Leaders of India's ruling Congress Party met in New Delhi on Saturday (29 May) and approved major changes to the country's constitution.
Leaders of India's ruling Congress Party met in New Delhi on Saturday (29 May) and approved major changes to the country's constitution. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said that her government was fighting for the rights of 'the common man'.
The changes were contained in a nine page draft resolution debated by a meeting of the All-India Congress Committee (AICC), the party's highest decision-making body.
In future, any amendments to India's constitution will be beyond challenge in any court of law. In November 1975 the Supreme Court rejected a constitutional amendment passed by Parliament, which placed the validity of the election of the Prime Minister and the Speaker of the House beyond judicial review.
Under another change the High Courts will lose their right of jurisdiction in matters relating to Government services, labour, tax, land reform and the procurement and distribution of food and other essential commodities.
Opposition parties and groups of lawyers have protested against the reforms. They say that India has only the outward facade of a parliamentary democracy and in reality an authoritarian government is functioning in the country.
In her address to the AICC meeting, Mrs. Gandhi attacked those who said India was now undemocratic. She said that other countries had condemned India when their own constitutions were not democratic.
The Congress Party President, Dev Kant Barooah, told delegates that the Party had won the right to change the constitution by winning a two-thirds majority in the 1971 general elections.