The Power Of Amendment In The Constitution


Meaning of amendment

The process of changing or amending a law or document of the Indian Constitution is said to be called constitution amendment. Article 362 in Part XX of the constitution deals with the power of parliament to amend the constitution and its procedure. The parts of the Constitution that make up its fundamental framework are not subject to amendment by Parliament. In the Kesvananvda Bharti case, the Supreme Court rendered a decision in 1973.

The Indian constitution is neither flexible nor rigid, but a synthesis of both. It provides for its amendment in order to adjust itself to changing conditions and needs.

Procedure For Amendment

  1. Only a measure introduced in one or both chambers of parliament, not in state legislatures, may be used to start a constitutional amendment.
  2. Both ministers and private members are able to introduce bills.
  3. A specific majority is required for the bill to be approved in each chamber of parliament. To put it another way, a majority of the house’s total membership and a majority of the two-thirds of current members who are eligible to vote.
  4. Each house must pass the bill separately. There is no joint sitting of the two houses in case of disagreement for the purpose of passing the bill.
  5. If the bill seeks to amend the federal provisions of the constitution, it must also be ratified by the legislatures of the states by a simple majority.
  6. After being duly passed by both houses of parliament and ratified by the legislatures, the bill is presented to the President for his assent.
  7. The bill needs to be approved by the president. He is not allowed to return the bill to Parliament for review or withhold his consent to it.
  8. The bill becomes law after the president signs it.

Types of amendment

A. Amendment by the simple majority of parliament

The number of provisions can be amended by a simple majority. These provisions included:

  • admission and establishment of the new states.
  • creation of the new state and modification the areas, boundaries or names of existing states
  • elimination or establishment of legislative councils in states
  • second schedule
  • Quorum in parliament
  • Parliamentary members’ salaries and benefits.
  • Rules of procedure in Parliament
  • Rights of the legislature, its representatives, and its committees
  • Use of english language in parliament
  • Number of puisne judges in the supreme court’
  • extension of the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction
  • Use of supreme court
  • Citizenship: acquisition and termination
  • Elections to parliament and state legislatures
  • Delimitation of constituencies
  • Union territories
  • Fifth schedule
  • Sixth scheldule

B. By special majority of parliament

In this, a majority of the total membership of each house and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each house are present and voting.

The extraordinary majority is technically only needed to vote on the bill on its third reading. By way of abundant caution, the requirement for a special majority has been provided for in the rules of the houses in respect of all effective stages of the bill’.

The provisions that can be amended in this way include:

  • Fundamental Rights
  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • All other provisions that are not covered by the first and third categories.

By Special Majority of parliament and consent of state

A simple majority in the state legislature as well as a special majority in parliament may modify provisions pertaining to the federal structure of the government with the approval of half of the legislature.. If one or some of the remaining states do not take action on the bill, it does not matter; the moment half of the states give their consent, the formality is completed.

The following provisions can be amended in this way:

  • Election of the President and its manner.
  • extent of the executive power of the Union and the States.
  • Supreme courts and high courts.
  • Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the States.
  • Goods and Services tax council.
  • Any of the lists in the Seventh schedule.
  • Representation of the states in Parliament.
  • Power of Parliament to amend the constitution and its procedure.

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