the court.
Three new Directive Principles were added- Article 39A; Article 43A; and Article 48A were the viz. Equal justice, Free legal aid and Protection of Environment, Forest and Wild Life.
The 42nd Amendment also thereby changed that National Emergency could be proclaimed at a Particular Part and not at the whole of country.
The 44th Amendment
The 44th Amendment is officially known as The Constitution (Forty- Fourth amendment) Act, 1978. It was brought into effect after the National Emergency by Janata Party that had won the general elections of the year 1977. It was passed in the Lok Sabha on 7th December 1978. Many major changes were brought in the 44th Article in order to seek the damages done by the 42nd Amendment.
The 44th Amendment has significance importance in the democracy of this country. As mentioned above the 42nd Amendment changed the entire constitution. The amendment of the following Article took place. Article 19, 22, 30, 31A, 31c, 38, 74, 77, 83, 105, 123, 132, 133, 134, 139A, 150, 166, 172, 194, 213, 217, 225, 226, 227, 239B, 329, 352, 356, 358, 359, 360, 366, 368 and 371F
Article 368A was nullified as the Article allowed the government to amend the constitution merely on its own wish without the involvement of the judiciary.
According to this amendment Right to Property under the Article 31 was removed being a Fundamental Right and was made a legal right under Article 300A.
As per the 44th Amendment, only the President can only declare emergency when he has a written recommendations of the cabinet.
As per the 44th Amendment, Emergency cannot be enacted unless and until the security of India or any Part of the state or its territory is in threat or is being encroached upon through the circumstances of war or external aggression or by armed rebellion.
As per the 44th Amendment, The provisions that snatched the powers from the court to decide the disputed among the election, of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Lok Sabha.
As per the 44th Amendment, the most important freedom was granted that of Right of the media to report freely and without censorship the proceeding in Parliament and Legislature of State as well.
The provisions of the 42nd Amendment stole the basic rights of its citizen without their consent. The powers of Judiciary were repelled from it. The fact that the 42nd Amendment increased the role of Parliament which eventually decreased the Role of Judiciary and Executive was supposed to be amended after the 44th Amendment. These amendments are the reason that the basic structure of the Constitution has been declared as well as protected thereinafter.