Important constitutional amendments from 2019 - 20

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The year 2019 - 20 saw some landmark amendments and changes in our constitution. Be it the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir, The Citizenship amendment bill or nullification of the Triple Talaaq, there were many amendments which grabbed the headlines. In this article we shall study these amendments and also look at the various Articles which are majorly affected by it. 

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019

Major articles affected -

Article 3 - empowers the Parliament to make law relating to the formation of new states and alteration of existing states.

Important points under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019

- Introduced in Rajya Sabha on 5th Aug, 2019 by the Minister of Home Affairs, Mr. Amit Shah
- The state of Jammu and Kashmir is reorganized (i) the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature (ii) the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
- The Union Territory of Ladakh will comprise Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will comprise the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019

Major articles affected -

Article 7 - If a citizen of India has migrated to Pakistan after March 1, 1947, but returned to India on the basis of permit for resettlement in India, the person attains citizenship after residing for at least 6 months before applying for citizenship

Article 8 - Indian nationals residing abroad but whose parents or any grandparents were born in India as defined in the Government of India Act, 1935 shall be conferred Indian citizenship if they have been registered as a citizen of India by the diplomatic or consular representative of India in the country where they are residing for the time being

Article 10 - Every person who is or is deemed to be a citizen of India shall be subject to the provisions of any law that may be made by Parliament to continue being a citizen. This is also called the “Continuance of the rights of citizenship”

Article 11 – Allows Parliament to regulate the right of citizenship by law

Important points under The Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019

- The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India on 11 December 2019
- Amends the Citizenship Act, 1955. The Citizenship Act,1955 regulates who may acquire Indian citizenship and on what grounds
- Seeks to grant Indian citizenship to foreign illegal migrants of certain religious communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
- National Register of Citizens (NRC) for all states which would contain the name of all genuine Indian citizen. Currently only Assam has an NRC
- Resulted in widespread protest in Assam. Threat to the cultural and linguistic identities of Assamese people if illegal Bengali Hindu migrants from Bangladesh are given citizenship under CAA. It nullifies the provisions of the earlier NRC (National Registry of Citizens) where Assam targeted illegal immigrants irrespective of religion. The earlier NRC required that a person or their ancestor were in Assam on or before March 24, 1971. It was not based on religious identities unlike CAA

The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019

Major articles affected -

Article 14- The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

Article 15(1) - It prohibits the the state from discriminating against a citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth

Article 21 - No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Article 25 - All persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion subject to public order, morality and health. Basically providing freedom of religion

Important points under The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act 2019

- Criminalizes the pronouncement of triple talaq in all its forms including, electronic form and prescribes a punishment of imprisonment up to 3 years and fine.
- Amongst many violations, the triple talaq violated Article 14, Article 15(1), Article 21, Article 25.

The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019

Major articles affected -

Article 15 (1) - It prohibits the the state from discriminating against a citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth


Article 16 - equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State
 

Important points under The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019

- Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of society to get 10% reservation for admission to Central Government run educational institutions and private educational institutions (except for minority educational institutions) and for employment in Central Government jobs

Internet a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a)

Major articles affected -

Article 19 – Gives citizens of India the freedom of
(a) speech and expression;
(b) assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) form associations or unions;
(d) move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
(f) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or busines

Important points under Internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) (a)

- The Supreme Court said that access to the Internet is a fundamental right under Article 19 of the Constitution,
- Important because Jammu Kashmir was facing internet blackout

Rule 49MA of the Conduct of Election Rules

Major articles affected -

Article 20- protection of certain rights to individuals as  well as corporations in case of conviction for offences. The striking feature of the Article 20 is that it can’t be suspended during an emergency period.

Important points under Rule 49MA of the Conduct of Election Rules

- A voter can be prosecuted under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code if he fails to prove his claim that an EVM or the paper trail machine did not record his or her vote correctly.
- In the case of the voter making such a complaint he would be allowed to make a test vote in the presence of the elector
- It would violate Article 20(3) of the Constitution which states that no accused person shall be compelled to be a witnessed against himself. In this case the elector would be the witness of the secret test vot

Justice Amitava Roy (retd.) Committee

Major articles affected -

Article 39 (A) - provision for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society and ensuring justice for all

Important points under Justice Amitava Roy (retd.) Committee

- Commented on the disproportionate number of under trial prisoners to that of convicts
- At least 1 lawyer should be there for every 30 prisoners
- The Prison Department has a perennial average of 30%-40% vacancies
- In compliance with article 39 (A) of the Indian constitution which seeks for equality in legal representation

The Chhattisgarh Cabinet amendment to the State Panchayati Raj Act, 1993

Major articles affected -

Article 41 - the State shall within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want

Important points under The Chhattisgarh Cabinet amendment

- Nominate at least one person with disabilities member to every panchayat in the state
- If differently abled members are not elected through the electoral process, then one member, either male or female, would be nominated as a panch by the Government

Wage Code Act , 2019

Major articles affected -

Article 43 - The State shall endeavour to secure, by suitable legislation or economic organisation or in any other way, to all workers, industrial or otherwise, work, a living wage, conditions of work ensuring a decent standard of life and full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities

Important points under Wage Code Act , 2019

- Introduced on July 23, 2019 in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of Labour, Mr. Santosh Gangwar
- It seeks to regulate wage and bonus payments in all employments across all industry and busines
- The Code replaces the following four laws: (i) the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, (ii) the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, (iii) the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and (iv) the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

Inheritance and Succession of properties with respect to Goan domicile

Major articles affected -

Article 44 - Article 44 of the Directive Principles in the Constitution says the “State shall endeavour to provide for its citizens a uniform civil code (UCC) throughout the territory of India.”

Important points under Inheritance and Succession

- The Supreme Court ruled that the rights of succession and inheritance with respect to the properties of a Goan domicile will be governed by Portuguese Civil Code,1867
- "The Portuguese law which may have had foreign origin became a part of the Indian laws, and, in sum and substance, is an Indian law. It is no longer a foreign law."
- Inconsistent with Article 44 of the Directive Principles.

Misuse of Article 72 and article 21 in Nirbhaya Case

Major articles affected -

Article 21 - No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law

Article 72 – The president is granted powers to pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any personconvicted of any offence.

Important points under misuse of Article 72 and Article 21

- Misused article 21 by submitting separate pleas in the  court thus delaying justice.
- Delaying justice by moving to SC challenging the rejection of mercy plea by President since the Supreme Court in 2006 had held that the powers of the President or Governor under Articles 72 and 161 are subject to judicial review

 

Supreme court removes NOTA in Rajya Sabha Elections

Major articles affected -

Article 80 – deals with the Composition of the Council of States

Important points under removal of NOTA in Rajya Sabha Elections

- Supreme court removes None of the Above (NOTA) in Rajya Sabha Elections
- When NOTA is applicable in Rajya Sabha elections, it contradicts Article 80(4) of the constitution and the Supreme Court’s judgment in PUCL v Union of India (2013).
- Article 80(4) states that the representatives of each state in the council of states shall be elected by the elected members of the legislative assembly of the state in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
- SC observed that NOTA can only be applicable in direct elections and universal adult suffrage (adult voting rights).

Delimitation in Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh

Major articles affected -

Article 82 - Readjustment upon the completion of each census, the allocation of seats in the House of the
People to the States and the division of each State into territorial constituencies Through this article the Parliament enacts a DelimitationAct after every census.
In simple English delimitation means the act or process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a country or a province having a legislative body.

Important points under Delimitation of Union Terrotories of J&K and Ladakh

With the new bifurcation of J&K , a delimitation of the electoral constituencies is needed due to change in borders, introduction of reservation for Scheduled Tribes in the assembly, implicit extension of the right to vote in assembly elections to West Pakistan refugees and increase in the number of assembly constituencies.

Constitutional amendment in “office of profit” criterion for member disqualification

Major articles affected -

Article 102 - Disqualification criteria for membership . One of the member disqualification criterion includes “Office of profit” in
Article 102 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution which bars a member of the Indian Parliament from holding an office that would give its occupant the opportunity to gain a financial advantage or benefit.
Note - An office of profit means a position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or advantage, or benefit

Important points under “Office of Profit” amendment

-The Centre is considering a constitutional amendment to define the term ‘office of profit’ and the exempted categories under Article 102.
- Advisors appointed by the Center or States and those appointed to discharge legislative functions are proposed to be exempted from the disqualification criterion under Office of Profit of Article 102(1) (a