The Constitution of India is a living document that has undergone several amendments since it was adopted in 1950. Part XXIV of the Constitution deals with the procedure for amending the Constitution. In this post, we will discuss the process of amending the Indian Constitution and its significance.
The procedure for amending the Indian Constitution is different from that of ordinary laws. An amendment to the Constitution can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislatures. An Amendment Bill must be passed by a special majority in both the Houses of Parliament or the State Legislatures, depending on whether it is a Central or State subject. The President must give his/her assent to the Bill before it becomes a law.
However, there are some limitations on the amending power of the Parliament. The Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy, which are the basic principles of the Indian Constitution, cannot be amended except in certain circumstances. Additionally, amendments that seek to alter the federal character of the Constitution or the basic structure of the Constitution are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court.
The Basic Structure Doctrine is a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court that holds that certain features of the Constitution, such as the separation of powers, federalism, and the independence of the judiciary, cannot be amended, even by a Constitutional Amendment. The doctrine is significant because it limits the amending power of the Parliament and protects the basic features of the Constitution from arbitrary changes.
In conclusion, the process of amending the Indian Constitution is a complex one that requires a special majority in both Houses of Parliament or the State Legislatures. While the Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution, it is limited by certain restrictions and subject to judicial review. Understanding the process of amending the Constitution is crucial for understanding the nature and scope of the Indian Constitution and its significance in shaping India’s democratic institutions.