The Constitution of India, was deliberately written in a way, so that it could be adapted and amended when necessary. While the Constitution through Article 368 does allow changes, it also has a sense of concreteness and formality. According to the Constitution writers they learnt from the mistakes of some other countries where the constitution made it difficult to adapt to modern laws. Now if they made the constitution too changeable then that could create problems too. They decided to take the middle ground and the constitution of India was written so that it could be both rigid and flexible at the same time.
There have been quite a large number to amendments to the Indian Constitution since India became a republic. A total of 100 amendments have been made so far. The amendment to the Indian Constitution always attracts some controversies and has even resulted in clashes between the parliament and the Supreme Court. As a reaction to this, amendments in the constitution, are now under more close scrutiny and some sections can’t be amended without overwhelming majority from both the houses.
The 95th amendment to the Constitution took place in 2010. This amendment increased the reservation for Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) seats in Lok Sabha and the state legislatures from a period of six years to seventy years.
In 2011 the Constitution was amended and the word co-operative was added, giving co-operative societies the same importance as unions. This amendment was done for the purpose of promotion of co-operative societies and to make them more efficient. It was a welcome step as the co-operative societies had been performing an integral role in the country’s social and economic development.
In 2011 due to the demand by Odisha an amendment was done in the Constitution. In this amendment, the word Oriya was changed to Odiya in the schedule 8 section of the Constitution. The demand to change Oriya to Odia was in response to the wishes of the people of the state.
An amendment was also affected in 2013 to provide the Governor of Karnataka with additional powers. It was done as the governor required the powers for the development of the area.
A criminal law act was amended by the parliament in 2013. Before being passed by the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, it was initiated as an ordinance by the president Probably Mukherjee. This act was due to public protests after the Delhi gang rape case and was aimed to reducing violence and sexual assaults against women. It provided stricter fines and prison terms to sexual offenders. The amendment was done after taking advice from a large number of NGOs, women right groups and jurists. The act also brought stricter punishments for acid attacks, mentioned under the Section 326A of the Indian Penal Code, and also required the perpetrator to compensate the victim. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 also led to incorporation of several sections into the Indian Penal Code including Section 326B for attempt to acid attack, Section 354A for sexual harassment, Section 354C for voyeurism, Section 354B for intent to disrobing a women, and Section 354D for stalking.
The most recent change was the 100th amendment to the Constitution. It was done so that the Land Border Agreement between India and Bangladesh could be completed. This act provided citizenship to some Bangladeshi immigrants who now came under India’s jurisdiction. The land border agreement between the two countries was to exchange some territories between the two countries by mutual agreement.
Some other important amendments to the Indian Constitution are expected in the coming future. The amendments will be effective and beneficial, if we as a citizen remember these amendments. Let’s together safeguard the Indian Constitution and make India a better place to live in!