June 6, 2012

Modes of amending the constitution 

Power to amend the constitution of India is given in Article 368. Parliament in exercise of its constituent power, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the constitution.  For the purpose of amendment, the various Articles of the Constitution are divided into three categories. The first category is out of the purview of Article 368 whereas the other two are a part and parcel of the said Article. The various categories of amendment to the Constitution can be summarized as follows:

Amendment by Simple Majority:

As the name suggests, an article can be amended in the same way by the Parliament as an ordinary law is passed which requires simple majority. The amendment contemplated under Articles 5-11 (Citizenship), 169 (Abolition or creation of Legislative Councils in States) and 239-A (Creation of local Legislatures or Council of Ministers or both fir certain Union Territories) of the Indian Constitution can be made by simple majority. These Articles are specifically excluded from the purview of the procedure prescribed under Article 368.

Amendment by Special Majority :

Articles which can be amended by special majority are laid down in Article 368. All amendments, except those referred to above come within this category and must be affected by a majority of total membership of each House of Parliament as well as 2/3rd of the members present and voting.

Amendment by Special Majority and Ratification by States:

Amendment to certain Articles requires special majority as well as ratification by states. Proviso to Article 368 lays down the said rule. Ratification by states means that there has to be a resolution to that effect by one-half of the state legislatures. These articles include Article 54 (Election of President), 55 (Manner of election of President), 73 (Extent of executive power of the Union), 162 (Extent of executive power of State), 124-147 (The Union Judiciary), 214-231 (The High Courts in the States), 241 (High Courts for Union Territories), 245-255 (Distribution of Legislative powers) and Article 368 (power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefore) itself. Any list of seventh schedule or representation of states in Parliament as mentioned in the fourth schedule is also included.

No comments: