Every country must have a constitution as the constitution helps and guides in governing the country. The constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It is one of the lengthiest constitutions of the world. It took a period of 2 years, 11 months and 18 days to frame the constitution. Although borrowed from almost all the constitutions of the world the Indian constitution has several salient features that distinguishes it from the constitutions of the other countries. It originally had 395 articles divided into 22 parts and 8 schedules. But after many amendments, it now consists of 448 articles divided into 25 parts and 12 schedules. Unlike the constitution of USA, the Indian constitution is a combination of both rigidity as well as flexibility.
Amendment simply means making a change in the constitutional provisions. So, it means adding of or deleting of some provisions of the constitution. The constitution framers gave the power to the parliament to amend the constitution as per Article 368 of the Indian constitution. Though, the parliament has the power to amend the constitution, it cannot amend the basic structure of the constitution as per Article 368 (1) PART XX. As of now, there have been 105 amendments of the constitution of India since it was first enacted in 1950. This amending power of the parliament is very much necessary and useful as it helps in changing with the change in society. As we know in this fast developing era mind set of the people changes rapidly, when it happens society too needs a change which is almost possible with the amendment power of the parliament
Basic structure Doctrine
The basic structure doctrine means that any amendment which tries to change the basic structure of the constitution is considered as invalid. The word ‘basic structure’ is not mentioned anywhere in the constitution. This was held in the landmark case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala. So, the Supreme Court in this case gave a very important judgement which restricts the parliament from making unnecessary constitutional amendments.
Justice Hans Raj Khanna propounded the basic structure doctrine in the case of Kesavanda Bharati v. state of Kerala in 1973 making it clear that the basic feautures cannot be altered by the amendments of the parliament. Though basic structure is not defined anywhere in the constitution, it reflects through some of its constituents (as many time defined and narrated by the judiciary), i.e. Republic nature of India, sovereignty, Rule of Law, republic nature of Indian polity, liberty, judicial review, secularism, Separation of power etc.
The main purpose of the said doctrine is to protect the soul idea and philosophy of the original constitution. This doctrine only applies to constitutional amendments, mainly those amendments that can destroy or alter the basic philosophical ideas of the original constitution. Any law that violates basic structure doctrine is declared as null by Supreme Court.
So, in the beruberi case, the Supreme court held that the preamble is not a part of the constitution. Article 368 empowers the parliament to amend the constitution only. But, in kesavananda bharati v state of Kerala case, it was held that parliament can amend the preamble as well but it cannot amend the basic structure of the constitution.
Procedure for amendment
Our Indian constitution mainly provides for three categories of amendment.
In the first category of amendment, 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 provides for various types amendments ranging from the simple to the most difficult type by depending on the nature of the amendment.
The 65th Constitutional Amendment Act
This was enforced since 12 March 1992.
STATEMENT OF OBJECTS AND REASONS
Article 338 of the Indian Constitution provides for a Special Officer for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for investigating all of those matters which are related to the safeguards provided for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Constitution and to report to the President regarding their functioning. It was felt that under article 338 a high level five member commission will be a more effective arrangement in respect of the constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes than a single Special Officer as at present. They also felt that it is necessary to modify the functions of the said Commission so as to cover measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the Scheduled tribes as well as Scheduled castes and also to entrust to the Commission such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as the President may, subject to any law made by Parliament, by rule specify. It is also felt that the reports of the said Commission shall be laid before the state legislatures and the parliament.
The Indian constitution has gone through a total of 105 amendments till date. Article 368 of the constitution gives special powers to the parliament to amend the constitution. The 65th amendment to the constitution of India happened on 12 march 1992 amended article 338 of the Indian constitution and a National Commission for the scheduled castes and scheduled Tribes were formed and its statutory powers specified in the constitution.
- Constitution 65th Amendment Act, 1990 – GKToday
- 65th Amendment in Constitution of India | 65 Constitutional Amendment (indianconstitution.in)
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