How is the Constitution of India amended? Do you think that the procedure for amendment makes the Constitution a play-thing in the hands of the Centre? (250 Words)

A constitutional amendment bill is passed by either one of the following ways:-

  • Simple majority of parliament – Both the houses pass the bill by simple majority.
  • Special majority of parliament – Both the houses need to pass the bill by 2/3rd majority of the members present and voting and by majority of the total number of members of that house.
  • Special majority of parliament and consent of states – After passing the bill by both the houses by special majority, if the bill seeks to make changes in the federal character of the Constitution, the amendment also requires to be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States. There is no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill.

The bill to amend constitution may be introduced in any house of the parliament. There is no provision for joint sitting of both houses for constitutional amendment.

  • 24th Amendment act (1971) – Parliament has the power to amend any provision of the constitution by way of addition, variation or repeal. In case of Constitutional amendment bill the president cannot withhold his assent nor can he return it for reconsideration. He is required to assent the bill.
  • Keshavanand Bharti case (1973)- The doctrine of basic structure was introduced and held that parliament cannot amend the constitution as to destroy its basic structure.
  • 42nd amendment acr (1976) – Parliament amended article 368 and negated judicial review of the amendment.
  • Minerva Mills case (1980) – The above was held void and power of judicial review was restored to the Supreme Court.

   Thus due to rigid procedure, absence of joint sitting, judicial review and doctrine of basic structure, the constitution has not become a play thing in the hands of the centre.

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