Amending Procedure of the Constitution
To prepare for Indian Polity for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the basics of the Amendment of the Constitution. It gives an idea of all the topics important for IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II). Amendment of the Constitution and related topics are extremely important for the UPSC Exam. This is an essential portion of the polity. As IAS aspirants, you should be thorough with the Amendment of the Constitution. This article will provide you with relevant details about the Amending Procedure of the Constitution.
|AMENDING PROCEDURE OF THE CONSTITUTION|
|An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament and not in the state legislatures.|
|The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member and does not require prior permission of the president.|
|The bill must be passed in each House by a special majority, that is, a majority of the total membership of the House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of the House present and voting.|
|Each House must pass the bill separately. In case of a disagreement between the two Houses, there is no provision for holding a joint sitting of the two Houses for the purpose of deliberation and passage of the bill.|
|After duly passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the state legislatures, where necessary, the bill is presented to the president for assent.|
|The president must give his assent to the bill. He can neither withhold his assent to the bill nor return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.|
|After the president’s assent, the bill becomes an Act (i.e., a constitutional amendment act) and the Constitution stands amended in accordance with the terms of the Act.|
|TWO PRINCIPLES DOMINATE THE VARIOUS PROCEDURES OF AMENDING THE CONSTITUTIONS IN MOST MODERN CONSTITUTIONS|
- One is the principle of special majority. For instance, the constitutions of U.S., South Africa, Russia, etc. have employed this principle: In the case of constitution of US, it is two-thirds majority, while in South Africa and Russia, for some amendments, three-fourths majority is required.
- The other principle that is popular among many modern constitutions is that of people’s participation in the process of amending the constitution. In Switzerland, people can even initiate an amendment. Other examples of countries where people initiate or approve amendment to the constitution are Russia and Italy, among others.
|TYPES OF AMENDMENT|
The Constitution can be amended in three ways:
- Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament,
- Amendment by special majority of the Parliament, and
- Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state legislatures.
1.BY SIMPLE MAJORITY OF PARLIAMENT
Simple majority à a majority of the members of each House present and voting (similar to the ordinary legislative process). Its outside the scope of Art. 368.
These provisions include:
- Admission or establishment of new states.
- Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing
- Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states (Art.169)
- Second Schedule–emoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of the president, the governors, the Speakers, judges, etc.
- Quorum in Parliament.
- Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament.
- Rules of procedure in Parliament.
- Privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees.
- Use of English language in Parliament.
- Number of puisne judges in the SUPREME COURT.
- Conferment of more jurisdiction on the Supreme Court. 12. Use of official language.
- Citizenship–acquisition and termination.
- Elections to Parliament and state legislatures.
- Delimitation of constituencies.
- Union territories.
- Fifth Schedule– administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
- Sixth Schedule– administration of tribal areas à AMTM states!
2.BY SPECIAL MAJORITY OF PARLIAMENT
Special majority à Majority of the total membership of each House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting.
The expression ‘total membership’ means the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of fact whether there are vacancies or absentees.
- Fundamental Rights
- Directive Principles of State Policy
- All other provisions which are not covered by the first and third categories.
3. BY SPECIAL MAJORITY OF PARLIAMENT AND CONSENT OF STATES
Those provisions which are related to the federal structure can be amended by –
- Special majority – of the Parliament and also by
- Simple majority – Consent of half of the state legislatures
- There is no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill.
These provisions include:
- Election of the President and its manner.
- Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.
- Supreme Court and high courts.
- Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the states.
- Goods and Services Tax Council
- Any of the lists in the Seventh Schedule
- Representation of states in Parliament.
- Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (368 itself).