Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1971


The Constitution (Twenty-fourth Amendment) Bill, 1971 was Passed on 11 August 1971. The Supreme Court in its earlier decisions frequently held that Parliament has the power to amend all parts of the Constitution including Part III which consists of Fundamental Rights, however, in the well-known Golak Nath’s case [1967, 2 S.C.R. 762] the Supreme Court reversed its own decision by a narrow majority.

The consequence of the judgment was that Parliament was left with no power to curtail any Fundamental Right guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution even if it was crucial to do so for giving effect to the Directive Principles of State Policy and for the attainment of the objectives set out in the Preamble to the Constitution. This situation made it necessary to provide expressly the Parliament a power to amend any provision of the Constitution, i.e. to include the provisions of Part III within the scope of the amending power as well.

The Bill also sought to amend Article 368 and Article 13 of the Constitution as well so that it is inapplicable to any amendment of the Constitution under Article 368.


The following changes and inclusions were made to the Indian Constitution:-

  • Under Article 13 of the Constitution, after clause (3), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:--

"(4) Nothing in this article shall apply to any amendment of this Constitution made under article 368.".

  • Article 368 of the Constitution shall be re-numbered as clause (2) thereof, and-
  • For the marginal heading to that article, the following marginal
    heading shall be substituted, namely:-

"Power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure

  • Before clause (2), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:-

"(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.";

  • In clause (2), the words "it shall be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill and thereupon" shall be substituted for the words "it shall be presented to the President for his assent and upon such assent being given to the Bill". 
  • After clause (2), the following clause shall be inserted, namely:-

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


This Act was mainly a counter-attack for the Supreme Court Judgment in Golak Nath’s case by the Parliament to regain the power of amending the Fundamental Rights under Part III of the Constitution. However, later on in Kesavanada Bharati vs. State of Kerala’s the Supreme Court outlined the basic structure of the Constitution and ensured the exclusiveness of the Fundamental Rights.