Article 368 provides for two types of amendments, that is, by a special majority of Parliament and also through the ratification of half of the states by a simple majority. But, some other articles provide for the amendment of certain provisions of the Constitution by a simple majority of Parliament, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting (similar to the ordinary legislative process). Notably, these amendments are not deemed to be amendments of the Constitution for the purposes of Article 368.
Therefore, the Constitution can be amended in three ways:
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. These provisions include:
The majority of the provisions in the Constitution need to be amended by a special majority of the Parliament, that is, a majority (that is, more than 50 per cent) of the total membership of each House and a majority of two-thirds of the members of each House present and voting. The expression ‘total membership’ means the total number of members comprising the House irrespective of fact whether there are vacancies or absentees.
‘Strictly speaking, the special majority is required only for voting at the third reading stage of the bill but by way of abundant caution the requirement for special majority has been provided for in the rules of the Houses in respect of all the effective stages of the bill’.
The provisions which can be amended by this way includes: (i) Fundamental Rights;(ii) Directive Principles of State Policy; and (iii) All other provisions which are not covered by the first and third categories.
By Special Majority of Parliament and Consent of States
Those provisions of the Constitution which are related to the federal structure of the polity can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament and also with the 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.
The following provisions can be amended in this way: