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Safeguarding Fundamental Rights And Advancing Social Justice: A Look At Landmark And Recent Indian Constitutional Amendments

The Indian Constitution is a living document, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs and aspirations of its people. Amendments to the Constitution serve as crucial instruments for adapting to new realities and upholding fundamental rights. This article focuses on nine notable amendments implemented between 1976 and 2021, highlighting their significance and impact on Indian society.
  1. 42nd Amendment Act (1976):

    This landmark amendment introduced significant changes, including the addition of six fundamental rights to the Constitution:

    • Right to property (Article 300A)
    • Right to education (Article 45)
    • Right to work (Article 41)
    • Right to fair wages and equal pay (Article 39)
    • Right to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness, etc. (Article 41)
    • Right to legal aid (Article 39A)
    These fundamental rights aimed at ensuring social justice and providing basic necessities to all citizens.
  2. 44th Amendment Act (1978):

    This amendment explicitly included the right to education for children aged 6-14 as a fundamental right under Article 21A. This marked a critical step towards achieving universal education and promoting child development.
  3. 74th Amendment Act (1992):

    This amendment introduced significant reforms to local governance by decentralizing power and establishing Panchayati Raj institutions (village councils). This empowered rural communities and ensured greater participation in decision-making processes.
  4. 86th Amendment Act (2002):

    This amendment further strengthened the right to education by making it a fundamental right for children aged 6-14 years. This act emphasized the government's responsibility for ensuring free and compulsory education for all children.
  5. 97th Amendment Act (2011):

    This amendment recognized the right to food as a fundamental right under Article 21. This act aimed to address food insecurity and ensure access to adequate nutrition for all citizens.
  6. 100th Amendment Act (2015):

    This amendment recognized the right to privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21. This act aimed to protect individuals from unwarranted state surveillance and intrusion into their personal lives.
  7. 102nd Amendment Act (2018):

    This amendment extended the right to free and compulsory education to transgender children aged 6-14 years. This act affirmed the need for inclusive education and non-discrimination in educational opportunities.
  8. 103rd Amendment Act (2019):

    This amendment aimed to empower women by increasing their representation in Parliament and state legislatures, reserving one-third of seats for women.
  9. 104th Amendment Act (2019):

    This amendment introduced 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for economically weaker sections (EWS) within the general category. This act aimed to address the issue of social exclusion and promote economic empowerment.
  10. 105th Amendment Act (2021):

    This amendment restored the power of states to prepare and maintain their own lists of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) for reservation purposes. This act aimed to address concerns over the centralized control of the OBC list and promote state-specific solutions.

106th Amendment Act (2022):
This amendment granted constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC), strengthening its role in protecting the rights and interests of backward classes.

101st Constitutional Amendment Act,2016 was a major step forward in reforming India's indirect tax system. The implementation of GST has led to several positive outcomes, but there are still some challenges

These recent amendments demonstrate India's commitment to upholding fundamental rights, promoting social justice, and ensuring equality for all citizens. They represent significant steps toward building a more inclusive and equitable society. However, it is important to note that the implementation and effectiveness of these amendments remain ongoing challenges. Continued monitoring, evaluation, and informed policy decisions are crucial for ensuring that these amendments translate into tangible improvements in the lives of the Indian people.

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