Constitutional Amendments & types of Majority in Parliament


types of Majority in Parliament

  • Article 368 in Part XX
  • This article deals with the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure.
  • Parliament may, amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the Constitution.
  • It must be done in accordance with the procedure laid down for this purpose.
  • Parliament cannot amend those provisions which form the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.




Procedure of Amendments of the Constitution

  • An amendment of the Constitution can be initiated only by the introduction of a bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament.
  • The bill can be introduced either by a minister or by a private member.
  • It does not require prior permission of the president.
  • The bill must be passed in each House by a special majority.
  • Each House must pass the bill separately.
  • In case of a disagreement between the two Houses, there is no provision for holding a joint sitting of the two Houses.
  • If the bill seeks to amend the federal provisions of the Constitution, it must be passed by Special Majority of Parliament & Consent of States.
  • After duly passed by both the Houses of Parliament and ratified by the state legislatures, where necessary, the bill is presented to the president for assent.
  • The president must give his assent to the bill.
  • He can neither withhold his assent to the bill nor return the bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.
  • After the president’s assent, the bill becomes an Act (constitutional amendment act).

types of Majority in Parliament

types of Majority in Parliament


Types of Majority for Amendments

  • Article 368 provides for two types of amendments
  • Some other articles provide for the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution by a simple majority of Parliament
  • Constitution can be amended in 3 ways:
    • Simple majority of the Parliament
    • Special majority of the Parliament
    • Special majority of the Parliament and the ratification of half of the state legislatures



Simple Majority of Parliament

  • Simple majority refers to more than 50% of the members present and voting.
  • It also called as or working majority.
  • A number of provisions in the Constitution can be amended by a simple majority of the two Houses of Parliament outside the scope of Article 368.
    • Admission or establishment of new states.
    • Formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing states.
    • Abolition or creation of legislative councils in states.
    • 2nd Schedule – emoluments, allowances, privileges and so on of the president, the governors, the Speakers, judges, etc.
    • Quorum in Parliament.
    • Salaries and allowances of the members of Parliament.
    • Rules of procedure in Parliament.
    • Privileges of the Parliament, its members and its committees.
    • Use of English language in Parliament.
    • Number of puisne judges in the Supreme Court.
    • Conferment of more jurisdiction on the Supreme Court.
    • Use of official language.
    • Citizenship – acquisition and termination.
    • Elections to Parliament and state legislatures.
    • Delimitation of constituencies.
    • Union territories.
    • 5th Schedule – administration of scheduled areas and scheduled tribes.
    • 6th Schedule – administration of tribal areas.


types of Majority in Parliament

Special Majority of Parliament

  • Special majority needed both of the following
    • More than 50% of total membership of a House.
    • A majority of 2/3rd of the members of that House present and voting.
  • Most of the provisions in the Constitution need to be amended by a special majority of the Parliament.



Special Majority of Parliament & Consent of States

  • This type of amendment is related to the federal structure of the Indian constitution.
  • Those provisions can be amended by both of followings
    • Special majority of the Parliament
    • Consent of half of the state legislatures by a simple majority
  • If one or some or all the remaining states take no action on the bill, it does not matter.
  • The moment half of the states give their consent, the formality is completed.
  • There is no time limit within which the states should give their consent to the bill.
  • Federal structure provisions are
    • Election of the President and its manner.
    • Extent of the executive power of the Union and the states.
    • Supreme Court and high courts.
    • Distribution of legislative powers between the Union and the states.
    • Any of the lists in the 7th Schedule.
    • Representation of states in Parliament.
    • Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and its procedure (Article 368 itself).




Other Types of Majority 

Absolute majority

  • Absolute majority refers to more than 50% of the total membership of the house.
    • Total membership of Lok Sabha is 545.
    • Absolute majority in Lok Sabha means – 50% of 545 + 1 = 273
  • Absolute majority is related to formation of government or to keep the confidence of the house at Center and States.


Effective Majority

  • It means more than 50% of the effective strength of the house.
  • So, out of the total strength, we deduct the vacant seats.
  • Indian Constitution mentions “all the then members”, which means the effective majority.
  • Effective majority is used to remove







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