Silent features of 42nd Constitutional amendment act

Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution
(Forty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1976 (Bill No. 91 of 1976) which was
enacted as THE CONSTITUTION (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976.

The Constitution of India offers basic guidelines and principles for the efficient functioning of our nation. It dictates the fundamental political principles, powers, and duties of the government and also enumerates the fundamental rights, directive principles and duties of the citizens. The Constitution advocates constitutional supremacy over parliamentary supremacy and was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949. It came into effect on January 26, 1950. Forty-Second Amendment Act, 1976 is the most comprehensive amendment made so far to the Constitution; it is known as ‘Mini-Constitution’. It gave effect to the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee

HISTORY

 In 1971, the general elections were held across India when Mrs. Indira Gandhi conveniently won against Mr. Raj Narain and went on to become the Prime Minister.  After the defeat, Mr. Raj Narain filed a case against the PM for election fraud and usage of State machinery in carrying out her election campaign. These charges were filed in Allahabad High Court and Mrs. Indira Gandhi had to appear in the court which was the first-ever such instance for a Prime Minister of India. Since its initiation, the case went on for four years which was solely adjudged by Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha. In 1975, the Allahabad HC delivered a judgment finding her guilty of misusing police and government officers for the party election campaign. Henceforth, her election was declared null and void and she was banned from contesting in the election for the next six years. Many other charges filed against her were dropped and the aforementioned charges which were comparatively frivolous were proved in the Allahabad HC. 

Later, as this case was appealed in the Supreme Court, the political opposition initiated anti-government protests. The renowned leader, Mr. Jaya Prakash Narayan who is popularly known as JP, organized a massive rally in the capital city demanding Mrs. Indira Gandhi to abandon the PM office. On 25th June 1975, an emergency was declared by the government across the country citing ‘internal disturbance’ as the reason. 

During the period of emergency, the government undertook a series of amendments to the Constitution which can be categorized as the most controversial amendments. These include various alterations made to the existing provisions and the addition of new provisions. First of all, the 38th Amendment was passed on 22nd July, 1975 which extended the State’s authority to infringe the fundamental rights during the emergency and also barred judicial review on the proclamations of emergency. Secondly, the 39th Amendment was undertaken by the legislature which was also controversial for its intention and effect. As per this amendment, the power of High Courts to investigate the election of a Prime Minister was eliminated and the inquiry and investigation can only be done by the parliamentary committee constituted for the purpose. Similar amendments continued during the period of emergency amidst the arrest of the prominent opposition leaders and their absence in the legislature. 

SWARAN SINGH COMMITTEE

Sardar Swaran Singh Committee was set up by Congress Party in 1976 to make recommendations about fundamental duties, the need and necessity of which was felt during the operation of the internal emergency (1975–1977).

The committee recommended the inclusion of a chapter on fundamental duties in the Constitution. It stressed that the citizens should become conscious that in addition to the enjoyment of rights, they also have certain duties to perform as well.

The Congress Government at Centre accepted these recommendations and enacted the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976. This amendment added a new part, namely, Part IVA to the Constitution. This new part consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A which for the first time specified a code of ten fundamental duties of the citizens.

AMENDMENTS:-

  • Preamble:- It added three new words in the Preamble ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and ‘Integrity’.
  • Seventh Schedule:- Education, Forests, Protection of wild animals and birds, Weights and Measures, and Administration of justice, constitution, and organization of all courts except the Supreme Court and the High Courts were all moved from the State list to the Concurrent list.
  • Fundamental Duties:- It added Article 51A to the Constitution consisting of 10 Fundamental Duties, on the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee, established by the Government in 1976.
  • Note: The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act added the 11th Fundamental Duty, that is, a parent or guardian must give opportunities for education to his or her child or ward between the ages of six and fourteen years.
  • Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP)- Three new DPSPs were added to the existing list, and one was modified. They were:
  • Article 39: To secure opportunities for the healthy development of children.
  • Article 39A: To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor.
  • Article 43A: To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
  • Article 48A: to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife.
  • Parliament:- The President was obligated to follow the cabinet’s advice.
  • It allowed the Centre to deploy central forces in the state to deal with law and order conflicts (Article 257A)
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Prime Minister were given unique discretionary powers (Article 329A)
  • Directive Principles were given precedence over Fundamental Rights, and any legislation enacted by the Parliament to that effect was kept out of the Court’s judicial review.
  • Quorum requirements in the Parliament and state legislatures were abolished.
  • The Parliament was given the authority to decide on the rights and privileges of its members and committees regularly.
  • The Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies now had a six-year term instead of five.
  • Judiciary:-The High Courts’ judicial review power was curtailed.
  • Provided for the creation of the All-India Judicial Service.
  • Part XIV-A:- Articles 323A and 323B were added entitled ‘Tribunals dealing with Administrative matters’ and ‘Tribunals for other matters’.

REFERANCE:-

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forty-second_Amendment_of_the_Constitution_of_India#:~:text=The%2042nd%20Amendment%20changed%20the,an
  2. https://blog.ipleaders.in/critical-analysis-42nd-amendment-act-1976/
  3. https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/42nd-amendment-act/

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