42nd Amendment Of Indian Constitution

Topics Covered

  • About 42nd Amendment Act
  • Why Is 42nd Amendment Called ‘Mini Constitution’?
  • Reasons For The Enactment Of 42nd CAA
  • How Is 44th Amendment Act Related To 42nd Amendment Act?

What Is 42nd Amendment Act?

  • Our Indian Constitution is unique for its content and spirit.
  • The Constitution of India decides the rule of the land and is taken as supreme law of the land.
  • The constituent assembly that was behind formulating our constitution has also given scope for amendments in it with time.
  • Hence, the Indian Constitution of what it is today has undergone substantive changes on account of several amendments.
  • The act also called The Constitution Act, 1976 is termed as one of the most controversial acts in the history of amendments to Indian Constitution.
  • It amended/ introduced various provisions given below:
    • Attempted to reduce the power of the Supreme Court and High Courts
    • Laid down Fundamental Duties for citizens
    • Terms- Socialist, Secular, and Integrity added to the Preamble

Why is 42nd Amendment called ‘Mini Constitution’?

The 42nd amendment attempted to alter the basic structure of the Indian Constitution. Check the table below to read what all amendments were brought by the constitution act, 1976 because of which it was called the mini-constitution:

Preamble Words ‘Socialist’, ‘Secular’ and ‘Integrity’ added
7th Schedule Transferred five subjects from the state list to the concurrent list:



Weights & Measures

Protection of Wild Animals and Birds

Administration of Justice

Article 51A 10 Fundamental Duties added for the citizens. (The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the government in 1976)
Parliament Made President bound to the advice of the cabinet

Allowed Centre to deploy central forces in State to deal with the conflicting situations of law and order (Article 257A)

Gave special discriminatory powers to the speaker of Lok Sabha and Prime Minister (Article 329A)

Directive Principles were given precedence over Fundamental Rights and any law made to this effect by the Parliament was kept beyond the scope of judicial review by the Court

Judicial Powers of HC Curtailed the judicial review power of the high courts
Articles 323A and 323B, Part XIV-A Part XIV-A added entitled as ‘Tribunals dealing with Administrative matters’ and ‘Tribunals for other matters’
DPSPs Four new DPSPs were added to the existing list of DPSPs:

To secure opportunities for the healthy development of children (Article 39)

To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A)

To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A)

To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wildlife (Article 48 A)


 Reasons For The Enactment Of 42nd CAA

  • To specify the fundamental duties of the citizens and make special provisions fordealing  with  anti-national  activities, whether  by   individuals  orassociations.
  • To avail of the present opportunity to make certain other  amendments  which  have become necessary in the  light  of   the working of the Constitution.
  • To amend the Constitution to spell out expressly  the high ideals of socialism, secularism and the integrity of the nation, to make the directive principles more comprehensive and give them precedence over those fundamental rights which  have  been allowed  to  be  relied upon to frustrate socio-economic reforms for implementing the directive principles.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • To  reduce the mounting arrears in High Courts and to secure  the speedy  disposal of service matters, revenue matters and certain other matters  of  special importance in the context of  the  socio-economic development  and  progress, it is considered expedient to provide  for administrative and other tribunals for dealing with such matters while preserving  the  jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in regard  to  such matters  under article 136 of the Constitution.  It is also necessary to  make certain modifications in the writ jurisdiction of  the  High Courts under article 226.
  • To  take  away  the  jurisdiction  of   High   Courts  with  regard  to determination  of  Constitutional validity of Central laws and  confer exclusive  jurisdiction  in this behalf on the Supreme Court so as  to avoid  multiplicity of proceedings with regard to validity of the same Central law in different High Courts and the consequent possibility of the Central law being valid in one State and invalid in another State.

How is 44th Amendment Act related to 42nd Amendment Act?

  • 44th Amendment Act was introduced in the year 1978 by the government. The act was brought to nullify the amendments made by 42nd Amendment Act 1976:
  • It reversed the provision made by 42nd amendment act that allowed the government to amend the constitution on its wish by Article 368. 44th Amendment Act nullified this unjustified power to the government.
  • 44th Amendment Act removed Right to Property from the list of fundamental rights and made it a legal right.
  • Previously, the grounds for declaration of national emergency were external aggression and internal disturbances but the 44th amendment replaced the word ‘internal disturbances’ with the word ‘armed rebellion’.
  • Article 226 was amended to restore to the High Courts their power to issue writs for any other purpose besides the enforcement of fundamental rights.
  • 44th Amendment Act modified the Constitutional emergency provisions and prevented them from being misused in the future. It restored the Supreme Court and High Courts’ jurisdiction and power which they enjoyed before the 42nd amendment act was passed. It restored the secular and democratic ideals present in the Constitution.
  • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 added one more Directive Principle, which requires the State to minimize inequalities in income, status, facilities, and opportunities (Article 38).
  • The 42nd and 44th Amendment Acts of 1976 and 1978 respectively have made the ministerial advice binding on the president
  • The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put a restraint on the power of Parliament to extend a proclamation of President’s Rule beyond one year. Thus, it provided that, beyond one year, the President’s Rule can be extended by six months at a time only when the following two conditions are fulfilled