Strategy To Approach Constitutional Amendments for UPSC Prelims

UPSC Prelims: The Indian constitution is the country’s supreme law which is often known as the law of the land. The constitution is a document that establishes the framework for the government’s core political code, structure, procedures, powers, and duties, as well as people’ fundamental rights, directive principles, and responsibilities.

Because the syllabus is accurate and succinct, Polity is one of the easiest subjects to pass.

In the UPSC Prelims Polity section, one should expect a number of straightforward questions and, if fully prepared, one can get most of the answers correct. Indian Polity questions in the Prelims might cover both the static and dynamic aspects of the subject.

This section is likely to have a large number of questions. The questions have been determined to be mainly direct over the years, and they range in difficulty from easy to moderate.

Constitution of India

India’s constitution was ratified on November 26, 1949, and it went into effect on January 26, 1950. Since then, the 26th of November has been observed as India’s Constitution Day. Till date, 126 Constitution Amendment Bills have been introduced in Parliament, with 104 of them being enacted.

The Indian Constitution has been amended several times over the years as needed. The constitution has been changed a total of 104 times since it was enacted.

What are the Constitutional Amendments?

Amendments are changes to, or revocations of, any part of the constitution made by Parliament. Part XX of the Indian Constitution lays forth the procedure to be followed in order to make any amendments (Article 368). This mechanism ensures the Constitution of India’s sanctity and keeps the Parliament of India’s arbitrary power under check.

Article 368 of the Indian Constitution outlines the procedures for amending the constitution. Amending procedure is not simple; in fact, it is fairly hard because it must adhere to specific provisions before taking effect. Up to a point, amending the Indian constitution is a mix of rigidity and flexibility. Before getting into further detail about the preparation technique and booklist, one should have a fundamental understanding of the mechanism for amending the constitution.

  • When at least two-thirds of the members of each house of Parliament are present and vote, an amendment bill must be enacted by each house by a two-thirds majority of its total membership.
  • Despite the need for a supermajority to pass modifications, the Indian Constitution is the most often modified national governing constitution in the world.
  • There are three types of amendments of the Constitution of India of which second and third type of amendments are governed by Article 368.
  1. The first type of amendments includes that can be passed by simple majority in each house of the Parliament of India. 
  2. The second type of amendments includes that can be affected by the parliament by a prescribed special majority in each house.
  3. The third type of amendments include those that require, in addition to such special majority in each house of the parliament, ratification by at least one half of the State Legislatures.

Why it is important to study Constitutional Amendment for UPSC Exams?

  • India’s Constitution is the world’s longest written constitution of any republic. The constitution took 2 years, 11 months, and 18 days to complete. 
  • Many changes have been made to it, from reorganising states based on language to providing reservation to the destitute upper castes. 
  • The importance of the Constitutional Amendment can be gauged by the fact that 1-2 questions from this area are asked in the UPSC Prelims every year.

What is the Strategy to Study Constitutional Amendments for UPSC Exams?

  1. While preparing for Current Affairs, look for the latest Constitutional Amendments.
  2. While preparing Polity Subject, list out some important amendments such as 42nd and 44th Constitutional Amendment Acts.
  3. Learn and revise the important Constitutional Amendments for UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam.

Important Constitutional Amendments for UPSC 2021

 1st Amendment, 1950Provided for several new grounds of restrictions on the right to freedom of speech and expression.Right to practice any profession or to carry on any trade or business as contained in Article 19 of the ConstitutionThe Ninth Schedule along with Articles 31A and 31B were inserted in the Constitution to protect laws, such as the land reform and other laws, from being challenged in the court son the ground of violation of fundamental rights.The amendment also made changes in articles 5, 85, 87, 174, 176, 341, 342, 372 and 376.
 7th Amendment, 1956States and union territories were introduced.Composition of the House of the People and its re-adjustment after every censusEstablishment of new High Courts, High Court Judges etc.
 10th Amendment, 1961Included areas of Dadra and Nagar Haveli as a Union Territory
11th Amendment, 1961Proposed that election of President or Vice President could not be challenged on the ground of any vacancy in the appropriate electoral college.
12th Amendment, 1962Included Goa, Daman and Diu as a Union Territory and to amend Article 240 for the purpose.
13th  Amendment, 1962Nagaland was formed with an agreement between Government of India and Naga People’s Convention.
14th Amendment, 1962Pondicherry was included in the First Schedule as a Union TerritoryCreation of Legislature by Parliamentary law for Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura, Goa, Daman and Diu and Pondicherry
22nd Amendment, 1969New autonomous state of Meghalaya with in the state of Assam.
24th Amendment, 1971Removed all doubts regarding the power of Parliament to amend the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights.
31st Amendment, 1973Raised the upper limit for the representation of states in the Lok Sabha from 500 to 525 and reduced the upper limit for the representation of union territories from 25 members to 20.
35th Amendment, 1974Conferred Sikkim the status of an associate State of Indian Union.
36th Amendment, 1975Made Sikkim a full-fledged State of Indian Union and to include it in the First Schedule to the Constitution
42nd Amendment, 1976Ideals of socialism, secularism and the integrity of the nation were adoptedDirective Principles were given precedence over  Fundamental RightsInserted a new chapter on the Fundamental Duties of citizensTwo-third was set as the minimum number of judges for determining question as to the constitutional validity of law Administrative and other tribunals for speedy disposal of service matters, revenue matters and certain other matters of special importance in the context of socio-economic development and progress.
44th Amendment, 1978 Right to property from the list of fundamental rights and made it a legal rightProvided “armed rebellion” as one of the circumstances for declaration of emergencyArticle 134A was inserted to provide that a High Court should consider the question of granting a certificate for appeal to Supreme Court immediately after the delivery of the judgement
52nd Amendment, 1985Suitable provisions were made with respect to splits in and merger of political parties.
53rd Amendment, 1986Mostly revolved around the state of Mizoram. Legislative Assembly of Mizoram shall consist of not less than 40 members.
55th Amendment, 1986Conferred statehood on the Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh
56th Amendment, 1987Union Territory of Daman and Diu and the formation of the state of Goa.
61st Amendment, 1989Reduction of the voting age from 21 to 18 years by amending Article 326
66th Amendment, 1990Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and administration of the Union Territory of Puducherry were added to the Ninth Schedule (relating to land reforms and ceiling on agricultural land holdings)
69th Amendment, 1991Union territory of Delhi was renamed as the National Capital Territory of Delhi
70th Amendment, 1992Included the elected members of the legislative assemblies of union territories in the electoral college for the election of the President under Article 54 of the Constitution.
71st Amendment, 1992Included Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
73rd Amendment, 1993Gave constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions
74th Amendment, 1993Provisions for local administrative bodies in urban areas such as towns and cities were added.
86th Amendment, 2002Article 21A deals with Right to Education that “the State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years”
87th Amendment, 20032001 national census population figures were to be used for state-wise distribution of parliamentary seats.
91st Amendment, 2003Restricts the sizeof the Council of Ministers in the Union Government and in a State Government to fifteen percent of the total number of legislative members.
92st Amendment, 2003Bodo, Dogri, Santali and Maithali were added as official languages to the 8th Schedule
94th Amendment, 2006Minister of Tribal Welfare was proposed in newly created states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
100th Amendment, 2015Acquiring of territories by India and transfer of territories to Bangladesh through retaining of adverse possession and exchange of enclaves, in pursuance of the agreement between India and Bangladesh concerning the demarcation of the land boundary.
101st Amendment, 2017Introduction of “The Goods and Services Tax (GST)” and provision of compensation to states for loss of revenue on account of introduction of goods and services tax. Addition of articles 246A, 269A, 279A. Deletion of Article 268A.
Amendment of articles 248, 249, 250, 268, 269, 270, 271, 286, 366, 368, Sixth Schedule, Seventh Schedule.
102nd Amendment, 2018Constitutional status to National Commission for Backward Classes. Addition of articles 338B, 342A, and Added Clause 26C.Modification of articles 338, 366
103rd Amendment, 2019A maximum of 10% Reservation for Economically Weaker Sections (EWSs) of citizens of classes other than the classes mentioned in clauses (4) and (5) of Article 15, i.e. Classes other than socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes. Inserted Clause [6] under Article 15 as well as Inserted Clause [6] under Article 16.
104th Amendment, 2020To extend the reservation of seats for SCs and STs in the Lok Sabha and states assemblies from Seventy years to Eighty years. Removed the reserved seats for the Anglo-Indian community in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies. Amend article 334.

What are the Sources to Study the Constitutional Amendments?

  1. Online Resources
  2. Newspapers: – Daily Newspapers like The Hindu and Indian Express could be referred for current updates regarding amendments.
  3. NCERT Books: – Indian Constitution at work could be a great way to learn about the process of revising it. The mechanism for amending the Constitution is detailed in Chapter 9 of this book, Constitution As A Living Document. 
  4. Reference Books: – Indian Polity by M Laxmikant can be used to learn about the amendment process and all of the probable changes that have been made thus far.

UPSC Previous Year Questions on Constitutional Amendments Act

Consider the following statements: (Prelims 2019)

(1) The 44th Amendment to the Constitution of India introduced an article placing the election of the Prime Minister beyond judicial review

(2) Supreme Court of India struck down the 99th amendment to the Constitution of India as being violative of the independence of the judiciary

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

With reference to the Constitution of India, consider the following statements: (Prelims 2019)

  1. No High Court shall have the jurisdiction to declare any central law to be constitutionally invalid.
  2. An amendment to the Constitution of India cannot be called into question by the Supreme Court of India.

Which of the statements given above is / are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Right to Privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of Right to Life and Personal Liberty. Which of the following in the Constitution of India correctly and appropriately imply the above statement? (Prelims 2018)

(a) Article 14 and the provisions under the 42nd Amendment to the Constitution

(b) Article 17 and the Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV

(c) Article 21 and the freedoms guaranteed in Part. III

(d) Article 24 and the provisions under the 44th Amendment to the Constitution

Consider the following Statements (Prelims 2013)

  1. An amendment to the Constitution of India can be initiated by an introduction of a bill in the Lok Sabha only.
  2. If such an amendment seeks to make changes in the federal character of the Constitution, the amendment also requires to be ratified by the legislature of all the States of India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2

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