Amendments through the State Governments

The amendments through the state governments fall under two categories: (a) some of the provisions of the Constitution can be amended at the initiative of the State, and (b) some can be amended in consultation with the State. The provisions relating to the abolition or creation of upper house in a state fall under the first category. Under Article 169, a state assembly passes a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of its members present and voting for having or abolishing its upper house, the Parliament may pass a law on its behalf by a simple majority. Once such a law is passed, the Constitution stands amended.

The provisions relating to the formation of a state and alteration of the boundaries of the name of a State fall under the second category. Under Articles 3 and 4, the Parliament has the power to form new states and alter the boundaries and names of the existing states. It can also make consequential changes in Schedules I and IV. e Parliament can do so by passing a law, by a simple majority. But no such Bill can be introduced in Parliament except on the recommendations of the President. When such a law is going to affect the area, boundary or name of a State, the bill has to be referred to the legislature of the affected state for its views thereon within such period as may be specified in the reference (this period may be extended by the President). Once such a law is passed, the Constitution stands amended accordingly.

Other Provisions related to amendments

The provisions other than those which have been discussed above can be amended by a special majority vote in Parliament, i.e., by a majority of the total membership of each House of Parliament and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting. For the amendment of these provisions, no ratification by the States is required.

Assent of the President

In each of the aforesaid cases, an amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by an introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament, and in each case the assent of the President of India is obligatory. Without the assent of the President, the Constitution cannot be amended. However, the President does not refuse his/her assent. It may also be remembered that no prior permission of the President is required for initiating amending proposals.

A glance on the procedures of amendment, as stated above, shows that there are certain specific feature s relating the process of amendment. These features may be stated as under :

Parliament and legislatures of the States participate in the amendment procedure. There is no provision of any special body for purposes of amendment. The State legislatures participate in the amendment when changes are to be made in what is included in Article 368.

  • There is no provision for referendum in the amendment procedure in India.
  • The people do not initiate any amendment proposal.
  • There is no provision of any joint sittings of the two Houses of the Parliament to remove the deadlock if any, relating to the amendment proposal.
  • The prior permission of the President is not required for introducing the amendment bills.
  • The President can neither refuse nor withhold his/ her assent to the amendment bills passed by the legislatures.
  • Simple majority is required when the amending proposals are put before the State Legislatures for ratification.

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