List of important Constitutional Amendments | UPSC Notes

Sansar LochanPolitical ScienceLeave a Comment

Here we are listing some of the important Indian Constitutional amendments. It is very useful for you if you are revising Polity for your next Civil Services/UPSC exam. Information is given in a brief way so you can recall all things very easily.  

Like other constitutions of the world, we have also a provision to amend the Indian Constitution according to the changing circumstances and requirements.

Due to situational changes, social changes and sometimes political upheaval, various nations have redrawn their constitutions. During the 74 years in the Soviet Union (1918, 1924, 1936 and 1977), the constitution was changed four times. The Communist Party’s rule there ended in 1991 and soon the Soviet Republic also disintegrated. After this political earthquake, the Russian republics were re-formed there and a new constitution was adopted in 1993.

The Indian Constitution was adopted on 26 November 1949. This constitution was formally implemented on 26 January 1950.

Should we believe that our constitution is so good that it does not need any change? Were the framers of our Constitution so visionary that they had foreseen the changes and events of the times? In a sense both of these things are correct. It is true that we have inherited a strong constitution. The design of this constitution is very suited to the circumstances of our country. Along with this it is also true that the framers of our constitution were very visionary. They had solved many future questions at the same time. But no constitution can be perfect forever. There is no document that does not need to be changed.

List of Constitutional Amendments in India

First Amendment Act, 1951

  • Empowered the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and economically backward classes.
  • Provided for the saving of laws providing for acquisition of estates, etc.
  • Added Ninth Schedule to protect the land reform and other laws included in it from the judicial review.
  • Added three more grounds of restrictions on freedom of speech and expression, viz., public order, friendly relations with foreign states and incitement to an offence. Also, made the restrictions “reasonable” and thus, justiciable in nature.

Eighth Amendment Act, 1960

  • Extended the reservation of seats for the SCs and STs, and special representation for the Anglo-Indians in the Lok Sabha and the state legislative assemblies for a period of ten years (i.e., up to 1970).

24th Amendment Act, 1971

  • Affirmed the power of Parliament to amend any part of the Constitution including fundamental rights.
  • Made it compulsory for the president to give his assent to a Constitutional Amendment Bill.

25th Amendment Act, 1971

  • Curtailed the fundamental right to property.
  • Provided that any law made to give effect to the Directive Principles contained in Article 39 (b) or (c) cannot be challenged on the ground of violation of the rights guaranteed by Articles 14, 19 and 31.

38th Amendment Act, 1975

  • Made the declaration of emergency by the president non-justiciable.
  • Made the promulgation of ordinances by the president, governors and administrators of union territories nonjusticiable.
  • Empowered the president to declare different proclamations of national emergency on different grounds simultaneously

42th Amendment Act, 1976

  • Added three new words (i.e., socialist, secular and integrity) in the Preamble.
  • Added Fundamental Duties by the citizens (new Part IV A).
  • Made the president bound by the advise of the cabinet. Provided that the laws made for the implementation of Directive Principles cannot be declared invalid by the courts on the ground of violation of some Fundamental Rights.
  • Added three new Directive Principles viz., equal justice and free-legal aid, participation of workers in the management of industries and protection of environment, forests and wild life.
  • Facilitated the proclamation of national emergency in a part of territory of India

44nd Amendment Act

  • Replaced the term “internal disturbance” by “armed rebellion” in respect of national emergency.
  • Made the President to declare a national emergency only on the written recommendation of the cabinet.
  • Made certain procedural safeguards with respect to national emergency and President’s rule.
  • Deleted the right to property from the list of Fundamental Rights and made it only a legal right.
  • Provided that the fundamental rights guaranteed by Articles 20 and 21 cannot be suspended during a national emergency

52nd Amendment Act, 1985

  • Provided for disqualification of members of Parliament and state legislatures on the ground of defection and added a new Tenth Schedule containing the details in this regard.

69th Amendment Act, 1991

  • Accorded a special status to the Union Territory of Delhi by designing it as the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The amendment also provided for the creation of a 70-member legislative assembly and a 7-member council of ministers for Delhi.

86th Amendment Act, 2002

  • Made elementary education a fundamental right. The newly-added Article 21-A declares that “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may determine”.
  • Changed the subject matter of Article 45 in Directive Principles. It now reads—“The State shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years”.
  • Added a new fundamental duty under Article 51-A which reads—“It shall be the duty of every citizen of India who is a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or ward between the age of six and
    fourteen years”.

91nd Amendment Act, 2003

  • The total number of ministers, including the Prime Minister, in the Central Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.
  • A member of either house of Parliament belonging to any political party who is disqualified on the ground of defection shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a minister.
  • The total number of ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a state shall not exceed 15% of the total strength of the legislative Assembly of that state. But, the number of ministers, including the Chief Minister, in a state shall not be less than 12.

93th Amendment Act, 2005

  • Empowered the state to make special provisions for the socially and educationally backward classes or the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes in educational institutions including private educational institutions
    (whether aided or unaided by the state), except the minority educational institutions.

97th Amendment Act, 2011

Gave a constitutional status and protection to co-operative societies. In this context, it made the following three changes in the constitution:

1. It made the right to form co-operative societies a fundamental right.
2. It included a new Directive Principle of State Policy on promotion of cooperative societies.
3. It added a new Part IX-B in the constitution which is entitled as “The Cooperative societies”.

101st Amendment Act, 2016

  • Goods and Service Tax (GST) was introduced. Read more about GST in the linked article

102nd Amendment Act, 2018

  • Constitutional Status was granted to National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) 103rd Amendment Act, 2019
  • A maximum of 10% Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections of citizens of classes other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15, i.e. Classes other than socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
    104th Amendment Act, 2020
  • Extended the deadline for the cessation of seats for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and states assemblies from Seventy years to Eighty. Removed the reserved seats for the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and state

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