AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

“The amending process has proved itself one of the most ably conceived aspects of the Constitution. Although it appears complicated, it is merely diverse” – Granville Austin

  • Constitution of India is living document as it provides for its amendment in order to adjust itself to the changing conditions and needs.
  • Amendability provides flexibility and adaptability to constitutional framework to align itself with contemporary developments, thus makes it more relevant document of the time.

 

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS
Article 368:
…Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.
  • Amendment procedure laid down for its amendment is neither as easy as in Britain (No written constitution – Convention based) nor as difficult as in USA.
  • Indian Constitution is neither flexible nor rigid but a synthesis of both.
  • 368 in Part XX of the Constitution deals with the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure.
  • Procedure for amendment of constitution is borrowed from constitution of South Africa.
  • Only parliament endowed with the power to amend constitution.
  • Parliament cannot amend those provisions which form the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution as ruled by the SC in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973).
  • No provision for joint sitting (Art. 108) in case of disagreement over constitutional amendment bill between two houses.
  • No prior permission of president is required for introduction of constitutional amendment bill.

 

MIND OF CONSTITUTION MAKERS
  • The makers of the Indian Constitution were aware of the problem sought to strike a balance.
  • They placed the Constitution above ordinary law and expected that the future generations will respect this document.
  • The constitution is a sacred document and that it is an instrument that may require changes from time to time. In other words, our Constitution is not a static document, it is not the final word about everything; it is not unalterable.
  • They wanted the Constitution to be ‘flexible’ and at the same time ‘rigid’. A constitution that can be very easily changed or modified is often called flexible. In the case of constitutions, which are very difficult to amend, they are described as rigid.
  • The Indian Constitution combines both these characteristics.
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.

 

 

TYPES OF AMENDMENT

The Constitution can be amended in three ways:

  1. Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament,
  2. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament, and
  3. 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 majorityConsent 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).

 

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.

 

 

AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION
  • The Constitution of a country is the fundamental law of the land. It is based on this document that all other laws are made and enforced.
  • Under some Constitutions, certain parts are immune from amendments and are given a special status compared to other provisions.
  • Since the Indian Constitution was first adopted, debates have raged as to the extent of power that Parliament should have to amend key provisions.

 

 

EARLY YEARS OF ABSOLUTE POWER
  • In the early years of Independence, the Supreme Court conceded absolute power to Parliament in amending the Constitution, as was seen in the verdicts in Shankari Prasad (1951) and Sajjan Singh (1965).
  • The reason for this is believed to be that in those initial years, the apex court had reposed faith in the wisdom of the then political leadership when leading freedom fighters were serving as Parliamentarians.
  • In subsequent years, as the Constitution kept being amended at will to suit the interests of the ruling dispensation, the Supreme Court in Golaknath (1967) held that Parliament’s amending power could not touch Fundamental Rights, and this power would be only with a Constituent Assembly.

 

 

THE TUSSLE BETWEEN PARLIAMENT AND THE JUDICIARY
  • In the early 1970s, the government of then PM Indira Gandhi had enacted major amendments to the Constitution (the 24th, 25th, 26th and 29th) to get over the judgments of the Supreme Court in RC Cooper (1970), Madhavrao Scindia (1970) and the earlier mentioned Golaknath case.
  • In RC Cooper, the court had struck down Indira Gandhi’s bank nationalization policy, and in Madhavrao Scindia it had annulled the abolition of privy purses of former rulers.

 

 

JUDGEMENTS RELATED TO AMENDMENTS
  • The question as to whether fundamental rights provided under the Constitution can be amended under Art. 368 has been a topic of debate for the Indian courts.
  • 13(2)of the Constitution prohibits the enactment of any law which takes away or abridges the fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.
  • The question whether an amendment to the Constitution can be considered as a “law” within the meaning of Art. 13(2) was considered by the Supreme Court of India in the case of Shankari Prasad vs. Union of India (1951) wherein the Court held that an amendment affected under Art. 368 of the Constitution is not a “‘law” within the meaning of Art. 13(2) and therefore cannot be challenged on the ground of violation of Art. 13(2).
  • On this basis, insertion of Art. 31A and 31B in the Constitution, by the first amendment to the Constitution, was held as valid even though it adversely affected the fundamental rights guaranteed under 14, 15 and 19.

 

In Sajjan Singh vs. State of Rajasthan, 1965

  • The validity of the 17th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1964 had been challenged on the ground that it curtailed the jurisdictional power of High Courts under Art. 226 but had not been ratified by legislatures of half of Indian States in terms of proviso to Art. 368(2).
  • By a 3:2 majority, the Supreme Court held that the impugned amendment was valid as it did not purport to affect Art. 226 of the Constitution and hence did not attract the requirement of being ratified by the Indian States in terms of proviso to Art. 368(2).

 

Golaknath vs. State of Punjab, 1967

  • The Supreme Court overruled its earlier decisions in the cases of Shankari Prasad and Sajjan Singh, while holding that an amendment under Art. 368 of the Constitution would be treated as a law under Art. 13(2) so no such amendment could be allowed to take away the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

 

24th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1971

  • In order to nullify the effect of the Golaknath case, the Parliament sought to insert Art. 13(4) in the Constitution, by the Constitution (Twenty-fourth) Amendment Act, 1971, providing that “Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under Art. 368“.
  • The 24th amendment was challenged in the case of Kesavananda Bharti State of Kerala, 1973.
  • While overruling its earlier judgment in the Golaknath case, the Supreme Court held that though the Parliament had the power to amend fundamental rights under Art. 368, the amending power could not be used to take away those fundamental rights which form the basic structure of the Constitution.

 

Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala, 1973.

  • The Constitutional Bench, whose members shared serious ideological differences, ruled by a 7-6 verdict that Parliament should be restrained from altering the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
  • The court held that under Art. 368, which provides Parliament amending powers, something must remain of the original Constitution that the new amendment would change.
  • The court did not define the ‘basic structure’, and only listed a few principles — federalism, secularism, democracy — as being its part.
  • Since then, the court has been adding new features to this concept.

 

‘Basic structure’ since Kesavananda Bharti case 1973

  • The basic structure doctrine was first introduced by Justice Mudholkar in the Sajjan Singh case (1965).
  • Major features were notably propounded by Justice Hans Raj Khanna in 1973.
  • The ‘basic structure’ doctrine has since been interpreted to include the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, Independence of the judiciary, doctrine of separation of powers, federalism, secularism, sovereign democratic republic, the parliamentary system of government, the principle of free and fair elections, welfare state, etc.
  • An example of its application is R Bommai (1994), when the Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of the governments by the President following the demolition of the Babri Masjid, invoking a threat to secularism by these governments.

 

Minerva Mills vs. Union of India, 1980

  • The constitutionality of the Constitution (forty-second) Amendment Act, 1976 had been challenged before the Supreme Court on the ground that it destroyed the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • The Supreme Court held that amendment to be unconstitutional as it gave unbridled powers to the Parliament to amend the provisions of the Constitution and took away the power of courts to judicially review any amendment to the Constitution including an amendment to the fundamental rights provided therein.
  • The power of judicial review was recognized to be a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

 

Conclusion

  • It can be stated that the Parliament has a limited power to amend the Constitution and cannot take away, by a constitutional amendment, any fundamental right which forms part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

 

PARLIAMENT COULD MAKE ANY AMENDMENT….
  • 13(2) reads, “The State shall not make any law which takes away or abridges the right conferred by this Part (Part-III) and any law made in contravention of this clause shall, to the extent of the contravention, be void.”
  • The court had ruled that the term “law” in Art. 13 must be taken to mean rules or regulations made in exercise of ordinary legislative power and not amendments to the Constitution made in exercise of constituent power under Art. 368.
  • This means Parliament had the power to amend any part of the constitution including Fundamental rights, subject to the basic structure doctrine.

 

IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS

Till January 2020, there are 104 amendments have been made in the Indian Constitution since its inception in 1950.

AMENDMENTSDESCRIPTION
1First Amendment Act, 1951

 

1. Empowered the state to make the advancement of socially and economically backward classes.

2. Provided for the saving of laws providing for the acquisition of estates etc.

3. Added 9th Schedule to protect the land reform and other laws included in it from the judicial review.

4. Added three more grounds of restrictions on freedom of speech and expression, viz., public order, friendly relations with foreign states and incitement to an offense. It also made the restrictions ‘reasonable’ and thus, justifiable in nature.

5. Provided that state trading and nationalisation of any trade or business by the state is not to be invalid on the ground of violation of the right to trade or business.

2Constitutional (13th Amendment) Act,19631. Formation of State of Nagaland, with special protection under Article 371A.

2. It amended Article 170 (Composition of the Legislative Assemblies)

 

3

 

Constitutional (15th Amendment) Act, 1963

 

1. Enabled the High court’s to issue writs to any person or authority even outside its terrorist’s jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial limits.

2. Increased the retirement age of high court judges from 60 to 62 years.

3. Provided for the appointment of retired judges of the high court’s as acting judges of the same court.

4. Provided the compensatory allowance to judges who are transferring from one High court to another.

5. Enabled the retired judge of the High Court to act as ad-hoc judge of the Supreme Court.

6. Provided for the procedure for determining the age of the Supreme Court and High Court judges.

 

4

 

The Constitution (24th Amendment) Act, 1971

 

1. Affirmed the power of Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution including Fundamental Rights.

2. Made it compulsory for the president to give his assent to a constitutional Amendment Bill.

5The Constitution (36th Amendment) Act, 19751. By this Act, Sikkim became the 22nd State of the Indian Union.
6The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976

 

1. It was enacted during the period of internal emergency. It was passed by Parliament on November 11, 1976 and received Presidential assent on December 18, 1976.

2. The Amendment established beyond doubt the supremacy of Parliament over the other wings of Government; gave the Directive Principles precedence over fundamental rights enumerated for the first time a set of ten Fundamental Duties.

3. It further imposed limits on the power and jurisdiction of the judiciary; raised the term of the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabha from five to six years; authorised the use of Central armed forces in any State to deal with law and order problems, made the President bound by the advice of the Council of Ministers and envisaged the establishment of administrative tribunals for service matters of Government employees and also other tribunals for economic offences.

4. The Act also clearly laid down that no Constitutional Amendment could be questioned in any court of law.

7The Constitution (43rd Amendment) Act, 1978

 

1. This Act repeals the obnoxious provisions of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act passed during the Emergency. It restores civil liberties by deleting Article 3ID which gave powers to Parliament to curtail even legitimate trade union activity under the guise of legislation for the prevention of anti-national activities.

2. The new law, which was ratified by more than half of the States in accordance with the Constitution, also restores legislative powers to the States to make appropriate provision for anti-national activities consistent with the Fundamental Rights. Under the Act, the judiciary has also been restored to its rightful place.

3. The Supreme Court will now have the power to invalidate state laws, a power taken away by the 42nd Amendment Act. The High Courts will also be able to go into the question of the constitutional validity of Central laws thereby enabling persons living in distant places to obtain speedy justice without having to come to the Supreme Court.

8The Constitution (44th Amendment) Act, 1978

 

1. The Constitution (45 th Amendment) Bill, re-numbered as the 44th Amendment came into force on April 30, 1979, when the President gave his assent.

2. The Act removes major distortions in the Constitution introduced during the Emergency. The duration of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies has been reduced from six to five years—the normal term which was extended during the Emergency under the 42nd Amendment to achieve some political purposes.

3. The Right to Property ceases to be a Fundamental Right and becomes only a legal right according to the Constitution 44th Amendment.

4. The Act also extends, for the first time since independence, constitutional protection for publication of the proceedings of Parliament and State Legislatures, except in cases where it is proved to be “malicious”.

5. Another important feature of the Act is that any proclamation of Emergency needs henceforward, be issued by the President only after receiving the advice of the Cabinet as a whole in writing. The President will not be called upon to act on the basis of advice by the Prime Minister on his own without consulting his Cabinet. Other safeguards provide that the proclamation will have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority of the members of both Houses of Parliament within a month.

5. The 44th Amendment provides safeguards against future subversion of the Constitution for establishing an authoritarian regime. It contains provisions that are designed to make it impossible to impose the kind of emergency the country had experienced for 19 months.

9The Constitution (52nd Amendment) Act, 1985

 

1. The Act has made defection to another party, after elections illegal. Any member defecting to another party after elections will be disqualified from being Member of parliament or State Legislature.
10The Constitution (61st Amendment) Act, 19891. It lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.

 

11The Constitution (66th Amendment) Act, 19901. To bring land reforms within the purview of 9th Schedule of the Constitution.
12The Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991

 

1. Delhi made National Capital Region. The Act also made provision for Legislative assembly and a council of ministers for Delhi.
13The Constitution (70th Amendment) Act, 1992

 

1. Before this act was made Article 54 relating to the election of the President provided for an electoral college consisting only of the elected members of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of the States (not of Union Territories). The amendment provides for the inclusion of members of the legislature of Pondicherry and Delhi.
14The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992

 

1. To ensure direct election to all seats in Panchayats; to reserve seats for SCs and STs in proportion to their population; and for reservation of not less than one-third of the seats in Panchayats for women.
15The Constitution (74th Amendment) Act, 19921. It was made to ensure direct election to all seats in Nagar Palikas and Municipalities.
16The Constitution (78th Amendment) Act, 19951. It includes land reform laws in the Ninth Schedule so that they cannot be challenged before the courts.
17The Constitution (81st Amendment) Act, 2000

 

1. It provides that the unfilled vacancies of a year reserved for SC/ST kept for being filled up in a year as per Article 16, shall be considered separately for filling vacancies in the succeeding year and the previous list will not be considered for filling the 50% quota of the respective year.
18The Constitution (83rd Amendment) Act, 2000

 

1. The Act amended Article 243 M to provide that no reservation in Panchayats be made in favour of SC/ST in Arunachal Pradesh where the whole population is tribal.
19The Constitution (85th Amendment) Act, 2001

 

1. Provided for ‘consequential seniority’ in the case of promotion by the virtue of rule of reservation for the government servants belonging to the SCs and STs with retrospective effect from June 1995.
20The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act, 20021. Provides Right to Education until the age of fourteen and early childhood care until the age of six.

 

21The Constitution (87th Amendment) Act, 2003

 

1. Provided for readjustment and rationalisation of territorial constituencies in the states on the basis of the population figures of 2001 census and not 1991 census as provided earlier by the 84th Amendment Act of 2001.

 

22The Constitution (89th Amendment) Act, 2003

 

1. Bifurcated the erstwhile combined National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes into two separate bodies, namely, National Commission of SCs (Article- 338) and  National Commission of STs (338-A)
23The Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2004

 

1. Restricted the size of the Council of Ministers (CoM) to 15 percent of legislative members & strengthened the Anti Defection laws.
24The Constitution (93rd Amendment) Act, 2006

 

1. Provided for 27 percent reservation for other backward classes in government as well as private higher educational institutions.
25The Constitution (94th Amendment) Act, 2006

 

1. To provide for a Minister of Tribal Welfare in newly created Jharkhand and the Chhattisgarh States including Madhya Pradesh and Orissa
26The Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2012

 

1. Added the words “or co-operative societies” after the word “or unions” in Article 19(l) (c) and inserted article 43B related to the promotion of co-operative societies and added Part-IXB that is The Co-operative Societies
27The Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 20141. The amendment provides for the formation of a National Judicial Appointments Commission.
28The Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015

 

1. The term the Constitution (100th Amendment) Act, 2015 was in news in the fourth week of May 2015 as the President of India Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 that related to the Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh.
29The Constitution (101th Amendment) Act, 2017Introduced the Goods and Services Tax in the country since 1 July 2017.
30The Constitution (102th Amendment) Act,2018It gave Constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes.

 

31The Constitution (103th Amendment) Act,2019It provided a maximum of 10% Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs).
32The Constitution (104th Amendment) Act, 2020It extended the reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and states assemblies.

 

SUGGESTIONS FOR AMENDMENT PROCESS
  • Joint parliamentary committee (JPC) could setup for in-depth deliberation and building consensus.
  • Considering separate committee/body (as in USA) for considering amendment to the constitution.
  • Amendment should be limited to the part which doesn’t form core philosophy and basic text of the constitution.

 

 

WHY AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION NECESSARY?
  • To make constitution (fundamental law of the land) more relevant documentr.t. changing conditions and contemporary realities.
  • To align it with changing needs and aspirations of society.
  • To ensure synchronisation between constitutional setup and policy and programmes of incumbent government.
  • To meet unforeseen exigencies of situation such as CAA 2019, Bangladesh enclave exchanges (100th CAA), extending reservation to SC/ST for next 10 years (upto 2030).
  • To ensure social, economic, political justice as enshrined in preamble of the constitution.
  • To achieve the goal of inclusive and equitable society.
  • Amendability provides flexibility and adaptability to constitutional framework

 

 

INFORMAL WAY OF AMENDING THE CONSTITUTION

Constitution undergoes amendments informally (imperceptibly) in following two ways

  1. Judicial pronouncements
  2. Conventions and constitutional changes
  3. Judicial Pronouncements and constitutional amendments
  • In Indian democratic setup, Supreme Court has contributed immensely to amendment of constitution through its judicial pronouncements in following ways –
    • Introduction of basic structure of constitution doctrine and their non-amendability – Kesavananda Bharati case 1973
    • FR and DPSPs are complementary. They both constitute part of basic structure and hence are non-amendable – Minerva mill case 1980
    • Territory cannot be ceded except by an amendment act – Berubari case 1960
    • 361 gives governor state immunity from judicial review, however judiciary has the right to invalidate any wrong and malafide actions that a governor may take – Bihar assembly dissolution case 2006
  1. Conventions and constitutional changes
  • Conventions are set of unwritten rules that have come to be accepted as having the force of law.
  • Some conventions in India in the field of constitution and governance are –
    • PM hails from the Lok Sabha (although could also from Rajya Sabha)
    • President dissolves Lok Sabha on the advice of union council of ministers.
  • British constitutional expert is of view that conventions cannot be enforced by courts as they are unwritten. This view is true as in case of PM belonging to Lok Sabha
  • Kuldip Singh (former judge of SC) observed that they are enforceable and that there is no distinction between constitutional law and an established constitutional convention

 

 

DANGER OF FREQUENT AMENDMENTS
  • Frequent amendments to the constitution will lead to erosion of the credibility of the constitution.
  • Recurrent changes to the constitution could lead to instability in institutional setup.
  • Frequent changes could result into confusion and conflict among various organs of the political setup as experienced in the constitution of Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • This will also create possibility of infringement of upon the basic text and core philosophy of the constitution.
  • Could kickstart tussle between judiciary and executive organ as experienced through 24th amendment act and before Kesavananda Bharati judgement.
  • This tendency will set in wrong and unhealthy precedence for coming governments.

 

 

AMENDMENTS THROUGH POLITICAL CONSENSUS
  • Starting with the anti-defection amendment (52nd amendment)
  • 61st amendment 1988– bringing down the minimum age for voting from 21 to 18 years,
  • 73rdand the 74th amendments in 1992.
  • Both political practice and judicial rulings have shown maturity and flexibility in implementing the Constitution. These factors have made our Constitution a living document rather than a closed and static rulebook.

 

 

CRITICISM OF THE AMENDMENT PROCEDURE
  • No provision for a special body like Constitutional Convention (as in USA) or Constitutional Assembly for amending the Constitution.
  • The constituent power is vested in the Parliament and only in few cases, in the state legislatures.
  • The power to initiate an amendment to the Constitution lies with the Parliament. (Unlike in USA)
  • State legislatures cannot initiate any bill or proposal for amending the Constitution except in one case – passing a resolution requesting the Parliament for the creation or abolition of legislative councils in the states. Here also, the Parliament can either approve or disapprove such a resolution or may not take any action on it.
  • Only in few cases, the consent of the state legislatures is required and that too, only half of them (In USA à three-fourths of the states).
The process of amendment is similar to that of a legislative process. Except for the special majority, the constitutional amendment bills are to be passed by the Parliament in the same way as ordinary bills.
  • No time frame within which the state legislatures should ratify or reject an amendment submitted to them. Also, it is silent on the issue whether the states can withdraw their approval after according the same.
  • No provision for holding a joint sitting (Art.108) of both the Houses of Parliament if there is a deadlock over the passage of a constitutional amendment bill.
  • The provisions relating to the amendment procedure are too sketchy. Hence, they leave a wide scope for taking the matters to the judiciary.