The 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act (CAA) of India was enacted in 1976 during the period of emergency declared by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The amendment aimed to strengthen the powers of the central government and limit the powers of the state governments. The 42nd CAA made several changes to the Constitution of India, some of which were controversial and faced significant criticism.
One of the most significant changes brought about by the 42nd CAA was the addition of ten new Fundamental Duties of citizens to the Constitution. These duties included respecting the national flag and the Constitution, promoting harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood, protecting the natural environment, and developing a scientific temper. These duties were seen as necessary to promote a sense of responsibility and patriotism among citizens.
Another important change made by the 42nd CAA was the insertion of the words "Socialist" and "Secular" in the Preamble of the Constitution. The addition of these words reflected the government's commitment to building a socialist and secular society, as enshrined in the Directive Principles of State Policy.
The 42nd CAA also introduced changes to the Judiciary, such as the appointment of additional judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court, and the establishment of Administrative Tribunals to resolve disputes between the government and its employees. The amendment also placed limitations on the power of judicial review, which had been previously used by the courts to check the actions of the government.
Perhaps the most controversial change introduced by the 42nd CAA was the provision for the suspension of fundamental rights during an emergency. This provision gave the government the power to curtail the rights and freedoms of citizens during a state of emergency, which was seen as an attack on civil liberties and democratic values. The provision was later modified by the 44th CAA, which limited the government's power to suspend fundamental rights.
Overall, the 42nd CAA of the Constitution of India was a significant and far-reaching amendment that aimed to centralize power and promote a sense of patriotism among citizens. However, some of its provisions were criticized for their authoritarian tendencies and curtailment of civil liberties. Many of these provisions were subsequently modified or repealed through subsequent amendments to the Constitution. Nevertheless, the 42nd CAA remains an important chapter in the history of the Indian Constitution and a reminder of the need to safeguard democratic values and civil liberties.