42nd Amendment Act 1976 & 84th Amendment Act 2002-A must Read

  • The Constitution (Forty Second Amendment) Act 1976 imposed a freeze on the population figure for readjustment at the 1971 census and has been extended by the Constitution (Eighty-fourth Amendment) Act 2001 till 2026.
  • As a result the House of the People today represents the population figure of 1971 census whereas our population has increased manifold in the recent decades.
  • This gives rise to an anomalous situation wherein today, India has over 800 million voters and 543 Lok Sabha Constituencies represent 1.28 billion people.
  • To give true expression to the will of the people, it is time that we look at the legal provisions on the delimitation of the Parliamentary constituencies with a view to increase their number.
  • If Great Britain can have more than 600 Parliamentary constituencies, why can’t India, with a much higher population, have more number of seats, the President asked.

Some Background:

42nd amendment was the only amendment that attempted to change the Basic structure of Constitution.


Firstly, it amended the preamble to our constitution by adding words like “Socialist”, “Secular”, etc, which were not needed. Reason is that justice, liberty, equality and fraternity , these were already written down in constitution, which indirectly gave the socialist , secular nature to our constitution. Adding it separately made it appear like we were tending more to socialist block (other block being capitalist block), nd thus changed the nature of preamble which is basically a very concise form of constitution.


It also changed the 7th schedule which gives three lists: Union list, State list and Concurrent list. It transferred five subjects from State list to concurrent list.


It added fundamental duties to our constitution under article 51A. It changed the nature of constitution because if courts read Part 3 (fundamental rights to citizens) in harmony with fundamental duties of citizens and thus narrows down the concept of fundamental rights.

Example can be like if you go to court for violation of any your fundamental right, if court may counter your logic by asking whether you fulfilled your fundamental duty regarding that fundamental right and if you are not acknowledged to this fact, your fundamental right violation might become a secondary case.


It made President bound to the advice of cabinet, and thus curtailed the freedom of president.


It amended Article 368, and what amendment it made was that it made constitutional amendments above judicial review,i.e.,judiciary can’t check the constitutional validity of constitutional amendments.


It amended several articles and thus brought several laws above judicial review like Article 32C, 32D, etc.


Article 31C was added in constitution. What it added to constitution was that any law that is made to implement any directive principles of state policy will be above judicial review.

This was exactly opposite of what was the basic soul of 1949 constitution.


By adding 257A, it allowed Centre to deploy central forces in State to deal with grave situation of law and order. It hampered the sovereignty of state, especially in today states where the ruling government was of different party than that of centre.


By Article 329A, it gave special discriminatory powers to speaker of Lok Sabha and Prime Minister.

So, Several amendments like 31 – A,B,C,D and 51A increased the burden on fundamental rights.

And thus, it’s considered as a Mini review of Constitution or Mini Constitution itself.


Statement of Objects and Reasons appended to the Constitution (Ninty First Amendment) Bill, 2000 which was enacted as the Constitution (Eighty Fourth Amendment) Act, 2002.


               Provisos to articles 82 and 170 (3) of the Constitution provide that no fresh readjustment of constituencies can be undertaken until the figures of the first census taken after the year 2000 are published. These provisos were inserted by the Constitution (Forty-second Amendment) Act, 1976 as a measure to boost family planning norms. Since the first census to be taken after the year 2000 has already begun, the constitutional embargo on undertaking fresh delimitation will lapse as soon as the figures of this census are published.

  1.          There have been consistent demands, both for and against undertaking the exercise of fresh delimitation. Keeping in view the progress of family planning programmes in different parts of the country, the Government, as part of the National Population Policy strategy, recently decided to extend the current freeze on undertaking fresh delimitation up to the year 2026 as a motivational measure to enable the State Government to pursue the agenda for population stabilisation.
  1.    Government has also decided to undertake readjustment and rationalization of territorial constituencies in the States, without altering the number of seats allotted to each State in the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of the States, including the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes constituencies, on the basis of the population ascertained at the census for the year 1991, so as to remove the imbalance caused due to uneven growth of population/electorate in different constituencies.
  1.          It is also proposed to refix the number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the House of the People and the Legislative Assemblies of the States on the basis of the population ascertained at the census for the year 1991.

Source: PIB & India Code

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