Vol.No. XLIV 15 May 2000 R.No.3
(25 Vaisakha 1922)
REVIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION
This service seeks to provide reference information on Indian Constitution and its review. A National Commission was recently set up to review the working of the Constitution for examining in the light of the experience of the 50 years since it came into effect and to recommend changes to ensure a healthier and more effective working of parliamentary democracy .
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
(Ministry of Information and Broadcasting)
REVIEW OF THE CONSTITUTION
The Indian Constitution is a written Constitution and is the primary source of authority within a state. In this fundamental law lies the explanation of legislatures power to make laws , the executives power to govern and administer, and the judiciarys power to adjudicate. For the successful working of a democratic government, all three constituents should function within the framework of the Constitution. The Constitution being supreme, all the organs and bodies owe their existence to it.
The Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949 and was signed by Dr Rajendra Prasad the then Chairman of the Constituent Assembly. The Constitution came into force on 26 January 1950. It was chiseled and shaped by great political leaders and legal luminaries, most of whom had taken an active part in the struggle for freedom from the British yoke and who knew what domination of a foreign rule meant in the way of deprivation of the basic freedoms.
The Constitution is an organic document which must grow and take stock of the vast socio-economic problems, particularly that of improving the lot of the common man consistent with his dignity and the unity of the nation.
It is nobodys case that Constitution should never be altered. The inviolibility of the Constitution may be a plea for status-quoism in monarchy but will be most absurd in a democracy. It is for this reason that every Constitution has a built-in provision for amendment. The Indian Constitution is no exception.
The founding fathers while framing the Constitution visualised that this comprehensive, social and revolutionary document with its elements of growth, dynamism, expansion and flexibility could be used by the people to build a modern India according to their needs, hopes and aspirations following the rule of law.
Several members of the Constituent Assembly including Pandit Nehru were of the view that "no Constitution should be totally rigid. A Constitution should have an in-built element of flexibility, and the capacity to adapt to the changing needs."
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar felt that "however good a Constitution may be, it is sure to turn out bad because those who are called to work it, happen to be a bad lot. The working of a Constitution does not depend wholly upon the nature of the Constitution. The Constitution can provide only the organs of the State such as the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The factors on which the parties they will set up as their instruments to carry out their wishes and their politics. Who can say how the people of India and their parties will behave ?"
The Constitution vests in the Parliament the power to amend the Constitution. Constitution Amendment Bills can be introduced in either House of the Parliament . While motions for introduction of Constitution Amendment Bills are adopted by a simple majority, a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting is required for the adoption of effective clauses and motions consideration and passing of these Bills. Constitution Amendment Bills on vital issues as enlisted in the provision to Article 368 (2) of the Constitution after being passed by both the Houses of Parliament, have also to be ratified by not less than one half of the state legislatures.
Indian Constitution is much more flexible than many written and federal Constitutions. In Switzerland, amendments require a referendum, in the United States, they may be proposed only by the Congress and must be approved by both Houses and subsequently ratified by the state legislature; and Australia has a procedure which includes both legislature majorities and referendums.
Despite 79 amendments so far in the Constitution, much still needs to be done regarding the problems relating to land reforms, unemployment, literacy and child labour.
It is in this context that the "National Commission to Review the working of the Constitution" has been constituted. It was formally set up with the issuance of a notification by the Centre on 22 February 2000. The Commission shall examine in the light of the experience of past 50 years as to how far the existing provisions of the Constitution are capable of responding to the needs of efficient, smooth and effective system of governance and socio-economic development of modern India and to recommend changes, if any, that are required to be made in the Constitution within the framework of Parliamentary democracy and without interfering with the basic structure or basic features of the Constitution.
The members of the Commission, headed by former Chief Justice of India M.N. Venkatachaliah, are the Law Commission Chairman B.P. Jeevan Reddy, Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee, former Supreme Court Judge who headed a Commision on centre-state relations, R.S.Sarkaria, former Attorney-General K.Parasaran ,former Speaker of Lok Sabha P.A.Sangma, former Andhra Pradesh High Court Judge Kondapalli Punniah, former Secretary General of the Lok Sabha Subhash Kashyap, Editor-in-Chief of The Statesman, C.R. Irani, former Ambassador to the United States Abid Hussain, and Mahatma Gandhis grand-daughter and former member of Parliament, Sumitra Kulkarni.
The Commission has clarified that its purpose is to "review" and not to rewrite the working of the Constitution and its function is essentially advisory in nature.
The Areas of study of the Commission are :-
Strengthening the institutions of Parliamentary democracy and their accountability - the grave and persisting menace of unprincipled defections.
The Commission has decided to invite public suggestions regarding the areas that it should examine in course of its review of the working of the Constitution. The Commission proposes to prepare a consultation paper on each of these areas along with a questionnaire. This consultation paper and the questionnaire will be placed on the Commissions website portal on the Internet for access to the general public and for eliciting its response and suggestion. Thereafter, the proposed recommendations of the Commission shall again be put to public debate. After considering the various view-points and responses, the Commission would formulate and forward its recommendations to the Government of India.
This exercise on the Review of the Constitution has been in the eye of a controversy and has invited diverse opinions from varied quarters.
President K.R. Narayanan cautioned the government against "revising" the Constitution or the Parliamentary form of Government and categorically stated that the Constitution has not failed us; rather we have failed the Constitution. This was followed by a clarification from the Government that the proposed review would be very much within the framework of the parliamentary form of government and that the basic features of the Constitution would be out of its purview. Later, however the President in his address to the joint session of the Parliament on 23 February 2000 justified the review as it had become necessary to examine the experience of the past 50 years while keeping the Constitutions basic structure inviolate. He also said that the intention of Governments decision was to "better achieve the ideals enshrined in the Constitution." He made it clear that the recommendations of the Commission would be placed before the Parliament which is "the supreme decision-making body in Indian democracy."
Fierce opposition to the proposed review from some sources is based on the standpoint that the commission is simply a platform of the government for giving shape to its covert agenda.
Observers are of the firm opinion that the elected representatives should realise that the Constitution is both a social and a political document which should be treated with respect and not be converted into a plaything by the parties. The need of the hour is a stable Constitution and a mature democracy. The country is crying out for a new political and administrative culture aimed at realisation of the Constitutional goals.
The stability of the Government mainly depends upon the political behaviour of the leaders and their followers in working on the Constitution. Sincere efforts are required to implement the mandate of the Constitution keeping at bay the centrifugal and centripetal forces which are trying to pull the country apart. The elected representatives should be alive to the fact that they have been chosen to serve the people and that sovereignty lies with the people.
This is not the first time that the Constitution is being reviewed. In 1976, a Commission chaired by Sardar Swaran Singh was set up by the Congress Party to re-examine and suggest amendments to the Constitution. The Commission consisted of Congress politicians and lawyer politicians. The end product of the work of this Commission was the enactment of the 42nd Amendment.
Arguments and counter-arguments on the issue of review of the Constitution are rife. What needs to be understood is that the Review Commission is neither a constitutional nor a statutory authority. It is only an agency of the Government created by the Government. Therefore, its opinion and recommendations will not be binding on anyone unlike the resolutions of the Constituent Assembly.
Again, it should be borne in mind that the Constitution is a more permanent document than the transient majority. Unless there are compelling reasons, no useful purpose will be served by a review of the Constitution by a commission no matter how well-informed it is.
The Indian Constitution is the product of the collective wisdom of the legal luminaries, statesmen and national leaders, who debated and argued on many issues for nearly three years. Before reviewing the Constitution it is important to review ones own mindscape and adapt it to the need of the times, so that democracy which is in peril today may be put back on its rails.
Amendments to the Constitution
1. The Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1950This amendment provided for several new grounds of restrictions to the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to practise any profession or to carry on any trade or business as contained in Article 19 of the Constitution. These restrictions related to public order, friendly relations with foreign States or incitement to an offence in relation to the right to freedom of speech, and to the prescribing of professional or technical qualifications or the carrying on by the State, etc., of any trade, business, industry or service in relation to the right to carry on any trade or business. The amendment also inserted two new Articles, 31A and 31B and the Ninth Schedule to give protection from challenge to land reform laws.
2. The Constitution (Second Amendment) Act, 1952By this amendment, the scale or representation for election to the Lok Sabha was readjusted.
3. The Constitution (Third Amendment) Act, 1954This amendment substituted entry 33 of List III (Concurrent List) of the Seventh Schedule to make it correspond to Article 369.
4. The Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955Article 31 (2) of the Constitution was amended to re-state more precisely the States power of compulsory acquisition and requisitioning of private property and distinguish it from cases where the operation of regulatory or prohibitory laws of the States results in "deprivation of property". Article 31A of the Constitution was also amended to extend its scope to cover categories of essential welfare legislation like abolition of zamindaris, proper planning of urban and rural areas and for effecting a full control over the mineral and oil resources of the country, etc. Six Acts were also included in the Ninth Schedule. Article 305 was also amended to save certain laws providing of State Monopolies.
5. The Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act, 1955This amendment made a change in Article 3 so as to empower President to specify a time limit for state legislatures to convey their views on the proposed Central laws affecting areas, boundaries, etc., of their states.
6. The Constitution (Sixth Amendment) Act, 1956This amendment made some changes in Articles 269 and 286 relating to taxes on sale and purchase of goods in the course of inter-state trade and commerce. A new entry 92 A was added to the Union List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.
7. The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956This amendment Act purported to give effect to the recommendations of the State Reorganisation Commission and the necessary consequential changes. Broadly, the then existing states and territories were changed to have two-fold classification of states and union territories. The amendment also provided for composition of the House of the People, re-adjustement after every census, provisions regarding the establishment of new High Courts, High Court Judges etc.
8. The Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Act, 1960Article 334 was amended with a view to extending the period of reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and to the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in Parliament and in the State Legislatures for a further period of ten years.
9. The Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Act, 1960The purpose of this amendment is to give effect to the transfer of certain territories to Pakistan in pursuance of the agreement extended into between Governments of India and Pakistan. This amendment was necessitated in view of the Judgement of Supreme Court in "In Re Berubari Union" by which it was held that any agreement to cede a territory to another country could not be implemented by a law made under Article 3 but would only be implemented by an amendment of the Constitution.
10. The Constitution (Tenth Amendment) Act, 1961This Act amended Article 240 and the First Schedule in order to include areas of Dadra and Nagar Haveli as a Union Territory and to provide for its administration under the regulation making powers of President.
11. The Constitution (Eleventh Amendment) Act, 1961The purpose of this amendment was to amend Articles 66 and 71 of the Constitution to provide that the election of President or Vice President could not be challenged on the ground of any vacancy in the appropriate electoral college.
12. The Constitution (Twelfth Amendment) Act, 1962This amendment sought to include Goa, Daman and Diu as a Union Territory and to amend Article 240 for the purpose.
13. The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act, 1962By this amendment, a new Article 371A was added to make special provisions with respect to state of Nagaland in pursuance of an agreement between Government of India and Naga Peoples Convention.
14. The Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act, 1962By this Act, Pondicherry was included in the First Schedule as a Union Territory, and this Act has also enabled the creation of Legislature by Parliamentary law for Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu and Pondicherry.
15. The Constitution (Fifteenth Amendment) Act, 1963This amendment provided for increase in the age of retirement of High Court Judge and for the provision of compensatory allowance to judges who are transferred from one High Court to another. The Act also provided for appointment of retired judges to act as judges of High Court. Article 226 was also enlarged to empower High Court to issue direction, orders or writs to any Government authority, etc., if the cause of action for the exercise of such power arose in the territories wherein the High Court exercise jurisdiction notwithstanding that seat of such Government authority is not within those territories. The Act also provided for the exercise of powers of Chairman of the Service Commissions, in their absence, by one of their Members.
16. The Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963Article 19 was amended by this Act to impose further restriction on the rights to freedom of speech and expression, to assemble peaceably and without arms and to form associations in the interests of sovereignty and integrity of India. The oath of affirmation to be subscribed by candidates seeking election to Parliament and State Legislatures have been amended to include as one of the conditions that they will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India. The amendments are intended to promote national integration.
17. The Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act, 1964Article 31A was further amended to prohibit the acquisition of land under personal cultivation unless the market value of the land is paid as compensation and the definition of "estate" as contained in that Article had also been enlarged with retrospective effect. The Ninth Schedule had also been amended to include 44 more Acts.
18. The Constitution (Eighteenth Amendment) Act, 1966Article 3 was amended by this Act to specify that the expression "State" will include a union territory also and to make it clear that the power to form a new state under this Article includes a power to form a new state or union territory by uniting a part of a state or a union territory to another state or union territory.
19. The Constitution (Nineteenth Amendment) Act, 1966Article 324 was amended to effect a consequential change as a result of the decision to abolish Election Tribunals and to hear election petitions by High Courts.
20. The Constitution (Twentieth Amendment) Act, 1966This amdnement was necessitated by the decision of the Supreme Courts in Chandramohan vs. State of Uttar Pradesh in which certain appointments of District Judges in State of Uttar Pradesh were declared void by Supreme Court. A new Article 233A was added and the appointments made by Governor were validated.
21. The Constitution (Twenty-first Amendment) Act, 1967By this amendment, Sindhi Language was included in the Eighth Schedule.
22. The Constitution (Twenty-second Amendment) Act, 1969This act was enacted to facilitate the formation of a new autonomous state of Meghalaya within state of Assam.
23. The Constitution (Twenty-third Amendment) Act, 1969Article 334 was amended so as to extend the safeguards in respect of reservation of seats in Parliament and State Legislatures for Schedules Castes and Scheduled Tribes as well as for Anglo-Indians for a further period of ten years.
24. The Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1971This amendment was passed in the context of a situation that emerged with the verdict in Golaknaths case by Supreme Court. Accordingly, this Act amended Article 13 and Article 368 to remove all doubts regarding the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights.
25. The Constitution (Twenty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1971This amendment further amended Article 31 in the wake of the Bank Nationalisation case. The word amount was substituted in place of compensation in the light of the judicial interpretation of the word compensation meaning adequate compensation.
26. The Constitution (Twenty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1971By this amendment, the privy and privileges of the former rulers of Indian states were abolished. This amendment was passed as a result of Supreme Court decision in Madhav Raos case.
27. The Constitution (Twenty-seventh Amendment) Act, 1971This amendment was passed to provide for certain matters necessitated by the reorganisation of north-eastern states. A new Article 239B was inserted which enabled the promulgation of Ordinances by Administrators of certain union territories.
28. The Constitution (Twenty-eighth Amendment) Act, 1972The amendment was enacted to abolish the special privileges of the members of Indian Civil Services in matters of leave, pension and rights as regard to disciplinary matters.
29. The Constitution (Twenty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1972The Ninth Schedule to the Constitution was amended to include therein two Kerala Acts on land reforms.
30. The Constitution (Thirtieth Amendment) Act, 1972The purpose of the amendment was to amend Article 133 in order to do away with the valuation test of Rs 20,000 as fixed therein, and to provide instead for an appeal to Supreme Court in Civil proceedings only on a certificate issued by High Court that the case involves a substantial question of law of general importance and that in opinion of High Court, the question needs to be decided by Supreme Court.
31. The Constitution (Thirty-first Amendment) Act, 1973This Act inter alia raises Eighth Schedule.
32. The Constitution (Thirty-second Amendment) Act, 1973This Act provided the necessary constitutional authority for giving effect to the provision of equal opportunities to different areas of the State of Andhra Pradesh and for the constitution of an Administrative Tribunal with jurisdiction to deal with grievances relating to public services. It also empowered Parliament to legislate for the establishment of a Central university in the State.
33. The Constitution (Thirty-third Amendment) Act, 1974By this amendment, Articles 101 and 190 were amended in order to streamline the procedure for resignation of Members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
34. The Constitution (Thirty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1974By this Act, twenty more land tenure and land reforms laws enacted by various State Legislatures were included in the Ninth Schedule.
35. The Constitution (Thirty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1974By this Act a new Article 2A was added thereby conferring on Sikkim the status of an associate State of Indian Union. Consequent amendments were made to Articles 80 and 81. A new schedule i.e., Tenth Schedule, was added laying down terms and conditions of association of Sikkim with the Union.
36. The Constitution (Thirty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1975This enacted to make Sikkim a full-fledged State of Indian Union and to include it in the First Schedule to the Constitution and to allot to Sikkim one seat each in the Council of States and in the House of the People. Article 2A and the Tenth Schedule inserted by the Constitution (Thirty-fifth Amendment) Act were omitted and Articles 80 and 81 were suitably amended.
37. The Constitution (Thirty-seventh Amendment) Act, 1975By this Act, Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh was provided with a Legislative Assembly. Article 240 of the Constitution was also amended to provide that as in the case of other union territories with Legislatures, the power of President to make regulations for the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh may be exercised only when the assembly is either dissolved or its functions remain suspended.
38. The Constitution (Thirty-eighth Amendment) Act, 1975This Act amended Articles 123, 213 and 352 of the Constitution to provide that the satisfaction of President or Governor contained in these Articles would be called in question in any court of law.
39. The Constitution (Thirty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1975By this Act, disputes relating to the election of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Speaker are to be determined by such authority as may be determined by Parliamentary Law. Certain Central enactments were also included in the Ninth Schedule by this Act.
40. The Constitution (Fortieth amendment) act, 1976This act provided for vesting in the Union of all mines, minerals and other things of value laying in the ocean within the territorial waters or the continental shelf or the exclusive economic zone of India. It further provided that all other resources of the exclusive economic zone of India shall also vest in the Union. This act also provided that the limits of the territorial waters, the continental shelf, the exclusive economic zone and the maritime zones of India shall be as specified from time by or under any law made by Parliament. Also some more Acts were added to the Ninth Scheme.
41. The Constitution (Forty-first Amendment) Act, 1976By this Act, Article 316 was amended to raise the retirement age of Members of State Public Service Commissions and Joint Public Service Commissions from 60 to 62 years.
42. The Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976This act made a number of important amendments in the Constitution. These amendments were mainly for purpose of giving effect to the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee.
Some of the important amendments made are for the purpose of spelling out expressly the high ideals of socialism, secularism and the integrity of the nation, to make the Directive Principles more comprehensive and giving them precedence over those Fundamental Rights which have been allowed to be relied upon to frustrate socio-economic reforms. The amendment Act also inserted a new chapter on the Fundamental Duties of citizens and made special provisions for dealing with anti-national activities, whether by individuals or by associations. The judiciary provisions were also amended by providing for a requirement as to the minimum number of judges for determining question as to the constitutional validity of law and for a special majority of not less than two-third for declaring any law to be constitutionally invalid.
To reduce the mounting arrears in High Courts and to secure the speedy disposal of service matters, revenue matters and certain other matters of special importance in the context of socio-economic development and progress, this amendment Act provided for the creation of Administrative and other tribunals for dealing with such matters while preserving the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in regard to such matters under Article 136 of the Constitution. Certain modifications in the writ jurisdiction of High Courts under Article 226 were also made.
43. The Constitution (Forty-third Amendment) Act, 1977This Act inter alia provided for the restoration of the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts, curtailed by the enactment of the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 and accordingly Articles 32A, 131A, 144A, 226A and 228A included in the Constitution by the said amendment, were omitted by this Act. The Act also provided for the omission of Article 31 which conferred special powers on Parliament to enact certain laws in respect of anti-national activities.
44. The Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978The right to property which had been the occasion for more than one amendment of Constitution was omitted as a Fundamental Right and it was made only as a legal right. It was, however, ensured that the removal of the right to property from the list of Fundamental Rights would not affect the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Article 352 of the Constitution was amended to provide "armed rebellion" as one of the circumstances for declaration of emergency. Internal disturbance not amounting to armed rebellion would not be a ground for the issuance of a Proclamation. The right to personal liberty as contained in Articles 21 and 22 is further strengthened by the provision that a law for preventive detention cannot authorise, in any case, detention for a longer period than two months unless an Advisory Board has reported that there is sufficient cause for such detention. The additional safeguard has also been provided by the requirements that Chairman of an Advisory Board shall be a serving Judge of the appropriate High Court and that the Board shall be constituted in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief Justice of that High Court.
With a view to avoiding delays, Articles 132 and 134 were amended and a new Article 134A was inserted to provide that a High Court should consider the question of granting a certificate for appeal to Supreme Court immediately after the delivery of the judgement, final order or sentence concerned on the basis of an oral application by a party or, if the High Court deems it so to do, on its own. The other amendments made by the Act are mainly for removing or correcting the distortions which came into the Constitution by reason of the amendment initiated during the period of internal emergency.
45. The Constitution (Forty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1980This was passed to extend safeguards in respect of reservation of seats in Parliament and State Assemblies for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes as well as for Anglo-Indians for a further period of ten years.
46. The Constitution (Forty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1982Article 269 was amended so that the tax levied on the consignment of goods in the course of inter-state or commerce shall be assigned to the states. This Article was also amended to enable Parliament to formulate by law principle for determining when a consignment of goods takes place in the course of inter-state trade or commerce. A new entry 92B was also inserted in the Union List to enable the levy of tax on the consignment of goods where such consignment takes place in the course of inter-state trade or commerce.
Clause (3) of Article 286 was amended to enable Parliament to specify, by law, restrictions and conditions in regard to the system of levy rates and other incidence of tax on the transfer of goods involved in the execution of a works contract, on the delivery of goods on hire-purchase or any system of payment of instalments etc.
Article 366 was also suitably amended to insert a definition of "tax on the sale or purchase of goods" to include transfer for consideration of controlled commodities, transfer of property in goods involved in the execution of a works contract, delivery of goods on hire-purchase or any system of payment by instalments, etc.
47. The Constitution (Forty-seventh Amendment) Act, 1984This amendment is intended to provide for the inclusion of certain land Reforms Acts in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution with a view to obviating the scope of litigation hampering the implementation process of those Acts.
48. The Constitution (Forty-eighth Amendment) Act, 1984The Proclamation issued by President under Article 356 of the Constitution with respect to the State of Punjab cannot be continued in force for more than one year unless the special conditions mentioned in clause (5) of the said Article are satisfied. As it is felt that the continued force of the said Proclamation is necessary, therefore, the present amendment had been effected so as to make the conditions mentioned in clause (5) of Article 356 inapplicable in the instant case.
It was proposed to amend Article 33 so as to bring within its ambit:
(i) the members of the Force charged with the protection of property belonging to or in the charge or possession of the state; or
(ii) persons employed in any bureau or other organisation established by the state for purposes of intelligence or counter-intelligence; or
(iii) persons employed in or in connection with the telecommunication systems set up for the purposes of any Force, bureau or organisation.
Experience has revealed that the need for ensuring proper discharge of their duties and maintenance of discipline among them is of paramount importance in the national interest.
51. The Constitution (Fifty-first Amendment) Act, 1984Article 330 has been amended by this Act for providing reservation of seats for Scheduled Tribes in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram in Parliament and Article 332 has been amended to provide similar reservation in the Legislative Assemblies of Nagaland and Meghalaya to meet the aspirations of local tribal population.
52. The Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985It amends the Constitution to provide that a Member of Parliament or a State Legislature who defects or is expelled from the party which set him up as a candidate in the election or if an independent member of the House joins a political party after expiry of six months from the date on which he takes seat in the House shall be disqualified to remain a member of the House. The Act also makes suitable provisions with respect to splits in and merger of political parties.
53. The Constitution (Fifty-third Amendment) Act, 1986This has been enacted to give effect to the Memorandum of Settlement of Mizoram which was signed by Government of India and Mizoram Government with Mizoram National Front on 30 June 1986. For this purpose, a new Article 371G has been inserted in the Constitution inter alia preventing application of any Act of Parliament in Mizoram in respect of religious or social practices of Mizos, Mizos customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal practice involving decisions according to Mizos customary law and ownership and transfer of land unless a resolution is passed in the Legislative Assembly to that effect. This, however, will not apply to any Central Act already in force in Mizoram before the commencement of this amendment. The new Article also provides that the Legislative Assembly of Mizoram shall consist of not less than 40 members.
54. The Constitution (Fifty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1986This Act increases the salaries of Supreme Court and High Court judges as follows :
Chief Justice of India Rs 10,000 per month
Judges of Supreme Court Rs 9,000 per month
Chief Justice of High Court Rs 9,000 per month
Judges of High Court Rs 8,000 per month
This Act amended Part D of the Second Schedule to the Constitution to give effect to the above increases in the salaries of judges and to make an enabling provision in Articles 125 and 221 to provide for changes in the salaries of judges in future by Parliament by law.
55. The Constitution (Fifty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1986 This Act seeks to give effects to the proposal of Government of India to confer statehood on the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh and for this purpose, a new Article 371H has been inserted which, inter alia, confers, having regard to the sensitive location of Arunachal Pradesh to vest special responsibility on Governor of the new State of Arunachal Pradesh with respect to law and order in the State and in the discharge of his functions, the Governor shall after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgement, as to the action to be taken and this responsibility shall cease when President so directs. The new Article also provides that the new Legislative Assembly of the new State of Arunachal Pradesh, shall consist of not less than thirty members.
56. The Constitution (Fifty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1987Government of India has proposed to constitute the territories comprised in Goa District of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu as the State of Goa and the territories comprised in Daman and Diu districts of that Union Territory as a new Union Territory of Daman and Diu. In this context, it was proposed that the Legislative Assembly of the new State of Goa shall consist of 40 members. The existing Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman and Diu has 30 elected members and three nominated members. It was intended to make this Assembly with the exclusion of two members representing Daman and Diu districts the provisional Legislative Assembly for the new State of Goa until elections are held on the expiry of the five year terms of the existing Assembly. It was, therefore, decided to provide that the Legislative Assembly of the new State of Goa shall consist of not less than 30 members. The special provision required to be made to give effect to this proposal is carried out by this amendment.
58. The Constitution (Fifty-eighth Amendment) Act, 1987There has been general demand for the publication of authoritative text of the Constitution in Hindi. It is imperative to have an authoritative text of the Constitution for facilitating its use in the legal process. Any Hindi version of the Constitution should not only conform to the Hindi translation published by the Constituent Assembly, but should be in conformity, with the language style and terminology adopted in the authoritative texts of Central Acts in Hindi. The Constitution has been amended to empower President of India to publish under his authority the translation of the Constitution in Hindi signed by the Members of the Constituent Assembly with such modification as may be necessary to bring it in conformity with the language, style and terminology adopted in the authoritative texts of Central Acts in Hindi language. President has also been authorised to publish the translation in Hindi of every amendment of the Constitution made in English.
59. The Constitution (Fifty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1988The Act amends Article 365 (5) of the Constitution so as to facilitate the extension of a Presidential Proclamation issued under clause (1) of Article 356 beyond a period of one year, if necessary upto a period of three years, as permissible under clause (4) of Article 356 with respect to the State of Punjab because of the continued disturbed situation there. The Act also amends Article 352 of the Constitution pertaining to the Proclamation of emergency in its application to the State of Punjab and includes internal disturbance as one of the grounds for making a Proclamation in respect of the State of Punjab only. As a consequence of amendment in Article 352, Articles 358 and 359 in relation to the State of Punjab will be operative only for a period of two years from 30 March 1988, which is the date of commencement of the amendment.
60. The Constitution (Sixtieth Amendment) Act, 1988The Act amends clause (2) of Article 276 of the Constitution so as to increase the ceiling of taxes on professions, trades, callings and employment from Rs 250 per annum to Rs 2,500 per annum. The upward revision of this tax will help state governments in raising additional resources. The proviso to clause (2) has been omitted.
61. The Constitution (Sixty-first Amendment) Act, 1989The Act provides for reducing voting age from 21 to 18 years by amending Article 326 of the Constitution to provide to the unrepresented youth of the country an opportunity to give vent to their feelings and help them become a part of political process.
62. The Constitution (Sixty-second Amendment) Act, 1989Article 334 of the Constitution lays down that the provisions of the Constitution relating to the reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in the Lok Sabha and in the Legislative Assemblies of the States shall cease to have effect on the expiry of a period of 40 years from the commencement of the Constitution. Although the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes have made considerable progress in the last 40 years, the reasons which weighed with the Constituent Assembly in making provisions with regard to the aforesaid reservation of seats and nomination of members, have not ceased to exist. The Act amends Article 334 of the Constitution to continue the reservation for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the representation of the Anglo-Indians by nomination for a further period of 10 years.
63. The Constitution (Sixty-third Amendment) Act, 1989The Constitution (fifty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1988 was enacted in march 1988 making certain changes in regard to making a Proclamation of Emergency in Punjab and to the duration of Presidents rule in State. On reconsideration, the Government decided that the special powers in regard to the Proclamation of Emergency in Punjab as envisaged in the said amendment is no longer required. Accordingly the provision to clause (5) of Article 356 and Article 359A of the Constitution have been omitted.
64. The Constitution (Sixty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1990This Act amends clauses (4) and (5) of Article 356 of the Constitution with a view to facilitate the extension of the proclamation issued under clause (1) of Article 356 of the Constitution on 11 May 1987 upto a total period of three years and six months in relation to the State of Punjab.
65. The Constitution (Sixty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1990Article 338 of the Constitution provides for a Special Officer for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution and to report to the President on their working. The Article 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 amended Article elaborates the duties of the said Commission and covers measures that should be taken by the Union or any state for the effective implementation of the reports presented by the Commission. It also provides that the Commission shall, while investigating any matter or inquiring into any complaint have all the powers of a Civil Court trying a suit and the reports of the said Commission shall be laid before Parliament and the Legislature of the states.
66. The Constitution (Sixty-sixth Amendment) Act, 1990The Act protects 55 State Acts relating to land reforms and ceiling on agricultural land holdings enacted by States of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan,Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and administration of the Union Territory of Pondicherry, from challenge in courts, by including them in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution.
67. The Constitution (Sixty-seventh Amendment) Act, 1990The three year period in the case of proclamation issued on 11 May 1987 with respect to the State of Punjab was extended to three years and six months by the Constitution (Sixty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1990. This Act further amends clause (4) of Article 356 so as to further extend the period upto a total period of four years.
68. The Constitution (Sixty-eighth Amendment) Act, 1991The three year period in the case of proclamation issued on 17 May 1987 with respect to the State of Punjab was earlier extended to four years by the Constitution (sixty-seventh Amendment) Act, 1990. This Act further amends clause (4) of Article 356 so as to further extend the period upto a total period of five years.
69. The Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991The Government of India appointed on 24 December 1987 a Committee to go into various issues connected with the administration of Delhi and to recommend measures, inter alia for the streamlining of the administrative set up. After detailed inquiry and examination, it recommended that Delhi should continue to be a union territory and may be provided with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to such assembly with appropriate powers to deal with matters of concern to the common man. The Committee also recommended that with a view to ensuring stability and permanence, arrangements should be incorporated in the constitution to give the national capital a special status among the union territories. This act has been passed to give effect to the above recommendations.
70. The Constitution (Seventieth Amendment) Act, 1992While considering the (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1991 and the Government of National Capital Territory Bill, 1991 views were expressed in both the Houses of Parliament in favour of including also the elected members of the legislative assemblies of union territories in the electoral college for the election of the President under Article 54 of the Constitution.
At present Article 54 relating to the election of the President provides for an electoral college consisting of only the elected Members of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of the states (not of union territories). Similarly, Article 55 providing for the manner of such election also speaks of legislative assemblies of states.
Accordingly, an Explanation was inserted in Article 54 to provide that reference to State in Article 54 and 55 would include the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Pondicherry for constituting the electoral college for election of the President. This would enable the elected members of the Legislative Assembly created for the Union Territory of Pondicherry under the provisions of Article 239A and of the proposed Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi under Article 239AA to be included in the electoral college.
71. The Constitution (Seventy-first Amendment) Act, 1992There have been demands for inclusion of certain languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. This Act amends the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution to include Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
72. The Constitution (Seventy-second Amendment) Act, 1992For restoring peace and harmony in the areas of the State of Tripura where disturbed conditions prevailed, a Memorandum of Settlement was signed by the Government of India with Tripura National Volunteers on 12 August 1988.
In order to implement the said Memorandum, Article 332 of the Constitution has been amended by the Constitution (Seventy-second Amendment) Act, 1992 for making a temporary provision for the determination of the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the State Assembly of Tripura, until the re-adjustment of seats is made on the basis of the first Census after the year 2000 under Article 170 of the Constitution.
73. The Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1993Article 40 of the Constitution which enshrines one of the Directive Principles of State Policy lays down that the State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.
In the light of the above, a new Part IX relating to the Panchayats has been inserted in the Constitution to provide for among other things, Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages; constitution of Panchayats at village and other level or levels; direct elections to all seats in Panchayats at the village and intermediate level, if any and to the offices of Chairpersons of Panchayats at such levels; reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population for membership of Panchayats and office of Chairpersons in Panchayats at each level; reservation of not less than one-third of the seats for women; fixing tenure of five years for Panchayats and holding elections within a period of six months in the event of supersession of any Panchayat.
74. The Constitution (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Act, 1993In many states local bodies have become weak and ineffective on account of a variety of reasons, including the failure to hold regular elections, prolonged supersession and inadequate devolutions of powers and functions. As a result, Urban Local Bodies are not able to perform effectively as vibrant democratic units of self-government.
Having regard to these inadequacies a new part IX-A relating to the Municipalities has been incorporated in the Constitution to provide for among other things, constitution of three types Municipalities, i.e., Nagar Panchayats for areas in transition from a rural area to urban area, Municipal Councils for smaller urban areas and Municipal Corporations for larger urban areas.
75. The Constitution (Seventy-fifth Amendment) Act, 1994The operation of the Rent Control Legislations, as are today in various states, suffers from major weaknesses and has led to various unintended consequences. Some of the deleterious legal consequences include mounting and mending litigation, inability of the courts to provide timely justice, evolution of practices and systems to bypass the operations of rent legislations and steady shrinkage of rental housing market.
The Supreme Court taking note of the precarious state of rent litigation in the country in case of Prabhakaran Nair and others vs. State of Tamil Nadu (Civil Writ Petition 506 of 1986) and other writs observed that the Supreme Court and the High Courts should be relieved of the heavy burden of rent litigation. Tiers of appeals should be curtailed. Laws should be simple, rational and clear, litigations must come to end quickly.
Therefore, this Act amends Article 323B in Part XIVA of the Constitution so as to give timely relief to the rent litigants by providing for setting up of state-level Rent Tribunals in order to reduce the tiers of appeals and to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts, except that of the Supreme Court, under Article 136 of the Constitution.
76. The Constitution (Seventy-sixth Amendment) Act, 1994The policy of reservation of seats in educational institutions and reservation of appointments or posts in public services for Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has had a long history in Tamil Nadu dating back to the year 1921. The extent of reservation has been increased by the State Government from time to time, consistent with the needs of the majority of the people and it has now reached the level of 69 per cent (18 per cent Scheduled Castes, one per cent Scheduled Tribes and 50 per cent Other Backward Classes).
The Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney and others vs. Union of India and others (AIR, 1993 SC 477) on 16 November 1992 ruled that the total reservations under Article 16(4) should not exceed 50 per cent.
The Tamil Nadu Government enacted a legislation, namely, Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institution and of appointments or posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 1993 and forwarded it to the Government of India for consideration of the President of India in terms of Article 31-C of the Constitution. The Government of India supported the provision of the State legislation by giving the Presidents assent to the Tamil Nadu Bill. As a corollary to this decision, it was necessary that the Tamil Nadu Act 45 of 1994 was brought within the purview of the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution so that it could get protection under Article 31B of the Constitution with regard to the judicial review.
This Act amends the Constitution to achieve the above objects.
77. The Constitution (Seventy-seventh Amendment) Act, 1995The Schedule Castes and the scheduled tribes have been enjoying the facility of reservation in promotion since 1955. The Supreme Court in its judgment dated 16 November 1992 in the case of Indra Sawhney and Others vs. Union of India and others, however, observed that reservation of appointments or posts under Article 16(4) of the Constitution is confined to initial appointment and cannot extend to reservation in the matter of promotion. This ruling of the Supreme Court will adversely affect the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Since the representation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in services in the States have not reached the required level, it is necessary to continue the existing dispensation of providing reservation in promotion in the case of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. In view of the commitment of the Government to protect the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, the Government have decided to continue the existing policy of reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. To carry out this, it was necessary to amend Article 16 of the Constitution by inserting a new clause (4A) in the said Article to provide for reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
This Act seeks to achieve the aforesaid object.
78. The Constitution (Seventy-eighth Amendment) Act, 1995Article 31B of the Constitution confers on the enactments included in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution immunity from legal challenge on the ground that they violate the fundamental rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution. The Schedule consists of list of laws enacted by various state governments and Central Government which inter alia affect rights and interest in property including land.
In the past, whenever, it was found that progressive legislation conceived in the interest of the public was imperilled by litigation, recourse was taken to the Ninth Schedule. Accordingly, several State enactments relating to land reforms and ceiling on agricultural land holdings have already been included in the Ninth Schedule. Since the Government is committed to give importance to land reforms, it was decided to include land reform laws in the Ninth Schedule so that they are not challenged before the courts. The state governments of Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal had suggested the inclusion of some of their Acts relating to land reforms in the Ninth Schedule.
Since the amendment to Acts which are already placed in the Ninth Schedule are not automatically immunised from legal challenge, a number of amending Acts along with a few principal Acts have been included in the Ninth Schedule so as to ensure that implementation of these Acts is not adversely affected by litigation.
This Act seeks to achieve the above objects.