Salient Features of 58th Amendment of the Indian Constitution

Salient features of the 60th amendment of the Indian constitution*

  1. Introduction

A constitutional amendment modifies a polity’s, organizations, or other sorts of entity’s constitution. Frequently, amendments are included directly into the pertinent portions of an existing constitution. On the other hand, they can be added as extra additions (codicils) to the constitution, modifying the form of government without changing the wording of the original document. The majority of constitutions stipulate that to become law, amendments must first undergo a more rigorous special procedure than is necessary for regular legislation. Supermajorities in the legislature, direct voter approval in a referendum, or even a combination of two or more special procedures are examples of such exceptional procedures.

  1. Amendments in Indian Constitution:

There are three ways the Indian Constitution can be changed by a simple majority in the legislature. This process is used to change the elements of the constitution that are outside the scope of Article 368[i]. It is employed to change the following clauses:

The creation of new states, modifications to state boundaries, name changes, and changes to state areas state legislative councils may be established or eliminated.

Judges of the Supreme Court and High Court receive changing salaries and benefits.

  1. Enactment and Proposal

On August 22, 1988, the Constitution (Sixtieth Amendment) Bill, 1988 (Bill No. 100 of 1988) was introduced in the Lok Sabha. It was proposed by Ajit Kumar Panja, then Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance’s Department of Revenue. The Bill sought to amend Article 276 of the Constitution, which deals with taxes on professions, trades, callings, and employments.

The total amount payable by a single person to the State or to any municipality, district board, local board, or other local authority in a State as taxes on professions, trades, callings, and employments leviable by a State Legislature under clause (1) of that article may not exceed 250 rupees per year, according to clause (2) of Article 276 of the Constitution. However, the proviso to that clause allows the continuation of the levying of such a tax at a rate exceeding 250 rupees per year in any State, municipality, etc., if, in the fiscal year that ended right before the Constitution’s start, there was in effect in that State, municipality, etc.

2. Some state governments have stated that the celling of 250 rupees, which was established in 1949, should be revised upwards to account for price increases and other factors. It is also stated that the profession tax has become almost regressive due to the ceiling, as even people with high salaries are only required to pay the maximum amount of two hundred and fifty rupees per year. The increase in the professional tax will also assist state governments in raising additional funds.

3. As a result, it is proposed to amend clause (2) of Article 276 of the Constitution to raise the annual profession tax ceiling from 2,500 to 2,500 rupees. Because the proviso to this clause is no longer relevant, it is proposed that it be removed.

4. The Bill seeks to accomplish the aforementioned goals.

The Bill was debated in the Lok Sabha on November 30, 1988, and passed the same day in its original form. The Bill, as passed by the Lok Sabha, was debated and approved by the Rajya Sabha on December 5 and 6, 1988. On December 20, 1988, then-President Ramaswamy Venkataraman signed the bill. It was published in The Gazette of India[ii] and took effect on the same day.

  1. Summary of Objects and Justifications

1. The total amount payable by a single person to the State or to any municipality, district board, local board, or other local authority in a State as taxes on professions, trades, callings, and employments leviable by a State Legislature under clause (1) of that article may not exceed 250 rupees per year, according to clause (2) of Article 276 of the Constitution[iii]. The caveat to that clause, however, allows for the continuation of the levying of such a tax at a rate exceeding 250 rupees per year in any State, municipality, etc., provided in the fiscal year that ended before the Constitution’s commencement, there was in force in that State, municipality, etc

2. Some state governments have stated that the celling of 250 rupees, which was established in 1949, should be revised upwards to account for price increases and other factors. It is also stated that the profession tax has become almost regressive due to the ceiling, as even people with high salaries are only required to pay the maximum amount of two hundred and fifty rupees per year. The increase in the professional tax will also assist state governments in raising additional funds.

3. It is therefore proposed to amend clause (2) of Article 276 of the Constitution to raise the annual profession tax ceiling from 250 rupees to 500 rupees.

Amended Article 19 of the Constitution, empowering states to limit freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in the interest of India’s sovereignty.

Amended Articles 84 and 173 regarding the qualifications of members of Parliament and the State Legislature, respectively.

Included sovereignty and integrity in the oaths or affirmations of India’s legislators, ministers, judges, and CAG.

  • Conclusion:

What we must understand is that the constitution is the foundation of this democracy. While it was revolutionary for our founding fathers to include amendment provisions, such provisions must not be abused. Misuse could result in excessive legislative or executive power, tearing the fabric of our democracy apart.

  • References:

*  Harshita Malviya, Final Year Law Student, Banasthali Vidyapeeth

[i] https://www.mea.gov.in/Images/pdf1/Part20.pdf

[ii] https://www.casemine.com/act/in/5a979da94a93263ca60b7201

[iii] https://www.indianconstitution.in/2017/09/60th-amendment-in-constitution-of-india.html

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