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
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
(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
(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
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 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.
The 17th December, 1954.
THE CONSTITUTION (EIGHTH AMENDMENT) ACT, 1959
An Act further to amend the Constitution of India.
BE it enacted by Parliament in the Tenth Year of the
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.