Welcome to the official blog of the Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates, where we are dedicated to providing litigation support services for matters related to the Constitution. In today’s blog post, we aim to shed light on the prevailing issues surrounding the Constitution, the legal framework for their protection, and the steps we can take as a society to combat these acts. Join us as we explore this critical subject and empower you with the knowledge to protect your rights and safety.
A Constitution serves as the supreme law of a nation, defining its fundamental principles and governing structures. Aristotle, often regarded as the father of political science, defined a Constitution as the organization of a polis concerning its offices, especially the sovereign one. In the context of India, amending the nation’s fundamental Constitution, or supreme law, is a crucial process outlined in Part XX (Article 368) of the Indian Constitution. The “Basic structure doctrine,” established by the Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), plays a significant role in determining the legitimacy of amendments.
Amendments to the Indian Constitution
The Indian Constitution, which came into effect on January 26, 1950, defines India as a “sovereign socialist secular democratic republic.” It established a parliamentary democracy, delineating the organization of government, the powers of various government departments, and the relationship between the governed and the governors. To remain a living document, capable of adapting to societal changes, a Constitution should strike a balance between rigidity and flexibility.
Global experiences show that all Constitutions evolve to reflect changing societal needs and values. The amendment process, akin to a safety valve, accommodates necessary changes. Article 368 of the Indian Constitution grants amending authority to Parliament while subjecting it to judicial review. This flexible approach aligns with the idea that a Constitution should not be an unchangeable document but should adapt to evolving demands.
Procedure for Amending the Constitution in India
India’s Constitution provides for a unique amendment mechanism, described as semi-flexible and semi-rigid. There are three types of modifications:
- Amendment by a simple majority: Some provisions can be altered by a simple majority (more than 50%) of members present and voting.
- Amendment by special majority: Certain Articles require a special majority (66%) of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting.
- Special majority amendment and ratification by state legislatures: Amendments affecting specific elements of the Constitution must be ratified by both Parliament and at least half of the state legislatures.
100th Amendment to the Indian Constitution (The Land Boundary Agreement – LBA)
This amendment, passed in 2015, ratified the Land Border Agreement between India and Bangladesh. It involved the exchange of territories between the two countries, resolving a long-standing border dispute.
101st Amendment to the Indian Constitution (Goods and Services Tax – GST)
The GST regime, introduced in 2016 through the 101st Amendment, marked a significant step in India’s indirect tax reforms. It replaced multiple Central and State taxes with a single tax, reducing double taxation and fostering a common national market.
102nd Amendment to the Indian Constitution (National Commission for Backward Classes – NCBC)
In 2018, the 102nd Amendment added Articles 338B and 342A to the Indian Constitution, granting constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC). It also clarified the authority of the President and Parliament in designating Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs).
The Indian Constitution, rooted in the Euro-American tradition, has proven to be highly adaptable and responsive to societal changes. The amendment process is a vital component of the Constitution, allowing it to evolve and address unforeseen circumstances. As Jawaharlal Nehru aptly put it, cooperation, friendly counsel, and keeping the larger end in view are paramount in the development and maintenance of a Constitution. India’s Constitution continues to evolve, reflecting the nation’s growth and development as a democratic republic.
We are a law firm in the name and style of Law Offices of Kr—Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates at Gurugram and Rewari. We provide litigation support services for matters related to the Indian Constitution.
Written by Priyanka Goel.