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Indian Polity

UPSC Syllabus for Constitution and Polity

Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.
Separation of powers between various organs dispute Redressal mechanisms and institutions.
Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.
Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government
Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

2022

1) ‚ÄúThe most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalization of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.‚ÄĚ Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws. (150 words)

The Supreme court through its creative interpretations in various cases brought environmental problems to the forefront, which were earlier not given due importance in constitutional and legal parlance. The court has interpreted Article 21 of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty, to include the right to a clean environment. Art 47, Art 48 A, Art 51A (g) also include provisions of environment. Constitutionalization of environmental problems by SC
  • The case of Subhash Kumar v. State of Bihar (1991) was a turning point in this regard, where the Supreme Court held that the right to a pollution-free environment is a fundamental right under Article 21.
  • Similarly, in the case of Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum v. Union of India (1996), the court held that the polluter pays principle is a part of environmental law in India.
  • In MC Mehta v. Union of India (1987), the Supreme Court ordered the closure of several industries in Delhi due to pollution, leading to the relocation of industries from residential areas.
  • In another landmark judgment, the court banned the sale of firecrackers in the National Capital Region to tackle air pollution.
Thus, the Supreme Court has played a pivotal role in constitutionalizing environmental problems in India by expanding the interpretation of fundamental rights to include the right to a clean and healthy environment.

2) ‚ÄúRights of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are freely available to the Indian citizens, but these rights are not absolute‚ÄĚ Comment. ( 150 words)

The rights of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are fundamental rights guaranteed to Indian citizens under Article 19(d) and (e) of the Constitution. While these rights are essential for ensuring freedom and mobility, they are not absolute and can be subject to certain reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of public order, security, morality, or the rights of others.
Rights of movement and residence are not absolute
  • Reasonable restrictions: In Article 19(5) of the constitution, two ground are mentioned for imposing reasonable restrictions namely, the interests of the general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.
  • Protection of interests of any scheduled tribe: The entry of outsiders in tribal areas is restricted to protect the distinctive culture, language, customs and manners of scheduled tribes and to safeguard their traditional vocation and properties against exploitation.
Need for the restrictions
  • The restrictions on these rights are necessary to maintain law and order, protect public safety, prevent criminal activities, and uphold the rights and interests of others.
  • For example, certain areas may be declared as prohibited or restricted zones due to security concerns, such as defense establishments or sensitive government installations.
  • Similarly, restrictions may be imposed in the interest of protecting tribal communities or ecological balance in certain regions.
  • Additionally, the government may impose restrictions on movement and residence during times of emergencies, such as natural disasters or public health crises, to ensure public safety and well-being.
These restrictions may include curfews, evacuation orders, or quarantine measures. It is important to strike a balance between individual rights and the broader public interest.

3) To what extent, in your opinion, has the decentralisation of power in India changed the governance landscape at the grassroots? (150 words)

The rights of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are fundamental rights guaranteed to Indian citizens under Article 19(d) and (e) of the Constitution. While these rights are essential for ensuring freedom and mobility, they are not absolute and can be subject to certain reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of public order, security, morality, or the rights of others.
Rights of movement and residence are not absolute
  • Reasonable restrictions: In Article 19(5) of the constitution, two ground are mentioned for imposing reasonable restrictions namely, the interests of the general public and the protection of interests of any scheduled tribe.
  • Protection of interests of any scheduled tribe: The entry of outsiders in tribal areas is restricted to protect the distinctive culture, language, customs and manners of scheduled tribes and to safeguard their traditional vocation and properties against exploitation.
Need for the restrictions
  • The restrictions on these rights are necessary to maintain law and order, protect public safety, prevent criminal activities, and uphold the rights and interests of others.
  • For example, certain areas may be declared as prohibited or restricted zones due to security concerns, such as defense establishments or sensitive government installations.
  • Similarly, restrictions may be imposed in the interest of protecting tribal communities or ecological balance in certain regions.
  • Additionally, the government may impose restrictions on movement and residence during times of emergencies, such as natural disasters or public health crises, to ensure public safety and well-being.
These restrictions may include curfews, evacuation orders, or quarantine measures. It is important to strike a balance between individual rights and the broader public interest.

4) Discuss the role of the Vice-President of India as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. (150 words)

The Vice-President of India serves as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian Parliament under Articles 64 and 89 (1) of the constitution. As the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, the Vice-President plays a vital role in ensuring the smooth functioning of the house. Role of the Vice-President of India as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha
  • The Vice-President presides over the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha, and his/her role is similar to that of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament.
  • Responsible for maintaining order in the house, deciding the agenda of the house
  • Ensuring that the rules and procedures of the house are followed
  • The Vice-President also has the power to exercise a casting vote in case of a tie.
  • The Vice-President represents the Rajya Sabha in its dealings with the Lok Sabha and the President of India.
  • Addressing the Rajya Sabha on the first day of every session and signing bills passed by the Rajya Sabha.
Challenges faced by Vice-President as Chairman of Rajya Sabha
  • Managing friction: Frequent disruptions forcing cancellation of Question hour. Disruptions also affect the quality of law-making as seen in passage of bills without discussions.
  • Independent functioning: The Vice-President once he enters the office as Chairman of Rajya Sabha ought to act independent of all political bias and uphold the constitution.
Impartial and neutral chairman of Rajya Saba is needed to ensure efficient functioning of Bicameral system and strengthening democracy of India.

5) Discuss the role of the National Commission for Backward Classes in the wake of its transformation from a statutory body to a constitutional body. (150 words)

The National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was established as a statutory body under the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993. However, in August 2018, it was granted constitutional status through the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution.
Role of NCBC as a constitutional body
  • Authority to examine complaints and grievances regarding the inclusion or exclusion of backward classes from the central list
  • Socio-economic development: Recommend measures for their welfare
  • Present reports to President: It is mandated to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards.
  • Protection of constitutional safeguards: It has the authority to examine, monitor, and evaluate the implementation of constitutional provisions for the socially and educationally disadvantaged
Significance of granting constitutional status to NCBC
  • Increased its autonomy and authority to work for the welfare of backward classes.
  • Independent of the government's control, with greater power to examine the issues of backward classes without any political pressure.
  • Also given the power of a civil court, which allows it to summon and enforce the attendance of any person, and request the discovery or production of any document, or evidence from any authority
  • Mandate to advise the government on matters related to the welfare and development of backward classes.
Proper training of workforce, filling vacant posts use of technology in administration would ensure efficient working of body will lead to holistic and inclusive development

6) Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision? Refer to the case laws.

Constitution under article 327 empowers parliament to enact laws for the election procedures. The Representation of the People Act, 1951 lays down the procedures for settling disputes arising out of the election of a Member of Parliament or State Legislature. The Act provides for the establishment of election tribunals to settle such disputes.
Procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature
  • Filing of election petition: A candidate or any elector can file an election petition challenging the election of any returned candidate on certain grounds specified in the Act.
  • Scrutiny of petition: The election tribunal scrutinizes the election petition and decides whether it fulfils the requirements of the Act.
  • Notice to parties: If the election petition is found to be in order, the election tribunal issues notice to all parties concerned.
  • Evidence: The parties concerned are given an opportunity to produce evidence in support of their claims.
  • Decision: Based on the evidence produced, the election tribunal decides whether the election of the returned candidate is valid or not.
  • Remedy: If the election tribunal finds that the election of the returned candidate is void, it declares the election of the returned candidate to be void and orders a fresh election to be held.
The grounds of making the election of any returned candidate declared void
  • Constitutional provisions: Articles 102 & 191 provides for parliament for disqualification of a legislator of parliament & state legislature, on the grounds of holding office of profit, unsound mind, undischarged insolvent etc.
  • Illegal practices such as bribery, intimidation, and impersonation.
  • Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act relating to elections.
  • Conviction for offense: elected candidate is convicted for an offense for more than two years; his election is declared void on the same day as per the judgment in Lily Thomas case
  • Non-disclosure of expenses incurred during the election campaign.
Remedy available to the aggrieved party against the decision
  • The aggrieved party may appeal against the decision of the election tribunal to the High Court or the Supreme Court, depending on the nature of the dispute.
In conclusion, the Act provides a fair and transparent procedure to decide such disputes and ensures that the election process is free and fair. The Act has been instrumental in ensuring the integrity of the electoral process and upholding the democratic values of the country.

7) Discuss the essential conditions for exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature. (250 words)

In the parliamentary system, the Governor is the constitutional head of the state. He has certain legislative powers that are vested in him/her. Legislative powers by the Governor
  • According to Article 200 of the Indian Constitution, the Governor can give his/her assent or withhold his/her assent to a Bill passed by the State Legislature.
  • Promulgation of Ordinances: Governor can promulgate ordinances when the state legislature is not in session.
  • Disqualification of Members: Governor decides on the question of disqualification of members of the state legislature in consultation with the Election Commission.
  • Summoning or Dissolving the State Legislative Assembly: A governor can summon or prorogue the state legislature and dissolve the state legislative assembly.
Essential Conditions for exercise of the Legislative Powers of the Governor
1. Reservation of Bill: Governor Reserve the bill for the consideration of the president.
  • Reservation is obligatory, where the bill passed by the state legislature endangers the position of the state high court.
  • Governor can also reserve the bill if it is Ultra-vires, Opposed to the Directive Principles of State Policy, Against the larger interest of the country etc like reasons
2. Governor cannot promulgate an ordinance unless certain conditions are met. The Governor can promulgate an ordinance only when:
  • The State Legislature is not in session.
  • The Governor is satisfied that the circumstances exist which render it necessary for him/her to take immediate action.
  • Governor must also place the ordinance before the State Legislature within six weeks of reassembling. Failure to do so will render the ordinance null and void.(Krishna Kumar Singh vs. State of Bihar, 2017 reiterated re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature is unconstitutional and violates the spirit of the Constitution.)
Legality of Re-promulgation of Ordinances by the Governor
  • Constitutionality under Article 213: The Governor of a state can issue Ordinances under Article 213, when the state legislative assembly (or either of the two Houses in states with bicameral legislatures) is not in session.
  • DC Wadhwa vs. State of Bihar: The Supreme Court in 1986 had ruled that the Re-promulgation of ordinances is contrary to the basic fundamentals of the constitution
  • The Doctrine of Separation of Powers is Undermined: The Re-promulgation of the ordinances allows the executive to make permanent legislation without any debate or discussion by simply repromulgating the ordinances.
This power allows for the prompt implementation of necessary measures to safeguard public interest, maintain law and order, and respond to emergent situations so need to be used under guidelines of the constitution.

8) ‚ÄúWhile the national political parties in India favour centralisation, the regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.” Comment. (250 words)

India's political landscape is a mosaic of various regional and national political parties, each with its own unique ideology and vision for the country. In terms of their stance on the issue of centralization versus decentralization, there is a marked difference.
National Political Parties Favouring Centralisation
  • Protectors of Federalism: to justify unitary nature of Indian federalism
  • Bargaining Federalism: The national parties want to keep the State at check by restricting their powers in planning and policy making.
  • Top Down Approach to planning: This strategy follows planning and allocation of resources from the top of the hierarchy to the ones below.
Regional Parties Favouring State Autonomy
  • More attuned to the needs and aspirations of their respective states and are better equipped to address local issues
  • Formed in response to perceived injustices and neglect by the central government. As a result, they are more likely to be supportive of decentralisation and greater state autonomy.
  • Financial autonomy: Helps them not only plan but also utilize funds to implement these welfare programs better.
In conclusion, this dichotomy is rooted in the historical, cultural, and linguistic diversity of India and the different needs and aspirations of its various states. It is important for the central and state governments to strike a balance between centralisation and decentralisation to ensure that the needs of all citizens are met.

9) Critically examine the procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected. (250 words)

India and French both are flourishing democracies. The Presidents of India and France are elected through different procedures, reflecting their respective political systems.
Procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected
India
  • Elected indirectly by an Electoral College consisting of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of the States.
  • Elected for a term of five years, and can be re-elected for another term.
  • The election is conducted through a system of proportional representation, whereby each elector has a certain number of votes, which are determined by the population of the State or the size of the legislative unit.
  • The candidate who secures a majority of the votes cast is declared elected as the President.
  • The President‚Äôs election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot
France
  • Elected directly by the people through a two-round voting system.
  • Elected for a term of five years and can be re-elected for another term.
  • In the first round, any candidate who secures the support of at least 500 elected officials can contest the election.
  • The two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the first round go on to the second round, which is held two weeks later.
  • In the second round, the candidate who receives the highest number of votes is elected as the President.
  • Voting in France is a paper-based process.
These procedures reflect the different political systems of the two countries. India is a parliamentary democracy, where the President is a ceremonial head of state. In contrast, France is a semi-presidential democracy, where the President is both the head of state and the head of government, and exercises significant executive powers. Even though the procedures are different, both aim to ensure that the President is elected through a democratic process and enjoys the support of the people or their representatives.

2021

10) ‚ÄėConstitutional Morality‚Äô is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets. Explain the doctrine of ‚ÄėConstitutional Morality‚Äô with the help of relevant judicial decisions. (150 words)

The doctrine of 'Constitutional Morality' means adherence to the core principles of the Constitution. The Constitution of India is not just a legal document but also a moral and ethical document that enshrines the values of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.
Constitutional Morality’ is rooted in the Constitution itself and is founded on its essential facets
  • Preamble: Spells out values like justice, liberty, equality and fraternity to be the foundation stones of our democracy.
  • Fundamental Rights: Protects the rights of individuals against arbitrary use of power by the State. Especially, Article 32 provides for enforcement of these rights in SC.
  • Directive Principles : Guidelines to the State to implement the vision of the makers of the constitution. These include Gandhian, Socialist and Liberal-Intellectual directions.
  • Fundamental Duties: Citizens not only enjoy rights but have to fulfil certain duties towards the nation.
¬†Doctrine of ‚ÄėConstitutional Morality‚Äô with relevant judicial decisions
  • The concept of 'Constitutional Morality' was first introduced in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973) where it was held that the Constitution is a living document and must be interpreted in the light of the changing times and societal norms. The Court observed that the Constitution should be interpreted in a way that promotes the values of justice, equality, and liberty and protects the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • The doctrine of 'Constitutional Morality' has been reiterated in the Minerva Mills case (1980), where the Supreme Court held that the Constitution is a dynamic and living document, and the basic structure of the Constitution cannot be amended.
  • In the Navtej Singh Johar case (2018), the Supreme Court held that the principle of 'Constitutional Morality' requires the courts to ensure that constitutional rights are not denied to any person on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Constitutional morality is crucial for constitutional laws to be effective. Without constitutional morality, the operation of the constitution tends to become arbitrary, erratic and capricious.

11) Discuss the desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity and inclusiveness. (150 words)

The desirability of greater representation of women in the higher judiciary to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusiveness is a topic of significant importance. Here are some key points to consider:
Desirability of greater representation to women in the higher judiciary
  • Reflecting the Society: Having more women in the higher judiciary ensures that different perspectives, experiences, and concerns are taken into account when making judicial decisions.
  • Promoting Gender Justice: Increasing the representation of women in the higher judiciary can help address gender bias and stereotypes, thereby promoting gender justice and ensuring equal access to justice for all.
  • Building Public Confidence: A judiciary that is more representative of the population, including women, can enhance public confidence in the justice system.
  • Role Model and Inspiration: Increasing the number of women in the higher judiciary serves as a powerful symbol and inspiration for aspiring female lawyers and judges. It sends a positive message that gender should not be a barrier to pursuing a career in law and judiciary.
However, achieving greater representation of women in the higher judiciary requires systemic changes. Measures such as proactive outreach, mentoring, training, and ensuring a supportive work environment can help facilitate the entry and advancement of women in the legal profession and judiciary.

12) How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the states to improve their fiscal position? (150 words)

The Fourteenth Finance Commission was constituted by the President under Article 280 of the Constitution in 2013 to make recommendations for the period 2015-20. Dr. Y. V. Reddy was appointed the Chairman of the Commission.
Recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India: enabled the states to improve their fiscal position
  • Increased share in tax revenue: The Commission recommended an increase in the share of states in the divisible pool of tax revenues from 32% to 42%. This has provided more resources to the states to meet their developmental and welfare expenditure requirements.
  • Higher untied grants: The Commission recommended an increase in the untied grants given to the states, which have no specific conditions attached to them. This has given more flexibility to the states in spending the funds as per their priorities.
  • Increased funding for local bodies: The Commission recommended an increase in the share of states in the central grants for local bodies from 7.5% to 12%.
  • Enhanced Autonomy in Resource Mobilization: The commission has encouraged states to explore new avenues for revenue generation and reduce their dependence on central transfers.
  • Fiscal Discipline and Accountability: The commission emphasized the focus on fiscal prudence has led to improved budgetary practices, expenditure rationalization, and accountability in the utilization of funds.
  • Incentivizing Efficiency and Reforms: The commission introduced performance-based incentives to reward states that demonstrated efficiency and progress in implementing various reforms.
Overall, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission have provided states with greater fiscal resources, autonomy, and incentives to improve their fiscal position which will enhance the spirit of ‚Äúbalancing wheel of fiscal federalism‚ÄĚ.

13) To what extent, in your view, the Parliament is able to ensure accountability of the executive in India? (150 words)

Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of government, where the Executive is responsible to the Parliament for its policies and acts. Ways through which Parliament able to ensure accountability of the executive in India
  • Question Hour: Question Hour enables MPs to hold the executive accountable by seeking clarifications and scrutinizing government decisions and actions.
  • Parliamentary Committees: Parliament establishes various committees, such as the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Estimates Committee, and Committee on Public Undertakings, which examine the functioning of the executive.
  • Debates and Discussions: Parliament allows MPs to engage in debates, question government policies, and criticize executive actions, holding them accountable to the public.
  • Approval of Legislation and Budget: Parliament exercises its legislative powers by scrutinizing and approving bills and the national budget.
  • No-Confidence Motions: This mechanism enables MPs to express their lack of confidence in the executive's performance and hold it accountable.
  • Oversight and Monitoring: Parliament has the authority to oversee and monitor the functioning of the executive through various means, such as parliamentary questions, discussions on reports of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), and examination of annual reports of government departments.
Parliament unable to ensure accountability of the executive
  • Tendencies to evade route of debates/discussions/checks instruments through Money bill route (Aadhar bill), Use of voice vote mechanism (Farm bills), frequent ordinances.
  • Side-lining parliamentary institutions: lesser bills referred to parliamentary committees, low productivity of question-hour.
  • Lack of discipline/decorum: frequent disruptios E.g.: According to PRS ‚Äď LS lost 1/6th; RS lost 1/3rd of its time to disruptions.
In conclusion, while the Parliament in India plays a crucial role in ensuring the accountability of the executive, there is always room for improvement.

14) Pressure groups play a vital role in influencing public policy making in India.‚Ä̬† Explain how the business associations contribute to public policies. (150 words)

Pressure Groups are a group of people organized actively to promote and defend their common interests and influence public policy. They act as the liaison between government and its members.
Role of Pressure Groups in influencing policy making
  • Promote opportunities for political participation without political party
  • Provide expertise and information to government;
  • Help in expressing views and needs of minority groups which remain unheard
  • Attract the attention of government on important issues
Business associations, which represent the interests of various business sectors, play a crucial role in influencing public policy-making in India. Contributions of business associations to public policies.
  • Policy formulation: They provide information, data, and research findings that can inform policy decisions. By providing technical expertise and inputs, they can shape policies that are favourable to their sector.
    E.g.: FICCI
  • Implementation: They can work with government agencies to ensure that policies are implemented effectively and efficiently.
  • By providing feedback and monitoring the implementation of policies, they can help to ensure that the policies are successful.
  • Advocacy: They can mobilize public opinion, media, and other stakeholders to support policies that benefit their members.
  • Provides a platform for consensus-building and networking on key issues
In conclusion, business associations play an important role in influencing public policy-making in India. Their contributions can help to ensure that public policies are informed, effective, and responsive to the needs of various sectors of the economy.

15) The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) regarding lodging an  FIR and conducting probe within a particular state is being questioned by various  States. However, the power of States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute.  Explain with special reference to the federal character of India.  (250 words)

The CBI is a premier investigative agency in the country, entrusted with the responsibility of handling high-profile cases that have national or inter-state ramifications. The jurisdiction of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to lodge an FIR (First Information Report) and conduct investigations within a particular state has become a subject of questioning by several states in India.
E.g.: Recent withdrawal by West Bengal
The concerns raised by states regarding the CBI's jurisdiction stem from issues related to federalism, state autonomy, and the balance of power between the central and state governments.
Reason of questioning the CBI’s power to lodge FIR by states
  • CBI's authority to initiate investigations within their territories without their consent infringes upon their jurisdiction and violates the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution of India.
  • The primary contention is that law and order, including the power to investigate crimes, is primarily a state subject under the Constitution.
  • The states believe that their own police forces should have the sole authority to investigate cases within their jurisdictions, and any interference from a central agency like the CBI should only occur with their explicit consent or under specific circumstances as defined by law.
  • There have been instances where the CBI has been accused of being used as a tool for political vendettas or to target opposition parties.Sikkim withdrew due to case against CM
Power of States to withhold consent to the CBI is not absolute
  • Exception to some offences: offenses include those committed by central government employees and offenses that take place on railways, airfields, and other properties owned by the central government.
  • Central government can also take up investigations in a state without the state government's consent if the Supreme Court or a high court orders such an investigation.
Bodies such as CBI, CVC, ED should be used in cooperation with the state in govt. to strengthen the federal character of the State.

16) Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analysing their structural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (250 words)

Human Rights Commissions (HRCs) have been established at both the national and state levels in India according to Protection of human rights act, 1993 to protect and promote human rights.
Contribution in human right protection in India
  • Developing guidelines such as against custodial death
  • Prison reforms
  • Recommendation against manual scavenging
  • Protecting human rights in different parts
Failed to act against mighty and powerful
  • AFSPA issue
  • Rise in fake encounters and custodial death
Structural limitations of HRCs
  • Limited Investigative Authority: Human Rights Commissions may have limited investigative authority, which can hinder their ability to conduct thorough and independent investigations.
  • Dependence on Government: Human Rights Commissions are often dependent on the government for their budgetary allocations and administrative support.
  • Lack of Legal Authority: Even if they identify human rights violations, they may not have the power to take direct legal action against the perpetrators.
Practical limitations of HRCs
  • Inadequate Resources: Insufficient resources can limit their capacity to handle a large volume of complaints, conduct investigations, and effectively fulfil their mandate.
  • Delayed Justice: The processes and procedures involved in handling complaints and conducting investigations can be time-consuming, leading to delays in providing redress to the affected individuals.
  • Lack of awareness and participation by the public
Remedial Measures To address these limitations, there are several remedial measures that can be taken.
  • HRCs should be made more independent and autonomous, with sufficient funding.
  • The powers and jurisdiction of HRCs should be strengthened.
  • Awareness and participation by the public should be increased, through education and outreach programs.
  • The legal process involved in pursuing human rights violations should be streamlined.
Human Rights Commissions serve as vital institutions that work to protect, promote, and advance human rights within a country. They contribute to upholding the dignity and well-being of individuals, ensuring accountability, and fostering a society that respects and values human rights for all.

17) Analyse the distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India. (250 words)

The notion of equality is a fundamental principle that underpins the Constitutions of both the United States of America and India. However, there are several distinguishing features that characterize the concept of equality in each Constitution.
Distinguishing features of the notion of Equality in the Constitutions of the USA and India
  US Constitution Indian Constitution
Scope of Equality Emphasizes the concept of equal protection under the law. Guarantees equal treatment and prohibits discrimination based on race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin. Provides for a broader concept of equality. It prohibits discrimination based on various grounds, including religion, race, caste, sex, and place of birth, among others. India's notion of equality goes beyond formal equality and aims to address historical and social inequalities
Affirmative Action Does not explicitly provide for affirmative action at the constitutional level Incorporates provisions for affirmative action to address historical discrimination and promote equality of opportunity.
Equality of Status vs. Equality of Opportunity Focuses on equality of status, ensuring that individuals are treated equally under the law. While emphasizing equality of status,  it places greater emphasis on equality of opportunity.
Reservation vs. Colour-blindness The idea of colour-blindness reflects the belief that the government should be blind to racial distinctions and treat all citizens equally. Provides for reservation policies to address historical inequalities.
Contextual Factors Focus on individual rights and liberties reflect the American emphasis on individualism and limited government. Emphasis on social justice and inclusiveness reflects the country's diverse society and historical struggles against caste-based discrimination and social inequality.
It is important to note that both the US and Indian constitutions recognize the importance of equality and aim to protect individuals from discrimination. However, the approach and emphasis on equality differ due to the unique historical and social contexts of each country.

18) Explain the constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established. Review the working and current status of Legislative Councils with  suitable illustrations. (250 words)

Legislative Councils, also known as the upper houses or second chambers, are established in some states of India under specific constitutional provisions. The provisions for the establishment and functioning of Legislative Councils are outlined in Article 169 of the Indian Constitution. Constitutional provisions under which Legislative Councils are established
  • According to this provision, a Legislative Council can be established in any state if the Legislative Assembly of the state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority (i.e., a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting).
  • composition of the Legislative Councils is determined by Article 171 of the Constitution.
  • The Councils are to consist of not more than one-third of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly, with members being elected by various constituencies, such as local authorities, graduates, and teachers.
The current status of legislative councils
  • As of 2021, there are seven states with functioning Legislative Councils: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The role and functioning of Legislative Councils in Indian states have varied over time.
Working Of legislative councils
Pros:
  • Representation of Diverse Interests: The presence of a Legislative Council allows for a broader representation of diverse interests within the state.
  • Revision and review of legislation: Legislative Councils often have the power to revise and review legislation passed by the Legislative Assembly.
  • Expertise and experience: Legislative Councils often have members who bring specialized knowledge, expertise, and experience to the legislative process
Cons:
  • Delay in Legislative Processes: The existence of legislative councils can cause delays in the legislative process
  • Financial Burden: Maintaining a legislative council incurs additional costs in terms of salaries, allowances, infrastructure, and administrative expenses
  • Duplication of Legislative Functions: they duplicate the functions of the legislative assembly, leading to unnecessary expenses and redundancy in the legislative process
Legislative councils, where they exist, hold significance by providing a platform for a broader representation of diverse interests, facilitating checks and balances, and promoting a more inclusive and deliberative legislative process. So, need to be used wisely

19) Do Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees keep the administration  on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control? Evaluate the working of  such committees with suitable examples. (250 words)

Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees (DRPSCs) are an important instrument of parliamentary oversight in India. They are specialized committees of Members of Parliament (MPs) constituted by the Parliament to scrutinize the functioning of various government departments and provide reports to the Parliament.
The main objective of DRPSCs is to ensure accountability, transparency and effectiveness of government policies and programs.
DRPSCs are expected to keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control
  • By conducting detailed and objective examinations of the departmental work and policies, identifying shortcomings, and suggesting remedial measures.
    E.g.:
    Standing committee on defense has highlighted that budget allocations are not enough for modernization of the army.
  • They provide a platform for the Members of Parliament to interact with the executive, seek clarifications, and hold them accountable for their actions.
    E.g.:
    Recommendations of standing committee on Health brought changes in the national medical commission bill 2017 by removing the provision for allowing the Bridge course for AYUSH practitioners.
  • DRPSCs have the power to summon officials, experts, and stakeholders for evidence and to seek explanations from the government departments.
Limitations of DRPSCs in keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control
  • The recommendations made by the DRPSCs are not binding on the government, and their reports often remain unimplemented.
    E.g.:
    2nd ARC recommendations haven't been implemented by the administration.
  • The government has the option to reject or accept the recommendations made by DRPSC
  • There are no formal mechanisms to ensure their implementation.
  • The DRPSCs are not equipped with the power of enforcement, and their recommendations are only persuasive in nature.
Despite their limitations, DRPSCs have played an important role in improving the quality of parliamentary oversight in India. Their reports have contributed to the formulation of new policies and laws, and have brought transparency to the functioning of government departments. DRPSCs have also played a crucial role in exposing corruption and irregularities in government programs, and in holding the government accountable for its actions.

2020

20) ‚ÄúThere is a need for simplification of procedure for disqualification of persons found guilty of corrupt practices under the Representation of Peoples Act‚ÄĚ. Comment. (150 words)

Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committees (DRPSCs) are an important instrument of parliamentary oversight in India. They are specialized committees of Members of Parliament (MPs) constituted by the Parliament to scrutinize the functioning of various government departments and provide reports to the Parliament.
The main objective of DRPSCs is to ensure accountability, transparency and effectiveness of government policies and programs.
DRPSCs are expected to keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control
  • By conducting detailed and objective examinations of the departmental work and policies, identifying shortcomings, and suggesting remedial measures.
    E.g.:
    Standing committee on defense has highlighted that budget allocations are not enough for modernization of the army.
  • They provide a platform for the Members of Parliament to interact with the executive, seek clarifications, and hold them accountable for their actions.
    E.g.:
    Recommendations of standing committee on Health brought changes in the national medical commission bill 2017 by removing the provision for allowing the Bridge course for AYUSH practitioners.
  • DRPSCs have the power to summon officials, experts, and stakeholders for evidence and to seek explanations from the government departments.
Limitations of DRPSCs in keep the administration on its toes and inspire reverence for parliamentary control
  • The recommendations made by the DRPSCs are not binding on the government, and their reports often remain unimplemented.
    E.g.:
    2nd ARC recommendations haven't been implemented by the administration.
  • The government has the option to reject or accept the recommendations made by DRPSC
  • There are no formal mechanisms to ensure their implementation.
  • The DRPSCs are not equipped with the power of enforcement, and their recommendations are only persuasive in nature.
Despite their limitations, DRPSCs have played an important role in improving the quality of parliamentary oversight in India. Their reports have contributed to the formulation of new policies and laws, and have brought transparency to the functioning of government departments. DRPSCs have also played a crucial role in exposing corruption and irregularities in government programs, and in holding the government accountable for its actions.

21) ‚ÄúRecent amendments to the Right to Information Act will have profound impact on the autonomy and independence of the Information Commission‚ÄĚ. Discuss. (150 words)

The objective of the RTI Act is to establish a practical regime for citizens to access information held by Public Authorities. This in turn led to increased transparency and accountability at the Public Authorities. Information commission is a statutory body under RTI act
Recent Amendments to RTI act
  • Government took over the power to decide the tenure, salary, and terms of service of the Information Commissioners at both the central and state levels.
  • Remove the requirement for the government to provide reasons for the removal of Information Commissioners.
Impact of recent amendments on the autonomy and independence of the Information Commission
The Information Commission plays a critical role in promoting transparency and accountability in governance.
  • Recent amendments has led to fears that the government may use this power to influence the functioning of the Commission and curtail the right to information.
  • Changes in the removal procedure further undermines the independence of the Commission and opens up the possibility of politically motivated removals.
Commission's impartiality and independence from political interference contribute to the credibility of its decisions and promote public confidence in the information disclosure process.
Any attempt to dilute its autonomy and independence can have a profound impact on the functioning of democracy. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the Commission remains independent and free from political interference. The government should take steps to address these concerns and ensure that the right to information is protected.

22) How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of federation in India ? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer. (150 words)

The Indian federation which is not a result of an agreement between the states have always been evolving with cooperation and competition and at times confrontation.
Cooperation, competition and confrontation in shaping the nature of federation in India.
Cooperation can be seen in the sharing of resources and powers between the central and state governments, as well as between the states themselves.
  • E.g.: the GST (Goods and Services Tax) regime is an example of cooperation between the Centre and the states.
  • The Centre and the states also cooperate on matters of national security and disaster management.
Competition can be seen in the political and economic spheres.
  • E.g.: States compete for investment, development and recognition. E.g.: invest in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh mega conference to promote investment
  • There is also competition between political parties at both the national and state levels. The federal structure also allows for healthy competition between states in terms of development indicators and governance.
Confrontation can be seen in the disagreements and disputes between the Centre and the states, as well as between states themselves.
  • E.g.: the Cauvery river water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is a long-standing issue that has not been fully resolved.
  • The recent farmers' protest against the central government's agricultural reforms can also be seen as a confrontation between the Centre and the states.
Overall, cooperation, competition and confrontation have all played a significant role in shaping the nature of federation in India, and will continue to do so in the future.

23) The judicial systems in India and UK seem to be converging as well as diverging in recent times. Highlight the key points of convergence and divergence between the two nations in terms of their judicial practices. (150 words)

Both India and the United Kingdom are democratic countries with parliamentary form of government. Besides, there are differences as well as similarities on how the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary of these countries function.
Convergence in judicial systems of India and UK
  • Both countries have adopted the principle of judicial review, which allows the courts to review the actions of the executive and legislative branches of the government.
  • Both countries also follow the adversarial system of justice, where two opposing sides present their case to a judge or jury.
  • Both India and the UK follow the common law legal system, which is based on judicial precedent and the interpretation of statutes.
  • Both countries emphasize the importance of judicial independence. The judiciary in both India and the UK is expected to be impartial and free from political influence, ensuring a fair and unbiased decision-making process.
  • Both countries have increasingly relied on technology in their judicial processes, such as electronic filing of cases and video conferencing for hearings.
Divergence in judicial systems of India and UK
  • In India, judges have more expansive powers and responsibilities than in the UK, as they are often called upon to perform quasi-legislative and administrative functions.
  • Another difference is the process of appointment of judges. In the UK, judges are appointed by a committee of legal experts, while in India, the appointment process is controlled by the executive branch of the government.
The UK and Indian judiciary systems are similar regarding being independent and accountable. The divergence issues of transparency in appointments etc. must be adopted by India from the UK to enhance our Judicial efficiency.

24)¬† ‚ÄėOnce a Speaker, Always a Speaker‚Äô ! Do you think this practice should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India ? (150 words)

The statement "Once a Speaker, Always a Speaker" suggests the idea of adopting a practice where a person who has served as a Speaker of the Lok Sabha should always be considered a Speaker.
Practice provides objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • This practice would ensure that the Speaker remains impartial and does not align with any political party or individual, leading to better decision-making.
  • It could also enhance the trust of the public in the democratic process and help to maintain the integrity of the office of the Speaker.
  • Speakers possess valuable institutional memory and experience. By retaining their involvement in the Speaker's office, their expertise can be utilized
Implications on robust functioning of parliamentary business in India
  • If the same person holds the position of Speaker for an extended period, it could lead to a lack of fresh perspectives and ideas.
  • It could also create a sense of complacency or entitlement, leading to a decline in the performance of the Speaker.
  • Larger scrutiny: The bills which do not satisfy the opposition and the public will be sent to scrutiny under different committees.
  • Increase house efficiency: By providing more time for debates and discussions to the opposition along with ruling parties for effective outcomes on laws and policies.
Overall, the decision to adopt this practice should be made after careful consideration of its potential benefits and drawbacks. It is important to ensure that the parliamentary system in India remains effective, efficient, and democratic.

25) Judicial Legislation is antithetical to the doctrine of separation of powers as envisaged in the Indian Constitution. In this context justify the filing of large number of public interest petitions praying for issuing guidelines to executive authorities. (250 words)

Separation of powers is the division of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of government. The Indian Constitution lays down the structure and defines and determines the role and functions of every organ of the State and establishes norms for their inter-relationships and checks and balances.
Judicial Legislation is antithetical to the doctrine of separation of powers
  • Constitutional provisions: Art 50, 121,211 etc provides for separation of power
  • Judicial over reach: judiciary taking role of legislative effecting parliamentary system. E.g.: Arun Gopal case ‚Äď Fixed timings for fireworks on Diwali.
  • Disturbs legitimacy of the system and effects checks and balances.
Need for PIL for issuing guidelines to the executives
  • Filling Legislative Gaps: Public interest petitions fill legislative gaps by seeking judicial intervention when laws are inadequate to address emerging issues or protect fundamental rights.
  • Protection of Fundamental Rights: By seeking guidelines from the judiciary, individuals and advocacy groups can address systemic issues, ensure the protection of constitutional rights, and hold executive authorities accountable for their actions.
  • Ensuring Accountability and Transparency: By seeking guidelines, petitioners aim to establish clear standards and procedures for executive authorities to follow, preventing arbitrariness and enhancing accountability.
  • Correcting Executive Overreach: The filing of public interest petitions seeks to restrain executive authorities from exceeding their constitutional powers or engaging in activities that infringe upon the rights of citizens.
  • Access to Justice: Public interest petitions provide an avenue for marginalized groups and individuals with limited resources to seek justice and address systemic issues.
The judiciary must exercise caution and avoid encroaching upon the domain of the executive and legislature, ensuring that their role remains complementary rather than adversarial.

26) The strength and sustenance of local institutions in India has shifted from their formative phase of ‚ÄėFunctions, Functionaries and Funds‚Äô to the contemporary stage of ‚ÄėFunctionality‚Äô. Highlight the critical challenges faced by local institutions in terms of their functionality in recent times. (250 words)

Local institutions play a vital role in the governance of India. They are responsible for the implementation of government schemes and programs at the grassroots level.
The primary objective of establishing the third tier of the government is to increase democratic decentralization. However, there are many issues which have rendered the 3rd tier of government in a state where it has more responsibility but less power and resources. While traditional challenges in terms of funds, functions and functionaries (3Fs) remain quite relevant even today, we cannot lose sight of challenges being phase in terms of ‚Äúfunctionality‚ÄĚ.
The term ‚ÄėFunctionality‚Äô in the context of local institutions refers to the ability to perform the duties assigned to them efficiently and effectively.
Critical challenges faced by local institutions in terms of their functionality
  • Lack of financial resources: Local institutions heavily rely on grants from the central and state governments. However, the funds allocated are often inadequate, leading to delays in the implementation of schemes and programs.
  • Lack of capacity-building measures: Local institutions often lack the necessary skills and training to carry out their functions effectively. This leads to a lack of accountability, which further erodes the trust of people in these institutions.
  • Politicization of local institutions: Political parties tend to interfere in the functioning of local institutions, often leading to corruption and nepotism. This leads to a lack of transparency and accountability.
  • Lack of autonomy: Local institutions often have to rely on state-level authorities for their day-to-day functioning. This leads to delays in decision-making and the inability to respond to local needs and demands effectively.
  • Lack of public participation: People often lack the necessary awareness and motivation to participate in these institutions. This leads to a lack of ownership and accountability.
In conclusion, local institutions in India face several critical challenges that hamper their functionality. These challenges need to be addressed urgently to ensure that local institutions can perform their functions efficiently and effectively. This will help to strengthen the democracy and governance of the country.

27) Rajya Sabha has been transformed from a ‚Äėuseless stepney tyre‚Äô to the most useful supporting organ in past few decades. Highlight the factors as well as the areas in which this transformation could be visible. (250 words)

The Rajya Sabha, constitutionally the Council of States, is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of India. The genesis of the Rajya Sabha can be traced to the Montague-Chelmsford report of 1918 and, consequently, the Government of India Act, 1919, which provided for a second federal chamber of Parliament. Asserting the federal nature of the Indian polity, Rajya Sabha ensures healthy bicameralism not only as a House for second thought but is also a guardian of a State’s rights as a House of correction.
Rajya Sabha as¬† a ‚Äėuseless stepney tyre‚Äô
  • Limited Powers Related to Money Bills: A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill.
  • Ordinary bills are being passed in the form of a Money Bill, circumventing the Rajya Sabha
  • Frequent disruptions
Factors and the areas in which transformation of Rajya Sabha is visible
  • Rise of coalition politics in India: As parties are forced to work together to form a government, the role of Rajya Sabha as a forum for dialogue and consensus-building has increased.
  • Enhanced powers of Rajya Sabha: The Rajya Sabha has played a crucial role in shaping and amending significant legislation, like the GST Bill and Land Acquisition Bill, due to its power to initiate relevant bills.
  • Rajya Sabha has played a crucial role in the passage of several key legislations such as the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, the Triple Talaq Bill, and the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
  • Presence of experts and eminent personalities: Rajya Sabha MPs often bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the legislative process, and their contributions are valued in shaping public policy.
  • Forum for debates on issues of national importance: With its diverse composition and relatively restrained political environment, Rajya Sabha has facilitated a more nuanced and informed discussion of critical issues facing the country.
  • Additionally, the Rajya Sabha has also initiated several reports on key issues such as the state of the rural economy, and the impact of climate change.
However, there are also challenges faced by Rajya Sabha, such as the need to maintain its independence from political pressures and ensuring that its members are selected on the basis of merit rather than political considerations.

28) Which steps are required for constitutionalization of a Commission ? Do you think imparting constitutionality to the National Commission for Women would ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India ? Give reasons. (250 words)

Constitutionalization of a commission involves enshrining its establishment, composition, powers, and functions in the Constitution.
Steps required for the constitutionalization of a commission
  • A constitutional amendment: A constitutional amendment needs to be made to incorporate the commission in the Constitution.
  • Establishment: The amendment should clearly establish the commission and define its role, powers, and functions.
  • Composition: The composition of the commission needs to be defined, including the qualifications, appointment, and removal process of its members.
  • Powers and functions: The powers and functions of the commission should be outlined in the Constitution to ensure its independence and autonomy.
Imparting constitutionality to the National Commission for Women (NCW) could ensure greater gender justice and empowerment in India
The NCW was established in 1992 by an Act of Parliament, but it is not constitutionally recognized. As a result, the NCW has limited powers and functions, and its recommendations are not binding on the government.
  • Constitutionalizing the NCW would strengthen its role as an independent and autonomous body responsible for promoting and protecting women's rights in India.
  • It would ensure that the commission is not subject to the whims and fancies of the ruling government and is protected from any political interference.
  • It would also give the commission the power to make recommendations that are binding on the government.
  • constitutionalizing the NCW would enhance its accountability and transparency.
  • The commission would be required to report to Parliament, which would provide greater oversight and ensure that the commission is functioning in the best interest of women.
constitutionalizing the NCW would be a significant step towards achieving greater gender justice and empowerment in India.

2019

29) Do you think Constitution of India does not accept principle of strict separation of powers rather it is based on the principle of ‚Äėchecks and balance‚Äô? Explain.( 150 words)

Separation of powers is the division of the legislative, executive, and judicial functions of government. The Constitution of India does not explicitly accept the principle of strict separation of powers like US. Instead, it is based on the principle of "checks and balances."
India Constitution has Principles of Strict Separation of Powers
Judiciary from Executive:
  • Eg.: Article50: Indian constitution provides for separation of judiciary from the executive.
  • Article 121 and 212: Judicial conduct cannot be discussed in the house of parliament and state legislatures respectively.
Legislature from Judiciary:
  • E.g.: Article 122 and 211: The Parliamentary proceedings cannot be questioned at the Judiciary.
  • Article 105 and 194: No MP and MLA respectively are liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by them in legislatures or committees.
The Executive from Judiciary:
  • E.g.: Article 361: The President or Governors are not answerable to any courts for the exercise of their powers and duties of their office
The idea behind checks and balances is to ensure that no single branch of government becomes too powerful. The Constitution of India establishes in such a way that the branches of government have certain overlapping functions and powers to have mutual restrain.
Indian constitution provides for principle of checks and balances
  • Legislative Oversight: Parliament exercises control over the executive through question hour, debates, and committees
  • Judicial Review: Power of judicial review allows judiciary to examine the constitutionality of laws and executive actions
  • Executive Authority: President and the Prime Minister, holds significant powers to make policies and execute laws. However, it is subject to checks and balances through parliamentary oversight, judicial review, and constitutional limitations.
  • Independent Election Commission: Independent Election Commission act as a check on the executive branch's power to influence electoral processes.
  • Federal Structure: Division of powers between the central and state Governments prevents either level of government from becoming too dominant.
These provisions reflect a system where the different branches of government have some degree of authority, but they are also subjected to checks to prevent abuse of power.

30) ‚ÄúThe Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for Redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees, nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.‚ÄĚ Explain. .( 150 words)

The Central Administrative Tribunal was established under Article 323-A of the Constitution of India in 1985 to provide an independent forum for the Redressal of grievances against central government employees. Over the years, the CAT has been exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.
CAT in Grievance Redressal
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was established through the 42nd constitutional amendment act under Part XIV-A of the constitution. The CAT:
  • Adjudicates disputes with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union.
  • CAT also has jurisdiction on the employees of Public Sector Undertakings/ Organizations notified by the Government.
  • CAT is not bound by the procedural logjams and a person making an application to a tribunal may either appear in person or take the assistance of a legal practitioner.
The CAT as an independent judicial authority.
As Independent authority
  • Contempt proceedings: As per the Delhi HC ruling CAT can exercise the same jurisdiction and powers as a high court in respect of contempt proceedings.
  • As a civil court: The CAT has the powers of a civil court in reviewing its own decisions and is bound by. the principles of natural justice.
  • Refrainment of SC: The Supreme Court itself refrains from the issues such as recruitment and service matters. This provided CAT to function as an independent judicial authority.
Not an independent authority
  • Appeals to the judiciary: Previously there was no appeal to tribunal order before a High court. But by L. Chandra Kumar case, 1997 the appeals to a tribunal order can be laid before a divisional bench of the high court.
In recent years, the CAT has become an important judicial institution in India, and its jurisdiction has expanded to cover disputes related to other central government employees, including those in public sector undertakings and autonomous bodies. The CAT's independence and impartiality have helped to promote transparency and accountability in the functioning of the central government and its agencies.

31) What are the methods used by the farmer’s organizations to influence the policy-makers in India and how effective are these methods? (150 words)

Farmers organizations are producers coming together on certain issues like the selling price of their commodities and by the membership of the group. The Bharatiya Kisan Union and Shetkari Sangathan etc are prominent farmer organizations.
Methods used by the farmer’s organizations to influence the policy-makers in India
  • Farmer organizations lobby policymakers to push for their demands and influence the decision-making process.
  • Farmer organizations organize protests and demonstrations to draw attention to their demands and put pressure on policymakers.
  • Form alliances with political parties to influence the policymaking process by influencing the electoral outcomes.
  • Use the legal system to challenge policies and decisions that are unfair or unjust.
  • Farmer organizations have engaged in advocacy and outreach programs to build public support for their demands and increase awareness about their issues.
  • Many farmers' organizations conduct detailed research and analysis on agricultural issues, including policy matters. They generate reports, studies, and policy briefs that provide insights, data, and recommendations for policy-makers.
  • Farmers' organizations often form alliances and collaborations with other stakeholders, such as trade unions, civil society groups, and consumer organizations. By joining forces, they enhance their collective strength and influence.
  • Farmers' organizations actively engage with the media to disseminate their messages, raise awareness, and shape public opinion.
The Effectiveness of these Measures by the Farmer Organization
  • Farm loan waiver: In 2008 the government waived the farm loan throughout the country making farmers free from the burden of interests and dues.
  • Hike in MSP: There is an increase in the minimum support price of all rabi crops for the 2022-23 season which was approved by the cabinet committee of economic affairs.
  • Considering decisions: Recently the government has withheld a decision regarding legal guarantee to MSP which is being demanded by farmer groups.
  • repealing decisions: The repealing of the three farm laws by the government is a major step indicating farmer organizations success.
Overall, the effectiveness of these methods depends on the ability of farmer organizations to build alliances, mobilize resources, and engage with policymakers in a strategic and organized manner.

32) From the resolution of contentious issues regarding distribution of legislative powers by the courts, ‚ÄėPrinciple of Federal Supremacy‚Äô and ‚ÄėHarmonious Construction‚Äô have emerged. Explain. (150 words)

In the Indian context, the resolution of contentious issues regarding the distribution of legislative powers between the central government and state governments has led to the emergence of two principles: the Principle of Federal Supremacy and Harmonious Construction.
Principle of Federal Supremacy
  • In case of any inconsistency or conflict between laws made by the center and the states on matters enumerated in the Concurrent List, the central law prevails.
  • The doctrine of pith and substance: This mentions that when a law is made by the centre but the implementation lies at the states.
  • Article 246 of the Indian Constitution provides for a three-fold distribution of legislative powers between the center and the states. .
Principle of Harmonious Construction
  • It emphasizes that the central and state governments should work in harmony and that the Constitution should be interpreted in a way that avoids conflict and promotes cooperation between the two levels of government.
  • Under this principle, the courts try to interpret the Constitution in a way that respects the powers of both the central and state governments and ensures that they can work together to promote the common good.
These principles have helped to resolve disputes related to distribution of legislative powers in India and have helped to promote a cooperative federal system.

33) What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism? (150 words)

France and India have different approaches to secularism. While France practices "la√Įcit√©," which emphasizes strict separation of religion and state, India's approach to secularism is based on "sarva dharma sambhava," which means equal respect for all religions.
The aspects which France can learn from India's approach to secularism
India's approach to secularism is more inclusive and acknowledges the diversity of religions and cultures within the country.
  • This approach has helped to promote social harmony and has prevented the marginalization of religious minorities.
  • India's approach to secularism recognizes that religion is an integral part of society and culture, and that it cannot be completely separated from politics.
  • This approach has helped to ensure that the government is not seen as hostile to religion and has promoted greater acceptance of religious diversity.
  • India's approach to secularism has also helped to promote a greater sense of social responsibility among religious groups.
  • Religious groups in India are expected to contribute to the welfare of society as a whole, and this has helped to create a more cohesive and inclusive society.
Overall, France can learn from India's approach to secularism by adopting a more inclusive and accommodating approach to religious diversity, and by recognizing the important role that religion plays in shaping society and culture.

34) On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the representation of people act, 1951? Also mention the remedies available to such person against his disqualification. (250 words)

Representation of People Act, 1951 was passed by the Parliament in accordance with Article 327 of the Constitution of India. This legislation deals with the conduct of elections in the country
Grounds for disqualification under the representation of people act, 1951
  • Conviction for certain offences: A person can be disqualified if they have been convicted of certain offences such as corruption, electoral malpractice, promoting enmity between groups, and crimes against women.
  • Contravention to any law: Disqualification will be for contravention of any law providing for the prevention of hoarding, profiteering, law related to adulteration of food or drugs and under Dowry prohibition act, 1961.
  • Sentenced to imprisonment: A person convicted under any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 2 years shall be disqualified for further 6 years since his release.
  • Corrupt practices: Section 8A of RPA, 1951 provides for disqualification under conviction of corrupt practices.
  • Failure to lodge election expenses: Section 10A of RA, 1951 provides for disqualification if failed to lodge the accounts of election offences.
  • Section 123: Section 123 of the act deals with corrupt practices and provides for a broad definition of what constitutes corrupt practices, such as;
    • Bribery: This is any gift/offer/promise a candidate or their agent with his consent to any other person with the objective of either directly/ indirectly inducing a person to withdraw / not to withdraw /vote / not to vote at an election.
    • Undue influence: This is direct/indirect interference by the party candidate / his agent in the exercise of any electoral rights.
Remedies available to such a person against his disqualification
  • If a person is disqualified, they can challenge the decision before a High Court. They can also appeal to the Supreme Court if they are not satisfied with the High Court's decision.
  • In case of disqualification under section 10 of the Representation of the People Act, a person can also seek relief from the President of India.
  • If a person has been disqualified for corruption, they can be prosecuted and punished.
  • If a person has been disqualified for holding dual membership, they can resign from one House or Legislature to avoid disqualification.
In conclusion, the Representation of the People Act, 1951 lays down specific grounds for disqualification of people's representatives. The Act also provides remedies for challenging such disqualifications, and the nature of the remedy depends on the specific ground of disqualification.

35) ‚ÄúParliament‚Äôs power to amend the constitution is a limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power‚ÄĚ. In the light of this statement explain whether parliament under article 368 of the constitution can destroy the Basic structure of the constitution by expanding its amending power? (250 words)

The Indian Constitution grants the Parliament the power to amend the Constitution under Article 368. However, this power is not absolute, and the Parliament cannot destroy the basic structure of the Constitution.
Power to amend the constitution is a limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power
  • The doctrine of basic structure was introduced by the Supreme Court in the landmark judgment of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973).
  • The basic structure of the Constitution refers to the fundamental features of the Constitution that cannot be altered or destroyed by the amending power of the Parliament.
  • These features include the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, the separation of powers, federalism, secularism, democracy, and individual rights.
  • The Court held that the power of amendment cannot be used to abrogate or damage the basic structure of the Constitution.
Parliament under article 368 of the constitution cannot destroy the Basic structure of the constitution
  • In the case of Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975), the Supreme Court upheld the basic structure doctrine and held that Parliament's amending power under Article 368 is not unlimited.
  • The Court further held that Parliament cannot change the Constitution's essential features that form the basic structure.
  • In the Minerva Mills v. Union of India (1980) case, the Supreme Court reiterated the basic structure doctrine and held that Parliament cannot use its amending power to destroy or emasculate the Constitution's essential features.
  • The Court further held that the Parliament's amending power must be exercised in a manner that preserves the Constitution's basic structure.
Thus, it can be concluded that the doctrine of basic structure acts as a check on the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution and ensures that the Constitution's essential features are protected.

36) ‚ÄúThe reservation of seats for women in the institution of local self-government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian political process‚ÄĚ. Comment (250 words)

The Indian Constitution grants the Parliament the power to amend the Constitution under Article 368. However, this power is not absolute, and the Parliament cannot destroy the basic structure of the Constitution.
Power to amend the constitution is a limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power
  • The doctrine of basic structure was introduced by the Supreme Court in the landmark judgment of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973).
  • The basic structure of the Constitution refers to the fundamental features of the Constitution that cannot be altered or destroyed by the amending power of the Parliament.
  • These features include the supremacy of the Constitution, the rule of law, the separation of powers, federalism, secularism, democracy, and individual rights.
  • The Court held that the power of amendment cannot be used to abrogate or damage the basic structure of the Constitution.
Parliament under article 368 of the constitution cannot destroy the Basic structure of the constitution
  • In the case of Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain (1975), the Supreme Court upheld the basic structure doctrine and held that Parliament's amending power under Article 368 is not unlimited.
  • The Court further held that Parliament cannot change the Constitution's essential features that form the basic structure.
  • In the Minerva Mills v. Union of India (1980) case, the Supreme Court reiterated the basic structure doctrine and held that Parliament cannot use its amending power to destroy or emasculate the Constitution's essential features.
  • The Court further held that the Parliament's amending power must be exercised in a manner that preserves the Constitution's basic structure.
Thus, it can be concluded that the doctrine of basic structure acts as a check on the Parliament's power to amend the Constitution and ensures that the Constitution's essential features are protected.
37) ‚ÄúThe Attorney-General is the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India.‚ÄĚ Discuss (250 words)
The Attorney General of India is the chief legal advisor to the Government of India and is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution. The Attorney General is a constitutional authority whose role and responsibilities are defined by the Constitution and various other laws.
Attorney General as chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India
Advisory role
  • To provide legal advice and assistance to the Government of India on a wide range of issues.
    Giving legal opinions
    Drafting legal documents
Watchdog role
  • The Attorney General also plays an important role in upholding the rule of law and protecting the rights of citizens. He acts as a watchdog for the Government of India to ensure that its actions are consistent with the Constitution and the law.
Attorney role
  • The Attorney General is also responsible for initiating and conducting litigation on behalf of the Government of India and he can also appear in any court in the country.
  • The Attorney General is also responsible for representing the Government of India in the Supreme Court, and he has the right of audience in all courts in the country.
Constitutional Function
  • Has the right to participate and speak in both the Houses of Parliament, without having voting rights. They can provide legal insights on proposed legislation, answer legal queries, and contribute to debates on legal matters.
Others
  • Intervene in public interest litigation cases when the interests of the public or important legal questions are involved. Their intervention helps in presenting the government's perspective and contributes to the development of jurisprudence.
The Attorney General enjoys the same privileges and immunities as a member of parliament. This ensure independent efficient working of Attorney General

38) Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national law maker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss. (250 words)

Parliament is considered as a temple of Democracy where elected representatives arrive at decisions regarding governance after debates & deliberations. It is considered as the highest platform for holding the executive accountable for their actions.
Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national law maker is on a decline and impacted the quality of debates and their outcome
  • Increasing influence of political parties in the functioning of the parliament: Political parties have developed their own agendas and interests, which often take precedence over the needs and concerns of individual parliamentarians.
  • Rise of coalition politics: In a coalition government, individual parliamentarians are often required to vote according to the wishes of their respective parties rather than their own interests of their constituents.
  • Use of whips: Whips are party officials who ensure that members of their party vote in a particular way. This system limits the ability of individual parliamentarians to express their own views and concerns.
  • Lack of Expertise: For the effective participation individual parliamentarian require specialized knowledge and expertise to critically analyse proposed legislation.
  • Time Constraints: Parliamentary sessions often have limited time for debates. This can result in rushed discussions and limited opportunities for individual parliamentarians to present their viewpoints.
  • Adversarial Politics: Politics in many parliamentary systems has become increasingly adversarial, with a focus on scoring political points and winning debates rather than engaging in constructive dialogue.
  • Lack of Transparency: In some cases, legislation may be drafted or debated without adequate public input or scrutiny. This can contribute to a lack of accountability and may limit the effectiveness of individual parliamentarians in representing the interests and concerns of their constituents.
Way forward
  • A strict code of conduct should be implemented for regulating their good behaviour and attendance in the House.
  • The onus is on all political parties and parliamentary institutions to manage dissent in order to minimize disruptions.
  • Another possible solution, going by the global experiences, is reserving a day in the week for the Opposition to set the agenda for Parliament.
Parliamentary government is described as a government by discussion. Therefore, by allowing for wider and more impactful participation in parliament would strengthen parliamentary system as well as Indian democracy.

2018

39) Whether National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine. (150 words)

The NCSC is a statutory body established under Article 338 of the Indian Constitution. It has the mandate to investigate and monitor matters related to the safeguards provided for Scheduled Castes, including reservations.
Status of constitutional reservation of SC
  • The Constitution of India provides for reservations for Scheduled Castes (SCs) in educational institutions, both in government and private institutions.
  • Article 15(4) allows the state to make special provisions for the advancement of socially and educationally backward classes, which include SCs. However, it does not explicitly mention whether this reservation applies to religious minority institutions.
Minority rights
  • Religious minority institutions have the right to administer their affairs and manage their institutions without interference.
  • This right is protected under Article 30(1) of the Indian Constitution. It grants religious and linguistic minorities the freedom to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Role of NCSC in enforcing the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions
  • Constitutionally, reservation for SC, ST provided under article 15(4) cannot be forced in case of minority educational institution.
  • Supreme Court held in the Case (A. Inamdar vs. State of Maharashtra) that the policy of reservation to admit students is not applicable to a minority institution. So, NCSC cannot enforce implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions.
  • AMU issue: in Aligarh Muslim University v. Abdul Aziz, the Supreme Court held that the AMU was not a minority institution for the purposes of Article 30 of the Constitution and was bound by the reservation policy
The Supreme Court has held that the reservation policy under Article 15(5) applies to all educational institutions, including minority institutions, and the NCSC has the power to investigate and monitor the implementation of the reservation policy.

40) Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force? (150 words)

A Financial Emergency can be proclaimed by the President of India under Art 360, when he is satisfied that the financial stability is under threat.
Circumstances to impose Financial emergency
  • The President can declare a Financial Emergency if there is a threat to the financial stability of India as a whole. This can arise due to external factors such as war, aggression, or any other exceptional circumstance that endangers the economic stability of the nation.
  • A Financial Emergency can also be proclaimed if the financial stability or credit of any part of India, such as a state or a union territory, is under threat. This situation may arise due to factors specific to that particular region, such as severe economic turmoil, insurmountable debt, or other financial crises.
Consequences of Financial emergency
  • The Union government can issue directions to the states with respect to financial matters.
  • The President can also direct the states to observe certain canons of financial propriety.
  • The Parliament can reduce the salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in connection with the affairs of the Union or a state.
  • The President can also give directions to the Reserve Bank of India regarding the conduct of monetary policy.
Thus, during the operation of a financial emergency, the Centre acquires full control over the states in financial matters. Till now, financial emergency had not been imposed in country.

41) Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee. (150 words)

To address various challenges faced by the parliament, departmentally related parliamentary standing committees were set up in 1993 in India. Currently, there are 24 such committees, organized on the lines of departments and ministries.
Usefulness of committees for parliamentary work
  • Expertise and specialization: This allows for in-depth examination and analysis of complex issues, leading to more informed decision-making.
  • Detailed examination and scrutiny : Committees have the time and resources to review legislative proposals, government programs, and policies thoroughly.
  • Deliberation and consensus-building : Committees provide a forum for deliberation to build the consensus to arrive more informed and balanced decisions.
  • Public participation and transparency: Committees often invite experts, stakeholders, and the public to contribute their views and suggestions.
  • Oversight and accountability: Committees scrutinize the implementation of government policies, programs, and expenditures, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Role of the Estimates Committee
  • Budget scrutiny: It scrutinizes the estimates of expenditure, allocations, and utilization of funds by various ministries and departments. This ensures that public funds are allocated efficiently and effectively, and helps prevent wasteful expenditure.
  • Examination of government policies : The committee goes beyond mere budgetary analysis and examines the broader policies and programs of the government. This helps ensure that government policies align with the needs and aspirations of the people and are implemented effectively.
  • Continuous monitoring and follow-up: The committee's work is not limited to a single session or budget cycle. It engages in continuous monitoring and follow-up on the implementation of its recommendations. This ensures that the government's response to the committee's suggestions is reviewed and progress is assessed.
Parliamentary committee plays a very important role in functioning if Parliament but it is facing few challenges which needs to be tackled to ensure smooth functioning of committee system in India. Strengthening the committee system can go a long way in improving the quality of laws drafted and minimise potential implementation challenges.

42) ‚ÄúThe Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.‚ÄĚ Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. (150 words)

The Constitution of India (Article 148) provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). CAG is the guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both the levels‚ÄĒthe Centre and the state.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a vital role to play in ensuring transparency and accountability in government spending. This is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment, as well as the range of powers he can exercise.
Method of appointment
  • The CAG is appointed by the President of India, on the advice of the Prime Minister, and after consultation with the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
Term of appointment
  • He serves for a term of six years or until the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
Range of Power
  • He is only responsible to Parliament
  • Report submitted by CAG is tabled before parliament by president.
  • He audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, consolidated fund of each state and consolidated fund of each union territory having a Legislative Assembly
  • He audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the contingency fund of each state and the public account of each state.
  • It can call for and examine records, issue orders, and access information from government departments and agencies.
  • It can also conduct performance audits, to evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs and policies.
The CAG's reports are presented to Parliament, where they are discussed and debated. This helps to ensure that the government is held accountable for its spending.

43) Whether the Supreme Court Judgment (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine. (250 words)

The Supreme Court Judgment of July 2018, which upheld the primacy of the elected government of Delhi and limited the powers of the Lieutenant Governor, was a significant development in the ongoing political tussle between the two. However, it may not completely settle the issue.
Recent judgment (July 2018)
  • Delhi LG cannot act independently and must take the aid and advice of the CoM because national capital enjoys special status and is not a full state. Hence, the role of the L-G is different than that of a Governor.
  • The only exception to this rule was a provision in Art 239AA , which allowed the LG to refer to the President any issue on which there was a difference of opinion with the CoM. In such a case, the LG would be bound by the President‚Äôs decision.
Judgment (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi
  • SC made it clear that, L-G must keep in mind the standards of constitutional trust and morality
  • LG should keep in mind Nurtured and cultivated idea of respect for a representative government while taking into account his discretionary powers.
  • passage of bill for doorstep delivery of 40 public services for the people living in Delhi is evidence that things are moving in right direction.
Limitations of the judgment
  • The judgment only addressed the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and did not address the larger issue of statehood for Delhi.
  • The absence of full statehood for Delhi means that key areas such as law and order and land continue to be under the control of the central government, limiting the power of the elected government.
  • The judgment did not address the conflict resolution between the two.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court judgment is a step in the right direction towards resolving the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and the elected government of Delhi, it is not a complete solution. The larger issue of statehood for Delhi and the need for conflict resolution mechanisms remain unresolved.
44)  How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India. (250 words)
Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies of administrative character that has been powered with judicial powers to adjudicate one question of law or fact that affects rights of citizens. The tribunals have been established to handle specific types of cases and reduce the burden on ordinary courts, the extent to which they curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts can vary depending on the specific tribunal and its powers.
Tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts
  • Tribunals have replaced HC for disputes under the Companies Act, Competition Act, SEBI Act, Electricity Act among others.
  • Any person aggrieved by an order of an appellate tribunal can directly appeal to the SC, side-stepping the HC. This is given in Art 323 A(2d) and Art 323 B (3d).
  • Conferring a direct right of appeal to the SC from tribunals has changed the SC from being a constitutional court to a mere appellate court.
Constitutional Validity of tribunals
  • Article 323A provides for the establishment of administrative tribunals to adjudicate disputes related to recruitment and service matters of public servants.
  • Article 323B empowers the Parliament and state legislatures to set up tribunals for adjudicating specific disputes or matters.
Competency of Tribunals
  • Specialized expertise : Tribunals can bring in domain-specific expertise, leading to faster and more informed decisions in these areas.
  • Composition and independence : The constitutional validity of tribunals in India is subject to certain requirements to ensure their competency and independence. For instance, the appointments of tribunal members must be made by a transparent and impartial process, ensuring that qualified and competent individuals are selected. The tenure and conditions of service of tribunal members are also important factors to maintain their independence.
  • Judicial review: The High Courts and the Supreme Court of India have the authority to review the decisions of tribunals to ensure their conformity with the Constitution and the law. This helps maintain the integrity and legality of tribunal decisions and provides a safeguard against any potential misuse or arbitrariness.
Tribunals should be revamped keeping in mind the 272nd Law Commission report for the restructuring of tribunals and the ruling of SC in Chandra Kumar Case and bringing tribunals under independent agency. Hence, tribunals are meant to supplement ordinary courts and cannot supplant them.

45) Indian and USA are two large democracies. Examine the basic tenets on which the two political systems are based. (250 words)

India and the United States of America are two of the largest democracies in the world. Although both countries are based on the democratic system, there are significant differences in the basic tenets of their political systems.
Basic tenets of political systems of India and USA
Polity of India
  • India is a federal parliamentary democratic republic, where sovereignty is vested in the people and exercised by elected representatives.
  • India follows a parliamentary system of government where the Prime Minister is the head of the government and the President is the ceremonial head of state.
  • The Indian political system is based on the principle of secularism, where the state does not have any official religion and treats all religions equally.
  • The Indian Constitution has a provision for affirmative action in the form of reservation for socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
  • There is no clear-cut separation of powers between executive and legislature. The executive comes from the parliament and is responsible to it
  • In terms of electoral systems, India follows a first-past-the-post system, where the candidate with the highest number of votes wins
Polity of the USA
  • The United States of America is a federal presidential constitutional republic, where power is divided between the federal government and the state governments.
  • The US follows a presidential system of government where the President is both the head of government and the head of state.
  • The US political system is based on the principle of federalism, where power is shared between the federal government and the state governments.
  • The US has a long tradition of individualism and the free market economy.
  • There is a clear cut and absolute separation of power between executive, legislature, and judiciary.
  • US follows an electoral college system in terms of electoral systems
Both countries adopted political system according to the factors such as economic conditions, historical administration etc.

46) How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you know about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss. (250 words)

The Finance Commission is a constitutional body established under Article 280 of the Indian Constitution, with the main responsibility of determining the distribution of taxes and grants between the Union and the States, and among the States themselves.
Constitution of Finance Commission
  • The Finance Commission is constituted by the President under article 280 of the Constitution, mainly to give its recommendations on distribution of tax revenues between the Union and the States and amongst the States themselves.
  • It is constituted by the president of India every fifth year or at such earlier time as he considers necessary
15th Finance Commission
The Commission consists of a Chairman and four other members appointed by the President of India for a term of five years. The current Finance Commission, the 15th in the series, was constituted in November 2017 with N.K. Singh as its Chairman and is set to submit its report for the period 2021-26.
Terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission
  • To recommend the distribution of the net proceeds of taxes between the Union and the States, and the allocation of the same among the States for the period 2021-2026.
  • To review the impact of the implementation of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission on the finances of the Union and the States.
  • To review the fiscal position of the Union and the States, including the analysis of the deficits, debt levels, cash balances, and financial discipline and suggest appropriate measures.
  • To examine the impact of the goods and services tax (GST) on the finances of the Union and the States.
  • To suggest measures to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the panchayats and the municipalities in the State.
  • To examine the impact of the recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission on the system of cooperative federalism.
  • To suggest measures for improving the quality of expenditure of the Union and the States.
The terms of reference reflect the changing realities of India's economy and financial situation. The Commission has to take into account various factors such as demographic changes, tax devolution, regional imbalances, and the need for balanced and sustainable development while making its recommendations.

47) Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects? (250 words)

The 73rd amendment to the Indian constitution (1992) has made has given constitutional status to Local Self Government and thus made Panchayats the third tier of the Indian political system. Panchayat raj system is an institution of administration which seeks to involve the people at the grass-root level in planning and administration.
Importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government
  • PRIs are the level of government nearest to the people. It is a system of governance nearest to direct democracy.
  • Grassroots level system increases participation of people in democracy. Instruments like Social audit and social impact assessment are easier to implement at the platform of Gram Sabha.
  • Responsive grassroots level systems increase social capital which is a basic necessity in a democracy.
  • Grassroots level systems increase awareness among people about various government policies and programmes. This helps in reducing corruption and exclusion errors and thus improve effectiveness of government policies.
Alternative sources of Panchayats to look out for financing developmental projects
  • The State Finance Commission allocates funds to the Panchayats for developmental activities.
  • Panchayats can generate their own revenue from local taxes, fees, fines, and charges.
  • NGOs can provide funding and technical assistance to the Panchayats for various developmental activities.
  • International organizations such as the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and Asian Development Bank (ADB) can provide funding and technical assistance to the Panchayats for various developmental activities.
  • The Panchayats can also approach private sector companies for their CSR funds for the developmental activities.
Strong and efficient PRIs would strengthen fiscal federalism and grass rout democracy in India which contributes to success of Gandhian model of gram swaraj.

2017

48) “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be effective instrument of governance.” Critically examine the statement and give your view to improve the situation. (150 words)

The concept of local self-government is enshrined in the Constitution of India and is an integral part of the country's democratic framework. The 73rd and 74th Amendments of 1992 introduced these provisions for the establishment of Panchayati Raj system for rural areas and Municipalities for urban areas.
Issues with local self-government system in India
  • Lack of Adequate Powers: Often suffer from inadequate devolution of powers, which restricts their ability to make independent decisions.
  • Insufficient Financial Resources : Local government expenditure as a percentage of GDP is only 2%. This is extremely low compared to other major economies like China (11%) and Brazil (7%).
  • Capacity and Training: Local representatives and officials may lack the necessary skills, knowledge, and training to effectively govern and administer local bodies, result in inefficiencies.
  • Local self-government institutions may face political interference, and this undermines their ability to function independently.
Suggestions to improve the local self-government
  • Adequate training to be given.
  • Devolving the authority to tax on more subjects
  • Constitution of State Finance Commission to improve the financial status of local bodies.
  • Ensuring the proper functioning of District Planning Committee.
  • Appointment of adequate staffs and proper training for the proper functioning
In conclusion, the local self-government system has the potential to be an effective instrument of governance with the right reforms.

49) Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgment on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words)

The Supreme Court's judgment on the NJAC Act, 2014 had significant implications for the appointment of judges of the higher judiciary in India. The judgment declared the Act and the accompanying Constitutional Amendment as unconstitutional and void, thereby upholding the primacy of the existing collegium system for judicial appointments.
Judicial appointments
In India Supreme Court and High Court judges have been appointed by the collegium system. According to this system President of India appoint the judges who are referred by CJI after consulting the collegium, which is a group of senior judges headed by the CJI.
This was further validated by Second Judge Case 1993 and Third Judge case in 1988.
Positives of Supreme Court's judgment on NJAC Act
  • The Supreme Court's decision was seen as a reaffirmation of the principle of judicial independence.
  • The court emphasized that any interference in the appointment process by the executive or legislature could compromise the independence of the judiciary.
Negatives of judgment
Collegium System Criticisms
  • The collegium system, has been criticized for its lack of transparency, accountability, and inadequate representation of diverse perspectives.
  • The judgment did not adequately address these concerns and offered limited solutions for enhancing transparency and accountability in the appointment process.
Positives of NJAC
  • It introduces the democratic accountability in judicial appointments by involving the executive and legislature.
  • Rejection of the NJAC Act leaving the system susceptible to self-perpetuation and elitism.
  • The judgment did not strike an optimal balance between judicial independence and the need for an inclusive and accountable appointment process.
In conclusion, the government and the judiciary need to work together to ensure that the appointments process is fair, transparent, and merit-based.

50) “Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people.” Discuss. (150 words)

Simultaneous elections refer to the concept of holding elections for all levels of government simultaneously, with all elected representatives serving a fixed term of office.
Advantages of simultaneous elections
  • Holding simultaneous elections could reduce these costs and allow the government to allocate resources more efficiently.
  • Frequent elections can disrupt the functioning of governments, as they often shift their focus from policy implementation to electioneering.
  • Simultaneous elections could provide longer periods of stability and uninterrupted governance.
  • The government machinery involved in conducting elections, such as security forces and administrative personnel, could be deployed more effectively, reducing logistical challenges.
Challenges and concerns of simultaneous elections
  • When national and state elections are held separately, voters have the opportunity to express their approval or disapproval of the ruling party at different times.
  • Simultaneous elections could overshadow regional and local issues, as the focus may shift predominantly towards national-level concerns.
Any decision regarding simultaneous elections should be made after careful consideration of these factors and should aim to strike a balance between the advantages and concerns associated with this approach.

51) How do pressure groups influence Indian political process? Do you agree with this view that informal pressure groups have emerged as more powerful than formal pressure groups in recent years? (150 words)

Pressure groups are organizations or associations formed by individuals who share common interests and seek to influence public policies.
Formal pressure groups are typically registered entities that follow legal and regulatory frameworks. Example, trade unions, industry associations, and NGOs. Informal pressure groups, on the other hand, are loosely organized.
Influencing of pressure groups in Indian political process
  • Lobbying and advocacy: Often provide information, expertise on specific policy issues, aiming to shape legislation in their favour.
  • Public awareness and mobilization: Creates public pressure by raising public awareness through media campaigns, public demonstrations, and social media campaigns.
  • Policy research and analysis : Conduct extensive research, collect data, and provide policy recommendations to the government.
  • Legal and judicial advocacy: Pressure groups may file public interest litigations (PILs) and engage in legal battles to address social and environmental concerns.
Reason for informal pressure groups emerging as more powerful than formal pressure groups
  • Social media has played a significant role to organize large-scale protests and gain support quickly.
    E.g.:
    the #MeToo movement.
  • Flexible structure allows them to adapt their strategies, tactics, and messaging based on changing circumstances.
  • Often have strong grassroots networks and can mobilize large numbers of individuals who share their concerns.
  • Employ direct action tactics, such as protests, demonstrations, and civil disobedience, to capture public attention
However, formal pressure groups are still that these groups often have close ties with political parties and are able to influence policy decisions through their political connections.

52) Discuss the role of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. (150 words)

The Public Accounts Committee is a standing committee comprising members from both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The committee is entrusted with examining the accounts of the government and other departments and ensuring their proper functioning.
Roles of Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people
  • The PAC examines the audited reports and financial statements prepared by the government's auditor general.
  • It reviews the use of public funds, evaluates government programs and policies, and identifies instances of financial irregularities, wasteful expenditure, or mismanagement.
  • The PAC holds the government accountable for its financial decisions and actions.
  • It investigates cases of financial impropriety, corruption, or inefficiency and seeks explanations from government officials responsible for financial management.
  • It prepares reports and recommendations to highlight the areas of concern, suggest corrective measures, and propose improvements in financial management practices.
  • Its proceedings are often public, allowing citizens to observe and understand the government's financial decisions and their implications.
  • It often conducts follow-up inquiries to monitor the implementation of its recommendations and assess the government's progress in addressing identified issues.
The PAC's work provides an excellent opportunity for parliamentary oversight and public scrutiny of government policies and programs.
But party politics often affect the objectivity and ability to conduct unbiased investigations. Apart from that inadequate expertise of the parliamentarians, delayed reports, and non-compliance nature of its recommendation affects the efficacy of the public accounts committee.

53) Explain the salient features of the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Do you think it is efficacious enough “to remove cascading effect of taxes and provide for common national market for goods and services”? (250 words)

The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 introduced a comprehensive indirect tax regime in India called GST as one nation one tax.
Salient features Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016
  • The GST subsumed several indirect taxes like central excise duty, service tax, VAT.
  • GST is a destination-based tax, meaning that the tax is levied at the place where goods or services are consumed.
  • The GST Council was established to oversee the implementation of GST.
  • Both the Centre and the states have the power to levy GST.
  • The Act provides for the input tax credit, allowing businesses to claim credit for taxes paid on inputs used in the production of goods or services.
Efficacy of 101st Amendment in removing cascading effect of taxes
The GST Act has been effective in removing the cascading effect of taxes and providing for a common national market for goods and services.
  • By consolidating multiple indirect taxes into a unified GST
  • By reducing the tax burden on businesses and has led to increased compliance
  • By reducing the overall tax rates on several products, making them more affordable for consumers
  • Ensured seamless cash flow by using input tax credit
  • Created a common national market by harmonizing tax rates and procedures across states
Challenges of GST
  • SCGST and CGST input credit cannot cross utilized.
  • Manufacturing states losses
  • Reduction in fiscal autonomy of states
Overall, the GST Act is a significant step towards achieving a unified and efficient tax system in India, and with continuous improvements, it can further boost the country's economic growth.

54) Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgment of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy.( 250 words)

Fundamental rights are a set of constitutional provisions that guarantee certain basic rights and freedoms to all citizens. These rights are enshrined in Part III of the Indian Constitution and are considered essential for the development and well-being of individuals.
The Supreme Court's ruling in the case of Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India in 2017 declared that the Right to Privacy is a fundamental right protected under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty.
Scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgment of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy
  • Privacy as an intrinsic part of personal liberty : The judgment expanded the scope of Article 21 and provided a broader understanding of the right to life and personal liberty.
  • Protection from state intrusion : The Supreme Court's ruling emphasized that individuals have a constitutionally protected zone of privacy that is immune from unwarranted state intrusion.
  • Balancing privacy with other rights and legitimate state interests : The court emphasized the need to strike a balance between individual privacy and legitimate state interests such as national security, public order, and welfare.
  • Expanding the scope of other Fundamental Rights : The recognition of the Right to Privacy as a fundamental right has ripple effects on other Fundamental Rights as well.
  • It has the potential to influence the interpretation of rights such as freedom of speech and expression, freedom of association, and protection against self-incrimination.
Overall, the ruling has set a precedent for future cases and has opened up avenues for further exploration and expansion of the scope of Fundamental Rights in the evolving digital and technological era.

55) The Indian Constitution has provisions for holding joint session of the two Houses of the Parliament. Enumerate the occasions when this would normally happen and also the occasions when it cannot, with reason thereof. (250 words)

A joint session is held when there is a deadlock between the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on a particular legislative matter.
Article 108 of the Indian Constitution provides for a joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
Occasions when Joint sitting would normally happen
Accordingly, a joint session can be summoned when: If after a bill is passed by one House and transmitted to the other House ‚Äď
  • The other House rejects this bill, or
  • The Houses do not agree on the amendments made to the bill, or
  • More than six months elapse with the bill being received by the other House without it being passed.
Then, the President can summon a joint sitting unless the bill had elapsed because of the Lok Sabha’s dissolution. The Speaker presides over a joint sitting. In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over it.
Occasions when Joint Sitting cannot happen and reasons
  • Constitution Amendment Bill : According to Article 368, the Constitution can be amended only by a 2/3rd majority in both Houses. There is no provision for a joint sitting in case of a disagreement between both Houses. The intention behind excluding joint sittings for constitutional amendment bills is to maintain the integrity of the amendment process.
  • Money Bill (Article 110): As per the Constitution, money bills require the Lok Sabha‚Äôs approval only. Even of the Rajya Sabha does not pass the money bill within 14 days, the bill is considered passed by both Houses after 14 days is over. The Rajya Sabha can make recommendations to the Bill which the Lok Sabha is not required to accept. Money bills are of vital importance to the government as they involve financial matters, granting more authority to the Lok Sabha in dealing with such bills.
Joint sitting is extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution aimed to maintain a much-needed synergy between the two houses of the Parliament.

2016

56) Discuss the essentials of the 69th Constitutional Amendment Act and anomalies, if any, that have led to recent reported conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi. Do you think that this will give rise to a new trend in the functioning of the Indian federal politics? ( 200 words)

The 69th Constitutional Amendment Act was enacted in 1991 to provide for the formation of a Legislative Assembly and Council of Ministers in the National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCT). The act granted the NCT of Delhi a special status, distinct from other Union Territories, and allowed for the establishment of an elected government with legislative powers.
Provisions of 69th Constitutional Amendment Act
  • It provides for a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister, who is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly, and the Lieutenant Governor is bound by the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, except in matters of police, public order, and land.
Issues currently in Delhi
  • Conflicts between the elected representatives and the institution of the Lieutenant Governor in the administration of Delhi.
  • The Lieutenant Governor, who is appointed by the central government, has been accused of interfering in the functioning of the elected government and blocking its decisions.
Anomalies in 69th Constitutional amendment act
  • Half state: Delhi with elected government and power to legislate in state and concurrent list without land, police and public order, leading to issues between centre and Delhi
  • Appointment of bureaucrats: Unlike states where elected government appoints bureaucrats, here Lt. Governor appoints them over elected government leading to tussle.
  • 69th Amendment Act did not clarify the distribution of powers between the elected government and the Lieutenant Governor.
  • Lieutenant Governor has been claiming powers beyond those granted to him by the constitution, leading to conflicts with the elected government.
Rise of New Trends
  • Unitary: Centre may expand its powers w.r.t states as unitary nation effect federal character.
  • Conflicting federalism: tussle between Delhi and center
  • Protest for statehood
It is important to note that the impact of this amendment is specific to Delhi and may not necessarily indicate a broader trend in the functioning of Indian federal politics as a whole. However, the issue highlights the need for clarity in the distribution of powers between the central government and the state governments, as well as the need to respect the democratic mandate of elected governments.

57) To what extent is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, bearing marginal note ‚Äútemporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir‚ÄĚ, temporary? Discuss the future prospects of this provision in the context of Indian polity.( 200 words)

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution grants a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), allowing it to have a separate constitution, flag, and administrative autonomy.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, a ‚Äútemporary provision‚ÄĚ
  • It was intended to be a temporary provision, as stated in its marginal note, and was supposed to be removed once the situation in J&K stabilized.
Permanent nature of Art 370
  • Constituent assembly is needed for abrogation
  • Concurrence with state assembly is needed.
  • SC in previous judgment did not abrogated the position
Future prospects of Article 370 provision in the context of Indian polity
  • Insurgency and terrorism: t make permanent Art 370
  • Combative federalism: inconsistent center state relation
  • Increase demand for statehood for others such as greater Nagalim
Any change that going to take need greater dialogue and engagement with the people of J&K, and future prospects needed to be checked properly.

58) The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.‚ÄĚ Discuss.( 200 words)

The Indian party system is characterized by a multi-party system, with several political parties actively participating in the country's electoral and political processes. As of now our party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.
Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes
  • Co-existence of dominant parties at the national level and weak parties at the state level: The BJP and INC dominate the national political landscape while regional parties dominate the state level politics. This has resulted in a fragmented party system and has made coalition politics the norm.
  • Rise of new political parties and the decline of old ones : The rise the Aam Aadmi Party and the decline of CPI(M) have led to a change in the political discourse. This has also resulted in the emergence of new caste and religious-based parties.
  • Gap between electoral competition and political representation: This has led to a disconnect between the political elites and the masses.
  • Centred around personalities: Pragmatic considerations has led to a lack of vision and resulted in policy paralysis.
  • Ideological Diversity: The Indian party system is characterized by a wide range of ideological positions, from left-wing to right-wing. This ideological diversity often leads to contradictions and challenges in coalition-building and policy formulation.
  • Dynastic Politics: This contradicts the democratic principles of meritocracy and equal opportunity.
  • Populism and Identity Politics: Parties often appeal to specific religious, caste, or ethnic identities to mobilize support. While this approach can help garner electoral support, it also reinforces social divisions.
  • Party Funding and Corruption: Political parties rely heavily on donations from businesses and individuals for their functioning. However, this dependence on private funding raises concerns about the influence of vested interests.
As the political landscape evolves, it remains to be seen how these contradictions will shape the future trajectory of the Indian party system.

59) Exercise of CAG’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether audit of the Government’s policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction.( 200 words)

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India derives its powers in relation to the audit of the Union and State governments' accounts from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. This provision empowers the CAG to examine the financial transactions and accounts of the government and ensure transparency and accountability.
CAG Audits doesn't Amount to Overstepping of Jurisdiction
  • Constitutional body: Being a constitutional body it has given huge powers that also include performance and proprietary audits hence it is inside jurisdiction of CAG.
  • Supreme Court Judgment: In one of its Judgment SC followed that CAG could carry out examination in economy and efficacy of policies of governments.
  • Objectives: As per constitutional assembly debates the objective of establishing CAG is to keep executives‚Äô actions in check and to be accountable to parliament.
  • Busted Scams: CAG helped to bust many scams like 2G, coal gate scam hence it is enhancing better governance rather than overstepping its power.
CAG Audits Amount to Overstepping of Jurisdiction.
  • CAG activism: Increased CAG audits resulting in reverse delegation and seeing the CAG as fault finding machine.
  • Auditing role: CAG being just an auditor, cannot see the functioning and policy making of governments.
  • Miscalculations of losses: Improper calculations methods which arouse suspicion in the public about functioning of CAG and also the government.
So, it is important to strike a balance between the need for financial accountability and the limitations of the CAG's mandate to avoid any undue interference in the policy domain.

60) Discuss each adjective attached to the word ‚ÄėRepublic‚Äô in the ‚ÄėPreamble‚Äô. Are they defendable in the present circumstances? ( 200 words)

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution begins with the words, "We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic". Each of the adjectives attached to the word "Republic" holds significant importance in the present circumstances.
Adjective attached to the word ‚ÄėRepublic‚Äô in the ‚ÄėPreamble ‚Äėand its defendability Sovereign
  • Implies that India is free from external control.
  • India's sovereignty has been upheld through various political, economic, and strategic moves that it has taken, such as the Non-Alignment Movement, the liberalization of the economy, and its stance on nuclear disarmament.
Socialist
  • Implies that the state takes responsibility for the welfare of the people, and it is responsible for ensuring the equitable distribution of resources.
  • The extent of socialism in India is debated, with critics highlighting wealth inequality and slow progress in social welfare schemes.
Secular
  • State is neutral and does not promote any particular religion. India's secularism has been upheld through the Constitution.
  • However, there have been instances where religious violence has threatened India's secular fabric.
Democratic
  • Implies that people have the power to elect their representatives and participate in governance. India's democracy has been robust, with regular elections, a free press, and an independent judiciary.
  • However, there have been concerns about the quality of democracy in India, with reports of electoral malpractices, corruption, and threats to freedom of speech.
Factors making adjectives defendable
  • Basic structure doctrine
  • Socialistic nature of nation
  • Equality as Fundamental right
In conclusion, while each adjective attached to the word "Republic" in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution is defendable, there are concerns about the extent to which they have been upheld in the present circumstances.

61) What was held in the Coelho case? In this context, can you say that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution? ( 200 words)

The Coelho case, also known as the I.R. Coelho v. State of Tamil Nadu case, was a landmark case decided by the Supreme Court of India in 2007. The case involved a challenge to the constitutionality of the 97th Constitutional Amendment, which sought to introduce provisions for reservations in private unaided educational institutions. The Court, in this case, made a significant ruling on the scope and importance of judicial review in the Indian Constitution.
Importance of judicial review
  • Judicial review ensures the balance of power between the three branches of government.
  • Constitutional supremacy: Judicial review is a basic feature of the Indian Constitution
  • Parliaments power to amend the Constitution is not unlimited, and it cannot violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • Hence, Judicial review cannot be taken away through a Constitutional Amendment
  • It also held that the basic structure doctrine is not limited to the specific provisions of the Constitution, but also includes the underlying principles and values that are fundamental to the Constitution.
In this context, it can be said that judicial review is of key importance amongst the basic features of the Constitution. Judicial review ensures that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and no law can be enacted that violates its provisions. It provides a check on the exercise of power by the government and ensures that the rights and freedoms of citizens are protected.

62) Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss. ( 200 words)

The Government of India Act, 1935 was an important constitutional document that governed India until the adoption of the Constitution of India in 1950. The Act was a significant departure from previous constitutional documents, and it introduced several important changes in the governance of India.
Government of India Act, 1935 laid down a federal constitution
  • Division of Legislative Powers : The Act divided legislative powers between the central legislature and the provincial legislatures. It assigned specific subjects to each level of government, with the central legislature having control over subjects such as defense, external affairs, and currency, while the provincial legislatures had authority over subjects like education, health, and agriculture.
  • Federal Structure: The Act provided for the establishment of a federal structure with the creation of a Federal Court.
  • Provincial Autonomy: The Act introduced a degree of provincial autonomy by establishing elected legislative assemblies in the provinces. The provincial governments had control over certain subjects, and they were responsible for the administration of their respective provinces.
  • Provincial Autonomy Scheme: The Act allowed for the establishment of provincial autonomy schemes, which granted additional powers and responsibilities to certain provinces. The provinces that opted for the scheme were given increased autonomy in areas like finance and administration.
However, there are some area where the GOI 1935 didn’t led to federal character. They are central government retained substantial control over important subjects, such as finance and law and order. The Governor-General and the British authorities still had overriding powers and could supersede provincial decisions.

63) What is quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples. (200 words)

A quasi-judicial body is a type of administrative body that performs functions similar to that of a court, such as hearing disputes, making decisions, and imposing sanctions or penalties. These bodies are created by the government to carry out specific tasks that are related to the administration of laws or regulations.
  • E.g.: National Green Tribunal (NGT), the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
Quasi-judicial bodies in India
National Green Tribunal
  • It was established to handle cases related to environmental protection and conservation.
  • The tribunal has the power to hear and adjudicate environmental disputes, issue directions to individuals or organizations, and impose penalties for non-compliance with environmental laws.
SEBI
  • It regulates the securities market in India.
  • The board has the power to investigate and impose penalties for violations of securities laws, such as insider trading or fraudulent practices.
TRAI
  • It regulates the telecom sector in India.
  • The authority has the power to adjudicate disputes between telecom operators, consumers, and other stakeholders in the sector, as well as to set rules and regulations governing the industry.
Quasi-judicial bodies are important institutions in the Indian administrative system, as they provide a mechanism for resolving disputes and enforcing laws and regulations.

2015

64) Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizen a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy. ( 200 words).

The UCC aims to provide a common set of laws for all citizens, irrespective of their religion or community, on matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, and adoption.
Under Directive Policy of State Policy, Article 44 states that the State shall endeavour to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India
Factors that inhibit India from enacting UCC
  • Political Opposition: The UCC has faced opposition from various political and religious groups who believe that it would infringe on their personal laws and religious beliefs.
  • Religious Conservatism: India is a country with diverse religious beliefs, and the conservative nature of some religious communities has made it difficult to implement a UCC.
  • Lack of Consensus: There is a lack of consensus among the various stakeholders on the form and content of the UCC. The stakeholders include the government, judiciary, civil society, and religious groups.
  • Constitutionality: The Indian Constitution provides for the right to practice and propagate one's religion, and the implementation of a UCC could be seen as violating this fundamental right.
  • Implementation Challenges: The implementation of a UCC would require significant effort and resources. There is a lack of capacity among the judiciary and administrative bodies to handle cases related to a UCC.
  • Political Will: There has been a lack of political will to implement a UCC, as it is a contentious issue that could impact electoral outcomes.
In conclusion, the implementation of a UCC in India is a complex and contentious issue that involves various stakeholders and requires significant effort and resources.

65) The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings.( 200 words)

Cooperative federalism is a concept that emphasizes collaboration and coordination between different levels of government in a federal system. Cooperative federalism: An answer to the existing drawbacks in federal setup
Issues Traditional federal structure Cooperative federalism
Lack of coordination lead to duplication of efforts, inefficiencies, and conflicts between the federal and state governments. It encourages joint decision-making, information sharing, and pooling of resources, leading to more efficient and effective governance.
Power imbalances The federal government may have too much control, limiting the decision-making powers of the states. Seeks to strike a balance by promoting a more equal distribution of power and responsibilities.
Inflexibility and uniformity Policies and regulations set at the federal level are uniformly applied to all states Allows for greater flexibility by providing opportunities for states to customize policies.
Fragmented implementation Without strong cooperation and coordination, federal programs across states may be implemented inconsistently, resulting in inequities and inefficiencies in service delivery.  It encourages joint planning, sharing of best practices, and mutual support, resulting in more consistent and coherent implementation across the country.
Lack of citizen engagement People may feel disconnected from decision-making processes, as power and authority are concentrated at higher levels of government. It encourages public input, engagement, and local decision-making, allowing citizens to have a greater say in shaping policies and programs that affect them directly.
Overall, cooperative federalism seems to be a better alternative. However, its success would depend on the willingness of both the central government and the states to work together.

66) In the absence of well ‚Äď educated and organized local level government system, Panchayats and Samitis have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instrument of governance. Critically Discuss.( 200 words)

The 73rd and 74th Amendments of 1992 introduced these provisions for the establishment of Panchayati Raj system for rural areas and Municipalities for urban areas.
Absence of a well-educated and organized local-level government system has often hindered the effectiveness of Panchayats and Samitis
  • Most of the members are not adequately educated or trained to handle the responsibilities and functions assigned to them, which has resulted in a lack of effective governance.
  • The politicization of local self-government tends to be more pronounced in areas with a lack of educated individuals. This leads to patronage politics, favouritism, and inefficient decision-making.
  • These institutions often lack the necessary capacity and resources to effectively govern their jurisdictions. This includes limited funding, technical expertise, and administrative support.
  • The absence of education and training results in inadequate representation and inclusivity. Women, marginalized communities, and other disadvantaged groups may encounter obstacles or be underrepresented in decision-making processes.
  • It also affects the accountability mechanisms, hence it led to corruption, misuse of funds, and lack of proper monitoring and evaluation of development projects.
Way forward
  • Financial autonomy: By increasing tax devolution and providing more taxation related powers.
  • Educational empowerment: programs like Shakti needs to be replicated to educate Panchayati Raj bodies about governance.
  • Political independence: In terms of policy implementation and formulation should be provided.
Hence for the effective functioning of local self-government it is necessary to encourage the educated youths to take part in local self-government.

67) Khap panchayats have been in the news for functioning as extra ‚Äď constitutional authorities, often delivering pronouncements amounting to human right violations. Discuss critically the actions taken by the legislative, executive and judiciary to set the things right in this regard.( 200 words)

Khap Panchayats are informal institutions that operate in rural areas and function as a caste-based community organization. They have been in the news for delivering pronouncements that often amount to human rights violations. The actions taken by the legislative, executive, and judiciary to set things right in this regard are discussed below.
Examples of Panchayats Functioning as Extra-Constitutional Bodies
  • Honour killing: In Haryana a couple was given death sentence by Khap Panchayat because they committed out of caste marriage.
  • Caste base atrocity
To Prevent such Atrocities Various Measures are Taken by the Government
Legislative Actions
  • Punjab Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and Tradition Act in 2011
Executive Actions
  • Raising awareness about the illegality of their pronouncements
  • Encourage community dialogue to challenge regressive practices
  • Law enforcement agencies have also been directed to take strict action
  • Committees to examine the issues related to Khap Panchayats
Judicial Interventions
  • Laxmi Kachwahas vs., The State of Rajasthan (1999): In this case the Rajasthan High court held that the power of khap panchayats to give judgements are ultra vires.
  • State of UP vs. Krishna Master & Ors (2010): Allahabad High court awarded life sentence to the three accused of the honour Killing.
However, despite these actions, the effectiveness of legislative measures and executive actions often faces challenges in implementation at the grassroots level. There may be resistance from influential members of the community.
Overcoming these deep-rooted practices and beliefs requires sustained efforts, social awareness, and community engagement.

68) Resorting to ordinances has always raised concern on violation of the spirit of separation of power doctrine. While noting the rationales justifying the power to promulgate, analyse whether the decision of the Supreme Court on the issue have further facilitated to resorting to this power. Should the power to promulgate the ordinances be repealed?( 200 words)

The power to promulgate ordinances is a legislative power vested in the executive, which allows the executive to make laws when Parliament and the state assemblies are not in session.
Under article 123 and 213, the Indian constitution empower the executives to promulgate ordinates at the central and state level respectively.
Rationale of Ordinance power
  • Urgency: Ordinances address urgent situations when the legislature is not in session, enabling swift responses without the lengthy legislative process.
  • Executive discretion: The power to issue ordinances allows the executive branch to exercise expertise and discretion for effective governance.
  • Policy experimentation: Ordinances test policies before formal legislation, enabling assessment and adjustments before parliamentary approval.
Challenges
  • Misuse of ordinance making power to circumvent the legislature
  • Violation of the spirit of the separation of powers doctrine
Judicial Pronouncement
  • RC Cooper Case 1970: Supreme Court held that President's decision to promulgate ordinance could be challenged on the ground that ‚Äėimmediate action‚Äô was not required and the ordinance has been issued primarily to bypass the legislative debate.
  • DC Wadhwa Case 1987: The Supreme Court held that the legislative power of the executive is to be used in exceptional circumstances and not as a substitute of the law- making power of the legislature.
Should Ordinance making power be repealed
No, it should not be repealed:
  • Requirement: To meet with unforeseen and urgent matters ordinance making power is required.
  • Safeguarding role: It also helps in safeguarding unity of India in times of war and internal conflict.
Yes, it should be repealed:
  • Effect Separation of Powers: It evades the constitutional spirit of Separation of Power
  • Impact democracy: It overrides the legislative scrutiny and debates therefore making democracy redundant.
Solution
  • The power to promulgate ordinances is necessary to address urgent matters.
  • To ensure that this power is not misused, the Supreme Court must continue to exercise judicial review over the power to promulgate ordinances to prevent its misuse.
  • Not to allow promulgation without any attempt to introduce in legislature.
It is needed to ensure that the ordinance making power is never be misused .

69) Does the right to clean environment entail legal regulation on burning crackers during Diwali? Discus in the light of Article 21 of Indian Constitution and judgements of the apex in this regard.( 200 words)

The right to a clean environment is an essential part of the right to life guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Burning crackers during Diwali has been shown to have adverse effects on the environment and public health.
Supreme Court judgements
  • In 1998, the court imposed a ban on the use of loudspeakers and firecrackers in public places between 10 pm and 6 am.
  • In 2017, Ban on the sale of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region to address the severe air pollution during Diwali.
  • In 2018, the court allowed the use of only "green crackers," and imposed time restrictions on their use. The court also mandated the manufacture and sale of only "green crackers" with low emission levels.
Right to clean environment entail legal regulation on burning crackers during Diwali
  • The right to clean environment is a fundamental right, and the government has a duty to ensure that the environment is protected.
  • Lack of legal regulation led to the increase in litigation in judiciary to regulate the burning of crackers.
  • Apex courts judgements also shows the need for regulation from the government end
  • Gravity of the issue is also severe, which demands legal regulation to curb the increasing pollution during Diwali.
Other solutions:
  • Scientific innovations such as Green crackers needed to be promoted
  • Measures needed to be taken without hurting religious sentiments
In conclusion, the right to a clean environment is an essential right, and legal regulations on burning crackers during Diwali are necessary to ensure that this right is protected. The judiciary has played a vital role in balancing the right to cultural traditions against the right to a clean environment, and their judgments have set a precedent for future cases.

2014

70) Starting from inventing the ‚Äėbasic structure‚Äô doctrine, the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement, evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy. (200 words)
Judicial activism refers to the judiciary's proactive involvement in the governance process beyond its traditional role of interpreting laws. The Indian judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy.
Basic Structure Doctrine: Judicial Innovation
The basic structure doctrine asserts that certain provisions of the Indian Constitution are sacrosanct and cannot be amended.
  • It is a crucial safeguard against any arbitrary action by the executive or the legislature that could potentially compromise the democratic ideals of the Indian Constitution.
  • The doctrine has been instrumental in ensuring that the Indian Constitution remains a living and evolving document.
Role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy
  • Judicial activism has also been instrumental in promoting judicial review.
    E.g.: NJAC case
  • The judiciary has used its powers to strike down laws and executive actions that are unconstitutional or violate fundamental rights.
    E.g.: Golaknath case
  • The judiciary has also been proactive in ensuring that the marginalized sections of society receive justice and their rights are protected.
    E.g.: Vishaka vs. state of Rajasthan case
  • The judiciary's involvement in issues such as the protection of the environment, the right to education, and the right to healthcare has contributed significantly to the development of Indian democracy.
    E.g.: banning crackers in NCR region during Diwali
However, there are also criticisms of judicial activism, such as the possibility of judicial overreach and the judiciary's lack of accountability. The judiciary must be mindful of these criticisms and ensure that its activism is guided by the principles of the Constitution and the rule of law.
71) Though the federal principal is dominant in our constitution and that principle is one of its basic features, but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong Center, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism. Discuss.
Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided and shared between a central authority and regional or state governments. Federal principal is dominant in our constitution and that principle is one of its basic features
  • Written Constitution: It specifies the structure, organisation, powers and functions of both central and state governments and prescribes the limits to operate therein.
  • Independent Judiciary: The Constitution establishes an independent judiciary headed by the Supreme Court
  • Division of Powers: The Constitution divided the powers between the Centre and the states in terms of the Union List, State List and Concurrent List in the 7th Schedule.
Federalism under Indian Constitution - Favours Strong Center
  • Distribution of legislative powers between the Center and the States: The Constitution provides a larger share of powers to the central government.
  • Appointment of Governors: Governors are responsible for administering the State, but they are appointed by the central government, which gives the center indirect control over State affairs.
  • Emergency powers: In the event of a threat to national security or the breakdown of the constitutional machinery of a State, the President can proclaim a state of emergency, which suspends many State powers and gives the central government significant control over the State.
  • Financial Dependence : The distribution of financial resources is such that the central government holds significant control over the allocation and distribution of funds to the states. This financial dependence limits the autonomy of state governments and strengthens the central government's influence.
However, it is important to note that despite these features that lean towards a strong Center, India's federal structure has evolved through judicial interpretations, cooperative federalism, and the functioning of various institutions. Over time, efforts have been made to strike a balance between the powers of the central government and the autonomy of the states.

72) The ‚ÄėPowers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members‚Äô as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‚Äėparliamentary privileges‚Äô. How can this problem be addressed? (200 words)

Article 105 of the Indian Constitution grants powers, privileges, and immunities to the Parliament and its members.
  • Members of Parliament enjoy freedom of speech and debate in Parliament.
  • Members of Parliament are immune from any civil or criminal proceedings for their speeches or votes in Parliament.
  • Parliament has the authority to regulate its own proceedings.
  • Parliament has the power to control the publication and reporting of its proceedings.
But it leaves room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue.
Reason for the absence of legal codification
  • Practical Reasons: Codifying parliamentary privileges is challenging as it requires balancing the protection of MPs' rights and freedoms while preventing abuse, necessitating careful consideration and consensus among parliamentarians, which can be arduous.
  • For Effective Functioning: They are intended to ensure that Members of Parliament can carry out their duties without fear of interference or retaliation from the Executive. This means that some privileges, such as freedom of speech, are essential to the functioning of Parliament and cannot be codified without undermining parliamentary democracy.
  • Flexibility and Dynamism : A strict codification may limit the flexibility required to address new situations or challenges that may arise in the future.
  • Contextual Interpretation: The reliance on judicial interpretation allows for a case-by-case analysis, taking into account the evolving societal context and legal principles.
  • Historical Reasons: Parliamentary privileges evolved in the British Parliament. These privileges were largely based on tradition and precedent rather than codified law.
Way forward
  • Adoption of comprehensive rules and procedures
  • Judicial pronouncements can be used to interpret the privileges
  • Parliamentary committees can be tasked with examining the issue of parliamentary privileges.
  • The government, opposition parties, and the Speaker of the Parliament can engage in discussions and consultations to arrive at a broad consensus
But it is important to strike a balance between the need for clarity and certainty in the application of parliamentary privileges and the inherent flexibility required to adapt to evolving circumstances.

73) What do you understand by the concept ‚Äúfreedom of speech and expression‚ÄĚ? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression? Discuss. (200 words)

Freedom of speech and expression is a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(a). It refers to the right to express one's opinions, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and feelings through any medium, including speech, writing, painting, music, and other forms of artistic expression.
Freedom of speech do not cover hate speech
  • These rights are not absolute in nature; they are subject to reasonable restrictions imposed under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.
  • One of these restrictions is that speech and expression that incites violence, hatred, or disharmony among different communities is not protected under the right to freedom of speech and expression.
This means that hate speech, which aims to spread hate and promote enmity between different groups, is not protected by the Constitution.
Films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expression
  • They have a wider reach and impact on society.
  • Films are a powerful medium for shaping public opinion, so they are subject to greater scrutiny and regulation.
  • Commercial Purpose: The films are made for the commercial and entertaining purpose, hence compromise the various parameter which are indispensable in nature.
Regulations
The Cinematograph Act, 1952, regulates the exhibition of films in India and provides for certification of films by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to ensure that they are suitable for public viewing.
The CBFC has the power to cut, delete or modify scenes or dialogues in films that are considered offensive, vulgar, or against public order, or that promote violence, hatred, or disharmony. This is done to ensure that films do not incite violence or promote disharmony among different communities.

74) Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentences have come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse (200 words)

Article 72 confers the power of the President of India to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit, or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offense.
President’s in commuting death sentences
  • Humanitarian Nature: President adapts a humanitarian view which courts sometimes miss out. Hearing to such requests comes not as a right but as a request. Since the court dwells on procedural justice, the pardoning power of the president gives a platform for justice outside court.
Need specified time limit for President to accept/reject such petitions
  • A specified time limit would provide clarity and a sense of accountability in the process, ensuring that cases are not left pending indefinitely.
  • Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: The cases where convicts have pleaded to the President for mercy, need to be disposed of at the earliest after considering all the due clearances.
No time limit required for President to accept/reject such petitions
  • The pardoning or commuting of a death sentence is a constitutional discretion. Introducing a specified time limit may undermine the President's discretion to carefully examine each case on its merits, considering various factors such as legal aspects, public opinion, and humanitarian considerations.
  • Death penalty cases involve complex legal issues and require thorough examination. Imposing a strict time limit may potentially lead to hasty decisions that could have grave consequences.
  • Flexibility in the decision-making process is necessary to uphold the principles of justice.
Instead of providing a specific time limit, we can make the process accountable by ensuring transparency in the decision-making process, periodic updates on the progress of petitions, and regular communication with the concerned parties.
Additionally, a more comprehensive approach could involve constitutional reforms that could include establishing dedicated bodies or committees to assess petitions, setting guidelines for expeditious review, and ensuring appropriate mechanisms for legal representation and access to justice.

75) The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the efficacy of a government then inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss.( 200 words)

The actual size of the cabinet is determined by the Prime Minister and is based on various factors such as political considerations, coalition dynamics, administrative requirements, and the prerogative of the Prime Minister.
There is no specific constitutional provision dictating the exact size of the cabinet. The 91st Amendment Act of 2003 that limits the number of ministers to 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha.
Relationship between the size of the cabinet and the efficacy of a government
Smaller Cabinet
  • With fewer members, the decision-making process can be streamlined, allowing for quicker consensus-building and implementation of policies. This can enhance the efficacy of a government by minimizing bureaucratic hurdles and promoting swift action.
  • With fewer members, it becomes easier to ensure effective communication, collaboration, and alignment of goals. This can enhance the overall efficiency of government operations and facilitate effective policy implementation.
  • International practice: From Britain, there are 22 cabinet positions which have helped them to move steadfast.
  • Minimum Government Maximum Governance: The contemporary governance structure revolves around this slogan.
Larger Cabinet
  • A larger cabinet can enable the inclusion of a diverse range of expertise and perspectives, which can be advantageous in tackling complex policy challenges.
  • The size of the cabinet should ideally be aligned with the workload and responsibilities of the government.
  • A large cabinet can help ensure that all regions, communities, and interest groups are adequately represented in the government.
Challenges
Larger cabinet
  • Accountability Issue: It would be difficult for the Prime Minister and also for the media
  • To hold ministers accountable if there are too many ministries.
  • Delayed Tracking Mechanism: Feedback of ministries action and inaction would be delayed in having large number of ministers. This would lead to policy lapses and governance failures.
Smaller cabinet
  • Excessive Centralisation of Power: Minimum government can lead to centralization of power in few hands which can be misused.
  • Conflict of Interest: It can further lead to conflict of interests between different ministries and ministers.
  • Excessive Burden: Minimum government can also lead to excessive burden on particular ministries which can further reduce efficiency of the government.
However, it is essential to strike a balance to ensure that the Prime Minister can effectively manage the cabinet as a cohesive team. And also, With more ministers, there are higher expenses on salaries, perks, and other facilities, which can increase the burden on the public exchequer.

76) National Human Rights Commission (NIIRC) in India can be most effective when its tasks are adequately supported by other mechanisms that ensure the accountability of a government. In light of the above observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards.( 200 words)

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India is statutory body established and governed by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
It plays a critical role in promoting and protecting human rights standards. However, its effectiveness depends on the support it receives from other mechanisms that ensure the accountability of the government.
Effectiveness in NHRC functioning if the tasks are Adequately Supported by Other Mechanisms
  • Coordination between SHRCs, NHRCs and judiciary: Better coordination can reduce pendency of cases and would help in speedy justice.
  • Bridging Jail and Bail via Coordination of NHRC and Judiciary: NHRC after thorough investigation can suggest to the judiciary for bail of the under-trials who have served post their sentence.
  • NHRC investigate the complaints of human rights violations and make recommendations to the government for Redressal. And also, its recommendations are not binding, and it often depends on the government to take action on its findings.
  • For investigation, the NHRC depends on law enforcement agencies
NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards
  • The judiciary can use its powers to enforce the recommendations
  • Similarly, other institutions, such as the media, civil society organizations, and the public, can play an important role in raising awareness and putting pressure on the government.
  • NHRC can complement the work of the judiciary and other institutions by conducting independent investigations, providing expert advice, and raising awareness about human rights issues.
  • It can also work with other institutions to develop policies and programs that promote and protect human rights standards.
In conclusion, the NHRC can be an effective complement to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights standards, provided that it receives adequate support and cooperation from the government and other stakeholders.

2013

77) The role of individual MPs (Members of Parliament) has diminished over the years and as a result healthy constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the anti-defection law which was legislated but with a different intention?( 200 words)

Individual Members of Parliament (MPs) play crucial roles in the functioning of parliamentary democracy in India.
  • Respective constituencies and are expected to voice the concerns, issues, and aspirations of their constituents in Parliament.
  • Participate in debates, discussions, and voting on bills and laws.
  • Engage with the public through regular interactions, public meetings, to listen their grievances, suggestions, and feedback from their constituents.
Reasons for diminished role of MPs and lack of healthy constructive debates on policy issues
  • Party Discipline: Political parties prioritize maintaining party discipline and enforcing a top-down approach to decision-making
  • Lack of Parliamentary Time: Limited parliamentary time and frequent disruptions hinder meaningful discussions and debates on policy issues.
  • Centralization of Power: Over the years, power has become increasingly centralized within party leadership, reducing the decision-making authority of individual MPs.
  • The strict enforcement of party whips restricts MPs from voting based on their conscience or engaging in open debates on policy issues.
Anti-defection law and its intentions
The anti-defection law, officially known as the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India, was enacted in 1985 with the intention of addressing the issue of political defections.
  • Political Stability: One of the primary aims of the anti-defection law was to ensure political stability by curbing opportunistic defections. Defections often led to unstable governments, frequent re-elections, and compromised the functioning of democratic institutions.
  • Discourage Political Horse-Trading: The law aimed to discourage the practice of political horse-trading, where elected representatives switch parties for personal gains or to secure ministerial positions or other benefits.
  • Party Discipline: The anti-defection law sought to reinforce party discipline and maintain party unity. It aimed to prevent elected representatives from acting against the collective decision of their political party and ensure party loyalty.
  • Strengthening the Mandate: The law aimed to protect the mandate given by the voters to a political party or a candidate during elections.
Impact of Anti-Defection Law on Debate and Discussion
  • Curtailing Dissent: The anti-defection law has limited the ability of elected representatives to dissent or express differing opinions within their parties. The fear of disqualification and its consequences discourages MPs from openly challenging party positions, leading to a lack of healthy debate and alternative viewpoints.
  • Dilution of Parliamentary Scrutiny: The law has resulted in a decline in parliamentary scrutiny as dissenting voices are suppressed. MPs often toe the party line instead of critically examining policies and legislation, leading to a lack of rigorous debate on important issues.
  • Weakening of Individual Representation: The law has weakened the role of individual MPs as representatives of their constituencies. MPs are more focused on following party instructions rather than voicing the concerns and interests of their constituents. This diminishes the accountability and responsiveness of elected representatives.
  • Lack of Policy Alternatives: The stifling of dissent and the emphasis on party loyalty have limited the development and presentation of alternative policy proposals. Without open and diverse debates, there is a lack of innovative and well-considered policy alternatives.
In order to foster constructive debates, maintaining a balance between party discipline and the autonomy of individual MPs is crucial. Moreover, strengthening parliamentary committees, improving research support for MPs, and fostering a culture of open dialogue and inclusivity in the legislative process are essential measures to be taken.

78) Discuss Section 66A of IT Act, with reference to its alleged violation of Article 19 of the Constitution. ( 200 words)

Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 was a provision that aimed to address issues related to the misuse of electronic communication and online platforms. However, it was widely criticized for its potential to infringe upon the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
Provisions of Section 66A of IT Act
  • Use of computers or communication devices to send offensive or menacing messages.
  • Punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine
Intention
  • To combat cybercrime and protect individuals from online harassment
Section 66A of IT Act and violation of Article 19
  • Overbroad and Vague Language: Section 66A used vague and broad terms such as "grossly offensive," "menacing character," etc., which gave authorities wide discretion to interpret and misuse the provision. This ambiguity led to its misuse and arbitrary application, infringing upon the right to freedom of speech and expression.
  • Chilling Effect on Free Speech: Section 66A had a chilling effect on free speech as individuals were afraid to express their opinions freely due to the fear of being targeted and arrested for posting content that could be considered offensive or objectionable.
  • Lack of Proportionality: Section 66A did not adequately balance the restriction on free speech with the legitimate interests of public order and decency.
  • Suppression of Dissent: It was used as a tool to stifle political dissent and curtail freedom of expression, undermining the democratic fabric of the country.
  • Lack of Safeguards: Section 66A lacked adequate safeguards to prevent its abuse. The provision did not clearly define what constituted an offense, leading to its arbitrary application.
The Supreme Court of India, in the landmark case of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India in 2015, declared Section 66A of the Information Technology Act as unconstitutional. This ruling was a significant milestone in safeguarding the freedom of speech and expression in the digital era.

79) Recent directives from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are perceived by the ‚ÄėNagas‚Äô as a threat to override the exceptional status enjoyed by the State. Discuss in light of Article 371A of the Indian Constitution. (200 words)

The 1960 Agreement was the basis for the creation of Nagaland in December 1963. Article 371A facilitated negotiated sovereignty of the Nagas on matters pertaining to their religious and social practices, customary laws and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice, ownership and transfer of land and resources.
Recent directives from Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
  • To revoke the State government proposed Nagaland Petroleum and Natural Gas Rules, 2012
  • To withdraw the Expressions of Interest (EoIs) that it had invited for the exploration and production of petroleum and natural gas in the state.
  • To consult with the MoPNG before taking any further action on petroleum and natural gas matters.
It is important to consider how these directions align with the exceptional status enjoyed by the state under Article 371A of the Indian Constitution. Special provisions: Article 371A
  • This article provides for certain safeguards and exemptions for the state in matters of governance, land ownership, and religious or social practices.
Directives: threat to override the exceptional status enjoyed by the State to Nagas under  Article 371A
  • The Ministry's directives require the state government to implement a uniform policy on the exploration and extraction of hydrocarbons, which could potentially override the state's own policies on land ownership and use. This has led to concerns among some Nagas that their traditional rights over land and resources could be compromised.
  • Article 371A itself does not grant absolute autonomy to the state. It only provides for certain safeguards and exemptions, subject to the overall constitutional framework of India. The central government has the power to make laws and policies that affect all states, including Nagaland.
Moreover, it is mandatory to stick to the uniform guidelines to ensure the safety of people and the environment at the same time protecting tribes and other vulnerable communities.
80) ‚ÄėThe Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution.‚Äô Discuss critically. (200 words)
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of the land and any amendment to it can only be made through a process laid down in the Constitution itself under Art 368.
Supreme Court of India keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution
  • Judicial Review: The Supreme Court has the power of judicial review, which allows it to examine the constitutional validity of laws and amendments passed by the Parliament.
    E.g.: Shreya Singhal v. Union of India
  • Basic Structure Doctrine: The Supreme Court has established the doctrine of the basic structure in the landmark Kesavananda Bharati case, which holds that certain fundamental features of the Constitution cannot be amended by the Parliament. These features, including the principles of democracy, secularism, federalism, and the rule of law, form the core of the Constitution and are beyond the amending power of the Parliament.
  • Interpretation of Constitution: The Supreme Court interprets the provisions of the Constitution and gives meaning to its various provisions. Through its interpretations, the Court ensures that the Parliament does not exceed its powers or violate the constitutional framework while amending the Constitution.
  • Upholding Fundamental Rights: The Supreme Court is entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. If an amendment infringes upon the fundamental rights of individuals, the Court can strike it down as unconstitutional.
    E.g. : Minerva Mills Ltd. v. Union of India
Therefore, while the Supreme Court plays an important role in keeping a check on the arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution, it is important to ensure that its own power is exercised in a manner that is fair, objective, and in keeping with the principles of democracy and the Constitution.

81) Constitutional mechanisms to resolve the inter-state water disputes have failed to address and solve the problems. Is the failure due to structural or process inadequacy or both? Discuss. (200 words)

The provisions regarding interstate water disputes in the Indian Constitution can be found primarily in Article 262. Despite the longstanding nature of issue in India the mechanisms to resolve such disputes have been largely ineffective in addressing and solving the problems. This is basically due to both structural and process inadequacy.
Structural Inadequacies led to failure resolving mechanism in inter-state water disputes
  • Lack of Clarity in Water Sharing: The Constitution of India does not provide a clear framework for the distribution of water resources among states.
  • Inequitable Water Allocation: The existing legal framework does not adequately address the issue of equitable water allocation among states. The principles of "equitable apportionment" and "reasonable and equitable utilization" are subjective and open to interpretation, often resulting in disputes over water sharing.
  • Limited Scope of Tribunals: The inter-state water dispute tribunals, such as the Water Disputes Tribunal Act, have limited jurisdiction and powers to resolve complex disputes.
Process Inadequacies led to failure resolving mechanism in inter-state water disputes
  • Lengthy Dispute Resolution Process: The process for resolving inter-state water disputes is often protracted and time-consuming.
  • Lack of Mediation and Conciliation Mechanisms: The existing mechanisms primarily rely on adjudication and legal processes, without sufficient emphasis on mediation and conciliation.
  • Political Interference: Inter-state water disputes are often influenced by political considerations and the interests of different state governments.
Way forward
  • National Water Framework Law: The enactment of a comprehensive national water law can provide a clear legal framework for water allocation, addressing issues of equity, and providing a mechanism for dispute resolution.
  • Strengthening Dispute Resolution Mechanisms: The inter-state water dispute tribunals should be given enhanced powers and authority to enforce their decisions. The inclusion of mediation and conciliation mechanisms in the dispute resolution process can promote amicable settlements.
  • Active Role of Central Government: The central government should play a more proactive role in facilitating negotiations and mediating disputes between states.
  • Public Participation and Awareness: Public participation and awareness should be promoted to foster a sense of ownership and responsibility among stakeholders. Public consultations and involvement can help in developing consensus-based solutions and reducing conflicts.
In addition to these structural and process-related issues, there are also broader political and institutional factors. These include the lack of political will among states to resolve disputes amicably, the prevalence of narrow regional interests, and the absence of effective mechanisms for coordination and cooperation between states.

82) Pressure group politics is sometimes seen as the informal face of politics. With regards to the above, assess the structure and functioning of pressure groups in India. (200 words)

Pressure groups are organizations that aim to influence government policy by exerting pressure on decision-makers. In India, pressure groups have played an important role in shaping public policy, especially in areas such as labour rights, environmental protection, and consumer protection. Pressure group politics is sometimes seen as the informal face of politics
  • Informal Influence: Pressure groups do not hold official positions in the government but exert influence through various means such as lobbying, advocacy, public campaigns, and grassroots mobilization. They use their resources, expertise, and public support to pressure policymakers and shape policy outcomes.
  • Focus on Specific Issues: Pressure groups usually represent the interests of a particular section of society or advocate for specific causes. They concentrate on specific policy areas such as environment, labour rights, consumer protection, or human rights.
  • Flexible and Dynamic Nature: Pressure groups can be formed quickly and adapt to changing circumstances, enabling them to respond rapidly to emerging issues.
  • Influence on Policy Formation: Pressure groups often play a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing policy formation. They provide expertise, research, and advocacy on specific issues, influencing policymakers' decisions and contributing to the development of policies.
  • Direct Engagement with Government: Pressure groups engage directly with policymakers through meetings, consultations, and lobbying efforts. Their goal is to influence decision-makers and ensure that their interests and concerns are considered.
Structure of pressure groups in India
  • The structure of pressure groups in India is diverse, ranging from formal organizations with a clear hierarchy and well-defined membership to informal networks of individuals with a shared interest.
  • Some pressure groups are based on professional or occupational affiliations, such as trade unions or professional associations, while others are based on shared identity, such as religious or ethnic groups.
Functioning of pressure groups in India
The functioning of pressure groups in India is influenced by their ability to mobilize resources, such as money, manpower, and media coverage.
  • Some pressure groups use direct action tactics, such as protests or strikes, while others use more indirect methods, such as lobbying or public relations campaigns.
  • It is also influenced by their relationship with political parties and government officials.
  • Some pressure groups are aligned with political parties and have close ties with elected officials, while others are more independent and aim to influence policy through grassroots activism or media campaigns.
The role of money and influence in pressure group politics is also a concern, as some groups have been accused of using their financial resources to gain undue influence over policy-makers.