44th Amendment Act 1978

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 31, 2022, 13:05

The enactment of the 44th Amendment Act 1978 provided adequate safeguards against the recurrence of the transient majority's tendency to take over fundamental rights in the future.

The 44th Constitutional Amendment Act also nullified several provisions added to the Indian Constitution as new articles or amendments by the 42nd Amendment Act.

44th Amendment Act - Overview

The insertion of the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act into the Constitution was facilitated by the 45th Amendment Bill in 1978. The introduction of the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act was to nullify various provisions that were amended against the will of the citizens in the 42nd Amendment Act.

44th Constitutional Amendment Act Modifications

  • Article 368 Amendments

Any changes to the Indian Constitution's basic structure are effective only when the Indian people approve via a majority of votes cast in a referendum by at least 51% of the electorate.

  • Removal

The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 overturns the provision of the 42nd Amendment Act that allows the government to rewrite the Constitution on its initiative via Article 368.

The Act rendered the government's unjustified power null and void.

  • Article 31 and 300-A

Article 31 removes property rights from fundamental rights and legalizes rights under Article 300A.

  • Emergency Declaration

The Indian President can declare an emergency only if the country's security is at peril by attacks which may be in the form of war, external aggression or armed rebellion from foreign countries when the cabinet appeals to him in writing.

They cannot declare an emergency in times of internal strife as it doesn't qualify as an armed rebellion.

  • Detention

The 44th Amendment Act 1978 strengthens the right to liberty by providing that preventive detention law cannot authorize detention for more than three months unless an Advisory Board reports that there is sufficient cause for such arrest.

  • Freedom of Press

The media has the right to report freely and uncensored on proceedings in Parliament and state legislatures.

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44th Amendment Act 1978 Criticism

  • Parliament has the authority to propose constitutional amendments.
  • There is no provision for a particular body to amend the Constitution, such as a Constitutional Convention (as in the United States) or a Constitutional Assembly.
  • A significant portion of the Constitution can be amended solely by Parliament, either by a special majority or a simple majority.
  • The process of amending is similar to that of legislating.

The 44th Constitutional Amendment Act aims to rectify the inconsistencies in the 42nd Amendment to prevent future misuse of the Constitution's emergency clauses. With the repeal of the 42nd Amendment, the Supreme Court and High Courts regained their pre-42nd Amendment jurisdiction, and it restored the Constitution's secularism and democracy.

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FAQs on the 44th Amendment Act

Q.1. What is one of the modifications of the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act?

The 44th Amendment Act states the removal of a fundamental right, the right to property, and adds a new provision, Article 300-A, declaring "no person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law."

Q.2. Which of the following has been omitted from the list of liberties by the 44th Amendment Act 1978?

The 44th Amendment Act removed the freedom to acquire, hold, and dispose of property from Article 19 of the Indian Constitution's list of personal liberties.

Q.3. Who was the PM of India during the 44th Amendment Act 1978?

Mr Morarji Desai served as India's Prime Minister during the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act.

Q.4. What changes were made by the 44th Amendment Act concerning emergency provisions?

The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 mandated a six-month review of the emergency declaration and, in the absence of new parliamentary approval, its termination at the end of that period.