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70 Days WAR Plan

Day#9 Static Flash Cards Polity & Governance [70 Days WAR Plan]

Powers and duties of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India; 42nd Amendment Act of 1976; Election Commission; Legislative Council; Chief Minister of State; Financial emergency; Conditions/eligibilities for vice-president of India; Departmental Standing Committees; Constitutional discretion; Special powers are enjoyed by the Rajya Sabha; etc.
By IT's Core Team
March 30, 2019

 

 

Which special powers are enjoyed by the Rajya Sabha, which is not enjoyed by the Lok Sabha?

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Answer:

  • The Rajya Sabha has been given two exclusive or special powers by Constitution.
    • It can authorise the Parliament to make a law on a subject enumerated in the State List (Article 249).
    • It can authorise the Parliament to create new All-India Services common to both the Centre and states (Article 312).
  • These special powers are not enjoyed by the Lok Sabha.

Enrich Your Learning:

Special powers of Rajya Sabha:

  • Except in financial matters and control over the council of ministers, the powers and status of the Rajya Sabha in all other spheres are broadly equal and coordinate with that of the Lok Sabha.
  • Rajya Sabha checks hasty, defective, careless and ill-considered legislation made by the Lok Sabha by making provision of revision and thought.
  • It facilitates giving representation to eminent professionals and experts who cannot face the direct election. The President nominates 12 such persons to the Rajya Sabha.
  • It maintains the federal equilibrium by protecting the interests of the states against the undue interference of the Centre.
  • Only Rajya Sabha can initiate the removal of Vice-president as he will be acting as the chairman of Rajya Sabha.

 

 

What is/are the Constitutional discretion enjoyed by the Governor?

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Answer:

  • The discretionary power of the Governor is extremely limited and entirely amenable to judicial review.

Enrich Your Learning:

Constitutional discretion by the Governor:

  • The Governor may do so only “in harmony with his Council of Ministers”. To do so, the Governor is precluded from taking a stand against the wishes of the Council of Ministers.
  • The Constitution makes it clear that if any question arises whether a matter falls within the governor’s discretion or not, the decision of the governor is final, and the validity of any-thing done by him cannot be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.

The governor has constitutional discretion in the following cases:

  • Reservation of a bill for the consideration of the president.
  • Recommendation for the imposition of the President’s Rule in the state.
  • While exercising his functions as the administrator of an adjoining union territory (in case of additional charge).
  • Determining the amount payable by the Government of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to an autonomous Tribal District Council as royalty accruing from licenses for mineral exploration.
  • Seeking information from the chief minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.
  • Appointment of chief minister when no party has a clear-cut majority in the state legislative assembly or when the chief minister in office dies suddenly and there is no obvious successor.
  • Dismissal of the council of ministers when it cannot prove the confidence of the state legislative assembly.
  • Dissolution of the state legislative assembly if the council of ministers has lost its majority.
  • The Governor of a State shall have the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites or remissions of punishment or to suspend, remit or commute the sentence of any person convicted of any offense against any law relating to a matter to which the executive power of the State extends.

 

 

Departmental Standing Committees were set up as per the recommendation of which committee?

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Answer:

  • Departmental Standing Committees were set up as per the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha.

Enrich Your Learning:

Departmental Standing Committees

  • Departmental Standing Committees (DSCs) were set up in the Parliament in 1993, they were 17 and after adding 7 more in 2004 they are 24 in number (8 under Rajya Sabha and 16 under Lok Sabha).
  • They were set up as per the recommendation of the Rules Committee of the Lok Sabha.
  • It aims to secure more accountability of the Executive (i.e., the Council of Ministers) to the Parliament, particularly financial accountability, and to assist the Parliament in debating the budget more effectively.
  • These committees cover under their jurisdiction all the ministries / departments of the Central Government.
  • Each standing committee consists of 21 members from Lok Sabha and 10 members from Rajya Sabha, all nominated by speaker and chairman of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha respectively from amongst their members.
  • The Ministers are not nominated and in case if a member is appointed as a minister after he was nominated, then he ceases to be a member of the committee.
  • The term of office of each standing committee is one year from the date of its constitution.
  • The recommendations of these committees are advisory in nature and hence not binding on the Parliament.

Functions:

  • Consider the demands for grants of the concerned ministries / departments before they are discussed and voted in the Lok Sabha. Its report should not suggest anything of the nature of cut motions.
  • Examine bills pertaining to the concerned ministries / departments.
  • Consider annual reports of ministries / departments.
  • Consider national basic long-term policy documents presented to the Houses.

 

 

What are the conditions/eligibilities for vice-president of India in order to hold the office?

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Answer:

  • Vice President is ex-officio chairman of Council of States (Rajya Sabha) but he is not member of either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha.
  • As far as eligibility of Vice President is concerned, he should be qualified for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Enrich Your Learning:

Vice-President of India:

  • Indian Vice-President is modelled on the lines of the American Vice-President.
  • The Vice-President of India is elected not directly by the people but by the method of indirect election, by the members of an electoral college consisting of the members of both Houses of Parliament.
  • The Vice-President’s election, like that of the President’s 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.
  • Vice-President basic function is to preside over the council of states.
  • It is only on a rare occasion, and that too for a temporary period, that he may be called upon to assume the duties of the president.
  • There are two conditions for a Vice President to hold the office i.e.,
    • He should not be a member of either House of Parliament or a House of the state legislature.
    • He should not hold any other office of profit.
  • He holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office but can also resign any time by addressing the resignation letter to the President.
  • He can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge, and is eligible for re-election for any number of times.
  • He can also be removed from the office before completion of his term without any impeachment. He can be removed by a resolution of the Rajya Sabha passed by an absolute majority (i.e., a majority of the total members of the House) and agreed to by the Lok Sabha.
  • Such resolution cannot be moved unless at least 14 days’ advance notice has been given.
  • There are no grounds mentioned in the constitution for his removal.
  • When the vacancy is going to be caused by the expiration of the term of the sitting vice-president, an election to fill the vacancy must be held before the expiration of the term.
  • If the office of vice president falls vacant by resignation, removal, death or otherwise, then election to fill the vacancy should be held as soon as possible after the occurrence of the vacancy, and the newly-elected vice-president remains in office for a full term of five years from the date he assumes charge of his office.

 

 

Can Comptroller and Auditor General of India audit all public corporations?

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Answer:

  • The role of CAG in the auditing of public corporations is limited. Some corporations are totally subjected to private audit.
  • They submit their annual reports and accounts directly to the Parliament.
  • Examples of such corporations are Life Insurance Corporation of India, Reserve Bank of India, State Bank of India, Food Corporation of India, and others.

Enrich Your Learning:

Powers and duties of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India:

  • CAG audits the accounts of 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.
  • He audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and state governments.
  • He audits the receipts and expenditure of the Centre and each state to satisfy himself that the rules and procedures in that behalf are designed to secure an effective check on the assessment, collection and proper allocation of revenue.
  • He audits all transactions of the Central and state governments related to debt, sinking funds, deposits, advances, suspense accounts and remittance business, and receipts, stock accounts and others, with approval of the President, or when required by the President
  • He audits the receipts and expenditure of the following:
    • All bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or state revenues;
    • Government companies; and
    • Other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
  • He audits the accounts of any other authority (like local bodies) when requested by the President or Governor.
  • He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre to President and of a state to governor, who shall, in turn, place them before both the Houses of Parliament and state legislature respectively (Article 151).
  • He advises the President with regard to prescription of the form in which the accounts of the Centre and the states shall be kept (Article 150).
  • He guides the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

 

 

Financial emergency was only declared once in India during 1991 which was caused by the currency devaluation and the current account deficit. True OR False. – False.

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Answer:

  • No Financial Emergency has been declared so far, though there was a financial crisis in 1991.=.

Enrich Your Learning:

Financial emergency under article 360:

  • The constitute empowers the President under Article 360 to proclaim a Financial Emergency.
  • But he should be satisfied that a situation has arisen due to which the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened. His decision in this regard is not beyond judicial review.
  • The financial emergency when proclaimed must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
  • If the Lok Sabha is dissolved or during the two months period if Lok Sabha gets dissolved then the proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, but till that time Rajya Sabha has to approve it.
  • After approval the financial emergency continues indefinitely untill it is revoked.
  • It may be revoked by the president at any time by a subsequent proclamation which does not require the parliamentary approval.
  • During the operation of a financial emergency, the Centre acquires full control over the states in financial matters.
  • The centre directs any state in all the financial matters during financial emergency.
  • No Financial Emergency has been declared so far, though there was a financial crisis in 1991.

 

 

The tenure of the Chief Minister of State is fixed for how many years?

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Answer:

  • The term of the Chief Minister is not fixed, and he holds office during the pleasure of the governor.

Enrich Your Learning:

About the Chief Minister of State:

  • The Chief Minister is the real executive authority (de facto executive) in the state and thus the head of the government.
  • According to the Constitution, the Chief Minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of a state legislature.
  • There is no specific procedure in the constitution for the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister, while Article 164 states that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor. Thus, as per the convention the governor has to appoint the leader of the majority party in the state legislative assembly as the Chief Minister.
  • When there is no clear majority to any party in the assembly, then the governor may exercise his personal discretion in the selection and appointment of the Chief Minister, and usually the leader of the largest party or coalition in the assembly is appointed and asked to seek the vote of confidence in the House within a month.
  • The Constitution does not require that a person must prove his majority in the legislative assembly before he is appointed as the Chief Minister. Thus, the governor can first appoint him as the Chief Minister and then ask him to prove his majority within reasonable time period.
  • A person can be appointed as Chief Minister who is not a member of the state legislature for six months, within which he should be elected to the state legislature an if he fails to do so then he ceases to be the Chief Minister.
  • The governor administers to Chief Minister the oaths of office and secrecy

 

 

Governor of a state can nominate how many members of the state legislative council?

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Answer:

  • Governor of a state can nominate one-sixth of members of the state legislative council.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Legislative Council:

  • Article 171 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of a Vidhan Parishad. The Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature.
  • The Vidhan Parishad is a permanent house, and hence it is not dissolved. Members are elected/nominated for a period of six years. One-third of its members retire after every two years. The retiring members are eligible for re-election.
  • The qualifications for becoming members of the Legislative Council are similar to those for the members of the Legislative Assembly.
  • However, the minimum age in case of Legislative Assembly is 25 years whereas for the Council it is 30 years. The State Legislature meets twice a year at least and the interval between two sessions cannot be more than six months.
  • The members of Vidhan Sabha and Vidhan Parishad elect their respective Presiding Officers, as well as Speaker and Deputy Speakers, the Chairman and Deputy Chairman.
  • The business of the two houses is conducted by their respective Presiding Officers who also maintain discipline and order in the houses.

Composition of the Legislative Council:

  • The upper chamber of the State Legislature i.e. the Legislative Council or Vidhan Parishad shall not have more than one third of the total membership of the State Legislative Assembly but not less than 40. The Legislative Council in Jammu & Kashmir has 36 members as an exception. The members of the Legislative Council are partly elected indirectly and partly nominated.

The composition of the Legislative Council is as follows:

  • One-third members are elected by the members of local bodies i.e. Municipalities, District Boards and others in the State;
  • Another one-third members are elected by the members of the Legislative Assembly;
  • One-twelfth members are elected by the electorate consisting of graduates of the State of not less than three years standing;
  • Another one-twelfth are elected by the electorate consisting of teachers having teaching experience of at least three years in the educational institutions within the State, but these institutions must not be lower in standard than secondary schools; and
  • The remaining one-sixth members are nominated by the Governor of the State.

 

 

If a person is found guilty of corrupt practices at elections, the opinion of the Election Commission is binding on the President. True or False?

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Answer:

  • The president is bound to the opinion of the Election Commission in case if a person is found guilty of corrupt practices.

Enrich Your Learning:

Election Commission:

  • Election Commission of India is a permanent Constitutional Body.
  • The Election Commission was established in accordance with the Constitution on 25th January 1950.
  • The Constitution of India has vested in the Election Commission of India the superintendence, direction and control of the entire process for conduct of elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
  • Originally, the commission had only a Chief Election Commissioner. It currently consists of Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
  • For the first time two additional Commissioners were appointed on 16th October 1989 but they had a very short tenure till 1st January 1990. Later, on 1st October 1993 two additional Election Commissioners were appointed.
  • The concept of multi-member Commission has been in operation since then, with decision making power by majority vote.
  • All Election Commissioners have equal say in the decision making of the Commission.
  • At the state level, the election work is supervised, subject to overall superintendence, direction and control of the Commission, by the Chief Electoral Officer of the State, who is appointed by the Commission from amongst senior civil servants proposed by the concerned state government. He is, in most of the States, a full-time officer and has a small team of supporting staff.
  • At the district and constituency levels, the District Election Officers, Electoral Registration Officers and Returning Officers, who are assisted by a large number of junior functionaries, perform election work. They all perform their functions relating to elections in addition to their other responsibilities. During election time, however, they are available to the Commission, more or less, on a full-time basis.
  • The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post-election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • The cases of persons found guilty of corrupt practices at elections which come before the Supreme Court and High Courts are also referred to the Commission for its opinion on the question as to whether such person shall be disqualified and, if so, for what period. The opinion of the Commission in all such matters is binding on the President or, as the case may be, the Governor to whom such opinion is tendered.

Appointment & Tenure of Commissioners:

  • The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
  • They have tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
  • The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through impeachment by Parliament.

 

 

Which directive principles are added to the Constitution through 42nd Amendment Act of 1976?

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Answer:

  • The 42nd Amendment Act of 1976 added four new Directive Principles to the original list.

Enrich Your Learning:

Directive Principles added to the Constitution through amendments:

  • To secure opportunities for healthy development of children (Article 39).
  • To promote equal justice and to provide free legal aid to the poor (Article 39 A).
  • To take steps to secure the participation of workers in the management of industries (Article 43 A).
  • To protect and improve the environment and to safeguard forests and wild life (Article 48 A).

Other amendments:

  • In 1978, the 44th Amendment Act added one more Directive Principle, which requires the State to minimise inequalities in income, status, facilities and opportunities (Article 38).
  • 86th Amendment Act in 2002, changed the subject matter of the Article 45 and made elementary education a fundamental right (Article 21 A). It requires the State to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
  • The 97th Amendment Act of 2011 added Article 43B to the Directive Principle relating to co-operative societies, that requires the state to promote voluntary formation, autonomous functioning, democratic control and professional management of co-operative societies.
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  • Jayansh Singh

    Hi.

    Out of the nine constitutional discretionary powers of governor mentioned by you in the Flash Card, sixth, seventh, and eighth aren’t constitutional but situational discretionary powers. Also, the last power mentioned, to grant pardon/reprieve, etc. is not a discretion. Rather, it is his/her judicial power.

    Please revise the Flash Card accordingly. Thanks.

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