A critical analysis of the Indian Constitution Twenty Fourth Amendment Act, 1971
The Constitution establishes the legislative authority of the federal government and the state legislatures within their respective spheres of influence. However, this authority is not unchecked and may be challenged in court. The judiciary has the authority to determine whether a law is constitutionally valid and can even abolish any statute that does so. The major goal of the Constitution’s framers was to make it a dynamic and flexible document rather than a rigid system of governance, but this goal was undermined by the power of the courts, which made the Constitution’s provisions holy.
This is how the Constitution gave legislatures a counter-weapon by giving them the power to change the Constitution (Article 368) in order to make it more in line with the times. The legislatures have been put to the test by designating the courts as the guardians of the legislature’s modifying powers, therefore this authority is not absolute. Based on this power, the twenty-fourth amendment to the Constitution indicates its judicial applicability. This amendment aims to overturn the ruling in I.C. from the Supreme Court. According to Golaknath v. State of Punjab (1967), Parliament cannot in any way limit Fundamental Rights. The 24th Amendment has drawn criticism from the Indian press for having an extremely broad reach and perhaps violating the Constitution.
The change was also opposed by legal experts and all of the influential members of the Constituent Assembly at the time. The Supreme Court of India upheld the Twenty-Fourth Amendment’s legitimacy in the Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case.
Twenty Fourth Amendment Act, 1971:
The legislature’s dominance has been somewhat constrained by the principle of implied restraint on the power of Parliament. To prove its power, Parliament has passed a number of constitutional modifications. The Constitution (24th Amendment) Act was passed on November 15, 1971. With this modification, the Supreme Court’s ruling in I.C. Golak Nath v. The State of Punjab, which held that Parliament does not in any manner curtail fundamental rights, would be overturned.
A special court of 11 justices has ruled that Parliament lacks the authority to eliminate or restrict constitutional prerogatives. The government contended that this decision will prohibit it from the successful execution of the Directive Principles of state policy, which in some instances may lead to infringement of Fundamental Rights.
The 24th Amendment Act modified Article 368 and Article 13 of the Constitution, allowing Parliament to unilaterally alter Fundamental Rights.
- The following adjustments have been made as a result of this amendment: Nothing in this article shall apply to any change to this Constitution made in accordance with Article 368, according to a new clause (IV) inserted in Article 13.
- As a result, the marginal title of Article 368 was changed from “Procedure for Amendment of the Constitution” to “Power of Parliament to modify the Constitution and Procedure.”
- Article 368 has been revised to read: “Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, the Parliament may, in the exercise of its granted constitutional power, amend by way of a discrepancy, addition, or repeal any constitutional provisions by the manner established out in this Article.”
- The President has been required to give his assent to any Bill that amends the Indian Constitution by changing the words “it should be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill” to “it should be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill.”
- Article 368 also received a reassurance clause (III) stating that “Nothing in Article 13 shall apply to any alteration made under this Article.”
Importance of the 24th Amendment Act:
- The freedom, rights, and immunities of citizens are significantly enhanced by the twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution. the extent of judicial power that can aid citizens in defending their fundamental rights against government action.
- The three governmental bodies are entirely subject to the Indian Constitution. the extent of the legislative authority that India’s Constitution anticipates. The twenty-fourth constitutional amendment’s effects The Supreme Court ruled in the Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala case that the Parliament could not change the Constitution’s “fundamental structure,” leading to the repeal of the twenty-fourth Amendment in substantial part.
- Eleven justices decided that some essential or important elements of the Constitution were no longer amplified by Parliament’s amendment powers in this opinion. Since each judge had a unique perspective on which Articles are protected in the “Fundamental Structure,” the question of what documentation constitutes the basic structure was not entirely answered.
- Although neither decision fully explains or sets forth the doctrine’s foundations, the Supreme Court has brought the cases of Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975) and Minerva Mills v. Union of India (1980) to the “fundamental framework.” Articles 368 and 13 were altered, although they are still in force today.
However, the Courts have put a lot of effort into making sure that those Articles don’t undermine the Constitution’s fundamental design. The 24th Amendment Act of 1971 improved the Parliament’s capacity to alter Fundamental Rights as a result.
Need and importance of the 24th Constitutional Amendment Act
As previously stated, in the Golak Nath case, the Supreme Court overturned, by a tiny majority, its previous rulings confirming Parliament’s jurisdiction to modify all provisions of the Constitution, including Part III concerning basic rights.
According to the judgment, Parliament lacks the power to revoke or restrict any of the fundamental rights protected by Part III of the Constitution, even if doing so is necessary to implement the Directive Principles of State Policy and accomplish the objectives stated in the Preamble.
In order to include the provisions of Part III in the amending power, it is therefore thought necessary to expressly specify that Parliament has the authority to alter any provision of the Constitution.
Article 368 was explicitly changed in the law to explicitly state that it allows for Constitutional modification and outlines the steps to take in order to do so. The Act further establishes that the President must provide his consent when a Constitution Amendment Bill is presented to him for it after being approved by both Houses of Parliament. Additionally, it suggests amending Article 13 of the Constitution such that it no longer applies to any changes made to the Constitution in accordance with Article 368.
The 24th Constitutional Amendment holds considerable importance in the:
- Rights, liberties, and immunities of citizens;
- The extent of the judiciary’s ability to support citizens in defending their fundamental rights against state action;
- The Constitution of India’s undisputed dominance over the three branches of the government;
- And the scope of the legislative authority envisioned by the Constitution of India.
A federal Constitution’s division of legislative authority among the constituents is incredibly important, and the parliament has been given the power to alter such a crucial element. The ability to change legislation is frequently regarded as an important one conferred to parliament. In a sense, it serves as the Constitution’s cornerstone. The Supreme Court subsequently upheld the constitutionality of the 24th Amendment Act, declaring that Parliament has the power to curtail or abolish any of the Fundamental Rights and create the new concept of the “fundamental structure of the Constitution.” The 24th Amendment improved Parliament’s ability to change the Fundamental Rights as a result.
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ARTICLE WRITTEN BY ABHINAV SHUKLA.