Model Question and Answers for APSC | Explain the procedure to amend the constitution of India highlighting the significance of basic structure doctrine of India. (APSC -2020)
Ans : To define the constitutional amendment process, Article 368 of Part XX of Constitution of India provides for two types of amendments.
By a special majority of Parliament
By a special majority of the Parliament with the ratification by half of the total states
But, some other articles provide for the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution by a simple majority of Parliament, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting (similar to the ordinary legislative process). Notably, these amendments are not deemed to be amendments of the Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.
The Basic structure doctrine of India
The present position is that the Parliament under Article 368 can amend any part of the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights but without affecting the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court is yet to define or clarify as to what constitutes the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
However from the various judgements, the following have emerged as ‘basic features’ of the Constitution:
Supremacy of the Constitution
Welfare state (socio-economic justice).
Principle of equality
Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity.
Free and fair elections
The secular character of the Constitution.
The significance of basic structure doctrine of India
1. Safeguard fundamental rights
2. Assert and maintain constitutional supremacy
3. Limit excesses by politics of the day