The Indian Constitution has the characteristic of being reasonably flexible, but at the same time retaining the feature of rigidity. In other words, as and when any amendment was required to be made the same was effected. Although the courts have the power to interpret the Constitution, the power to amend the same vests with the Parliament.
During the past 60 years, the working of Indian Constitution has been satisfactory, certain institutions and concepts have got evolved as per the felt needs of Indian polity. The constitution did not exclusively provide for judicial review, which was implied in it.
Further, the concept of ‘basic features of the Constitution’ has, been evolved by the Supreme Court while interpreting the Constitution. This concept has imposed certain restrictions on the Parliament to amend the Constitution, which are no more unbridled now. It is through the amendments to the Constitution that provisions regarding reservation to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Treble are being extended on 10 year basis.
Further, 73rd and 74th amendments to the constitution provided the constitutional status to the Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Local Bodies.
There are, however, certain areas that have been debated from time to time and in the present day context some changes to the Constitution appear to be necessary. This was the reason that the government recently set up a commission under the chairmanship of a former Chief Justice Venkatachaliah to suggest fie areas requiring review of the Constitution.
Earlier in 1983, a commission was appointed by the government of India to consider the issue of Centre-State relations under Justice R.S. Sakiiha, called Sarkaria Commission. The Sarkaria Commission did not recommend any amendment to the constitution and felt that the States already had the freedom in their own sphere, but recommended a freeze on the centre’s tendency to encroach upon the spheres of the State,
The Commission also asked the government to setup the Inter-state Councils and codifies the guidelines the Governors in the States. But while the terms of the’ Sarkaria Commission were limited to the issue of Centre-Stale relations, Venkatachaliah Commission has been given much wider scope. The Commission may review the existing provisions relating to the Fundamental Rights.
Fundamental Duties and Directive Principles of State Policy may also receive the attention of the review panel. Certain Provisions regarding the judiciary may need updating. The concepts like the judicial review, basic features of the Constitution, public interest litigation etc. may also find place in the recommendations of the Commission.
Some vital contemporary issue like human rights, gender issues and globalization related issues may also be there in the report of the Commission. Institutions like the Planning Commission and National Development Council may also be recommended for constitutional status in India.
Besides the above-mentioned general issues, there are certain specific issues too. Whether the parliamentary democracy has been successful in India or any changes are required ?This particular issue has gained importance in view of the fact that the coalition governments have become the order of the day, and with a view to provide stability to the parliamentary democracy in a coalition culture, whether any amendments are required.
Further, the Commission may review the usefulness or otherwise of the Commission may review the usefulness or otherwise of the State Legislative Councils. With a view to curb the tendency to have the jumbo-sized Council of Ministers at the Centre and the States, a limit is required to be put to control the wasteful expenditure and to ensure quick decision-making.
The number of the members of the Rajya Saba may also be recommended to be increased. The Commission in its wisdom may also consider and recommend any other amendment in the Constitution keeping in view the welfare of the Indians.