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Amendments to the Indian Constitution (Part 2)

The earlier article discussed the importance of the provision of amendment in the Constitution and its procedure. Continuing from there, this article will throw light on the more recent amendments made in the 21st century. 

Basic Structure of Constitution

The 86th Constitutional Amendment Act, of 2002 made Elementary Education a fundamental right. Free and compulsory education to children between 6 and 14 years was granted under the pretext of Article 21A and Article 51A. The former entrusted the duty to the State while the latter made the parents of such children duty-bound to do the same. The 93rd Amendment Act of 2005, added a provision in Article 15 that the State is empowered to make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the scheduled castes or scheduled tribes regarding their admission to educational institutions including private educational institutions, whether aided or unaided by the state, except the minority educational institutions.  

Cooperative societies were given constitutional status under the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011. The 100th Constitutional Amendment Act 2015 gave effect on the acquisition of certain territories by India and the transfer of certain other territories to Bangladesh (through exchange of enclaves and retention of adverse possessions) in pursuance of the Land Boundary Agreement of 1974 and its Protocol of 2011. The 101st Amendment Act, of 2016 introduced the Goods and Services Tax(GST). 

Constitutional Status was granted to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) by the 102nd Amendment Act, of 2018. 103rd Amendment Act, 2019 Empowered the state to make any special provision for the advancement of any economically weaker sections (EWS) of citizens. Clause 6 was added in both Article 15 and Article 16 which permitted the State to set aside up to 10% of seats for certain sections when it came to admission to educational institutions, including private educational institutions that were either assisted or unassisted by the state, with the exception of minority educational institutions. This additional reservation of up to 10% would be made in addition to the ones already made. 104th Constitutional Amendment Act 2020 extended the deadline for the cessation of reservation of seats in the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies for members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by ten years. The 105th Constitution Amendment Act, 2021 restored the power of State governments to recognize socially and educationally backward classes. The 106th Constitutional Amendment, 2023 provides 1/3rd reservation for women in Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies.

Amendments in Indian Constitution

Till now, a total of 106 Constitutional Amendment Acts have been enacted which give a great insight as to the fact that the Indian Federation does not suffer from the faults of rigidity of legalism. Its distinguishing feature is that of a flexible federation. A balance between, the danger of having a non-amendable Constitution and a Constitution which is too easily amendable, was kept by the Constitution makers.


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