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42nd Amendment Act

Known as the “Mini Constitution” of India, 42nd Amendment Act 1976 is one of the most important amendments to the Indian Constitution. The amendment was enacted during the Prime Ministership of Indira Gandhi.

42nd Amendment Act – Background

The Constitution of India is the ruler of the land. Its words are taken as the law of the country. The Constituent Assembly drafted and enacted the Indian Constitution, and made it flexible enough to give scope for amendments according to the requirement of time.

Also known as the Constitution Act, 1976, the 42nd amendment act is one of the most controversial acts in the history of Constitutional amendments in India.

  • It attempted to reduce the power of Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • It included terms like socialist, secular, and integrity to the Preamble.
  • It gave fundamental duties to the citizens of India.

What were the amendments made in the 42nd amendment?

The 42nd amendment was an attempt to alter the basic structure of the Constitution. Below, we have attached the list of provision changes, along with the details.

Changes in Provisions by the 42nd Amendment ActDetails of the Amendment
PreambleWords ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and ‘Integrity’ added
7th ScheduleIt transferred five subjects from the state list to the concurrent list:EducationForestsWeights & MeasuresProtection of Wild Animals and BirdsAdministration of Justice
Article 51AAfter the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee, the Fundamental Duties were added for the citizens. There were 10 fundamental duties which were added.
ParliamentIt made the President bound to the cabinet’s advice.It allowed the center to deploy central forces in the State to deal with any conflicts (Article 257A)It gave special discretionary powers to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha & Prime Minister (Article 329A)Further, the Directive Principles were given precedence over Fundamental Rights.Any law made to this effect by the Parliament was kept beyond the scope of the Court’s judicial review
Judicial Powers of HCIt curtailed the judicial review power of the High Courts
Articles 323A and 323B, Part XIV-A Part XIV-A added entitled as ‘Tribunals dealing with Administrative matters’ and ‘Tribunals for other matters’
DPSPs Three new DPSPs (Directive Principles of State Policy) were added to the existing list of DPSPs and one was amended:To secure opportunities for the healthy development of children (Article 39)To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A)To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A)To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife (Article 48 A)

What were the changes made by the 44th Amendment Act, against the changes made by the 42nd Amendment Act?

  • The 44th Amendment Act 1978 was introduced to nullify the amendments done by the 42nd Amendment Act 1976.
    • It reversed the provision that allowed the government to amend the Constitution under Article 368.
    • It removed the Right to Property from the list of the Fundamental Rights. The Right to Property was now made a legal right.
    • The 44th amendment act replaced the word “internal disturbances” with “armed rebellion”.
    • Under Article 226, the High Courts could issue writs for any purposes besides the enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
    • The 44th Amendment Act modified the Constitutional emergency provisions.
      • It restored the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court & High Court.
      • It restored the democratic and secular ideas of the Constitution.
    • The 44th Amendment Act added one more Directive Principle:
      • It requires the state to minimize inequalities in terms of facilities, status, income and opportunities under Article 38.
    • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 has made ministerial advice binding on the President.
    • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 provided that beyond one year, the President’s rule could only be extended 6 months at a time.

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