Polity Titbits: Important Amendments in the Indian Constitution


26th Apr 2021

First Amendment Act, 1951

  • Empowered the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes.
  • Provided for the saving of laws providing for the acquisition of estates, etc.
  • Added Ninth Schedule to protect the land reforms and other laws included in it from the judicial review. After Article 31, Articles 31A and 31B were inserted.

The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956

  • The Seventh Amendment brought about the most comprehensive changes so far in the Constitution. This amendment was designed to implement the State Reorganisation Act.
  • The Second and Seventh schedules were substantially amended for the purpose of the States Reorganization Act.

Constitutional (10th Amendment) Act, 1961

  • The Tenth Amendment integrates the areas of Free Dadra and Nagar Haveli with the Union of India and provides for their administration under the regulation of making powers of the President.

Constitutional (13th Amendment) Act,1963

  • Gave the status of a state to Nagaland and made special provisions for it.

The Constitution (24th Amendment) Act, 1971

  • It amended Article 13 and 368 with a view to removing all possible doubts regarding the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure thereof.
  • It gets over the Golak Nath ruling and asserts the power of Parliament, denied to in the Golak Nath, to amend Fundamental Rights.

The Constitution (Twenty-fifth) Amendment Act, 1971

  • The 25th amendment of the Constitution in 1971 added a new clause, Article 31C to the Constitution. Up to 1971, the position was that Fundamental Rights prevailed over the Directive Principles of State Policy and that a law enacted to implement a Directive Principle could not be valid if it conflicted with a Fundamental Right.
  • Article 31C sought to change this relationship to some extent by conferring primacy on Articles 39(b) and 39(c) over Articles 14, 19 and 31.

Twenty-Sixth Amendment Act, 1971

  • Abolished the privy purses and privileges of the former rulers of princely states.

The Constitution (Thirty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1974

  • By this amendment twenty State Acts concerning land ceiling and land tenure reforms were added to the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution.

The Constitution (Thirty-eight Amendment) Act, 1975 

  • Made the declaration of emergency by the President non-justiciable.
  • Made the promulgation of ordinances by the President, governors and administrators of Union territories non-justiciable.
  • Empowered the President to declare different proclamations of national emergency on different grounds simultaneously

The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976

  • The Amendment was meant to enhance enormously the strength of the Government. The major Amendments made in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act are: Preamble The characterization of India as ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’ has been changed to ‘Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic’.
  • The words ‘Unity of the nation’ have been changed to ‘Unity and integrity of the nation’.
  • Parliament and State Legislatures: The life of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies was extended from 5 to 6 years.
  • Executive: It amended Article 74 to State explicitly that the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers in the discharge of his functions.
  • Judiciary: The 42nd Amendment Act inserted Article 32A in order to deny the Supreme Court the power to consider the Constitutional validity of the State law. Another new provision, Article 131A, gave the Supreme Court an exclusive jurisdiction to determine question relating to the Constitutional validity of a central laws. Article 144A and Article 128A, the creatures
    of the Constitutional Amendment Act made further innovation in the area of judicial review of the Constitutionality of legislation. Under Article 144A, the minimum number of judges of the Supreme Court to decide a question of  Constitutional validity of a Central or State law was fixed as at least seven and further, this required two-thirds majority of the judges sitting declare law as unconstitutional. While the power  of the High Court to enforce Fundamental Rights remained untouched, several restrictions were imposed on its power to issue writs ‘for any other purpose’.
  • Federalism: The Act added Article 257A in the Constitution to enable the Centre to deploy any armed force of the Union, or any other force under its control for dealing with any grave situation of law and order in any State.
  • Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles: A major change that was made by42nd Constitutional Amendment was to give primacy to all Directive Principles over the Fundamental Rights contained in Articles 14, 19 or 31.
  • The 42nd Constitutional Amendment added a few more Directive Principles – free legal aid, participations of workers in the management of industries, protection for environment and protection of forests and wildlife of the country.
  • Fundamental Duties: The 42nd Amendment Act inserted Article 51-A to create a new part called IV-A in the Constitution, which prescribed the Fundamental Duties to the citizens.
  • Emergency: Prior to the 42nd Amendment Act, the President could declare an emergency under Article 352 throughout the country and not in a part of the country alone. The Act authorized the President to proclaim emergency in any part of the country.

The Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978

  • It reduced the life of Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies again to five years and thus restore the status quo ante.
  • It cancelled 39th Amendment which had deprived the Supreme Court of its jurisdiction to decide disputes concerning election of the President and the Vice-President
  • A new provision was added to Article 74(1) saying that the President could require the council of ministers to reconsider its advice to him, either generally or otherwise and the President should Act in accordance with the advice tendered after such re-consideration. Article 257A was Omitted
  • It has been provided that an Emergency can be proclaimed only on the basis of written advice tendered to the President by the Cabinet.
  • Right to Property has been taken out from the list of Fundamental Rights and has been declared a legal right.

The Constitution (Fifty-first Amendment) Act, 1984

  • The Amendment effectuates some changes in Articles 330 and 332 with a view to provide for reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha for Scheduled Tribes in Meghalaya, Aruncahal Pradesh and Mizoram, as well as in the Legislative Assemblies of Nagaland and Meghalaya.

The Constitution (52nd Amendment) Act, 1985

  • The amendment is designed to prevent the scourge of defection of Members of Parliament and State Legislatures from one political party to another.

 The Constitution (61st Amendment) Act, 1989

  • The 61st Amendment reduces the voting age from 21 years to 18 years for the Lok Sabha and Assembly election.

The Constitution (Sixty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1990

  • Article 338 of the Constitution has been amended for the Constitution of a National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes consisting of a chairperson, vice-chairperson and five other members who shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.

The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991

  • The Amendment Act was to grant Statehood to Delhi as ‘National Capital Territory of Delhi’. It also provides a 70 member assembly and a 7 member Council of Ministers for Delhi.

 The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992

  • April 20,1993 as it got rectification by the State legislatures and was assented to by the President of India. After notification, the Panchayati Raj Institutions have now got Constitutional legitimacy.
  • After part VIII of the Constitution, a separate part IX has been added to the Constitution with the addition in Article 243A and fresh Schedule called Eleventh Schedule enumerating the powers and functions of Panchayti Raj Institutions.
  • The Act provides for Gram Sabha, a three-tier model of Panchayati Raj, reservation of seats for SCs and STs in proportion to their population and one-third reservation of seats for women.

The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 1992

  • The Act provides constitutional status to Urban Local Bodies. After part VIII of the Constitution, a separate part IXA has been added to the Constitution with the addition in Article 243A and a fresh schedule called Twelfth schedule enumerating the powers and functions of urban local bodies has been incorporated.
  • The Act provides Municipal Panchayat, Municipal Council and Municipal Corporation, reservation of seats for SCs and STs in proportion to their population and one-third reservation of seats for women

The Constitution (76th Amendment) Act, 1994

  • This Amendment Act raises the reservation quota of government jobs and seats for admission in the educational institutions in favor of socially and educationally backward classes to 69 per cent in Tamil Nadu.
  • Further, the Amendment Act has been included in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution to exempt it from the purview of judicial scrutiny

The Constitution (Seventy-seventh Amendment) Act, 1995

  • This Amendment has added a new clause (4-a) to Article 16 of the Constitution which empowers the State to make any provisions for reservation in promotions in Government jobs in favour of SCs and STs, if it is of opinion that they are inadequately represented in the services under the State.
  • This has been done to nullify the effect of the Supreme Court Judgment in the Mandal Commission Case (Indra Sawhney vs. Union of India) in which the Court has held that reservation in promotions cannot be made.

The Constitution (80th Amendment) Act, 2000

  • Based on the recommendations of the Tenth Finance Commission, an alternative scheme for sharing taxes between the Union and the State has been enacted by the Constitution (Eightieth Amendment) Act, 2000.
  • Under the new scheme of devolution of revenue between Union and the States, 26 per cent out of gross proceeds of Union taxes and duties is to be assigned to the States in lieu of their existing share in the income-tax, excise duties special excise duties and grants in lieu of tax on railway passenger fares. 

The Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001

  • This Act amended Article 16 (4A) of the Constitution to provide for consequential seniority in the case of promotion by virtue of rule of reservation for Government servants belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 2002

  • With a view to making right to free and compulsory education a fundamental right, the Act inserts a new Article, namely, Article 21A conferring on all children in the age group of 6 to 14 years the right to free and compulsory education.
  • The Act amends in Part-III, Part –IV and Part-IV(A) of the Constitution.

The Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003

  • The Act adds Article 338A and provides for the creation of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes.

 The Constitution (90th Amendment) Act, 2003

  • The Act amends Article 332 and adds section (6) regarding representation in the Bodo Territorial Areas District in the State of Assam.

The Constitution (Ninety-one Amendment) Act,2003

  • The Act makes provisions for limiting the size of the Council of Ministers at the Center and in the States and gives teeth to debar a defector from holding any remunerative political post for the remaining tenure of the legislature unless reelected.

The Constitution (Ninety- third Amendment) Act, 2005

  • Providing reservation for the socially and educationally backward classes, besides the Schedules Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, in private unaided educational institutions.

The Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2012

  • In Part IIIof the constitution, after the words “or unions” the words “Cooperative Societies” was added.
  • In Part IVa new Article 43Bwas inserted, which says: The state shall endeavour to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of the co-operative societies”.
  • After Part IXAof the constitution, a Part IXBwas inserted to accommodate state vs centre roles.

The Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014

  • The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) was established by the Union government of India by amending the constitution of India through the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act201

The Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015

  • Constitution (100th Amendment) Act 2015 ratified the land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh.
  • The act amended the 1st schedule of the constitution to exchange the disputed territories occupied by both the nations in accordance with the 1974 bilateral Land Boundary Agreement.
  • India received 51 Bangladeshi enclaves (covering 7,110 acres) in the Indian mainland, while Bangladesh received 111 Indian enclaves (covering 17,160 acres) in the Bangladeshi mainland

The Constitution (101st Amendment) Act, 2017

  • Introduced the Goods and Services Tax.

The Constitution (102nd Amendment) Act, 2018

  • Constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes

The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019

  • A maximum of 10% Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) of citizens of classes other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15, i.e. Classes other than socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • Inserted Clause [6] under Article 15 as well as Inserted Clause [6] under Article 16.

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