Types of Amendment to the Indian Constitution

Polity is an important subject that is important for both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains examination. Types of Amendment to the Indian Constitution is one of the most important topics under polity. Read on to know more and understand the types of amendment of the Constitution, for the civil service exam

Article 368 provides for two types of amendments, that is, by a special majority of Parliament and also through the ratification of half of the states by a simple majority. But, some other articles provide for the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution by a simple majority of Parliament, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting (similar to the ordinary legislative process). Notably, these amendments are not deemed to be amendments of the Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.

  1. Amendment by simple majority of the Parliament
  2. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament
  3. Amendment by special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of at least half of the state legislatures.

A brief description of the above types has been laid down below.

1. By Simple Majority of Parliament

A number of provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two houses of Parliament outside the scope of Article 368. These provisions include:

  • Admission or establishment of new states.
  • Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states.
  • Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states.
  • Second Schedule-emoluments,
  • Allowances, privileges and so on of the president, the governors, the Speakers, judges, etc.
  • Quorum in Parliament.
  • Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament.
  • Rules of procedure in Parliament.
  • Privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees.
  • Use of the English language in Parliament.
  • Number of puisne judges in the Supreme Court.
  • Conferment of more jurisdiction on the Supreme Court.
  • Conferment of more jurisdiction on the Supreme Court.
  • Citizenship-acquisition and termination.
  • Elections to Parliament and state legislatures.
  • Delimitation of constituencies.
  • Union territories
  • Fifth Schedule-administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
  • Sixth Schedule-administration of tribal areas.

2. By Special Majority of Parliament

  • The majority of the provisions in the Constitution need to be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, that is, a majority (that is, more than 50 percent) of the total membership of each House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting. The expression ‘total membership’ means the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of the fact whether there are vacancies or absentees.
  • The special majority is required only for voting at the third reading stage of the bill but by way of abundant caution, the requirement for the special majority has been provided for in the rules of the Houses in respect of all the effective stages of the bill.
  • The provisions which can be amended by this way includes: (i) Fundamental Rights; (ii) Directive Principles of State Policy; and (iii) All other provisions which are not covered by the first and third categories.

3. By Special Majority of Parliament and Consent of States

Those provisions of the Constitution which are related to the federal structure of the polity can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and also with the consent of half of the state legislatures by a simple majority. If one or some or all the remaining states take no action on the bill, it does not matter; the moment half of the states give their consent, the formality is completed. There is no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill. The following provisions can be amended in this way:

  • Election of the President and its manner.
  • Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.
  • Supreme Court and high courts.
  • Distribution of legislative powers between
  • the Union and the states.
  • Any of the lists in the Seventh Schedule.
  • Representation of states in Parliament.
  • Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (Article 368 itself).

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