42nd Amendment of Indian Constitution – Manav Puri@LexCliq
First of all, the Constitution is important as it forms the basic structure of the administration. Secondly, it distributes the powers between various organs of the State. Thirdly, it determines the national goals which include democracy, integration, secularism, etc. Additionally, it guarantees the fundamental rights to the people which are of paramount importance for a person to live. The constitution is also very important in the aspect of any contingency or emergency as it establishes the change in the power structure without any uncertainty.
One of the most significant amendments to the Indian Constitution is the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976. The Indian National Congress, led by Indira Gandhi, passed it at the time. This act is also known as the "Mini-Constitution" because of the enormous number of amendments it has made to the Indian Constitution.
The 42nd Amendment, also known as the Mini-Constitution of India attempted to bring changes in the basic structure of the Indian Constitution, almost all the parts of the Constitution were amended including the Preamble and the amending clause, some new articles and sections were also inserted. The amendment gave parliament unrestricted power to modify any part of the Constitution, without any need for judicial review. It transferred more power from the State government to the Central government, dissolving the federal structure of India. This amendment had completely turned the tables around and had changed the structure of the constitution which is why the 42nd amendment is also referred to as the Mini-Constitution of India.
Following provisions were added through this amendment;
It added three new words in the Preamble ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and ‘Integrity’.
The 7th Schedule - Education, Forests, Protection of wild animals and birds, Weights and Measures, and Administration of justice, constitution, and organization of all courts except the Supreme Court and the High Courts were all moved from the State list to the Concurrent list.
It added Article 51A to the Constitution consisting of 10 Fundamental Duties, on the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee, established by the Government in 1976.
Three new DPSPs were added to the existing list, and one was modified. They were;
Article 39 – To secure opportunities for the healthy development of children and; To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor.
Article 43A – To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries.
Article 48A – to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife.
The High Courts' judicial review power was curtailed.
Provided for the creation of the All-India Judicial Service.
Articles 323A and 323B were added entitled ‘Tribunals dealing with Administrative matters’ and ‘Tribunals for other matters.
For Parliament – The President was obligated to follow the cabinet's advice. It allowed the Centre to deploy central forces in the state to deal with law-and-order conflicts (Article 257A). The Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Prime Minister were given unique discretionary powers (Article 329A). Directive Principles were given precedence over Fundamental Rights, and any legislation enacted by the Parliament to that effect was kept out of the Court's judicial review. The Parliament was given the authority to decide on the rights and privileges of its members and committees regularly. The Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies now had a six-year term instead of five.
The 42nd amendment changed the face of the constitution, making parliament the supreme sovereign body, excluding courts from election disputes entirely, strengthening the central government to rule as a unit rather than as a federal system, and limiting the judiciary's ability to challenge legislation, effectively abolishing democracy and devaluing fundamental rights.
Author Name – Manav Puri@LexCliq