15 Most Important Amendments of Indian Constitution for UPSC, CLAT

Important Amendments of Indian Constitution

Constitution of India (under article 368 of Part XX) provided the powers to Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedures but cannot amend those provisions which form the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution (As ruled by the Supreme Court in the Keshashavananda Bharti Case, 1973).

Here are 15 of the most significant amendments:

The Constitution (First Amendment) Act, 1950 – This amendment provided for several new grounds of restrictions to the right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to practise any profession or to carry on any trade or business as contained in Article 19 of the Constitution. These restrictions related to public order, friendly relations with foreign States or incitement to an offence in relation to the right to freedom of speech, and to the prescribing of professional or technical qualifications or the carrying on by the State, etc., of any trade, business, industry or service in relation to the right to carry on any trade or business. The amendment also inserted two new Articles, 31A and 31B and the Ninth Schedule to give protection from challenge to land reform laws.

The Constitution (Second Amendment) Act, 1952 – By this amendment, the scale or representation for election to the Lok Sabha was readjusted.

The Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Act, 1955 – Article 31 (2) of the Constitution was amended to re-state more precisely the State’s power of compulsory acquisition and requisitioning of private property and distinguish it from cases where the operation of regulatory or prohibitory laws of the States results in “deprivation of property”. Article 31A of the Constitution was also amended to extend its scope to cover categories of essential welfare legislation like abolition of zamindaris, proper planning of urban and rural areas and for effecting a full control over the mineral and oil resources of the country, etc. Six Acts were also included in the Ninth Schedule. Article 305 was also amended to save certain laws providing of State Monopolies.

The Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act, 1955 – This amendment made a change in Article 3 so as to empower President to specify a time limit for state legislatures to convey their views on the proposed Central laws affecting areas, boundaries, etc., of their states.

The Constitution (Sixth Amendment) Act, 1956 – This amendment made some changes in Articles 269 and 286 relating to taxes on sale and purchase of goods in the course of inter-state trade and commerce. A new entry 92 A was added to the Union List of the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution.

The Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1956 – This amendment purported to give effect to the recommendations of the State Reorganisation Commission and the necessary consequential changes. Broadly, the then existing states and territories were changed to have two-fold classification of states and union territories. The amendment also provided for composition of the House of the People, re-adjustment after every census, provisions regarding the establishment of new High Courts, High Court Judges, etc.

The Constitution (Eighth Amendment) Act, 1960 – Article 334 was amended with a view to extending the period of reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and to the Anglo-Indian community by nomination in Parliament and in the State Legislatures for a further period of ten years.

The Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act, 1962 – By this Act, Pondicherry was included in the First Schedule as a Union Territory, and this Act has also enabled the creation of Legislature by Parliamentary law for Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu and Pondicherry.

The Constitution (Twenty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1971 – This amendment further amended Article 31 in the wake of the Bank Nationalisation case. The word ‘amount’ was substituted in place of ‘compensation’ in the light of the judicial interpretation of the word ‘compensation’ meaning ‘adequate compensation’.

The Constitution (Twenty-eighth Amendment) Act, 1972 – The amendment was enacted to abolish the special privileges of the members of Indian Civil Services in matters of leave, pension and rights as regard to disciplinary matters.

The Constitution (Thirty-fifth Amendment) Act, 1974 – By this Act a new Article 2A was added thereby conferring on Sikkim the status of an associate State of Indian Union. Consequent amendments were made to Articles 80 and 81. A new schedule, i.e., Tenth Schedule, was added laying down terms and conditions of association of Sikkim with the Union.

The Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 – This act made a number of important amendments in the Constitution. These amendments were mainly for purpose of giving effect to the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee.

The Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978 – The right to property which had been the occasion for more than one amendment of Constitution was omitted as a Fundamental Right and it was made only as a legal right. It was, however, ensured that the removal of the right to property from the list of Fundamental Rights would not affect the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice. Article 352 of the Constitution was amended to provide “armed rebellion” as one of the circumstances for declaration of emergency. Internal disturbance not amounting to armed rebellion would not be a ground for the issuance of a Proclamation. The right to personal liberty as contained in Articles 21 and 22 is further strengthened by the provision that law for preventive detention cannot authorise, in any case, detention for a longer period than two months unless an Advisory Board has reported that there is sufficient cause for such detention. The additional safeguard has also been provided by the requirements that Chairman of an Advisory Board shall be a serving Judge of the appropriate High Court and that the Board shall be constituted in accordance with the recommendations of the Chief Justice of that High Court. With a view to avoid delays, Articles 132 and 134 were amended and a new Article 134A was inserted to provide that a High Court should consider the question of granting a certificate for appeal to Supreme Court immediately after the delivery of the judgment, final order or sentence concerned on the basis of an oral application by a party or, if the High Court deems it so to do, on its own. The other amendments made by the Act are mainly for removing or correcting the distortions which came into the Constitution by reason of the amendment initiated during the period of internal emergency.

The Constitution (Seventy-third Amendment) Act, 1993 – Article 40 of the Constitution which enshrines one of the Directive Principles of State Policy lays down that the State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government. In the light of the above, a new Part IX relating to the Panchayats has been inserted in the Constitution to provide for among other things, Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages; constitution of Panchayats at village and other level or levels; direct elections to all seats in Panchayats at the village and intermediate level, if any and to the offices of Chairpersons of Panchayats at such levels; reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population for membership of Panchayats and office of Chairpersons in Panchayats at each level; reservation of not less than one-third of the seats for women; fixing tenure of five years for Panchayats and holding elections within a period of six months in the event of supersession of any panchayat.

The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 – The act amends the constitution to introduce “The Goods and Services Tax (GST)”. It amended the articles 248, 249, 250, 268, 269, 270, 271, 286, 366 & 368. Amended the Sixth & Seventh Schedules. Omitted article 268A. Inserted new articles 246A (Special provision with respect to goods and services tax), 269A (Levy and collection of goods and services tax in course of inter-State trade or commerce) and 279A (Goods and Services Tax Council). The act also provided for compensation to States for loss of revenue on account of the introduction of goods and services tax.

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