Article 368 of the Indian Constitution outlines the amendment process, offering a balanced approach between rigidity and flexibility.
Over the years, India has witnessed 105 amendments to its constitution since 1950, reflecting the adaptability of this framework.
Main Body: Dynamism of the Constitution:
- 52nd Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA): Anti-Defection Law (Tenth Schedule)
Example: It empowers the Parliament to make laws on disqualification of elected members for defection, reinforcing political stability.
- 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts (CAA): Decentralization of Governance
Example: These amendments brought about Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), allowing local self-government, ensuring grassroots empowerment.
- 86th Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA): Right to Education as a Fundamental Right (Article 21-A)
Example: This amendment ensured that children aged 6 to 14 have access to free and compulsory education, promoting equitable educational opportunities.
- 101st Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA): Accommodating Economic Reforms, GST
Example: The GST (Goods and Services Tax) reform was made possible through constitutional changes, fostering economic integration.
- 102nd Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA): Constitutional Status for the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC)
Example: This granted statutory backing to NCBC, thereby enhancing the protection of the rights of backward classes.
- 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA): Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)
Example: This amendment introduced a 10% quota for EWS, addressing socioeconomic inequalities and widening the scope of reservations.
Expanding Horizons of the Right to Life and Personal Liberty:
- A.K. Gopalan vs. The State of Madras (1951)
Example: This case clarified the scope of Article 21, establishing that protection is against executive action but can be limited by legislative action.
- Maneka Gandhi (1978) Judgment
Example: The judgment broadened the interpretation of Article 21, emphasizing human dignity as an integral part of the right to life and personal liberty.
- Hussainara Khatoon Case (1979)
Example: It expanded the fundamental right to a speedy trial for all citizens, ensuring justice is swift and accessible.
- Puttaswamy Case (2017)
Example: Recognizing the right to privacy as a fundamental right, it safeguarded individual liberties in the digital age.
- Common Cause v. Union of India (2018)
Example: The case upheld the right to die with dignity, addressing the issue of passive euthanasia as a fundamental right under Article 21.
- Navtej Singh Johar vs. Union of India (2018)
Example: This case decriminalized sexual acts between consenting adults, affirming the rights protected under various articles of the Indian Constitution.
The Indian Constitution continues to evolve, demonstrating its contemporary relevance.
Example: The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019, in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, showcases the constitution’s adaptability to address emerging issues, such as data privacy in the digital age.
In conclusion, the Indian Constitution’s dynamism and the expansion of rights have kept it relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of the Indian society. It strikes a balance between stability and progress, ensuring that the fundamental principles of justice, liberty, and equality remain intact while adapting to changing times.