We all know that the Republic Day holds a very special and honourable place in Indian history. It's the day that India put into effect her permanent Constitution and her governing document. What most of us aren't aware of is, the Amendments of the Constitution that enable India, her Government and her citizens to lead a dutiful and righteous life. This Republic Day, let's take a moment to recognize some of India's most iconic Amendment acts throughout the years of its existence and how it affects us as citizens.
20th Amendment - December 22, 1966 - Indemnify & validate judgments, decrees, orders and sentences passed by judges. Validate the appointment, posting, promotion and transfer of judges except those not eligible for appointment under article 233.
This Amendment was needed to overcome the effect of judgement invalidating appointments of certain judges in the state of Uttar Pradesh. This was also done to validate the judgements passed, in order to ensure that justice is served fairly.
24th Amendment - November 5, 1971 - Enable parliament to dilute fundamental rights through amendments to the constitution
What this means to the citizens of India is that, in event of any situation, the Parliament of India has no right to curtail or take away fundamental rights that are guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution, in any of its amendments. Rather it can include it as part of the amendment act, guaranteeing effective exercise of fundamental rights.
61th Amendment - March 28, 1988 - Reduce age for voting rights from 21 to 18
An iconic move in 1988 led to the voting rights being lowered from age 21 to age 18, allowing the much younger lot to have a say on the affairs of the country. Today, there are about 52 lakh voters 18 year old voters in India; bringing about a change every time they vote.
75th Amendment - May 15, 1994 - Provisions for setting up Rent Control Tribunals
It provides for setting up of State-level Rent Tribunals to exclude the jurisdiction of all courts, except that of the Supreme Court, under Article 136 of the Constitution. This enables effective exercise of the Right Control Act, supervised by a committee - the Rent Control Tribunal; which ensures fairness if ever an issue should crop up between the owner and the tenant of a rented property.
86th Amendment - December 12, 2002 - Provides Right to Education until the age of fourteen and early childhood care until the age of six
The call to provide right to education until the age of fourteen and early childhood care until the age of six, comes as an important move in the Amendment. Earlier, there wasn’t any amendment to help recognize the need for educational rights for children. Recently, a critical development led to extend this right till the age of 16.
88th Amendment - January 15, 2004 - To extend statutory cover for levy and utilization of Service Tax
This Article provides for the insertion of a brand new article 268A, that states that taxes on services shall be levied by the Government of India/India/Republic of Asian country/Bharat/Asian country/Asian nation and such tax shall be collected by the Government of India and therefore the States within the manner provided in clause.
94th Amendment - June 12, 2006 - To provide for a Minister of Tribal Welfare in newly created Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh States
In 2000, India gave birth to two new states namely - Jharkhand and Chattisgarh. Given that both Jharkhand and Chattisgarh fall under the category of states with maximum tribal group presence, a need for a Minister of Tribal Welfare was made part of the 94th amendment. Today, both states have their own ministers, governing over the needs of these tribal groups.
While we can expect other important amendments to come up during the coming years, and with the new Government in place; let's remember to remember our amendments and put them to effective use as citizens. Let's ensure better responsibility, respect and abide by the value of the Indian Constitution!
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