Constitutional Amendment Bill
Constitutional Amendment Bill refers to a proposed amendment to the Constitution. The procedure for modifying the constitution is outlined in Part XX (Article 368) of the Indian Constitution. The president’s prior consent is not necessary for a minister to file the bill; private members may also do so. This system upholds the integrity of the Indian Constitution and places restrictions on the Parliament’s unchecked power. The Indian Constitution has undergone 105 Amendments as of October 2021.
Constitutional Amendment Bill Meaning
Only a Bill introduced in one of the Houses of Parliament is capable of enacting a constitutional amendment. The state legislature will not hear the constitutional amendment measure. Due to the requirement that the Constitutional Amendment Bill be enacted by each house separately, Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have equal status with regard to it.
No space is designated for group seating. If the constitutional amendment measure calls for changing federal laws, a simple majority of the state legislatures must approve it.
Constitutional Amendment Bill & Article 368
Since constitutional change in India is neither as complex nor as simple as it is in the United States or the United Kingdom, it is a hybrid of flexibility and rigidity. The process through which the parliament may amend the constitution by adding to, removing from or otherwise altering it is defined in Art. 368. The Indian Constitution’s Part 20 also states that no sections that make up the foundation of the Constitution may be amended by the Parliament.
Constitutional Amendment Bill Procedure
Neither a ministry nor a private member may introduce the constitutional change bill without the president’s prior consent. The Bill must then be approved by a special majority of each house, which is defined as a majority of all members as well as a majority of not less than two-thirds of the current members of that House who are present and voting.
There is no provision for a joint sitting when a bill to modify the Indian constitution must be approved by each house separately. The constitutional amendment measure is exempt from the President’s right to veto it. Therefore, he is unable to refuse approval or ask for a second opinion. After receiving the president’s blessing, the bill becomes an act amending the constitution.
Also Read: Legislative Procedure in Parliament
Constitutional Amendment Bill Type
Article 368 of the Indian Constitution allows for two different forms of amendments. Other clauses also allow for a simple majority to modify the constitution. Therefore, there are three types for bills that aim to modify the Constitution:
- Bills passed by the special majority of each house in the House of Commons;
- Constitutional Amendment Bills passed by Parliament with a simple majority.
- A constitutional amendment bill was accepted by at least half of the state legislatures and was enacted by Parliament with a special majority.
Constitutional Amendment Bill and Its Drawbacks
Given the ease with which as many as 94 amendments have been made during the first 59 years of the Constitution’s operation, it is clear that, instead of being rigid as some critics believed during the early days of the Constitution, the Amendment Procedure for Amendment has rather proven to be too flexible.
The concern of unbiased observers should not be about the difficulty of amendment but rather about the possibility that it will be used too frequently to further political goals or to overturn judicial decisions that may appear to be unwholesome to the party in power as long as it holds a solid majority in Parliament and in more than half of the State Legislatures.
Judges may make mistakes, of course, but as has already been shown, even the highest tribunal is susceptible to changing its mind after further experience. Therefore, the constitutional amendment process should not be used frequently to override unfavorable judicial decisions in the absence of serious consequences, urgent circumstances, or a special contingency (such as the admission of Sikkim under the 35th and 36th Amendments). Doing so would cause the general public to have little respect for the judiciary, shattering the very foundation of constitutional government.
Constitutional Amendment Bill UPSC
What we must realize is that the constitution is the backbone of this democracy. While it was revolutionary of the fathers of our constitution to provide provisions to amend the constitution, it is essential that such provisions are not misused. Misuse could result in excessive power of the legislative or the executive which could tear the fabric of our democracy. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.