69th AMENDMENT OF THE INDIAN CONSTITUTION

Introduction

An “Amendment” is a formal change to a statute, contract, constitution, or another legally enforceable document. In the end, the goal of any change is to make things better. The change may be an update, including new or eliminated components of these agreements. Only the legislative branch has the authority to make modifications and take part in the amendment process. The change must be approved by a simple majority of Parliament, a special majority of Parliament, or a special majority of Parliament and at least half of the state legislatures.

Why are constitutional modifications made?

The Indian Constitution is the country’s supreme law, laying forth the country’s core political code, as well as the structure, procedures, powers, and responsibilities of government institutions, as well as people’s fundamental rights, directive principles, and responsibilities. To address shortcomings, adapt to new demands, and supplement rights, among other things, amendments are required over time. A constitution’s wording cannot otherwise reflect changing social conditions and political needs throughout time.

The 69th Amendment of the Constitution

  • The Sixty-Ninth Amendment Act was introduced on 12th December 1991.
  • Through this Act, the Parliament inserted Articles 239AA and 239AB.
  • Article 239AA of the Indian Constitution established special provisions for Delhi, stating that the Union Territory of Delhi would be known as the National Capital Territory and that the city would have its Legislative Assembly, which would be able to pass laws on any subject listed in List-II (State List) and List-III (Concurrent List) of Schedule-VII of the Indian Constitution, except for laws relating to police, public order, and land.
  • Article 239AB stated provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery and that administrator thereof appointed under article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant Governor.’
  • On 12th August 1992, ‘The Seventieth Amendment Act’ was introduced. This Act not only amended Article 54 but also amended Article 239AA. As per the Act, the changes to Article 239AA are as follows:
  • in clause (7), for the brackets and figure “(7)”, the brackets, figure and letter “(7) (a)” shall be substituted;
  • in clause (7) as so amended, the following sub-clause shall be inserted, namely: – “(b) Any such law as is referred to in sub-clause (a) shall not be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for article 368 notwithstanding that it contains any provision which amends or has the effect of amending this Constitution.”.

Article 239, 239A, 239AA, 239AB & 239B as stated in the Constitution

239. Administration of Union territories

(1) Save as otherwise provided by Parliament by law, every Union territory shall be administered by the President acting, to such extent as he thinks fit, through an administrator to be appointed by him with such designation as he may specify

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in Part VI, the President may appoint the Governor of a State as the administrator of an adjoining Union territory, and where a Governor is so appointed, he shall exercise his functions as such administrator independently of his Council of Ministers

239A. Creation of local Legislatures or Council of Ministers or both for certain Union territories

(1) Parliament may by law create for the Union Territory of Puducherry —

(a) a body, whether elected or partly nominated and partly elected, to function as a Legislature for the Union territory, or

(b) a Council of Ministers, or both with such constitution, powers and functions, in each case, as may be specified in the law.

(2) Any such law as is referred to in clause (1) shall not be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for article 368 notwithstanding that it contains any provision which amends or has the effect of amending this Constitution

239AA. Special provisions for Delhi.

(1) As from the date of commencement of the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991, the Union Territory of Delhi shall be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi (hereafter in this Part referred to as the National Capital Territory) and the administrator thereof appointed under article 239 shall be designated as the Lieutenant Governor.

(2) (a) There shall be a Legislative Assembly for the National Capital Territory and the seats in such Assembly shall be filled by members chosen by direct election from territorial constituencies in the National Capital Territory.

(b) The total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly, the number of seats reserved for Scheduled Castes, the division of the National Capital Territory into territorial constituencies (including the basis for such division) and all other matters relating to the functioning of the Legislative Assembly shall be regulated by law made by Parliament.

(c) The provisions of articles 324 to 327 and 329 shall apply to the National Capital Territory, the Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory and the members thereof as they apply, about a State, the Legislative Assembly of a State and the members thereof respectively; and any reference in articles 326 and 329 to “appropriate Legislature” shall be deemed to be a reference to Parliament.

(3) (a) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, the Legislative Assembly shall have power to make laws for the whole or any part of the National Capital Territory concerning any of the matters enumerated in the State List or the Concurrent List in so far as any such matter applies to Union territories except matters concerning Entries 1, 2 and 18 of the State List and Entries 64, 65 and 66 of that List in so far as they relate to the said Entries 1, 2 and 18.

(b) Nothing in sub-clause (a) shall derogate from the powers of Parliament under this Constitution to make laws concerning any matter for a Union territory or any part thereof.

(c) If any provision of a law made by the Legislative Assembly for any matter is repugnant to any provision of a law made by Parliament for that matter, whether passed before or after the law made by the Legislative Assembly, or of an earlier law, other than a law made by the Legislative Assembly, then, in either case, the law made by Parliament, or, as the case may be, such earlier law, shall prevail and the law made by the Legislative Assembly shall, to the extent of the repugnancy, be void:

Provided that if any such law made by the Legislative Assembly has been reserved for the consideration of the President and has received his assent, such law shall prevail in the National Capital Territory:

Provided further that nothing in this sub-clause shall prevent Parliament from enacting at any time any law for the same matter including a law adding to, amending, varying or repealing the law so made by the Legislative Assembly.

(4) There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten per cent. of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions about matters for which the Legislative Assembly has power to make laws, except in so far as he is, by or under any law, required to act in his discretion:

Provided that in the case of difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and his Ministers on any matter, the Lieutenant Governor shall refer it to the President for decision and act according to the decision given thereon by the President and pending such decision it shall be competent for the Lieutenant Governor in any case where the matter, in his opinion, is so urgent that it is necessary for him to take immediate action, to take such action or to give such direction in the matter as he deems necessary.

(5) The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the President and other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Chief Minister and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.

(6) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

(7) (a) Parliament may, by law, make provisions for giving effect to, or supplementing the provisions contained in the foregoing clauses and for all matters incidental or consequential thereto.

(b) Any such law as is referred to in sub-clause (a) shall not be deemed to be an amendment of this Constitution for article 368 notwithstanding that it contains any provision which amends or has the effect of amending this Constitution.

(8) The provisions of article 239B shall, so far as may be, apply to the National Capital Territory, the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly, as they apply concerning the Union Territory of Puducherry, the administrator and its Legislature, respectively; and any reference in that article to “clause (1) of article 239A” shall be deemed to be a reference to this article or article 239AB, as the case may be.

239AB. Provision in case of failure of constitutional machinery.

If the President, on receipt of a report from the Lieutenant Governor or otherwise, is satisfied-

(a) that a situation has arisen in which the administration of the National Capital Territory cannot be carried on following the provisions of article 239AA or of any law made in pursuance of that article; or

(b) that for the proper administration of the National Capital Territory it is necessary or expedient so to do, the President may by order suspend the operation of any provision of Article 239AA or of all or any of the provisions of any law made in pursuance of that article for such period and subject to such conditions as may be specified in such law and make such incidental and consequential provisions as may appear to him to be necessary or expedient for administering the National Capital Territory by the provisions of article 239 and article 239AA.

 239B. Power of administrator to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Legislature

(1) If at any time, except when the Legislature of the Union territory of Pondicherry is in session, the administrator thereof is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinances as the circumstances appear to him to require: Provided that no such Ordinance shall be promulgated by the administrator except after obtaining instructions from the President in that behalf: Provided further that whenever the said legislature is dissolved, or it is functioning from the President shall be deemed to be an Act of the Legislature of the Union territory which has been duly enacted after complying with the provisions in that behalf contained in any such law as is referred to in clause (1) of Article 239A, the administrator shall not promulgate any Ordinance during the period of such dissolution or suspension

(2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article in pursuance of instructions from the President shall be deemed to be an Act of the Legislature of the Union territory which has been duly enacted after complying with the provisions in that behalf contained in any such law as is referred to in clause (1) of Article 239A, but every such Ordinance

(a) shall be laid before the Legislature of the Union territory and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassembly of the legislature or if, before the expiration of that period, a resolution disapproving it is passed by the Legislature, upon the passing of the resolution; and

(b) maybe withdrawn at any time by the administrator after obtaining instructions from the President on that behalf

(3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which would not be valid if enacted in an Act of the Legislature of the Union territory made after complying with the provisions in that behalf contained in any such law as is referred to in clause (1) of Article 239A, it shall be void

Conclusion

Article 239 has been changed several times since its inception. A list of proposed changes to Article 239 is as follows:

  • 14th Amendment which inserted Article 239A
  • 27th Amendment which amended Article 239A and inserted Article 239B
  • 37th Amendment which amended Article 239A
  • 38th Amendment which amended Article 239B
  • 44th Amendment which amended Article 239B
  • 69th Amendment which inserted Article 239AA and 239AB
  • 70th Amendment which amended Article 239AA

More updates may be forthcoming, as the law-making body may discover other flaws in this article over time and make adjustments for the good and welfare of the people.

References

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_amendments_of_the_Constitution_of_India
  2. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/297117/
  3. https://www.constitutionofindia.net/constitution_of_india/the_union_territories/articles/Article%20239A
  4. https://www.constitutionofindia.net/constitution_of_india/the_union_territories/articles/Article%20239%20A%20A
  5. http://constitutionofindia.etal.in/article_239AB/
  6. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1144754/

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