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Mini Constitution - 42nd Constitutional Amendment

The 42nd amendment to Constitution of India is also known as Mini Constitution, as this amendment has most of the provisions amended and got some articles added. The 42nd amendment to Constitution of India, officially known as The Constitution (Forty-second amendment) Act, 1976, was enacted during the Emergency (25 June 1975 – 21 March 1977) by the Indian National Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi. Most provisions of the amendment came into effect on 3 January 1977


According to the statement of objects and reasons of the 42nd Constitution Amendment Act, the background for the amendment are as follows.

  1. A Constitution to be living must be growing. Avoid problems and disparities

  2. To amend the Constitution to spell out expressly the high ideals of socialism, secularism and the integrity of the nation, give them precedence over those fundamental rights

  3. To specify the fundamental duties of the citizens and make special provisions for dealing with anti-national activities, whether by individuals or associations.

  4. As Parliament and the State Legislatures embody the will of the people so it is essential to establish the parliamentary supremacy in enacting Constitutional amendments.

  5. To strengthen the presumption in favour of the constitutionality of legislation enacted by Parliament and State Legislatures by providing for a requirements as to the minimum number of Judges for determining questions as to the constitutionality of laws and for a special majority of not less than two-thirds for declaring any law to be constitutionally invalid.

  6. All central laws to be contestd on validity at the supreme court only and not on high courts, to avoid multiplicity of proceedings.

  7. For speedy adjudications, administrative and other tribunal need to be created. Reconsider writ jurisdiction of HC

  8. to avail of the present opportunity to make certain other amendments which have become necessary in the light of the working of the Constitution.

Important Amendments

  1. The preamble has been amended to substitute the words “SOVEREIGN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC”, with the words “SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC” and the words “unity of the Nation” was substituted with “unity and integrity of the Nation.”

  2. The scope of article 31C was widened to cover all the directive principles laid down in the Constitution. Earlier Article 31C saved only laws giving effect to the directive principles of State policy specified in article 39(b) and 39(c). Kesavanda Bharati case

  3. New directives was added by new articles 39A, 43A, 48A which, respectively, provide for equal justice and free legal aid to economically backward classes, participation of workers in the management of industries, and protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife.

  4. New article 31D provides for the making of a Parliamentary law to prevent or prohibit anti national activity and anti-national associations. Further it was provided that article 31D will not be deemed to be void on the ground that it takes away or abridges any of the fundamental rights conferred by article 14, article 19 and article 31.

  5. New article 32A was added to provide that the Supreme Court will have no jurisdiction to decide the constitutional validity of a State law in any writ proceedings under article 32.

  6. New Part IVA containing article 51A was added to provide lists of fundamental duties of citizens.

  7. Article 74(1) was amended to make the President to act in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministers.

  8. Article 77 and article 166 relating to the Union government and State government have been amended to provide that no court or other authority will be entitled to require the production of any rules framed for the transaction of Government business.

  9. Article 102(1)(a) was amended to provide that a person will be so disqualified if he holds any such office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State as is declared by Parliamentary law to disqualify offices will vest in Parliament instead of in the State Legislature.

  10. It amended the articles 83 and 172 to increase the duration of the Lok Sabha and every Legislative Assembly from five to six years during a situation of emergency.

  11. It provided the Union Government to deploy personnel of armed forces in any state to deal with a ‘grave situation of law and order’

  12. It curtailed the power of the Supreme Court and High Court with regard to the issue of writs and judicial review.

  13. Supremacy of the Parliament was established by this 42nd CAA with regard to the amendment of the Constitution. Article 368 has been amended to provide that no constitutional amendment will be called in question in any court on any ground.

  14. It transferred subjects like forests, education, weights and measures except establishments of standards, protection of wild animals and birds from the State List to the Concurrent List. New entry 20A was added in Concurrent List which is “Population control and family planning”.

Article 356 was amended to enlarge the period of operation of proclamation of failure of constitutional machinery in a State which has been approved by Parliament and the period for which the approved Proclamation can be renewed at a time was increased from 6 months to one year.

44th Amendment act reversed most of the critical amendments to earlier state. On 31 July 1980, in its judgement on Minerva Mills v. Union of India, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional two provisions of the 42nd Amendment which prevent any constitutional amendment from being "called in question in any Court on any ground" and accord precedence to the Directive Principles of State Policy over the Fundamental Rights of individuals respectively.

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