By canceling and changing some of the modifications made in the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976, the 44th Amendment of Indian Constitution made significant changes to the Constitution. To better understand the need for such an amendment, we have to first read and understand what were the issues the previous (Forty-Second Amendment) act presented and how did it tamper with the basic rights of Indian citizens. In very simple terms, certain provisions of the 42nd Amendment of Indian Constitution made it possible to make amendments without consultation or maybe against the will of the people.
The 44th Amendment Act is a tool for changing this constitutional clause. This legislation was introduced to protect citizens against future abuses of power by the central government. Further, it aspires to reinstate democratic values in the Indian governance system and ensure the smooth working of the Constitutional Machinery.
This topic is essential to any scholar of Indian Polity. Studying the details of this Act will help you with your UPSC CSE preparation. Read on to further understand the provisions of the 44th Amendment Act.
- What Is The 44th Amendment Of Indian Constitution?
- What Caused The 44th Amendment Act To Be Introduced?
- 44th Constitutional Amendment Act Changes
- Sections Of The Forty-Fourth Amendment Act
- FAQ About The 44th Amendment Of Indian Constitution
What Is The 44th Amendment Of Indian Constitution?
The Janata Party government approved the 44th Amendment to the Indian Constitution (forty-fourth Amendment) Act in 1978. Morarji Desai’s Government amended the Constitution for the 44th time to undo some of the changes made in the 42nd Amendment.
The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 was introduced in order to provide the people’s active role in deciding the form of government they are to live under and to ensure adequate safeguards to the fundamental rights of the citizen of India against the powers of the Indian government’s transient majority.
What Caused The 44th Amendment Act To Be Introduced?
In 1975, The president proclaimed a National Emergency using Article 352 (Emergency Provisions) of the Indian Constitution. The President did so after PM Indira Gandhi of the Indian National Congress decided to declare an emergency. Article 352 of the Indian Constitution could be used to declare a state of national emergency by the President if he or she believed there is a grave threat to India’s security or any territory of India by war, external aggression, or internal disturbances. Both houses of parliament approved this decision with a simple majority.
This is the scenario that led to the 44th Amendment Act of 1978’s introduction. After the 44th Amendment, laws that could be used to declare the proclamation of emergency were adjusted. The 44th amendment of Indian Constitution reinstated the rule of law and the importance of both, free speech and dissent were re-established. Let us now read more about the factual changes made by this amendment.
44th Constitutional Amendment Act Changes
The 44th Amendment of Indian Constitution changed the Constitution in the following ways:
By enacting the 42nd Amendment, the president was required to act according to the advice of the Council of Ministers. After the 44th Amendment, The President was granted the authority to request that the Council of Ministers review any advice offered to him/her.
Emergency Declaration Provisions
Changes were made to prevent the authority of the declaration of emergency proclamation from being abused. Amendment to Article 352 was made for this. The changes in Emergency clauses are as follows were as follows:
- Before the 44th Amendment, a declaration of Emergency proclamation could be pronounced because of war, internal disturbance, or national aggression. Internal disturbance, as a term, was very vague with no metrics making it susceptible to misuse. The term internal disturbance was therefore replaced with ‘armed rebellion’.
- The 44th Amendment pronounced that the President of India has the power to proclaim a National Emergency only after the Cabinet’s written recommendation. Before the amendment approval was given based on a simple majority, presently a special majority is needed.
- Now the Parliament can disapprove the continuation of a National Emergency with a special session and a six-month review. Also if a new parliamentary approval is not issued, the state of emergency should cease to exist after a periodic review after six months of its proclamation.
- Article 19 can now only be suspended in cases of war, external aggression, or an armed rebellion. Article 19 defines the Fundamental Freedoms. Internal Disturbances can not be a reason for suspension of Article 19.
- During a state of National Emergency Article 20 and Article 21 cannot be suspended. It was ensured with amendments to Articles 358 and 359 of the Indian Constitution.
- The Right to Property was transferred to the list of Legal Rights (under the article 300A) from the Fundamental Rights List.
- Two Articles were removed from the Constitution: Article 19(1)(f) which gave the Indian people to acquire, keep and dispose off property, and Article 31 which dealt with compulsory acquisition of property.
Amendments to the Constitution’s Fundamental Structure
Article 368 was amended to prevent any changes to the Constitution’s fundamental structure with the help of just a simple majority. For any changes to the Constitution’s basic structure, a referendum of Indian Citizens should be conducted. The changes can only be enacted with a majority of votes cast in the referendum with the participation of at least 51% of the electorate.
Amendments were made towards:
- Restoring part of the Supreme Court’s and High Court’s powers.
- Allowing judicial review of the election disputes of the president, governors, and Lok Sabha speaker.
Parliament and State Legislature
The terms of the House of People and the State Legislative Assemblies were restored to five years by amending Articles 83 and 172. The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha terms were previously increased from 5 to 6 years by the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1976.
Articles 103 and 192, which deal with disqualification decisions for members of Parliament and state legislatures, have been amended to state that if a member of a state legislature is disqualified, the President’s decision will be based on the Election Commission’s recommendation.
Article 257A, which dealt with the central government’s ability to deploy military forces or armed forces or other union forces in the event of a serious crisis, was repealed.
Article 38 now includes a new directive principle stating that the state must maintain social order in order to promote public welfare.
The Forty-Fourth Amendment added a new clause limiting Parliament’s ability to renew a proclamation issued under Article 356 for more than one year.
Media And Journalism
A particular clause safeguarded the media’s ability to report freely and without censorship on happenings in Parliament and state legislatures.
Sections Of The Forty-Fourth Amendment Act
- Short title and commencement.
- Amendment of Article 19
- Amendment of Article 22
- Amendment of Article 30
- Omission of sub-heading after Article 30
- Omission of Article 31
- Amendment of Article 31A
- Amendment of Article 31C
- Amendment of Article 31C
- Amendment of Article 38
- Substitution of new article for Article 71
- Amendment of Article 74
- Amendment of Article 77
- Amendment of Article 83
- Substitution of new article for Article 103
- Amendment of Article 105
- Amendment of Article 123
- Amendment of Article 132
- Amendment of Article 133
- Amendment of Article 134
- Insertion of new Article 134A
- Amendment of Article 139A
- Amendment of Article 150
- Amendment of Article 166
- Amendment of Article 172
- Substitution of new article for Article 192
- Amendment of Article 194
- Amendment of Article 213
- Amendment of Article 217
- Amendment of Article 225
- Amendment of Article 226
- Amendment of Article 227
- Amendment of Article 239B
- Omission of Article 257A.
- Insertion of new Chapter IV in Part XII
- Amendment of Article 329
- Omission of Article 329A
- Amendment of Article 352
- Amendment of Article 356
- Amendment of Article 358
- Amendment of Article 359
- Amendment of Article 360
- Insertion of new Article 361A
- Amendment of Article 371F
- Amendment of the Ninth Schedule
The proclamation of National Emergency and the 42nd Amendment of the Indian Constitution made the people of India understand how parliamentary supremacy could be taken advantage of. This also showed how easily the Fundamental Rights of the citizens could be suspended. This grave injustice and unwarranted use of power somehow violated the Constitution and the Democratic Character of India.
The 44th Amendment attempted to change and remove some of the distortions that were made in the 42nd Amendment to prevent future misuse of such unjustified power abuse by governments.
FAQ About The 44th Amendment Of Indian Constitution
Q1. The Right To Property Was Deleted By Which Amendment?
The Right to Property ceased from being a Fundamental Right to being a Legal Right with the Forty-Fourth Amendment of the Indian Constitution.
Q2. Which Amendment Is Called The Mini Constitution?
The Mini Constitution is another term used for the 42nd Amendment. This is because of two reasons: (i) a large number of amendments and (ii) many important amendments to the Indian Constitution were made through this amendment.