Flash Card

LAKSHYA-75 [Day-11] Static Flash Cards for IAS Prelims 2020

Powers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha; How was the Indian Constitution made? Objectives Resolution; Provisions adapted from constitutions of different countries by India; Preventive detention; Independent Election Commission; Discretionary Powers of the President; Changes brought about by the 73rd amendment; How to amend the Constitution? Rights of Religious Groups;
By IASToppers
March 17, 2020

 

 

What are the special powers of Rajya Sabha?

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Answer:

  • The Rajya Sabha is an institutional mechanism to provide representation to the States.
  • Its purpose is to protect the powers of the States. Therefore, any matter that affects the States must be referred to it for its consent and approval.
  • Thus, if the Union Parliament wishes to remove a matter from the State list to either the Union List or Concurrent List in the interest of the nation, the approval of the Rajya Sabha is necessary.
  • This provision adds to the strength of the Rajya Sabha. However, experience shows that the members of the Rajya Sabha represent their parties more than they represent their States.

Enrich Your Learning:

Powers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha

 

 

Indian constitution departed from western model in two ways. Which are they?

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Answer:

Indian constitution departed from western model in two ways:

  • One is Rights of Religious Groups and
  • Second is State’s Power of Intervention

Enrich Your Learning:

Conditions in India were different and to respond to the challenge they posed, the makers of the Constitution had to work out an alternative conception of secularism.

They departed from the western model in two ways and for two different reasons.

Rights of Religious Groups

  • The intercommunity equality was as necessary as equality between individuals. If one community was dominated by another, then its members would also be significantly less free.
  • If, on the other hand, their relations were equal, marked by an absence of domination, then its members would also walk about with dignity, self-respect and freedom.
  • Thus, the Indian Constitution grants rights to all religious communities such as the right to establish and maintain their educational institutions.
  • Freedom of religion in India means the freedom of religion of both individuals and communities.

State’s Power of Intervention

  • Religiously sanctioned customs such as untouchability deprived individuals of the most basic dignity and self-respect. Such customs were so deeply rooted and pervasive that without active state intervention, there was no hope of their dissolution.
  • State intervention was not always negative. The state could also help religious communities by giving aid to educational institutions run by them.
  • Thus, the state may help or hinder religious communities depending on which mode of action promotes values such as freedom and equality.
  • In India separation between religion and state did not mean their mutual exclusion but rather principled distance. The idea allows the state to be distant from all religions so that it can intervene or abstain from interference, and better promote liberty, equality and social justice.

Three core features of Indian Constitution

  • First, Indian Constitution reinforces and reinvents forms of liberal individualism. This is an important achievement because this is done in the backdrop of a society where community values are often indifferent or hostile to individual autonomy.
  • Second, the Constitution upholds the principle of social justice without compromising on individual liberties.
  • The constitutional commitment to caste-based affirmative action programme shows India is ahead compared to other nations. The affirmative action programmes in the U.S. were begun after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, two decades after they were constitutionally entrenched in India.
  • Third, the Constitution upholds its commitment to group rights (the right to the expression of cultural particularity). This indicates that the framers of the Constitution were more than willing to face the challenges to be known as multiculturalism.

 

 

Which are the two methods for amending Indian constitution under Article 368?

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Answer:

There are two methods of amending the Constitution under Article 368:

  1. By special majority of the two houses of the Parliament.
  2. By special majority of the Parliament and consent of half of the State legislatures.

Enrich Your Learning:

How to amend the Constitution?

  • The Constitution must be amended if so required. But it must be protected from unnecessary and frequent changes.
  • The Indian Constitution of India combines both ‘flexible’ and at the same time ‘rigid’ to be changed.
  • There were some provisions in the Constitution that were of temporary nature and it was decided that these could be altered later on once the new Parliament was elected.
  • But at the same time, the Constitution was framing a federal polity and therefore, the rights and powers of the States could not be changed without the consent of the States.
  • Some other features were so central to the spirit of the Constitution that the Constitution makers were anxious to protect these from change. These provisions had to be made rigid.

These considerations led to different ways of amending the Constitution.

  • There are many articles in the Constitution, which mention that these articles can be amended by a simple law of the Parliament.
  • No special procedure for amendment is required in such cases and there is no difference at all between an amendment and an ordinary law.
  • The wording ‘by law’ in some articles indicates that they can be modified by the Parliament without recourse to the procedure laid down in Article 368.
  • For amending the remaining parts of the Constitution, provision has been made in Article 368 of the Constitution.
  • There are two methods of amending the Constitution and they apply to two different sets of articles of the Constitution.
  • One method is that amendment can be made by special majority of the two houses of the Parliament.
  • The other method is more difficult: it requires special majority of the Parliament and consent of half of the State legislatures.
  • All amendments to the Constitution are initiated only in the Parliament.
  • After the passage in the Parliament no referendum is required for ratification of the amendment. An amendment bill goes to the President for his assent, but in this case, the President has no powers to send it back for reconsideration.
  • Only elected representatives of the people are empowered to consider and take final decisions on the question of amendments. Thus, sovereignty of elected representatives is the basis of the amendment procedure.

 

 

Enlist the changes brought about by the 73rd amendment of Indian Constitution.

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

Changes brought about by the 73rd amendment in Panchayati Raj institutions

Three Tier Structure

  • All States have a uniform three tier Panchayati Raj structure.
  • At the base is the ‘Gram Panchayat’. A Gram Panchayat covers a village or group of villages.
  • The intermediary level is the Mandal (also referred to as Block or Taluka). These bodies are called Mandal or Taluka Panchayats. The intermediary level body need not be constituted in smaller States.
  • At the apex is the Zilla Panchayat covering the entire rural area of the District.
  • Creation of the Gram Sabha became mandatory under the amendment. The Gram Sabha would comprise all the adult members registered as voters in the Panchayat area.

Elections

  • All the three levels of Panchayati Raj institutions are elected directly by the people. The term of each Panchayat body is five years.
  • If the State government dissolves the Panchayat before the end of its five-year term, fresh elections must be held within six months of such dissolution. It ensures the existence of elected local bodies.

Reservations

  • One third of the positions in all panchayat institutions are reserved for women.
  • Reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are also provided for at all the three levels, in proportion to their population.
  • If the States find it necessary, they can also provide for reservations for the other backward classes (OBCs).
  • Reservations apply not merely to ordinary members in Panchayats but also to the positions of Chairpersons or ‘Adhyakshas’ at all the three levels.

Transfer of Subjects

  • Twenty-nine subjects are identified and listed to the Panchayati Raj institutions in the Eleventh Schedule of the Constitution which were earlier in the State list of subjects.
  • These subjects were mostly linked to development and welfare functions at the local level.
  • Each State decides how many of these twenty-nine subjects would be transferred to the local bodies.

The provisions of the 73rd amendment were not made applicable to the areas inhabited by the Adivasi populations in many States of India.

 

 

If no single party or coalition attained a majority in the Lok Sabha, what will be the role of the President in this situation?

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Answer:

If no single party or coalition attained a majority in the Lok Sabha, the President either recommend to constitute government or to grant a request for dissolution of Lok Sabha.

It is totally under the discretionary power of President.

Enrich Your Learning:

Discretionary Powers of the President

  • There are at least three situations where the President can exercise the powers using his or her own discretion.
  • First, the President can send back the advice given by the Council of Ministers and ask the Council to reconsider the decision on his own discretion.
  • When the President thinks that the advice has certain flaws or legal lacunae, or that it is not in the best interests of the country, the President can ask the Council to reconsider the decision.
  • Such a request by the President to reconsider the decision, would naturally carry a lot of weight. So, this is one way in which the president can act in his own discretion.
  • Although, the Council can still send back the same advice and the President would then be bound by that advice.
  • Secondly, the President also has veto power by which he can withhold or refuse to give assent to Bills (other than Money Bill) passed by the Parliament.
  • The President can send the bill back to the Parliament asking it to reconsider the bill passed by the Parliament.
  • There is no mention in the Constitution about the time limit within which the President must send the bill back for reconsideration. This means that the President can keep the bill pending with him without any time limit.
  • This gives the President an informal power to use the veto in a very effective manner. This is sometimes referred to as ‘pocket veto’.
  • Third is related to the appointment of the Prime Minister. Normally, a leader who has the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha would be appointed as Prime Minister.
  • But, a situation when no leader has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha and two or three leaders are claiming that they have the support of the majority in the house.
  • Now, the President has to decide whom to appoint as the Prime Minister. The President has to use his own discretion in this situation judging who really may have the support of the majority or who can actually form and run the government.
  • If no single party or coalition attained a majority in the Lok Sabha. The situations demanded presidential intervention either in order to constitute governments or to grant a request for dissolution of Lok Sabha by a Prime Minister who could not prove majority in the House.
  • It may thus be said that presidential discretion is related to political conditions.

Other powers

  • The President has a right to be informed of all important matters and deliberations of the Council of Ministers.
  • The Prime Minister is obliged to furnish all the information that the President may call for. The President often writes to the Prime Minister and expresses his views on matters confronting the country.
  • For the most part, the President is a formal power holder and a ceremonial head of the nation.

 

 

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) presides over the Election Commission, but does not have more powers than the other Election Commissioners. True OR False.

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Answer: True.

Enrich Your Learning:

Independent Election Commission:

  • Article 324 of the Indian Constitution provides for an independent Election Commission for the ‘superintendence, direction and control of the electoral roll and the conduct of elections’ in India.
  • To assist the Election Commission of India there is a Chief Electoral Officer in every state. The Election Commission is not responsible for the conduct of local body elections. On Local Government, the State Election Commissioners work independently of the Election Commission of India and each has its own sphere of operation.
  • The CEC and the two Election Commissioners have equal powers to take all decisions relating to elections as a collective body.
  • They are appointed by the President of India on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
  • They are appointed for a six-year term or continue till the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
  • The CEC can be removed before the expiry of the term, by the President if both Houses of Parliament make such a recommendation with a special majority.

Functions of the Election Commission of India:

  • It supervises the preparation of up-to-date voters’ list. It makes every effort to ensure that the voters’ list is free of errors.
  • It also determines the timing of elections and prepares the election schedule.
  • During this entire process, the Election Commission has the power to take decisions to ensure a free and fair poll.
  • It can postpone or cancel the election in the entire country or a specific State or constituency on the grounds that the atmosphere is vitiated and therefore, a free and fair election may not be possible.
  • The Commission also implements a model code of conduct for parties and candidates. It can order a re-poll in a specific constituency.
  • It can also order a recount of votes when it feels that the counting process has not been fully fair and just.
  • The Election Commission accords recognition to political parties and allots symbols to each of them.

 

 

Which article of the Indian constitution grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained under a preventive detention law?

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Answer: The Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained under a preventive detention law.

Enrich Your Learning:

Preventive detention:

  • Ordinarily, a person would be arrested after he or she has reportedly committed some offence. However, there are exceptions to this.
  • Sometimes a person can be arrested simply out of an apprehension that he or she is likely to engage in unlawful activity and imprisoned for some time without following the above mentioned procedure. This is known as preventive detention.
  • It means that if the government feels that a person can be a threat to law and order or to the peace and security of the nation, it can detain or arrest that person.
  • On the face of it, preventive detention looks like an effective tool in the hands of the government to deal with anti-social elements or subversives. But this provision has often been misused by the government.
  • The Article 22 grants protection to persons who are arrested or detained under a preventive detention This protection is available to both citizens as well as aliens and includes the following:
  • The detention of a person cannot exceed three months unless an advisory board reports sufficient cause for extended detention. The board is to consist of judges of a high court.
  • The grounds of detention should be communicated to the detenu. However, the facts considered to be against the public interest need not be disclosed.
  • The detenu should be afforded an opportunity to make a representation against the detention order.

 

 

The idea of Residual Powers in the Indian Constitution were adapted from which Country?

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Answer: Canada

Enrich Your Learning:

Provisions adapted from constitutions of different countries by India:

British Constitution

  • First Past the Post
  • Parliamentary Form of Government
  • The idea of the rule of law
  • Institution of the Speaker and her/his role
  • Law-making procedure
  • Single citizenship, cabinet system, prerogative writs, parliamentary privileges and bicameralism.

Irish Constitution

  • Directive Principles of State Policy
  • Nomination of members to Rajya Sabha and method of election of president

French Constitution

  • Republic and the ideals of liberty, equality and fraternity in the Preamble.

United States Constitution

  • Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • Power of Judicial Review and independence of the judiciary
  • Impeachment of the president, removal of Supreme Court and high court judges and post of vice-president.

Canadian Constitution

  • A quasi-federal form of government (a federal system with a strong central government)
  • Appointment of state governors by the Centre, and advisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court

Government of India Act of 1935

  • Federal Scheme, Office of governor, Judiciary, Public Service Commissions, Emergency provisions and administrative details.

Australian Constitution

  • Concurrent List, freedom of trade, commerce and intercourse, and joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament

Weimar Constitution of Germany

  • Suspension of Fundamental Rights during Emergency.

Soviet Constitution (USSR, now Russia)

  • Fundamental duties and the ideal of justice (social, economic and political) in the Preamble.

South African Constitution

  • Procedure for amendment of the Constitution and election of members of Rajya Sabha.

Japanese Constitution

Procedure established by Law

 

 

Before the framing of the constitution started, the historic Objectives Resolution was moved by a) Jawaharlal Nehru OR b) M N Roy

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Answer: Jawaharlal Nehru

Enrich Your Learning:

Objectives Resolution:

Background:

  • For decades preceding the promulgation of the Constitution, the nationalist movement had debated many questions that were relevant to the making of the constitution — the shape and form of government India should have, the values it should uphold, the inequalities it should overcome.
  • It is summary of the principles that the nationalist movement brought to the Constituent Assembly is the Objectives Resolution (the resolution that defined the aims of the Assembly) moved by Nehru in 1946.
  • Based on this resolution, Indian Constitution gave institutional expression to these fundamental commitments: equality, liberty, democracy, sovereignty and a cosmopolitan identity.

Main points of the Objectives Resolution:

  • India is an independent, sovereign, republic;
  • India shall be a Union of erstwhile British Indian territories, Indian States, and other parts outside British India and Indian States as are willing to be a part of the Union;
  • Territories forming the Union shall be autonomous units and exercise all powers and functions of the Government and administration, except those assigned to or vested in the Union;
  • All powers and authority of sovereign and independent India and its constitution shall flow from the people;
  • All people of India shall be guaranteed and secured social, economic and political justice; equality of status and opportunities and equality before law; and fundamental freedoms – of speech, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action – subject to law and public morality;
  • The minorities, backward and tribal areas, depressed and other backward classes shall be provided adequate safeguards;
  • The territorial integrity of the Republic and its sovereign rights on land, sea and air shall be maintained according to justice and law of civilized nations;
  • The land would make full and willing contribution to the promotion of world peace and welfare of mankind.

 

 

The members of the Constituent Assembly of India were chosen by indirect election by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies under a) Government of India Act, 1935 OR b) Government of India Act, 1919.

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Answer: Government of India Act, 1935

Enrich Your Learning:

How was the Indian Constitution made?

  • Formally, the Constitution was made by the Constituent Assembly which had been elected for undivided India.
  • It held its first sitting on 9 December1946 and reassembled as Constituent Assembly for divided India on 14 August 1947.
  • The Constituent Assembly was composed roughly along the lines suggested by the plan proposed by the committee of the British cabinet, known as the Cabinet Mission.

Cabinet Mission:

According to this plan:

  • Each Province and each Princely State or group of States were allotted seats proportional to their respective population roughly in the ratio of 1:10,00,000.
  • As a result, the Provinces (that were under direct British rule) were to elect 292 members while the Princely States were allotted a minimum of 93 seats.
  • The seats in each Province were distributed among the three main communities, Muslims, Sikhs and general, in proportion to their respective populations.
  • Members of each community in the Provincial Legislative Assembly elected their own representatives by the method of proportional representation with single transferable vote.
  • The method of selection in the case of representatives of Princely States was to be determined by consultation.
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