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Indian Constitution Twenty Fourth Amendment Act, 1971

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  • Last Updated : 02 Aug, 2022
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The Constitution defines the powers of the main organs of state, by giving Parliament and state legislatures the legislative power within their respective jurisdictions. However, this power is not absolute and is subject to judicial review. The judiciary has the power to decide the constitutional legitimacy of laws and can even repeal any law that violates the Constitution. Due to the power of the courts, the provisions of the Constitution became sacred, undermining the main intention of the framers of the Constitution to make it a dynamic and flexible document rather than a  government’s rigid system.

This is how the Constitution itself provided legislatures with a counter-weapon in the form of the authority to amend the Constitution (Article 368), to bring it into line with current realities. However this authority is not absolute, and the legislatures have been tested by making the courts the watchdog of the legislature’s amending powers. The Twenty Fourth Amendment to the Constitution marks its own judicial relevance based on this power. The purpose of this amendment is to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in I.C. Golaknath vs State Of Punjab (1967) states that Parliament cannot restrict Fundamental Rights in any manner. The Indian press has criticized the 24th Amendment as being very broad in scope and questionable in terms of Constitutionality. 

Legal scholars and all the crucial members of the Constituent Assembly at the time also opposed the amendment. In the Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala’s case, the Supreme Court of India confirmed the constitutionality of the Twenty Fourth Amendment.

Twenty Fourth Amendment Act, 1971:

The principle of implicit limitation to the power of Parliament has been recognized and the supremacy of the legislature has been limited to some extent. Parliament has enacted a series of constitutional amendments to demonstrate its supremacy. On 15th November 1971, the Constitution (24th Amendment) Act was passed. The purpose of this amendment is to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in the I.C. Golak Nath vs The state of Punjab, which declares that Parliament in no way restricts Fundamental Rights

According to a special bench of 11 judges, Parliament has no power to abolish or limit constitutional prerogatives. The government argued that this decision will prevent it from the successful implementation of the Directive Principles of state policy, which in some situations may lead to violations of Fundamental Rights. Article 368 and Article 13 of the Constitution were amended by the 24th Amendment Act, which allows Parliament to freely modify Fundamental Rights.

As a result of this amendment, the below changes have been made : 

  • According to a new clause (IV) inserted in Article 13, “Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment to this Constitution made pursuant to Article 368“.
  • Article 368’s marginal title was changed to “Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and Procedure” from “Procedure for amendment of the Constitution” consequently.
  • “Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, the Parliament may in the exercise of its given Constitutional Power to be amended by the way of disparity, addition or repeal any Constitutional provisions in accordance with the procedure created forth in this Article”, has been added to the Article 368.
  • By modifying the words to “it should be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill” from  “it should be presented to the President who should give his assent to the Bill and thereupon”, the President has been made obligated to give his assent to any Bill in amending the Indian Constitution.
  • A reassurance clause (III) was also given to Article 368, which mentioned that “Nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any amendment made under this Article”.

Importance of the 24th Amendment Act:

The twenty-fourth Constitutional Amendment holds tremendous significance in:

  • Citizens’ freedom, rights, and immunities.
  • the scope of judicial authority which can help citizens in putting forward their inherent and primary rights in opposition to state action.
  • the Indian Constitution has absolute authority over the 3 organs of the government.
  • the scope of legislative power anticipated withinside the Constitution of India.

Impact of the Twenty Fourth Constitutional Amendment:

The twenty-fourth Amendment became in large part reversed in 1973 while the Supreme Court dominated in the Kesavananda Bharati vs State of Kerala case that the Parliament couldn’t adjust the Constitution`s “basic structure”. In this judgement, eleven justices ruled that Parliament`s amending powers did now no longer amplify a few fundamental or crucial provisions of the Constitution. The query of what paperwork the basic structure was not completely resolved on account that each judge had a different angle on which Articles are protected in the ‘Basic Structure‘. 

The Supreme Court has introduced the cases of Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain (1975) and Minerva Mills vs Union of India (1980) to the ‘basic structure’, despite the fact that neither judgement comprehensively explains or units forth the doctrine’s tenets. Both Articles 368 and Article 13 were amended and are nevertheless in effect. However, the Courts have worked tough to make certain that those Articles don’t compromise the basic structure of the Constitution.

As a result, the twenty-fourth Amendment  Act of 1971 strengthened the Parliament’s ability to amend the Fundamental Rights.

Related Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:

Question 1: Who is called as the father of the Constitution of India?

Answer: 

Dr. Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar is called as the father of the Indian Constitution. He became the then Law Minister who brought the very final draft of the Constitution withinside the Constituent Assembly. He took a totally distinguished element withinside the deliberations of the Assembly.

Question 2:  Who drafted the Preamble of the Indian Constitution?

Answer:

The Preamble of Indian Constitution is primarily based at the ‘Objectives Resolution’, which became drafted and moved withinside the Constituent Assembly by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 13th December 1946 and have been adopted by Constituent Assembly on 22nd January 1947.

Question 3: Why is Article 21 so important in the Indian Constitution?

Answer: 

Article 21 of the Indian Constitution ensures the life and personal liberty to all citizens. It ensures the proper right of person to live life with human dignity. Therein are included, all of the elements of life which makes a person’s life meaningful, entire and really well worth living.

Question 4: What is the Article 13 of Indian Constitution?

Answer:

Article 13 of the Indian Constitution describes the means of judicial review. It imposes a duty on the Indian State  to respect and exercise fundamental rights. And at the same time, it allows the court to declare an act or a law void if it violates fundamental rights.

Question 5: What is an amendment?

Answer:

An amendment is an official or formal modification made to a law, contract, constitution, or other legal document. It is based on the verb modify, which means change for the better.

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