‘Constitution Day’ or ‘Samvidhan Diwas’ was celebrated to mark the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution of India in 1949 the same day by the Constituent Assembly.
President Ramnath Kovind, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Members of Parliament and other invitees in the Central Hall on this occasion.
Marking the ongoing landmark 250th Session of Rajya Sabha, the President of India released a Silver Coin of Rs. 250/- value, a Postal Stamp of Rs. 5/- value, and a Commemorative Volume with articles by Ministers, present and former Members of Rajya Sabha and experts on the functioning of Rajya Sabha.
Since the first Constitution amendment made by the Provisional Parliament in 1951, when Rajya Sabha was not in existence, the Constitution has been amended 103 times so far. A Rajya Sabha publication ‘Rajya Sabha: The Journey since 1952’ released by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, a day before the start of the historic 250th session of the Upper House has chronicled all the amendments. Constitution has been amended 102 times through passage of the Constitution Amendment Acts by both the Houses since their first sitting held on May 13, 1952, after the first general election in the same year.
While the very first amendment to the Constitution in 1951 empowered the ‘State’ to undertake affirmative action for the advancement of any socially and economically backward classes or categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by restricting the application of Fundamental Rights, the latest 103rd amendment in 2019 specifically enabled 10% reservation for the economically weaker sections in educational institutions and in appointments.
Of the total 103 amendments to the Constitution so far made, 32 related to the matters of States including reorganization, transfer of territories, conferring the status of Statehood or Union Territory, delimitation of constituencies, making special provisions in respect of some States, inclusion of some languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution etc. 12 amendments were aimed at extending reservation for SCs, STs and Anglo-Indians in the Parliament and State Legislatures, 8 each related to reservations in educational institutions and employment including in promotions besides restricting Fundamental Rights of the citizens for promotion of larger objectives of social justice and to protect laws concerning Zamindari abolition and land reforms. Another 6 amendments related to taxation including the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax.
Since coming into being in 1952, Rajya Sabha has passed 107 Constitution Amendment Bills out of which one was negatived by Lok Sabha while four have lapsed on the dissolution of Lok Sabha. Accordingly, Rajya Sabha has been a party to 102 Constitution amendments. Lok Sabha negatived the Bill passed by Rajya Sabha in 1990 for the proclamation of President’s Rule in Punjab.
Lok Sabha passed 106 Constitution Amendment Bills of which three relating to termination of privy purses and privileges of rulers of former Indian States in 1970 and introduction of direct elections for Panchayats and Municipalities and Nagar Panchayats through two separate amendment bills in 1989 were rejected by the Upper House.
Of the 103 amendments to the Constitution, only the 99th amendment for setting up of a National Judicial Commission was held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.