Amendments To The Constitution

Seventy-eighth Amendment Act, 1995

Article 31B of the Constitution confers on the enactments included in the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution immunity from legal challenge on the ground that they violate the fundamental rights enshrined in Part III of the Constitution. The Schedule consists of list of laws enacted by various State Governments and Central Government which inter alia affect rights and interest in property including land.

In the past, whenever, it was found that progressive legislation conceived in the interest of the public was imperilled by litigation, recourse was taken to the Ninth Schedule. Accordingly, several State enactments relating to land reforms and ceiling on agricultural land holdings have already been included in the Ninth Schedule. Since, the Government is committed to give importance to land reforms, it was decided to include land reform laws in the Ninth Schedule so that they are not challenged before the courts. The State Governments of Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu and West Bengal had suggested the inclusion of some of their Acts relating to land reforms in the Ninth Schedule.

Since the amendment to Acts which are already placed in the Ninth Schedule are not automatically immunised from legal challenge, a number of amending Acts along with a few principal Acts have been included in the Ninth Schedule so as to ensure that implementation of these Acts is not adversely affected by litigation.

Seventy-seventh Amendment Act, 1995

The Schedule Castes and the scheduled tribes have been enjoying the facility of reservation in promotion since 1955. The Supreme Court in its judgment dated 16th November 1992 in the case of Indira Sawhney and others vs. Union of India and others, however, observed that reservation of appointments or posts under Article 16(4) of the Constitution is confined to initial appointment and cannot extend to reservation in the matter of promotion. This ruling of the Supreme Court will adversely affect the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Since the representation of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in services in the States have not reached the required level, it is necessary to continue the existing dispensation of providing reservation in promotion in the case of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. In view of the commitment of the Government to protect the interests of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, the Government have decided to continue the existing policy of reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. To carry out this, it was necessary to amend Article 16 of the Constitution by inserting a new clause (4A) in the said Article to provide for reservation in promotion for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Seventy-sixth Amendment Act, 1994

The policy of reservation of seats in educational institutions and reservation of appointments or posts in public services for Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes has had a long history in Tamilnadu dating back to the year 1921. The extent of reservation has been increased by the State Government from time to time, consistent with the needs of the majority of the people and it has now reached the level of 69 per cent (18 per cent Scheduled Castes, one per cent Scheduled Tribes and 50 per cent Other Backward Classes).

The Supreme Court in Indira Sawhney and others vs. Union of India and others (AIR, 1993 SC 477) on 16th November 1992 ruled that the total reservations under Article 16(4) should not exceed 50 per cent.

The Tamilnadu Government enacted a legislation, namely, Tamilnadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institution and of appointments or posts in the Services under the State) Bill, 1993 and forwarded it to the Government of India for consideration of the President of India in terms of Article 31-C of the Constitution. The Government of India supported the provision of the State legislation by giving the President's assent to the Tamilnadu Bill. As a corollary to this decision, it was necessary that the Tamilnadu Act 45 of 1994 was brought within the purview of the Ninth Schedule to the Constitution so that it could get protection under Article 31B of the Constitution with regard to the judicial review.

Seventy-fifth Amendment Act, 1994

The operation of the Rent Control Legislations, as are today in various states, suffers from major weaknesses and has led to various unintended consequences. Some of the deleterious legal consequences include mounting and mending litigation, inability of the courts to provide timely justice, evolution of practices and systems to bypass the operations of rent legislations and steady shrinkage of rental housing market.

The Supreme Court taking note of the precarious state of rent litigation in the country in case of Prabhakaran Nair and others vs. State of Tamilnadu (Civil Writ Petition 506 of 1986) and other writs observed that the Supreme Court and the High Courts should be relieved of the heavy burden of rent litigation. Tiers of appeals should be curtailed. Laws should be simple, rational and clear, litigations must come to end quickly.

Therefore, this Act amends Article 323B in Part XIVA of the Constitution so as to give timely relief to the rent litigants by providing for setting up of state-level Rent Tribunals in order to reduce the tiers of appeals and to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts, except that of the Supreme Court, under Article 136 of the Constitution.

Seventy-fourth Amendment Act, 1993

In many states local bodies have become weak and ineffective on account of a variety of reasons, including the failure to hold regular elections, prolonged supersession and inadequate devolutions of powers and functions. As a result, Urban Local Bodies are not able to perform effectively as vibrant democratic units of self-government.

Having regard to these inadequacies a new part IX-A relating to the Municipalities has been incorporated in the Constitution to provide for among other things, constitution of three types of Municipalities, i.e., Nagar Panchayats for areas in transition from a rural area to urban area, Municipal Councils for smaller urban areas and Municipal Corporations for larger urban areas.

Seventy-third Amendment Act, 1993

Article 40 of the Constitution which enshrines one of the Directive Principles of State Policy lays down that the State shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

In the light of the above, a new Part IX relating to the Panchayats has been inserted in the Constitution to provide for among other things, Gram Sabha in a village or group of villages; constitution of Panchayats at village and other level or levels; direct elections to all seats in Panchayats at the village and intermediate level, if any and to the offices of Chairpersons of Panchayats at such levels; reservation of seats for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population for membership of Panchayats and office of Chairpersons in Panchayats at each level; reservation of not less than one-third of the seats for women; fixing tenure of five years for Panchayats and holding elections within a period of six months in the event of supersession of any Panchayat.

Seventy-second Amendment Act, 1992

For restoring peace and harmony in the areas of the State of Tripura where disturbed conditions prevailed, a Memorandum of Settlement was signed by the Government of India with Tripura National Volunteers on 12 August 1988.

In order to implement the said Memorandum, Article 332 of the Constitution has been amended by the Constitution (Seventy-second Amendment) Act, 1992 for making a temporary provision for the determination of the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Tribes in the State Assembly of Tripura, until the re-adjustment of seats is made on the basis of the first Census after the year 2000 under Article 170 of the Constitution.

Seventy-first Amendment Act, 1992

There have been demands for inclusion of certain languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution. This Act amends the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution to include Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.

Seventieth Amendment Act, 1992

While considering the (Seventy-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1991 and the Government of National Capital Territory Bill, 1991 views were expressed in both the Houses of Parliament in favour of including also the elected members of the legislative assemblies of union territories in the electoral college for the election of the President under Article 54 of the Constitution.

At present Article 54 relating to the election of the President provides for an electoral college consisting of only the elected Members of Parliament as well as the legislative assemblies of the states (not of union territories). Similarly, Article 55 providing for the manner of such election also speaks of legislative assemblies of states.

Accordingly, an Explanation was inserted in Article 54 to provide that reference to 'State' in Article 54 and 55 would include the National Capital Territory of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry for constituting the electoral college for election of the President. This would enable the elected members of the Legislative Assembly created for the Union Territory of Puducherry under the provisions of Article 239A and of the proposed Legislative Assembly of the National Capital Territory of Delhi under Article 239AA to be included in the electoral college.

Sixty-ninth Amendment Act, 1991

The Government of India appointed on 24th December 1987 a Committee to go into various issues connected with the administration of Delhi and to recommend measures, inter alia for the streamlining of the administrative set up. After detailed inquiry and examination, it recommended that Delhi should continue to be a union territory and may be provided with a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to such assembly with appropriate powers to deal with matters of concern to the common man. The Committee also recommended that with a view to ensuring stability and permanence, arrangements should be incorporated in the constitution to give the national capital a special status among the union territories. This act has been passed to give effect to the above recommendations.

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