Indian Polity -Amendment of Indian Constitution


Amendment of Indian Constitution[Indian Polity Notes for UPSC, SSC etc. ] :

This Article discusses the Amendment of Indian Constitution and the Amendment Procedure to be followed as provided under the Constitution of India. ‘Amendment of Indian Constitution’ means bringing change in the already present provisions of the Indian Constitution. The need of amendment can be because of various reasons.

What is Article 368 given in the Indian Constitution?

  • Article 368 deals with the Amendment of Indian Constitution.
  • It is present in Part XX of the Indian Constitution.
  • It lays down the various provisions related to the Constitution Amendment as well as lists out the procedure to be followed while Amending the Indian Constitution.
  • It is to be noted that the Article 368 present in the Constitution of India can also be amended.

What does Article 368 say?

  • Under Article 368, the Parliament has the power to add, repeal , delete any part or provision of the Indian Constitution by voting with a ‘Special Majority’
  • Now, the point to be understood is that what is Special Majority? Special Majority means that more than 50% of the total membership of the house and more than two-thirds of the member present and voting in that house.
  • It is different from Simple majority which is needed to pass an ordinary bill.
  • So, any Constitutional amendment bill needs to be passed by more than 50% of the total membership of that house as well as by more than 2/3rd of the members present and voting.

Can the Entire Indian Constitution be amended ?

  • YES.
  • Entire Indian Constitution can be amended until and unless the ‘Basic Features of the Constitution’ remains same.
  • Even the Fundamental rights and Directive Principles can be amended if the basic structure of the constitution remains intact..
  • This doctrine of the ‘Basic Features of Constitution’ was given by the Supreme court in Keshavananda Bharati case in 1973.

Does all Amendments fall under Article 368?

  • NO.
  • There are certain provisions in the Indian Constitution which can be amended outside of the Article 368.
  • There is no need to invoke Article 368 for these provisions.
  • The difference is that these provisions are NOT passed by Special Majority as provided by Article 368 but needs to be passed only by Simple Majority i.e more than 50% of the members present and voting.
  • Some of the provisions like Citizenship, Fifth Schedule, Sixth Schedule, Salary and Emoluments under 2nd Schedule, changing the name, boundary , area of States etc. can be amended by Simple Majority.

Do the States have any say in the Amendment of Indian Constitution?

  • YES.
  • In provisions relating to the Federal Structure of the Constitution , the States also play an important role in the Amendment of the Constitution.
  • While amending the provision related to the Federal structure , at least Half of the states have to pass the same Constitutional Amendment Bill by the Simple Majority in their respective Legislative Assemblies.
  • As soon as half of the states pass the bill, there is no need for the remaining states to take any action on the bill.
  • There is no fix time-frame mentioned in the Indian Constitution for the states to take the action on the Constitutional Amendment Bill. It means, it can be deferred indefinitely.
  • Provisions where States consent is necessary:
    • Election of the President
    • Distribution of Legislative power between States and Union.
    • Representation of states in Parliament.
    • Extent of Executive power of Union and States.
    • Seventh Schedule
    • Article 368.
    • Supreme Court and High Courts.

 Various Ways  of Amendment of Indian Constitution:

So, there are three ways of the Amendment of the Constitution.

  1. By Simple Majority in both Houses of Parliament( not under Article 368).
  2. By Special  Majority in both Houses of Parliament( comes under Article 368)
  3. By Special Majority in both Houses of Parliament and with consent of at least Half of the States by simple majority ( comes under Article 368).

Procedure of Amendment of Indian Constitution under Article 368:

  • The procedure is somewhat similar to the passing of an ordinary bill with few differences.
  • The Constitutional Amendment Bill can only be introduced in any House of the Parliament i.e Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. It cannot be introduced in any state Legislatures.
  • The bill can brought by any Minister or any other member.
  • NO JOINT SESSION – Unlike an ordinary bill, There is no provision for a joint session in case of a Constitutional Amendment Bill. It has to be passed separately in each house with Special Majority.
  • After passing in each house with  Special majority , if the bill is amending any federal provision of the constituion, it must be ratified by at least half of the states with Simple majority.
  • After passing in each house and after being ratified by half of the states if necessary, it is then presented to the President for assent.
  • NO WITHHOLDING -The President has to give his assent to the bill. He can not withhold or return the bill as he can do with an ordinary bill.
  • After the President signs the bill, it becomes an Act and thus the Amendment of Indian Constitution takes place.



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