(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution, Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.

 

(2) An amendment of this Constitution may be initiated only by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament, and when the Bill is passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting, it shall be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill and thereupon] the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill:

 

   Provided that if such amendment seeks to make any change in —

 

(a) article 54, article 55, article 73, article 162 or article 241, or

 

(b) Chapter IV of Part V, Chapter V of Part VI, or Chapter I of Part XI, or

 

(c) any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule, or

 

(d) the representation of States in Parliament, or

 

(e) the provisions of this article,

 

the amendment shall also require to be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States by resolutions to that effect passed by those Legislatures before the Bill making provision for such amendment is presented to the President for assent.

 

(3) Nothing in article 13 shall apply to any amendment made under this article.

 

(4) No amendment of this Constitution (including the provisions of Part III) made or purporting to have been made under this article [whether before or after the commencement of section 55 of the Constitution (Fortysecond Amendment) Act, 1976] shall be called in question in any court on any ground.

 

(5) For the removal of doubts, it is hereby declared that there shall be no limitation whatever on the constituent power of Parliament to amend by way of addition, variation or repeal the provisions of this Constitution under this article.

Debate Summary

Draft Article 304, Draft Constitution of Indian 1948 

304. (1) An amendment of the Constitution may be initiated by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in either House of Parliament, and when the Bill is passed in each House by a majority of the total membership of that House and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members of that House present and voting, it shall be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill, the Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill: 

Provided that if such amendment seeks to make any change in- 

(a) Any of the Lists in the Seventh Schedule; 

(b) The representation of States in Parliament; or 

(c) The powers of the Supreme Court. the amendment shall also require to be ratified by the Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States for the time being specified in Part I of the 

First Schedule and the Legislatures of not less than one-third of the States for the time being specified in Part III of that Schedule. 

(2) Notwithstanding anything in the last preceding clause, an amendment of the Constitution seeking to make any change in the provisions of this Constitution relating to the method of choosing a Governor or the number of Houses of the Legislature in any State for the time being specified in Part I of the First Schedule may be initiated by the introduction of a Bill for the purpose in the Legislative Assembly of the State or, where the State has a Legislative Council, in either House of the Legislature of the State, and when the Bill is passed by the Legislative Assembly or, where the State has a Legislative Council, by both Houses of the Legislature of the State, by a majority of the total membership of the Assembly or each House, as the case may be, it shall be submitted to Parliament for ratification, and when it is ratified by each House of Parliament by a majority of the total membership of that House it shall be presented to the President for assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill, the 

Constitution shall stand amended in accordance with the terms of the Bill. 

Explanation.-Where a group of States is for the time being specified in Part III of the First Schedule, the entire group shall be deemed to be a single State for the purposes of the proviso to clause (1) of this article. 

 

Draft Article 304 (Article 368 of the Constitution of India, 1950) was discussed in the Constituent Assembly on 17 September 1949. It gave Parliament the exclusive power to amend (add or remove provisions) the Constitution and outlines how this power must be exercised. It stated that an amendment requires the approval of a two-thirds majority in Parliament and in some cases, the consent of half of India’s States.  

 

The debate began with the Draft Committee Chairman moving an amendment that tightened the Draft Article’s language. The amendment also increased the number of Articles whose amendment required the consent of India’s States.

  

Most Assembly members who participated in the debate opposed the two-thirds majority requirement and favoured a ‘simple majority’. They felt that the Draft Article made it impossible or in the least, difficult to amend the Constitution.   

 

These Members felt that a rigid Constitution was not desirable based on  broadly three reasons. A rigid Constitution would stall progressive legislation, diminish the Constitution’s capacity to adapt to the existing social and political uncertainties and was unjustified in light of the Constituent Assembly’s modest representative credentials.  

 

There was also a concern that the involvement of States in the amendment process would take away the supremacy of the Union Parliament and stall any future attempts to tweak India’s federal structure if Parliament wished to do so.  

 

At the end of the debate, the Drafting Committee Chairman stood up to respond to the Draft Article's critics. He reminded members that it was wrong to say that no part of the Constitution could be amended through a simple majority and pointed out other Draft Articles that provided for this. He told members that Draft Article 304 concerned itself only with a special category of Articles which required a higher threshold for amendment.  

 

He then invoked the amendment provisions of Ireland, Switzerland, Australia and the United States to show that no major Constitution in the world allowed all parts of thier Constitutions to be amended through a simple majority.  

 

On the involvement of States in the amendment process, which some members opposed, he reiterated that this was necessary to protect the interests of the States.  

 

At the end of the debate, only the Drafting Committee Chairman’s amendment was accepted by the Assembly.