1. Critically evaluate the significance of the amendment provisions in the Indian Constitution.
भारतीय संविधान में संशोधन प्रावधानों के महत्व का समालोचनात्मक मूल्यांकन करें।
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about the significance of amendment provisions of Indian constitution along with critical evaluation about its ability to maintain constitution a living document.
Part XX of the Constitution under Article 368 deals with the amendment of the Constitution. Indian constitution provides for three kinds of amendment processes i.e., amendment by simple majority, amendment by special majority, and amendment by special majority and ratification by the States.
Significance of the amendment provisions of the constitution:
- The Constitution has to be amended at every interval of time. A Constitution which is a static document becomes a big hurdle in the path of the progress of the nation.
- As the time is not static; it goes on changing in the same way the political, economic and social conditions of the people also goes on changing so for that reason, provision of amendment of the Constitution is made with a view to overcome the difficulties which may encounter in future in the working of the Constitution.
- Technological changes create new fields of knowledge whose regulation becomes critical in the absence of amendment. E.g., need of constitutional status to upcoming institutions like Data protection authority of India.
- It maintains flexibility of constitution to accommodate new institutions, reform existing ones and accept international commitments within our own laws.
- Amendment provisions help to strengthen foundational principles of Indian constitution like cooperative federalism through GST council, constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Class to ensure equality.
- If there were no provision made for the amendment of the Constitution, people would have recourse to extra-Constitutional methods like revolution to change the same.
Even though, Parliament has unlimited power of amending constitution,
- Basic structure doctrine of Supreme Court acts as check on amending power of parliament. If Constitutional fathers wanted check on the amending power of parliament then they might have added those provisions in constitution. It can also be said that it has extra Constitutional origin as there is lack of basic in the basic structure doctrine and what the Supreme Court has done is to assume to itself a power of veto on all Constitutional amendments. It is like the sovereign people through their representatives cannot bring about their desired change.
- It is also appeared from the few judicial pronouncements that the Supreme Court has assumed much power in the name of basic structure what may be termed as power of veto to every Constitutional amendment. This doctrine was meant for special use in times when Constitutional amendments threatened the basic framework of the Constitution. This doctrine is subjective and vague. As there is no clear cut list laid down by the judiciary that this constitutes the basic structure and has said that it will be decided on the case to case basis.
- Majoritarian process: Provisions of amendments makes easy to ignore minority voices while making important constitutional amendments.
- Inability of states to initiate constitutional amendment in Indian constitution does not represent matured cooperative federalism. There is skewed representation to states in Rajyasabha based on the population proportion rather than US like equality of representation.
However, Basic structure doctrine acts as legal compass for amendment provision executioners. It prevents parliamentarians from abuse of majoritarian power. There is need of some implied inherent limitation on the amending power of the Parliament as parliament is not sovereign in India.
The provisions relating to the amendment procedure leave a wide scope for taking matters to the judiciary. Despite of this, flexibility of amendment provisions has succeeded in meeting the changing needs and conditions of society without losing spirit and values foreseen by constitutional makers.