Constitution 42nd Amendment Act, 1976

The 42nd Amendment of Indian Constitution is most comprehensive amendment to the Constitution and carried out major changes. It is also known as “mini constitution”.

Why it was enacted?

According to the statement of objects and reasons of the 42nd CAA, the following are the reasons for the enactment of 42nd CAA:

  • A  Constitution to be living must be growing. For removing the difficulties which have arisen in achieving the objective of socio-economic revolution, which would end poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity etc., amendment of the Constitution is needed.
  • to amend the Constitution to spell out expressly  the high ideals of socialism, secularism and the integrity of the nation, to make the directive principles more comprehensive and give them precedence over those fundamental rights which  have  been allowed  to  be  relied upon to frustrate socio-economic reforms for implementing the directive principles.
  • to specify the fundamental duties of the citizens and make special provisions fordealing  with  anti-national  activities, whether  by   individuals  orassociations.
  • As Parliament and the State Legislatures embody the  will  of  the people so it is essential to establish the parliamentary supremacy in enacting Constitutional amendments.
  • to  strengthen  the   presumption in  favour of   the constitutionality  of  legislation  enacted by  Parliament  and State Legislatures  by providing for a requirements as to the minimum number of  Judges  for determining questions as to the  constitutionality  of laws  and  for  a  special majority of not less  than   two-thirds  for declaring any law to be constitutionally invalid.
  • to  take  away  the  jurisdiction  of   High   Courts  with  regard  to determination  of  Constitutional validity of Central laws and  confer exclusive  jurisdiction  in this behalf on the Supreme Court so as  to avoid  multiplicity of proceedings with regard to validity of the same Central law in different High Courts and the consequent possibility of the Central law being valid in one State and invalid in another State.
  • To  reduce the mounting arrears in High Courts and to secure  the speedy  disposal of service matters, revenue matters and certain other matters  of  special importance in the context of  the  socio-economic
    development  and  progress, it is considered expedient to provide  for administrative and other tribunals for dealing with such matters while preserving  the  jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in regard  to  such matters  under article 136 of the Constitution.  It is also necessary to  make certain modifications in the writ jurisdiction of  the  High Courts under article 226.
  • to avail of the present opportunity to make certain other  amendments  which  have become necessary in the  light  of   the working of the Constitution.

Important Provisions

  • It amended articles 31, 31C, 39, 55, 74, 77, 81, 82, 83, 100, 102, 103, 105, 118, 145, 150, 166, 170, 172, 189, 191, 192, 194, 208, 217, 225, 226, 227, 228, 311, 312, 330, 352, 353, 356, 357, 358, 359, 366, 368 and 371F.
  • It inserted articles 31D, 32A, 39A, 43A, 48A, 131A, 139A, 144A, 226A, 228A and 257A and parts 4A and 14A. It also amended Schedule 7.
  • The preamble has been amended to substitute the words “SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC”, with the words “SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC” and the words “unity of the Nation” was substituted with “unity and integrity of the Nation.”
  • The scope of article 31C was widened to cover all the directive principles laid down in the Constitution. Earlier Article 31C saved only laws giving effect to the directive principles of State policy specified in article 39(b) and 39(c).
  • New directives was added by new articles 39A, 43A, 48A which, respectively, provide for equal justice and free legal aid to economically backward classes, participation of workers in the management of industries, and protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife.
  • New article 31D provides for the making of a Parliamentary law to prevent or prohibit anti national activity and anti-national associations. Further it was provided that article 31D will not be deemed to be void on the ground that it takes away or abridges any of the fundamental rights conferred by article 14, article 19 and article 31.
  • New article 32A was added to provide that the Supreme Court will have no jurisdiction to decide the constitutional validity of a State law in any writ proceedings under article 32.
  • New Part IVA containing article 51A was added to provide lists of fundamental duties of citizens.
  • Article 74(1) was amended to make the President to act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • Article 77 and article 166 relating to the Union government and State government have been amended to provide that no court or other authority will be entitled to require the production of any rules framed for the transaction of Government business.
  • Article 102(1)(a) was amended to provide that a person will be so disqualified if he holds any such office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State as is declared by Parliamentary law to disqualify offices will vest in Parliament instead of in the State Legislature.
  • It amended the articles 83 and 172 to increase the duration of the LokSabha and every Legislative Assembly from five to six years during a situation of emergency.
  • It provided the Union Government to deploy personnel of armed forces in any state to deal with a ‘grave situation of law and order’
  • It curtailed the power of the Supreme Court and High Court with regard to the issue of writs and judicial review.
  • Supremacy of the Parliament was established by this 42nd CAA with regard to the amendment of the Constitution. Article 368 has been amended to provide that no constitutional amendment will be called in question in any court on any ground.
  • It transferred subjects like forests, education, weights and measures except establishments of standards, protection of wild animals and birds from the State List to the Concurrent List. New entry 20A was added in Concurrent List which is “Population control and family planning”.

Article 356 was amended to enlarge the period of operation of proclamation of failure of constitutional machinery in a State which has been approved by Parliament and the period for which the approved Proclamation can be renewed at a time was increased from 6 months to one year.

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