What is the procedure of Constitutional Amendments?

We shall examine here the usual procedures adopted for the purpose of amendment of written constitutions.

(1) Often the ordinary legislature is empowered to amend the constitution, subject to a special process like two-third majority or quorum. Some Indian constitutional provisions may be amended in this manner.

(2) Power to effect constitutional amendment may be given to a special body created for the purpose. For instance, in the U.S.A an alternative procedure of constitutional amendment is to hold a constitutional convention, which can propose a constitutional amendment subject to ratification by the legislature.

(3) Another way of effecting constitutional amendment is to submit the proposal to regional or State governments. Such system is prevalent in federal States. In India some categories of constitutional amendments must be ratified by at least one half of the Sates.

(4) The most democratic method of constitutional amendment is to refer it to the people. Such procedure is also called referendum. All constitutional amendments in Switzerland are subject to approval of the people at a referendum. Similar provisions exist in Australia and in some States of the U.S.A.

In actual practice, most of the countries follow numerous combination of the above modes of constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendment in India is judicious combination of first and third procedures.