Laxmikanth Test: Amendment of the Constitution


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QUESTION: 1

Article 368 provides for the procedure for amendment of the Constitution. About amendment, consider the following: 

1. All amendments to the Constitution are initiated only in the Parliament. 

2. The Constitution Commission is required to amend the Constitution. 

3. After the passage of the amendment bill in the Parliament and, in some cases, in State legislatures, the referendum is required for ratification of the amendment. 

4. Sovereignty of elected representatives is the basis of the amendment procedure.

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution:  

There are two methods of amending the Constitution and they apply to two different sets of articles of the Constitution: 

1. A special majority can amend the two houses of the Parliament. 

2. It requires a special majority of the Parliament and consent of half of the State legislatures. This method is more difficult.

Note: 

  • All amendments to the Constitution are initiated only in the Parliament. Besides the special majority in the Parliament no outside agency - like a constitution commission or a separate body - is required for amending the Constitution.

  • Similarly, after the passage in the Parliament and, in some cases, in State legislatures, no referendum is required for ratification of the amendment.

  • Only elected representatives of the people are empowered to consider and take final decisions on the question of amendments. Thus, the sovereignty of elected representatives (parliamentary sovereignty) is the basis of the amendment procedure.

QUESTION: 2

Consider the following statements about the Constitutional amendment in India. 

1. A private member of the Parliament cannot introduce a constitutional amendment bill 

2. The prior permission of the President is required for the introduction of every constitutional amendment bill 

3. Special days are reserved for introducing constitutional amendment bills 

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution: The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member and does not require prior permission of the president. A private member here means an MP who does not belong to the ruling coalition.

Special days in the Parliament are reserved for Private member bills - not constitutional amendment bills.

QUESTION: 3

Consider the following statements about the procedure to amend the Indian constitution: 

1. A constitutional amendment bill requires the prior permission of the President. 

2. It can only be introduced in the' Lok Sabha first as it is the house of the people from which the constitution derives its authority.

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution: The prior permission of the President is required only in the case of money bills and other bills like the one which seeks to divide a state. It can be introduced in any House.

QUESTION: 4

A constitutional amendment bill must be passed in each house by a combination of which of these conditions? 

1. Two-thirds of the total membership of each house 

2. Majority of those present and voting in each house 

3. Two-thirds of those present and voting in each house 

4. Majority of the total membership of each house 

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution:

 

  • The bill must be passed in each House by a special majority, that is, a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent) of the total membership of the House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of the House present and voting.

  • In the case of two-third of total membership approving the bill, the second condition automatically gets fulfilled.

 

 

 

QUESTION: 5

If a bill seeks to amend the federal provisions of the Constitution 

Solution:  
  • It should be ratified by the legislatures of half of the states by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of the House present and voting. No special majority or two-thirds states are needed. So, A is incorrect.

  • After duly passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the state legislatures, where necessary, the bill is presented to the President for assent. No prior consent is required.

  • The power to initiate an amendment to the Constitution lies with the Parliament.

QUESTION: 6

When a constitutional amendment bill is produced before the President, what are the options available to him? 

1. Withhold the bill 

2. Return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament 

3. End the bill 

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution:  
  • After duly passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the state legislatures, where necessary, the bill is presented to the President for assent.

  • The President must give his assent to the bill. He can neither withhold his assent to the bill nor return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.

  • The 24th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1971 made it obligatory for the President to give his assent to a constitutional Amendment Bill.

  • After the President's assent, the bill becomes an Act (i.e., a constitutional amendment act) and the Constitution stands amended following the terms of the Act.

QUESTION: 7

Consider the following statements about the position of states concerning constitutional amendments: 

1. The states can initiate a constitutional amendment bill in the USA, unlike in India. 

2. The constitution does not provide a time limit for getting the required amendment cleared by the states in India.

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution:

The USA is a truly federal nation, gives power to its states to initiate amendments to the constitution. It is not the case in India, which is a quasi-federal nation.

 

 

QUESTION: 8

Consider the following statements. 

1. The President cannot send back a constitutional amendment bill for reconsideration to the Parliament.

2. Elected representatives alone have the power to amend the Constitution.

3. The judiciary cannot initiate the process of Constitutional Amendment but can effectively change the Constitution by interpreting it differently.

4. The Parliament can amend any section of the Constitution.

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution:

We can see the first statement in cases like Kesavarianda Bharati Sripadagalvam v. State of Kerala (1973) 4 SCC 225: Basic structure Doctrine; in other cases which enhanced the scope of Article 21 etc. 

In all other cases of a constitutional amendment, it is the Parliament and the state legislatures that are involved in constitutional amendment via Article 368 of the constitution.

The President cannot send back a constitutional amendment bill for reconsideration to the Parliament.

The judiciary cannot initiate the process of Constitutional Amendment but can effectively change the Constitution by interpreting it differently.

The Parliament cannot amend any section of the Constitution.

 

 

 

QUESTION: 9

Given below are two statements, one labelled as Assertion (A) and the other labelled as Reason (R):

Assertion (A): The reservation of 33% of seats for women in Parliament and Parliament

Reason (R): Political parties contesting elections can allocate 33% of seats they contest to women candidates without any constitutional amendment.

Q. In the context of the above two statements, which one of the following is correct? 

Solution: Women's reservation bill would bring major changes in the composition of the Parliament and would thus require a constitutional amendment. But political parties are non-constitutional bodies. They can internally allocate 33% of seats to women without the need for any such amendment. However, their party constitution may need to be amended.

QUESTION: 10

Several provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two Houses of Parliament outside the scope of Article 368. These provisions include, inter alia 

1. Citizenship clauses 

2. Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states 

3. Election of the President and its manner 

Q. Which of the above statements is/are correct? 

Solution: These matters include: 
  • Admission or establishment of new states.

  • Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states. 

  • Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states. 

  • Second Schedule - emoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of the President, the Governors, the Speakers, judges, etc. 

  • Quorum in Parliament. 

  • Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament. 

  • Rules of procedure in Parliament.

  • Privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees. 

  • Use of English language in Parliament.

  • Several puisne judges in the Supreme Court. 

  • Conferment of more jurisdictions on the Supreme Court. 

  • Use of official language.

  • Citizenship - acquisition and termination.

  • Elections to Parliament and state legislatures. 

  • Delimitation of constituencies.

  • Union territories. 

  • Fifth Schedule - administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.

  • Sixth Schedule - administration of tribal areas.