42nd Amendment of Indian Constitution for UPSC – Indian Polity‎

42nd Amendment: After fighting for independence for a very long time and after a lot of bloodsheds India did come out victorious at the other end of the spectrum. After getting out of the British raj, India was now a country of its own. A country run by its own people and a country whose freedom was dearly cherished by all its citizens. After the long-drawn battle for this independence and dealing with and through the different ideologies of every leader India finally came out victorious. This long struggle had freed India but now the country needed rules to run by. when the country was ruled and managed by the British Indians did not have to think about how to run a country and after the struggle when the country was finally completely theirs how to manage it was a big question. The country had to be managed in such a way that everybody enjoyed the advantage of being a citizen of this country.

42nd Amendment of Indian Constitution:

Thus, the first draft of the constitution came into place with the help of a committee which consisted of eight members and B.R. Ambedkar was in the position as chair. It was a draft as 8 people together around a table could not decide how a country was to be run. Yes, an initial picture could have been given by them but everybody had to have inputs in it. Now, with a population as huge as India’s it is not possible to actually take into account what each citizen says but it is possible to make them vote to elect a leader who they would choose to speak on their behalf so that the majority opinion stands strong. The world has changed drastically over the past seventy-three years and so the laws had to change along with it. There are parts of the constitution that is easily amendable and others which are more fundamental laws and higher in the difficulty level of an amendment. The amendments are what keeps our constitution evolving along with the country.

42nd Amendment

What was the 42nd amendment of the constitution?

The Precedence Of Directive Principles Over Fundamental Rights was an act that was passed in the year 1976 during an emergency. The party that was in power than was the Indian National Congress and it was headed by one of the most capable women in Indian history, Indira Gandhi.

This amendment was thought to bring up one of the most controversial issues which were debated for quite a long time. It was declared at the period of emergency and was considered to be a fully personal ambition at that time. This amendment led to the imposing of reducing the rights of the supreme court and high courts in India. In pronouncing the validity of laws in the constitution the supreme court and the high courts’ power was to be diminished and this would help in laying down the Fundamental duties of Indian citizens to their nation. The constitutional amendment made a very huge change to the Indian Constitution and therefore it was called the mini-constitution 42nd Amendment of Indian Constitution act 1976. This act curtailed Directive Principles Over Fundamental Rights and imposed the concept of Directive Principles Over Fundamental Rights duties which changed the basic structure of the Indian Constitution to a Socialist Secular type. The amendment had fifty-nine clauses which deleted many powers of the Supreme court and moved the entire nation towards the side of parliamentary sovereignty. The Act gave the office of Prime Minister sweeping powers. The act cut down on the democratic rights in India and suggested that the parliament could make any amends in the constitution without any review from the judicial system. The amendment not only changed the constitution on the inside but also the preamble of the constitution. It changed the description of the country from a sovereign democratic republic to a socialistic secular democratic republic. 

Sum it up:

The emergency period was already very difficult for the people of the country. To top it off this amendment act of 1976 which curtailed the civil liberties of every individual in the country and also brought about a large-scale abuse of human rights completely infuriated the public. Amendments 43 and 44 by the Janata government tried to restore the constitution to its pre-42nd amendment state. They were successful to only a certain extent. The 42nd amendment was downright the most controversial amendment in the entire history.