SALIENT FEATURES OF THE 64th AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

Introduction

The constitution of India is the most lengthiest written constitution in the world because the framers of the constitution has borrowed the best features of almost all constitutions of the world. It was framed over a period of 2 years 11 months and 18 days and it came to force on 26 January, 1950. Our framers of the constitution has made the Indian constitution a blend of rigidity as well as flexibility. Indian constitution originally had 395 Articles divided into 22 parts and 8 schedules. But after many amendments, it presently contains 448  Articles divided into 25 parts and 12 schedules.

Amendment

The amendment, simply means, adding or deleting of something or making changes in the document. The word Amendment in the Indian constitution means adding or deleting of some provisions of the constitution. The farmers of our Indian constitution wished that the constitution would not only aid the the country in its growth, but it would also grow alongside it. So. As per Article 368 of the Indian constitution, the parliament has the power to amend the constitution. Even though the parliament has the power to amend the constitution,  it cannot amend the basic features of the constitution as per PART XX, Article 368 (1) of the Indian constitution

Basic structure doctrine

As per the basic structure doctrine of the Indian constitution, any amendment that tries to change the basic structure of the constitution is invalid. However, the word ‘basic structure’ is not mentioned anywhere in the Indian constitution. This was held in the landmark case of Kesavananda bharati v. state of Kerala. Some basic structures of the constitution as listed by the judgement are:

  1. Supremacy of the Constitution
  2. Federal characteristics of the Indian constitution
  3. Democratic and republican form of government
  4. Sovereignity and unity of India
  5. Secular character of the Constitution
  6. Individual freedom
  7. Separation of powers

Over the time, some of the other features have also been added to the above  list of basic structural features. Some of them are:

  • Rule of law
  • Parliamentary system
  • Rule of equality
  • Harmony and balance between the Fundamental Rights and DPSP
  • Limited power of the parliament with respect to amending of the Constitution
  • Powers of the supreme court provided  under Articles 32, 136, 142 and 147
  • Power of the High Court under Articles 226 and 227
  • Judicial review
  • Free and fair elections

Any law or amendment that violates these principles can be struck down by the SC on the grounds that they destroy the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.

Procedure for amendment

The constitution of India provides for three categories of amendment.

In the first category, amendment can be done by the two houses of the parliament simple majority of the members present and voting of before sending it for the assent of the president.

In the second category, a special majority is required for the amendment. Such an amendment can be passed by the each house of the parliament by a majority of the total members of that House as well as by 2/3rd majority of members present and voting in each House of the parliament and send for the president’s assent which cannot be denied by him.

In the third category of the amendment, besides the special majority mentioned in the second category, the same has to be also approved by a minimum of 50% of the state Legislatures.

So, Our constitution of India provides for various types amendments ranging from the simple to the most difficult type by depending on the nature of the amendment.

The 64th Constitutional Amendment Act

Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution (Sixty-fifth Amendment) Bill, 1990 which was enacted as THE CONSTITUTION (Sixty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1990.

So, the 64th constitutional amendment bill was introduced in the parliament in the year 1989 and the Act came into effect on 16 April, 1990.

 The 64th amendment to the constitution was amended mainly to allow the presidents rule up to 3 years and 6 months in the state of Punjab.

Article 356 of the constitution of India gives power to the president to impose presidents rule on any state if constitutional machinery of that particular state fails.

 Clause (4) of article 356 of the Constitution of India says, no Proclamation which is issued under that article as well as approved by both the Houses of Parliament shall remain in force for a period of more than three years. But, under clause (5) of the article 356, a resolution which  approves a Proclamation’s continuance is issued under clause (1) of that article more than a period of one year can’t be passed by any of the two House of Parliament unless the two conditions relating to a Proclamation of Emergency being in operation in the whole or any part of the State and the certificate by the Election Commission that the continuation of the Proclamation issued under clause (1) is necessary on account of difficulties in holding general elections to the Legislative Assembly of the State as specified in that clause are met. The three year period in the matter of Proclamation which is issued on 11th May, 1987 with regard to the State of Punjab would be over on 10th May, 1990 and the said two conditions are also not fulfilled. The prevailing circumstances in the State do not hold out good prospects for free and peaceful elections to the State Legislative Assembly. various political party representatives who attended the All-Party Meeting conducted by the Governor of Punjab at Chandigarh recently were also of the view that  before holding the elections to the State Legislative Assembly the congenial condition should be created. Clauses (4) and (5) of article 356 of the Constitution are, therefore, proposed to be amended so as to facilitate the extension of the said Proclamation up to a total period of three years and six months in relation to the State of Punjab.

Conclusion

The Indian constitution has gone through a total of 105 amendments so far. Article 368 of the constitution gives special powers to the parliament to amend the constitution. The 64th amendment to the constitution of India happened on 16 April 1990 made amendment to the Article 356 of the Indian constitution which is with regard to the president’s rule. The amendment mainly permits the presidents rule up to 3 years and 6 months in the state of Punjab.

Reference

64th Amendment in Constitution of India | 64 Constitutional Amendment (indianconstitution.in)

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