Comment in comparative perspective on the amendability of the Indian constitution as a mix of rigidity and flexibility.
Unlike the British and the American constitutions, the Indian constitution blends flexibility and rigidity to serve the interests of a very diverse nation, with article 368 enabling amendments.
- Several constitutional provisions may be amended by a simple majority of Parliament, like
- Provisions related to citizenship.
- Parliamentary privileges.
- Provisions related to education in mother tongue till primary level.
- Ordinance making power of the governor.
- Delimitation related provisions.
- Some provisions of the constitution require a special majority in both houses of the Parliament and approval of half of the states.
- Tax sharing provisions, e.g. goods and services tax.
- Distribution of legislative powers between the union and states.
- Powers of the Supreme Court and High Court.
- Distribution of executive powers between the union and states.
- Article 368 (basis for amendments) itself.
- Some provisions require only a special majority of Parliament to amend, e.g. fundamental rights, directive principles and all matters not mentioned in above two categories.
Any amendments to the Constitution cannot violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
- It is an unwritten constitution. There is no limit on the amending powers of the Parliament, neither due to public opinion nor judicial review.
- It is a written and a very rigid Constitution. The support of 3/4 of the states in addition to approval of the US congress is required for amendments.