THE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 1959


THE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 1959

 

Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to THE CONSTITUTION (Fourth Amendment) Bill, 1954 which was enacted as the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1954

 

STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS

 

This  Bill  seeks to amend articles 31, 31A and 305 of, and the  Ninth Schedule to, the Constitution.

 

2.   Recent  decisions  of the Supreme Court have given  a  very  wide

meaning  to clauses (1) and (2) of article 31.  Despite the difference

in  the wording of the two clauses, they are regarded as dealing  with

the  same subject.  The deprivation of property referred to in  clause

(1)  is  to  be  construed  in  the  widest  sense   as  including  any

curtailment  of  a  right to property.  Even where it is caused   by  a

purely  regulatory  provision  of  law and is not  accompanied   by  an

acquisition  or taking possession of that or any other property  right

by  the  State,  the  law, in order to be  valid  according   to  these

decisions,  has  to provide for compensation under clause (2)  of  the

article.   It  is  considered necessary, therefore, to  re-state   more

precisely   the   State's   power  of    compulsory   acquisition   and

requisitioning of private property and distinguish it from cases where

the  operation of regulatory or prohibitory laws of the State  results

in  "deprivation of property".  This is sought to be done in clause   2

of the Bill.

 

3.   It will be recalled that the zamindari abolition laws which  came

first  in our programme of social welfare legislation were attacked by

the  interests  affected mainly with reference to articles 14, 19  and

31,  and  that  in order to put an end to the  dilatory  and   wasteful

litigation  and  place  these  laws above  challenge  in   the  courts,

articles  31A  and  31B  and the Ninth Schedule were  enacted   by  the

Constitution  (First  Amendment) Act.  Subsequent  judicial   decisions

interpreting  articles 14, 19 and 31 have raised serious  difficulties

in  the  way  of the Union and the States putting  through  other   and

equally  important  social welfare legislation on the  desired  lines,

e.g., the following:-

 

(i)  While the abolition of zamindaris and the numerous intermediaries

between the State and the tiller of the soil has been achieved for the

most part, our next objectives in land reform are the fixing of limits

to  the  extent of agricultural land that may be owned or occupied  by

any  person, the disposal of any land held in excess of the prescribed

maximum  and the further modification of the rights of land owners and

tenants in agricultural holdings.

 

(ii)  The  proper  planning  of   urban and  rural  areas  require  the

beneficial  utilisation of vacant and waste lands and the clearance

of slum areas.

 

(iii)  In the interest of national economy the State should have  full

control  over the mineral and oil resources of the country,  including

in  particular, the power to cancel or modify the terms and conditions

of  prospecting licenses, mining leases and similar agreements.   This

is  also  necessary in relation to public utility  undertakings  which

supply  power, light or water to the public under licenses granted  by

the State.

 

(iv)  It is often necessary to take over under State management for  a

temporary  period  a  commercial or industrial  undertaking  or   other

property  in  the  public interest or in order to  secure  the   better

management  of  the undertaking or property.  Laws providing for  such

temporary transference to State management should be permissible under

the Constitution.

 

(v)  The  reforms  in company law now under   contemplation,  like  the

progressive  elimination of the managing agency system, provision  for

the  compulsory amalgamation of two or more companies in the  national

interest,  the transfer of an undertaking from one company to another,

etc., require to be placed above challenge.

 

It is accordingly proposed in clause 3 of the Bill to extend the scope

of  article  31A so as to cover these categories of essential  welfare

legislation.

 

4.   As  a corollary to the proposed amendment of article 31A,  it  is

propsed  in  clause 5 of the Bill to include in the Ninth Schedule  to

the  Constitution two more State Acts and four Central Acts which fall

within  the  scope  of sub-clauses (d) and (f) of clause  (1)  of   the

revised article 31A.  The effect will be their complete, retrospective

validation under the provisions of article 31B.

 

5.   A  recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Saghir Ahmed  v.   the

State  of U.P.  has raised the question whether an Act providing for a

State  monopoly  in a particular trade or business conflicts with  the

freedom  of trade and commerce guaranteed by article 301, but left the

question  undecided.   Clause  (6) of article 19 was  amended   by  the

Constitution  (First  Amendment)  Act  in order  to  take   such  State

monopolies  out of the purview of sub-clause (g) of clause (1) of that

article,  but no corresponding provision was made in Part XIII of  the

Constitution  with reference to the opening words of article 301.   It

apears from the judgment of the Supreme Court that notwithstanding the

clear  authority of Parliament or of a State Legislature to  introduce

State  monopoly  in a particular sphere of trade or commerce, the  law

might  have to be justified before the courts as being "in the  public

interest"  under  article  301  or  as  amounting   to  a   "reasonable

restriction"  under  article 304(b).  It is considered that  any   such

question  ought  to be left to the final decision of  the  Legislatue.

Clause  4 of the Bill accordingly proposes an amendment of article 305

to make this clear.

 

NEW DELHI;                                           JAWAHARLAL NEHRU.

 

The 17th December, 1954.

 

 

THE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 1959

 

                                        [5th January,1960.]

 

An Act further to amend the Constitution of India.

 

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Tenth Year of the Republic of India

as follows:---

 

1.   Short  title.-This  Act may be called  the  Constitution  (Eighth

Amendment) Act, 1959.

 

2.   Amendment of article 334.-In article 334 of the Constitution, for

the words "ten years" the words "twenty years" shall be substituted.

 

 

 

jyoti
on 03 February 2009
Published in Constitutional Law
Source : ,

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