5 Important Amendments to the Indian Constitution

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • This article is about the 1st, 4th, 7th, 86th and 101st amendment to the Constitution of India
  • In the 1st Constitutional Amendment, Article 31A, 31B, Ninth Schedule were added to the Constitution. Amendments were made to the Article 15 and Article 19 of the Indian Constitution
  • In the 4th Constitutional Amendment, it dealt with land acquisition and abolition of the Zamindari System. Added more acts to the Ninth Schedule and amended Article 31A.
  • In the 7th Constitutional Amendment, Articles 258A, 290A, 298, 350A, 350B, 371, 372A and 378A were added and amended part 8 and schedules 1, 2, 4 and 7 of the Indian Constitution
  • The 86th Constitutional Amendment added Article 21A, which states the right to free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6 and 14.
  • The 101st Constitutional Amendment Act, added Goods and Services Tax and added article 264A, 279A and 269A to the Indian Constitution and made changes in the Seventh Schedule.

INTRODUCTION

Article 368 of the Indian Constitution lays down the powers and procedures of the Parliament to amend the constitution of India.

A constitutional amendment bill may be presented in either house of Parliament. It must be approved by a majority of the representatives present and voting in each house, as well as a majority of the total membership of that house. The bill is then submitted to the President for his signature, which he will do, and the Constitution will be amended as a result. If state ratification is needed, it must be completed before being presented to the President for his/her approval.

The following is a list of different forms of amendments. The Constitution can be changed in one of three ways:

  1. Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament
  2. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament
  3. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and at least half of the state legislatures' ratification

Some of the major constitutional amendments are -

THE CONSTITUTION (FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 1951

AMENDMENTS

• The Ninth Schedule was added to the constitution. It was added to protect the land reforms from judicial review.
• Article 31A and 31B was inserted by this amendment.
• Article 19(2) of the constitution provides reasonable restriction on the exercise of the right of freedom of speech and expression, three more grounds of the restriction were added - “public order”, “friendly relations with foreign states” and “incitement to an offence”.
• This amendment also talked about Article 19(1)(g) of the constitution providing the right of the citizens to practice any profession or to carry any occupation, trade or business has reasonable restriction by the state by imposing “in the interest of the general public”.
• Article 15(4) was added to the constitution of India. This article talks about States making special provision for the advancement of educationally and socially backward class or Schedule caste and Scheduled tribes.

BACKGROUND

• Romesh Thappar vs The State Of Madras - In 1950, the Madras State banned Romesh Thapar's leftist weekly newspaper, Cross Roads, for publishing critical views on Nehruvian policy. Thapar petitioned the Supreme Court, which resulted in the landmark judgment. Some courts have held that the citizen's right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution is so broad that an individual cannot be held liable even if he supports murder or other violent crimes. Thus, restrictions were added to the article.
• In response to the case of State of Madras v. Champakam Dorairajan, which was heard by the Madras High Court and then the Supreme Court of India, Jawaharlal Nehru urged the Indian Parliament to pass the amendment. In its decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Madras High Court's decision, which had struck down the Government Order (G.O.) issued in Madras in 1927. Caste-based reservation in government jobs and college seats was established by the Order. According to the Supreme Court's decision, making certain reservations violated Article 29 (2) of the Indian Constitution. The State should promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the population and protect them from social inequality, as stated in Article 46 as a Directive Principle of State Policy. Article 15(3) was sufficiently expanded to ensure that any special provision made by the state for the educational, economic, or social advancement of any backward class of people would not be contested based on discrimination.
• As a move toward a more democratic society, zamindari abolition and land reform laws were passed after independence. The first case challenging a land law was Kameshwar Singh V State of Bihar, in which the Bihar Land Reforms Act 1950 was challenged because the classification of zamindars for compensation was discriminatory and denied citizens equal protection of the laws guaranteed by Article 14 of the Constitution. The Patna High Court ruled that this piece of legislation violated Article 14 because it listed zamindars in a discriminatory manner for compensation payments. The legislature amended the Constitution in 1951, inserting the Ninth Schedule, to ensure that agrarian reform laws did not get caught in bad weather. The First Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1951 added Article 31-B, which states that, without regard to the generality of Article 31-A, none of the Acts and Regulations stated in the Ninth Schedule, nor any of their provisions, shall be deemed void. As a result of Article 31-B of the Indian Constitution, any law in the Ninth Schedule cannot be challenged in court, and the government will rationalize its social engineering policy by changing land and agrarian laws. Another characteristic of Article 31-B is that it is retrospective in nature, which means that if a law is ruled invalid by a court and then included in the Ninth Schedule, it is treated as if it had been in that Schedule since its inception.
• Despite the Supreme Court's ruling in the Kesavananda Bharati case of 1973 that judicial review as a fundamental mechanism cannot be removed, Articles 31(A), 31(B), and 31(C) saved land reform legislations by prioritizing the application of the Directive Principles over individual liberty.

THE CONSTITUTIONAL (FOURTH AMENDMENT ) ACT, 1955

AMENDMENTS

  • Since both the fourth and first constitutional amendments deal with lands, land acquisition, and zamindari abolition rules, the fourth and first amendments are related. The judiciary upheld Zamindari abolition rules, so they were reasonably recognized. The concern that emerged after the first amendment's ratification was the precise definition of the word "land" in Article 31.
  • Article 31 and inserted Article 31A.
  • Substituted clause (1) of Article 31A and amended Article 31A (2) (b) to add the terms ‘raiyats’ and ‘under raiyats’ to the list of those whose ‘rights’ in an estate were removed from the protection of Articles 14, 19(1) (f) and 31.
  • It also amended the ninth schedule to add more acts to it.
  • Article 305 was also amended.

BACKGROUND

  • The zamindari abolition laws were accepted in terms of land reform, but the scope of article 31A was expanded to include actions that fall under the category of "necessary welfare legislation." The following criteria must be met for actions to be included in this category: To establish the maximum amount of agricultural land that a person may own or occupy. This meant that if anyone had the intention and desire, they might own more land than the cap. It stopped a single individual from controlling a large portion of agricultural land and provided for more equitable distribution. To ensure that any surplus land owned by anyone (over the specified limit) is disposed of and that the rights of landowners and tenants in agricultural holdings are updated accordingly. To encourage good urban and rural planning for the productive use of vacant and wastelands, as well as the clearance of slum areas. Taking over a commercial or industrial undertaking or other lands in the public interest for better management.
  • In the case of Saghir Ahmed v. The State of Uttar Pradesh, the court ruled in favour of the plaintiff. The concern was whether an act that creates a state monopoly violates Article 301. This question was answered as article 305 amendment clarifies it. The supreme court decision essentially states that the law allowing state monopoly must be shown to have been enforced in the public interest and that it falls within the categories of fair restrictions under Articles 301 and 304(b).

THE CONSTITUTION (SEVENTH AMENDMENT ) ACT, 1956

AMENDMENT

  • Part 8 and schedules 1, 2, 4, and 7 were revised, and articles 258A, 290A, 298, 350A, 350B, 371, 372A, and 378A were added.
  • The Fourth Schedule, which governs the distribution of seats in the Council of States, was fully overhauled.
  • A new article 258A was added to provide that the Governor of a State may entrust any State functions to the central government or its officers with the consent of the Government of India. The first schedule of the Constitution was fully updated to reflect the changes brought on by the reorganization scheme, including the areas and borders relating to the States and Union territories.
  • The House of People shall be composed of a maximum of 500 representatives directly elected from territorial constituencies in the States, and a maximum of 20 members selected from the Union Territories following the laws of Parliament.
  • Article 153 has been amended to provide for the appointment of the same person as Governor of two or more states.
  • Articles 170 and 171 have been updated. The maximum strength of a state's Legislative Council has been increased from one-fourth to one-third of the state's Legislative Assembly.
  • By amending Article 220, the Supreme Court and any High Court other than the one in which the former judge served as a permanent judge are no longer prohibited from practising law.
  • Article 230 was changed to allow Parliament to expand a High Court's jurisdiction to or to remove a High Court's jurisdiction from any Union territory.
  • Article 231 of the Constitution was changed to allow Parliament to establish a common High Court for two or more states.
  • A new article 350A mandates that any state have facilities for children from linguistic minority groups to receive instruction in their mother tongue at the primary level, and empowers the President to issue directives to any state to do so.
  • A new article 350B was inserted that allows the President to nominate Special Officers whose job it is to investigate all matters relating to the Constitution's protections for linguistic minorities and report back to the President on their findings. These reports must be presented to each house of Parliament and submitted to the governments of the affected states.

BACKGROUND

• The state commission of Reorganization was replaced in June 1948 by the committee of the Linguistic Provinces. Language as a separating parameter has been refused. In December 1953, in the process of reorganizing the Indian States, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru Named the State Reorganization Commission. On 30 September 1955, the State Reorganization Commission presented a report on the reorganization of the States of India which then was debated by the Indian Parliament. Bills were enacted for the institutional reforms and reorganization of the states to be governed
• To enact the States Reorganization scheme, amendments were needed, as well as changes to some provisions of the Constitution relating to High Courts and High Court Judges, the Union's and States' executive powers, and a few legislative lists. It paved the way for the elimination of the A, B, C, and D classifications of states and the creation of Union Territories.
• The seventh amendment restructures the composition of legislative assemblies and councils, among other things. This was to be achieved using the same formula as before: one seat per million for the first five million, and one additional seat for every two million after that. As a result, the number of seats is updated following the most recent census results, but the formula remains unchanged.
• Since it caused problems in states with a smaller population, the intensity was increased to one-third instead of one-fourth. The 1/4th rule operated for states with a large population, such as Uttar Pradesh, but not for states with a smaller population.

THE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTY-SIXTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 2002

AMENDMENT

• In part-III of the constitution, the 86th Amendment Act of 2002 enshrined the right to education as a constitutional right. It had the following features: Changes to Fundamental Rights - Below Article 21, a new article 21A was added, making the Right to Education a Fundamental Right for children aged 6 to 14. “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children aged six to fourteen years in such manner as the State will, by statute, determine” according to this article.
• Changes to DPSP - Article 45, which originally stated: “Within ten years of the commencement of this Constitution, the State shall endeavour to provide free and compulsory education for all children until they complete the age of fourteen.” “The State shall strive to provide early childhood care and education to all children before they reach the age of six years,” was substituted.
• Changes to Fundamental Duties - Article 51A was also modified, with the addition of clause (k) after clause (J) that states: “who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the ages of six and fourteen years.”
• The 86th Amendment Act was created as a result of the aforementioned amendments: It declared the right to education for children aged 6 to 14 to be a fundamental right. It established education as a Directive Principle for State Policy for all children under the age of six (DPSP). It made providing opportunities for children's education a fundamental responsibility of their parents.

BACKGROUND

• The Ramamurti Committee Report of 1990, which analyzed the National Education Policy of 1986, was the first official document on children's educational rights. The failure to pay attention to the right to education, according to this committee, is the most fundamental issue in our educational system. “The time has come to accept the “Freedom to Education” as a basic right of Indian citizens,” the Ramamurti Committee said.
• The Tapas Majumdar Committee was established by the NDA government in 1999 to investigate the financial consequences of implementing the United Front government's 83rd Amendment Bill, which sought to make the right to free and compulsory education up to the age of 14 a fundamental right. Significant amendments were made to the 83rd Amendment Bill, which was called the 93rd Amendment Bill. Also children from the poorest parts of society, according to the Tapas Majumdar committee, should receive an education that is equal to the highest. It did not advocate for low-cost options.
• Article 21-A of Part III of the Indian Constitution now recognizes the right to education as a constitutional right. In the case of Mohini Jain vs. the State of Karnataka, this was achieved. This case was decided by a Supreme Court division bench. “Right to education is the essence of the right to life and directly flows and interlinks with it, and life living with dignity can only be guaranteed when there is a significant role of education,” Justice Kuldip Singh and R.M Sahai said.
• Later, in J.P. Unnikrishnan v. State of Andhra Pradesh, a five-judge bench re-examined the relevance of this judgment, ruling that: “Right to education means citizens have the right to call up the state to provide them with educational facilities by their financial capacity.” The above-mentioned cases enumerate the right to education as a constitutional right in Section III. In the case of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Education vs. K.S. Gandhi, the supreme court referred to the above judgment concerning the case Bandhua Mukti Morcha, etc. v. Union of India.
• On November 27, 2001, the Lok Sabha debated and passed the 93rd Amendment Bill, and on May 14, 2002, the Rajya Sabha debated and passed it. The bill's effective date was changed from 2001 to 2002, so it was sent back to the Lok Sabha.

THE CONSTITUTION (ONE HUNDRED AND FIRST AMENDMENT) ACT, 1951

AMENDMENTS

  • Article 246 (A) is a newly added article to the constitution. In India, both the Union and the States now have "concurrent rights" to render laws concerning goods and services. Intra-state trade is now governed by both the federal and state governments, while inter-state trade and commerce are governed solely by the federal government.
  • Article 269A - According to this article, in the case of inter-state trade, the tax will be levied and collected by the Government of India and shared between the Union and States according to the GST Council's recommendation. The article also specifies that the proceeds will not be attributed to the unified fund of India or any state, but will instead be assigned to the respective state or centre. The explanation for this is that when the centre collects the tax, it assigns the state's share to the state, while when the state collects the tax, it assigns the centre's share to the centre. If the proceeds are deposited in the Consolidated Fund of India or a state, an appropriation tax would be required every time. As a result, under GST, tax revenue would be apportioned outside of the Consolidated Funds.
  • Article 279-A of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child: This article mandates the formation of a GST council by the president within sixty days of the act's enactment. The GST council will be made up of the following individuals: As chairman of the council, the Union Finance Minister, a Union Minister of State in charge of Revenue or Finance, and one appointed member from each state in charge of finance or taxation
  • The GST council will have the authority to make the following decisions: The Union, States, and local governments levy fees, cesses, and surcharges that may be included in the goods and services tax; The goods and services that may be subject to the goods and services tax or be excluded from it; Model Goods and Services Tax Laws, levy principles, Integrated Goods and Services Tax apportionment, and principles governing the place of supply; The annual turnover rate at which goods and services are excluded from the goods and services tax; The rates, which include goods and services tax floor rates and bands; Any special rate or rates for a limited time to collect extra funds in the event of a natural disaster or calamity; Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttarakhand; and any other matter relating to the goods and services tax.
  • Article 249 has been amended to enable the Parliament to make required GST laws in the national interest if a 2/3 majority resolution is passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • During the emergency time, Article 250 has been amended to give parliament the power to make GST-related laws.
  • Excise duty on medicinal and toilet preparations has been removed from the state list and absorbed into GST, according to Article 268.
  • As a result of the abolition of Article 268A, service tax is now included in the GST.
  • Article 269 will give the legislature the authority to enact GST-related legislation for interstate trade and commerce.
  • Changes were also made in the 7th Schedule. Tobacco, alcoholic liquors, marijuana, Indian hemp, narcotic medicines and narcotics, medical and toilet preparations were previously included in Union List entry 84. Petroleum crude, high-speed gasoline, motor spirit (petrol), natural gas, and aircraft turbine fuel, as well as tobacco and tobacco products, will be included after this amendment. As a result, these are no longer subject to GST and are now under the authority of the Union. As a result of the deletion of entry 92 (newspapers and ads published therein), they are now subject to GST. The union list has been updated to exclude entry 92-C (Service Tax). Entry 52 (entry tax for sale in the territory) has been removed from the State list.
  • Taxes on the sale or purchase of goods other than newspapers, according to the provisions of List I's Entry 92-A; has now been replaced by Taxes on the sale of petroleum crude, high-speed diesel, motor spirit (commonly known as gasoline), natural gas, aviation turbine fuel, and alcoholic liquor for human consumption, though not including sale in the course of inter-State trade or commerce.
  • Entry 55 (advertising taxes) has been removed from the list.
  • Entry 62 luxuries taxes, such as those on entertainments, amusements, betting, and gambling has been replaced.

BACKGROUND

  • The 101st amendment was enacted to create a tax system that is universal across the country. It gives the federal government and the states taxing authority at the same time. Union territories are also included. With the legislature present, this authority allows you to make legislation on the taxation of goods and services. Both transactions involving the sale of goods and services within the country will be subject to this goods and service levy.

CONCLUSION

In the 1st Constitutional Amendment Articles 31(A), 31(B), and 31(C) saved land reform legislation by prioritizing the application of the Directive Principles over individual liberty even after the ruling of Kesavananda Bharati of the Basic Structure Doctrine.

In terms of land reform, the zamindari abolition laws were adopted, but the framework of article 31A was extended. It must be shown that the law allowing state monopoly was applied in the public interest.

The seventh amendment, among other items, changes the makeup of legislative bodies and councils. Language has been rejected as a distinguishing parameter. The 86th Amendment Act was enacted: It declared that children aged 6 to 14 have a fundamental right to education. For all children under the age of six, it defined education as a Directive Principle for State Policy (DPSP). It made it the parents' primary duty to provide opportunities for their children's education. The 101st amendment was passed to establish a uniform tax structure in the country.

 

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