INDIAN GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
IGNOU BPSC 132 Solved Free Assignment
BPSC 132 Solved Free Assignment July 2023 & January 2024
Q. 1. Discuss the essential features of the Indian Constitution.
Ans. Adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 2, 1949, the Indian constitution is the lengthiest Constitution originally containing 395 Articles, divided into 22 parts and 9 schedules.
A total 93 Amendments have been incorporated to the constitution as on January 2003. It has been a model for many developing countries. The ideals of socialism, secularism and democracy are enshrined and elaborated by the enacting provisions.
Socialist and Secular: The Preamble of the Constitution has incorporated the term ‘Socialist and Secular’ through the 42nd amendment of the Constitution in 1976.
Socialist means the nationalisation of the means of production and equal distribution of wealth whereas secular aims at the separation of religion from the State.
Sovereignty Resides in the People: The introduction to the Constitution declares that the constitution of India was adopted and enacted by the people of India and they are the custodians of the republic.
Parliamentary Form of Government: The Constitution of India establishes a parliamentary form of government both at the Centre and the States.
In a Parliamentary form of government, the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers are responsible for all their actions to the government, particularly to the Lower House, Lok Sabha.
When they lose their confidence with the people they should resign. When they refuse to resign the opposition parties will move a no confidence motion and remove the government from power.
Unique Blend of Rigidity and Flexibility: Though India has a written constitution; the Indian constitution is not as rigid as the American constitution. It has incorporated the flexible nature in the procedures for amendments.
There are three methods by which the constitution is amended. In other words, the procedure for amendment is simple, clear and well articulated and not cumbersome.
Fundamental Rights: The Fundamental Rights are guaranteed by the constitution to all its citizens through Part III of the constitution.
The Fundamental Right deals with political and civil rights. It guarantees Rights to Equality, Right to Freedom, Freedom of Religion, Right against Exploitation, Educational and Cultural rights and Rights to Constitutional Remedies.
One can approach the Supreme Court directly in case of violation of Fundamental Rights.
Directive Principles of the State Policy: Part IV of the constitution deals with Social, Economic and cultural Rights.
However, they are not justifiable in the court of law. The idea of a ‘Welfare State’ envisaged in our Constitution can only is achieved if the States endeavour to implement them with a high sense of moral duty.
Quasi-federal in Nature: The nature of the State is federal, in the sense that the powers are distributed between the Union and the State.
But in times of emergency arising out external danger the Union Government assumes a unitary character and the union is empowered to legislate for all the States.
Adult Suffrage: All adult citizens above 18 are given the right to vote.
Independence of Judiciary: The Indian judiciary is independent as per the norms of separation of powers.
The features that go with the independence of Judiciary are direct appointment by the President, given decent salaries and perks on one hand, whereas judges cannot be removed, simply by executive.
Judicial Review India borrowed this feature aspect from US. The judiciary can declare a law passed by the Union or State government as unconstitutional or null and void when it violates the rights guaranteed under the Fundamental rights to the people of India.
Fundamental Duties: The Fundamental Duties are incorporated to the constitution through the 42nd amendment. A set of ten duties are incorporated under the Fundamental Duties under Article 51 A.
Q. 2. Explain the functions and jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Ans. The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is divided into: (i) Original Jurisdiction, (ii) Appellate Jurisdiction, (iii) Advisory Jurisdiction, and (iv) Review Jurisdiction.
(i) Original Jurisdiction: Both the Union and the State governments derive their powers from and are limited by the same constitution.
Authoritative resolution by a judicial organ independent of both levels of government required to settle differences of interpretation of the Union-States distribution of powers or conflicts between States governments.
Article 131 stipulates that the Supreme Court has exclusive jurisdiction when there is a dispute between the Union and a State or between one State and another, or between a group of States and others.
An exclusive jurisdiction means that no other court has the power to entertain such disputes. The original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court means that the parties to the dispute should be units of the federation.
The Supreme Court of India does not have original jurisdiction to decide disputes between residents of different states or those between a State and the resident of another State.
The Supreme Court also has an extensive original jurisdiction as the protector of Fundamental Rights.
The citizens have the right to move the Supreme Court directly for the enforcement of any of the fundamental rights enumerated in Part III of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court has the power to issue writs including: Habeas Corpus, Quo Warranto, Prohibition, Certiorari and Mandamus. Habeas Corpus is issued to bring before the court a person from illegal custody.
The court can decide the legality of detention and release the person if the detention is found to be illegal. The court issues Mandamus to order the public officials to perform their legal duties.
Prohibition is issued to prevent a court or tribunal from doing something in excess of its authority. By issuing Certiorari, the court may strike off an order passed by any official of the government, local body or a statutory body.
Quo Warranto is issued to a person who authorised occupies a public office to step down from Supreme Court is also empowered to issue appropriate directions and orders to the executive.
(ii) Appellate Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court is the highest Court of appeal in the country. Articles 132-134 make the Supreme Court special for Appellate Jurisdiction. It can hear appeals from cases decided by the High Courts and other tribunals in the States.
The Supreme Court can admit an appeal from all High Courts if the High Court certifies that the case involves a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution.
Where the High Court has refused to give inch a certificate the Supreme Court may, if it is satisfied that the case involved substantial question of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution, grant special leave to appeal from such judgement, decree or final order.
Such a certificate is given or such leave is granted, if any party in the case made appeal to the Supreme Court on the ground that the question has been wrongly decided or on any other grounds.
Such cases may be criminal, civil, or other proceedings which should have a constitutional bearing on constitutional law in the opinion of the Supreme Court.
Thus the opinion of the Supreme Court and not that of the High Court is final on the question of constitutional interpretation. On all civil cases decided by the High Courts an appeal can be made to the Supreme Court if the High Court certifies:
(i) That the case involves directly or indirectly some claim of property of important nature, or
(ii) That the case is fit one for appeal as it involves substantial question of law. The High Court certifies that the case is a fit one to appeal or in the absence of such certificate of the High Court, the Supreme Court grants special leave to appeal.
On the judgment of a High Court on criminal cases, appeal can be made to the Supreme Court if the High Court – (i) Has on appeal reversed an order of acquittal of an accused person and sentenced him to death, or
(ii) Has withdrawn for trial before itself the cases from any Court subordinate to its authority and in such trial convicted the accused person and sentenced him to death, or
(iii) Certifies that the case is a fit one for an appeal to the Supreme Court subject to such provision contained in the rules made by the Supreme Court in that behalf.
Even in the absence of all these conditions the Supreme Court may grant special leave to appeal to any case decided by the High Court.
(iii) Advisory Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has also advisory jurisdiction on matters of constitutional importance.
If at any time the President thinks that a question of law or fact has arisen or is likely to arise, which is of such a nature and of such public importance that it is expedient to obtain the opinion of the Supreme Court upon it, he may refer the question to the Supreme Court for consideration and the Court, after such hearing, as it thinks fit, reports to the President its opinion thereon.
It is only the advisory or consultative power of the Supreme Court. The President is not bound to accept the advice of the Supreme Court.
However, it is expected that the advisory opinion of the Supreme Court may be final as it is the highest Court of the land.
The advisory role is different from ordinary adjudication in three senses: (i) there is no litigation between two parties;
(ii) the advisory opinion of the Court is not binding on the government; and
(iii) it is not executable as a judgement of the court.
(iv) Review Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has power to review its judgments. It can also interpret the Constitution and functions as the court of appeal in civil and criminal cases.
The power of the Supreme Court can be restricted by amending the Constitution. Besides, all these powers can also be suspended when an emergency is declared in the country.
The Hight Court
Articles 214 to 231 of the Constitution stipulate provisions on the organisation and functions of the High Court. Article 125 says there shall be a High Court for each state and the court has a constitutional status.
The Parliament has power to set up a common High Court for two or more states. For example, Punjab and Haryana have a common High Court.
In the case of Union Territories, the Parliament may create a High Court for a Union Territory, extend the jurisdiction of a High Court to, or exclude the jurisdiction of a High Court from any Union Territory.
For example, Delhi has a Union Territory. The Kerala High Court has jurisdiction over Lakshadweep and the Bombay High Court over Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Composition of the High Court: The President fixes the number of judges in each High Court. There is no minimum number of judges for the High Court.
The President appoints the Chief Justice of the High Court in consultation with the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the State. Additional judges can be appointed to cope with the work.
However, such appointments are temporary not exceeding two years period. In the Collegium System, Senior Judges of Apex Court select or recommend the names for appointment of Judges.
A judge of a High Court normally holds office until he attains the age of 62 years. A Judge can vacate the seat by resigning, by being appointed a judge of the Supreme Court or by being transferred to any other High Court by the President.
The President can remove a judge on the grounds of misbehaviour or incapacity in the same way in which a judge of the Supreme Court is impeached.
Jurisdiction: A High Court’s original jurisdiction includes enforcement of Fundamental Rights, dealing with disputes relating to the election to Union and State legislatures and cases on revenue matters.
Its appellant jurisdiction covers both civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, the High Court is either a first appeal or a second appeal court.
In criminal cases, the High Court takes the appeal from decisions of a session’s judge or an additional session’s judge when a sentence of imprisonment exceeds seven years, and other specified cases other than petty crimes.
The High Courts has four additional powers:
(i) the power to issue writs or orders for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights. The writ jurisdiction of a High Court is larger than that of the Supreme Court.
It cannot only issue writs in cases of infringement of Fundamental Rights but also in cases of an ordinary legal right.
(ii) The High Court has the power of superintendence over all other courts and tribunals except those dealing with the armed forces.
It frames rules and issues instructions for guidance from time to time with directions for speedier and effective judicial remedy.
(iii) The High Court can transfer cases to itself from subordinate courts relating to the interpretation of the constitution.
(iv) It has the power to appoint its officers and servants.
There are also certain restrictions in the jurisdiction of High Courts.
For example, it has no jurisdiction over a tribunal and no power to invalidate a Central Act or even any rule, notification or orders made by any Central administrative
Q. 1. Discuss the special powers and functions of the Rajya Sabha.
Ans. Rajya Sabha or the Council of States is the Upper House of India’s bicameral Parliament. Rajya Sabha is the chamber for representing and protecting the rights of the states in the federal polity.
Rajya Sabha has equal role and status to that of the Lok Sabha in the Electoral College for choosing the president.
Members of state legislative assemblies elect Rajya Sabha representatives for their States on a proportional representation system.
The Constitutional position of the Rajya Sabha is not comparable in power, functions or prestige to the US Senate when conceived of solely in terms of State rights.
In the event of a deadlock between the two Houses of Parliament, for example, if reconsideration of a bill fails to achieve a mutually satisfactory resolution, then the president convenes a joint sitting of both the Houses.
The third function of Rajya Sabha in the Indian system of governance is to enable a bill to be introduced in the Parliament even when the Lok Sabha is not in session.
Much of the Parliamentary debate and work on the bill can be completed by the time the Lok Sabha reconvenes.
In respect of certain specified federal features of the Constitution, the primary amending role has been given to the Rajya Sabha as the custodian of State rights.
For example, the powers of Rajya Sabha itself can be changed only with the consent of a two-thirds majority in the Upper House.
In theory, the House provides the means to bring in competent or skilled personnel who are not prepared to face the uncertain rigours of political campaigns.
They can be appointed to the Rajya Sabha and be inducted into the cabinet without having to go through the formal process of elections.
Q. 2. Explain the procedure for removing a judge of the Supreme Court.
Ans. A judge of the Supreme Court is removable from his office, only on the grounds of proved misbehaviour or incapacity. Parliament is empowered to regulate the procedure for the investigation and proof of such misbehaviour or incapacity.
Whatever the procedure, each House will have to pass a resolution supported by two-thirds of the members present and voting and a majority of the total membership of the House and address it to the President. The President will then issue orders for removal of the judge.
- Procedure for Removal: Article 124(4) and the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 determine the procedure of removal of the judges:
(i) A motion of impeachment addressed to the President is to be signed by at least 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 members of the Rajya Sabha and then delivered to the Speaker of Lok Sabha or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha.
(ii) The motion is to be investigated by a Committee of 3 judges of the Supreme Court and a distinguished jurisdiction.
(iii) If the Committee finds the judge guilty of misbehaviour or that he suffers from incapacity, the motion along with the report of the committee is taken up for consideration in the House where motion was moved.
(iv) The judge is then removed by the requisite majority, i.e. majority of total and 2/3 of its members present and voting. The procedure of impeachment was adopted against R. Ramaswamy in 1991-93.
The judge was found guilty by the Committee in the Lok Sabha. The Congress abstained from voting and the motion could not be passed by the requisite majority.
Q. 3. Examine the Parliament’s powers to amend the Constitution of India.
Ans. Parliament is technically the legislature, the institution that enacts the law of the land and the authority of the people and the assent of the head of state.
In reality the legislative agenda is controlled by the government and endorsed by the Parliament with the help of tightly maintained party discipline.
Parliament is the central forum for amending the Constitution under Article 368. The procedural powers are those which allow the parliament to make rules for the conduct of its business.
The process of legislation involves three stages corresponding to the familiar three readings of bills in the parliamentary systems: the introduction of a bill, its consideration and its enactment into law.
The first reading consists of the bill being introduced along with an explanation of its aim and purposes.
After the second reading, a bill may be referred to select committee, circulated for public response or taken up for immediate consideration.
The last course is rare and reserved for urgent and uncontroversial items. The second course is the most frequent.
The select committee reports back either unanimously or with a majority recommendation and a minority note of dissent.
The bill is then considered in the House clause by clause, with members being able to introduce amendments.
Once all clauses have been dealt with, the bill has crossed the report stage, and is listed for its third and final reading, which is tidying-up amendments and then the bill is put to vote.
If the speaker authenticates its passing, the bill is sent to the second house, where the entire procedure is repeated.
When both Houses of Parliament have passed an identical version of a bill, it is presented to the President for formal assent, and becomes law on receiving his assent.
Q. 1. Explain the dominant party system.
Ans. The party system during the first two decades after independence was termed as the Single Dominant Party System. It was a multi-party system where the ruling party played an overwhelmingly dominant role.
Although a number of other political parties existed and operated politically, yet the central space of politics was occupied by the Indian National Congress only.
The dominance of the Congress was determined by its immense organisational strength as well as its capability to capture large number of seats both in the Union Parliament and the state legislatures.
Dominance of the Congress as the ruling party did not man absence of competition. The numerous parties in opposition provided competition.
Yet, such competition did not result in effectively challenging the dominant position of the ruling party.
Morris-Jones aptly described this phenomenon as dominance coexisting with competition but without a trace of alteration.
Q. 2. Explain the meaning of Secularism and Secularisation.
Ans. Secularism is a “Process whereby religious thinking practice and institutions lose their social significance”. To speak of secularism is to speak of the triumph of science over religion and reason over faith.
Secularism is a celebration of man’s reason, ability to emancipate him/her from the influences of religious customs, beliefs, practices.
Therefore, Secularism means the inevitable “Desacrilisation” of the World. The World loses its sacred character as man and nature becomes the object of rational-casual explanation in which the supernatural plays no part.
The word ‘Secularism’ was coined by Gorge Jacob Holyoake in 1851 to describe the socio-political movement started by him, Charles Bradlaugh and others. G.J. Holyoake used the term secularism to define an ideology, wherein social and industrial morality hitherto determined by reference to the transcending principles of religion, was now to be determined by reason, and firmly anchored to the good of man in this life.
Secularism was subsequently projected as a rationalist movement, agnostic or indifferent to Religion.
The term ‘Secularisation’ is defined by Bryan Wilson as the process in which different social institutions become recognised as distinctive concerns operating with considerable autonomy.
It is also a process of “Decline in religious activities, beliefs, ways of thinking and institutions.”
This decline in religious consciousness is the result of the universal acceptance of pragmatic or scientific approach to secular issues.
In a secularised society people turn to science for explanation of natural phenomena and for remedial measures for their mundane problems.
They no more take recourse to the ‘Supernatural’ for either cognitive understanding of the world, or even for emotional support.
As a result, “Religion in the West has generally become a department of the social order rather than the pervasive or even determinant influence it once was.”
Q. 3. What is a tribe, and how is it different from a caste?
Ans. Tribes are a group of people who share some characteristics. Some scholars say tribals as indigenous. In Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and a section of tribals in Assam are called as adivasis.
Tribe as a concept in India was introduced by the British in the nineteenth century. The concept of tribe was defined in the Government of India Act, 1935.
They generally live in hilly areas, Caste is hereditary and endogamous which means that a person can marry within his caste.
Earlier every caste was assigned specific occupation in society. The caste-based occupations showed the social hierarchy in the society in India.
Q. 4. Write a brief note on the importance of rights under Articles 20 and 21.
Ans. According to Article 20
(i) No person shall be convicted of any offence except for violation of the law in force at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence, nor be subjected to a penalty greater than that which might have been inflicted under the law in force at the time of the commission of the offence.
(ii) No person shall be prosecuted and punished for the same offence more than once.
(iii) No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself
Article 21 says, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.”
Article 20 and Article 21 cannot be withheld even during an emergency.
Q. 5. Write a brief note on Emergency provisions in the Indian Constitution.
Ans. Part XVIII of the Constitution enshrines the emergency provisions under Articles 352 to 360.
Three types of emergency can be declared:
(i) General Emergency (ii) Constitutional Emergency and (iii) Financial Emergency.
(i) General Emergency: General Emergency can be declared when there is an external aggression or armed rebellion (Article 352).
Under this provision, for the first time emergency was declared on October 26, 1962 during the war with China. It continued up to January 10, 1968.
Emergency was also declared on December 3, 1971, when the India-Pakistan war happened. Emergency was declared for the third time on June, 1975.
It was revoked in 1977. Critics say that the third emergency was intended more to retain Mrs. Indira Gandhi in power than there was the actual threat.
(ii) Declaration of Constitutional Emergency: Article 356 empowers the President to dismiss the State government and bring it under President’s Rule or Central Rule.
This emergency is declared in that State after the President receives a report from the Governor of the state stating that the constitutional machinery has broken down or that the administration of the state can no longer be conducted as per the provisions of the Constitution.
Under such a condition, the Governor of the State performs all functions and conducts the administration on behalf of the President with the aid of his advisors appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the Union Council of Ministers.
For the first time Article 356 was used in 1959 in Kerala. State governments were dismissed in 1977 when the Janata Party came to power at the Centre and subsequently in 1979 when the Congress Party returned to power.
In 1984, emergency was imposed in Andhra Pradesh and later in Karnataka when the S.R. Bommai government was dismissed.
(iii) Financial Emergency: Article 360 empowers the President to declare financial emergency when the financial stability or credit of the country or any part of the country is threatened.
According to the Forty Fourth Constitutional Amendment Act of 1978, this declaration has to be approved by the both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha within two months from the date of its declaration.
If the Lok Sabha is at that time dissolved, it has to be approved within 30 days from the date its reconstitution.