First amendment to Constitution


    In News

    • The Supreme Court agreed to examine a PIL challenging changes made to the right to freedom of speech and expression by the first amendment to the Constitution in 1951, with the petitioner contending that the amendment damages the basic structure doctrine.

    About  Amendment

    • It was passed under India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1951 .
    • The first amendment to the Constitution altered articles 15, 15 (3), 46, 341, 342, 372 and 376, empowering States to ‘make any special provision for the advancement of any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes’.
    • Post the Amendment, the state is prevented from enacting laws curbing citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and to practise any trade, occupation or business. 
    • Features 
      • It also prevents States from making laws permitting them to acquire any citizen’s estate.
      •  The amendment also added a ninth schedule to the Constitution, listing a number of State laws which cannot be challenged in courts.
        • But, the amendment also introduced three new exceptions to the right to free speech. Now, citizens did not have the right to speak freely if their words imperilled “public order”, incited the commission of an offence, or affected “friendly relations with foreign States”.
    • Other changes brought in by this amendment are – empowering the President/Governor to summon or prorogue each House for a session in an interval of less than six months, disallowing judges who are not Indian citizens from being appointed as Chief Justices of any High Court or judges of any other court and disallowing the President from modifying any law within three years from the commencement of the Constitution.