Methods Used for Amending the Constitutions in Different Countries

Advertisements:

 


Each country has a separate constitution of its own and a different process for its amendment is adopted by each state. The Constitution of the U.S.A. is rigid. The American Constitution can be amended when both the Houses of the Congress pass the resolution of amendment and the legislatures of at least 3/4th states give their consent.

According to the second procedure of amendment of the American Constitution, the legislatures of at least 2/3rd states should recommend the amendment to the Congress. When such a request is made by the state legislatures, the Congress calls a Convention. The Convention is elected on the basis of Adult franchise and its strength is equal to that of the Congress.

This convention passes a resolution for the amendment of the constitution. If this resolution is ratified in ¾ states by conventions, the amendment in the constitution takes place. Since the second procedure is cumbersome, mostly the first procedure is adopted for the amendment of the constitution.

India:

The Constitution of India is not as rigid as the American Constitution is. It is also not so flexible as the British Constitution is. There are many Articles and Clauses in our constitution, which can be amended by the Parliament by a simple majority. For example, the Parliament can create a new state by altering the boundaries of two or more states on the recommendation of the President.

It can also abolish a state or it can change the name of the state. The Parliament has the sole right to increase, decrease, or make any changes in the area of a state. Besides, the Parliament can create any joint service for the centre and the states.

There are many clauses in the Indian Constitution which can be amended by a 2/3rd majority of both the Houses of the Parliament present and voting and by an Absolute Majority of the total strength of both Houses. But where the clauses of the constitution relate to the states or where they affect them, they can be amended by the Parliament.

In such a case, the consent of at least one half of the states is essential. For example, the states do not take part in the election of the Vice- President of India. The Parliament can amend the election process by 2/3rd members present and voting and absolute majority of the total strength of both Houses.

However, for amending the process of the election of the President, in which the states also take part, at least one half of the State legislatures shall also support the amendment, after it has been amended by the Parliament with a 2/3rd majority of the members present and voting.

Great Britain:

Since the British Constitution is unwritten and flexible no special procedure is adopted or its amendment. British constitutional law can be amended like ordinary laws. The British Parliament amends the constitution with a simple majority.

There is no need of a 2/3rd majority. After the assent of the British monarch, the amended law becomes the law of the land. It means that in England the Queen-in-Parliament can amend any constitutional law by a simple majority.

France:

In France, the process of the amendment of the constitution of the Fifth Republic has been mentioned in Article 89. According to it, the President, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, places the proposal for amendment before the Parliament. The members of the Parliament can also put forward the proposal for amendment before the Parliament.

When the amendment proposal is accepted by both the Houses of Parliament, a referendum is held to ascertain the views of the people. If these proposals are passed by a majority vote, the amendment takes place.

Soviet Russia:

In Russia both the Houses of Supreme Soviet can amend the constitution by a total 2/3rd majority.

Switzerland:

In Switzerland, a proposal for the amendment of the constitution can be brought before the Parliament by the Federal Council or the proposal can be brought by either of the Houses of the Parliament. The proposal for the amendment of the constitution can also be brought by at least 50,000 citizens through a petition.

When both the Houses of the Parliament pass the amendment-resolution, its ratification by the states and people is made. The constitution shall be amended only when the amendment has got the support of the states and a majority of the people.


Advertisements: