Polity & Constitution: Compendium

1. How a Chief Election Commissionar be Removed? 2. Can Preamble of Indian Constitution be amended? 3. What is the procedure of constitutional amendments? 4. What are categories of Fundamental Rights? 5. What is suspension of Fundamental Rights? 6. What is a Writ and what are Types of writs? 7. What is meaning of Judicial Review? 8. What are Directive Principles of State Policy ? 9. What are Fundamental Duties?

1. How a Chief Election Commissionar be Removed? 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. 2. Can Preamble of Indian Constitution be amended? Supreme Court in the Kesavananda Bharti case in 1973 overruled its earlier decision and held that the Preamble is a part of the Constitution and is subject to the amending powers of the Parliament as any other provisions of the Constitution, provided the basic structure of the Constitution is not destroyed. The Constitution (42 Amendment) Act 1976, in fact amended the Preamble and added three new words viz., Socialist, Secular and Integrity, to the Preamble.

3. What is the procedure of constitutional amendments? Article 368 deals with amendment procedure of the Constitution. A Bill for the purpose of amendment of the Constitution could be initiated in either house of Parliament and not in any state legislature. The Constitution lays down three different procedures for the amendment of various provisions of the Constitution. 1) Certain provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the Parliament by simple

majority. These include provisions relating to the creation of new states, reconstitution of existing states, creation or abolition of upper chambers in the state legislatures etc. (2) The provisions that effect federal structure could be amended only if they are passed in each House (a) by a majority of the total membership of that House and (b) by a majority of not less than two- thirds of the members of that House present and voting , and (c) thereafter ratified by the legislature of not less than one half of the states by resolutions to that effect passed by those legislatures before the bill was presented to the President for assent. Provisions that can be amended , this way, include election of the President, powers of the Union and state executive, Union judiciary, High courts, amendment procedure etc. (3) But a major portion of the Constitution can be amended by the special majority, i.e. (a) a majority of total membership of each house and (b) by a majority of not less than two- thirds of the members of that house present and voting.

4. What are categories of Fundamental Rights? Originally the Constitution classified the Fundamental Rights into seven categories but with the elimination of right to property from the list of Fundamental Rights by the 44th Amendment in 1979,there are now six categories of rights. A. Right to Equality-Articles 14 to 18 Article 14: Equality Before Law Article 15: Prohibition of discrimination Article 16: Equality of Opportunity Article 17: Abolition of Untouchables Article 18: Abolition of Titles

B. Right to particular freedoms-Articles 19 to22 Article 19: Fundamental Freedoms of Citizens Article 20: Protection against Arbitrary conviction Article 21: Protection of Life and Liberty Article 22: Protection against Arrest and Detention

C. Right against exploitation –Articles 23-24 Article 23: Prohibition of Traffic in human beings and forced Labour Article 24: Prohibition of Employment of Children D. Right to freedom of religion-Articles 25 –28 Article 25: Freedom of Profession and Propagation of Religion Article 26: Freedom to Manage Religions Affairs Article 27: Freedom from paying taxes for the promotion of any Religion Article 28: Freedom to attend or abstain from religious functions E. Cultural and Educational Rights-Articles 29-30 Article 29: Right to maintain Language, Script and Culture Article 30: Right to establish and administer educational institutions F. Right to Constitutional Remedies-Articles 32-35 5. What is suspension of Fundamental Rights? The constitution provides for a suspension of fundamental rights during an emergency. However, such a suspension automatically ends when the emergency ceases or when the President withdraws it.When the President makes a proclamation of emergency under Article 352 the freedoms guaranteed under Article 19 are automatically suspended. However, an important change has been introduced by the 44th Amendment Act 1978. This Amendment prohibits the suspension of Articles 20 and21 even during a national emergency. The President can suspend other Fundamental Rights through specific orders, but these orders must be approved by the Parliament.

6. What is a Writ and what are Types of writs? As per the Right to Constitutional Remedies-Articles 32-35, A citizen has right to move to the courts for securing the fundamental rights. Citizens can go to the Supreme Court or the high Courts for getting their fundamental rights enforced. It empowers the Courts to issue directions or orders or writs for this purpose. Types of Writs: 1. Habeas corpus means “to have the body .“ It is in the nature of an order calling upon a

person who has unlawfully detained another person to produce the latter before the court. 2. Mandamus literally means command. It is thus an order of a superior court commanding a person holding a public office or a public authority- (including the Government) to do or not to do something, in the nature of public duty. 3. Prohibition- A writ of prohibition is issued by a superior court to an inferior court or tribunal to prevent it from exceeding its jurisdiction and to compel it to keep within the limits of its jurisdiction. 4. Certiorari - A writ of certiorari has much in common with a writ of prohibition. The only difference between the two is, whereas a writ of prohibition is issued to prevent an inferior court or tribunal to go ahead with the trial of a case in which it has assumed excess of jurisdiction, a writ of certiorari is issued to quash the order passed by an inferior court or tribunal in excess of jurisdiction. 5. Quo Warranto - The words quo warranto means “what is your authority” ? A writ of quo warranto is issued against the holder of a public office to show to the court under what authority he holds the office. 7. What is meaning of Judicial Review? Judicial Review is the power of courts (Supreme Court and the High Courts) to declare a law unconstitutional and void if it is inconsistent with any of the provisions of the Constitution to the extent of its inconsistency. So far as the contravention of the Fundamental Rights is concerned this power is specially enjoined upon the courts by the Constitution, in Article 13. 8. What are Directive Principles of State Policy ? The Directive Principles of State Policy which embody the ambitions and aspirations of the makers of the Constitution, are contained in Part 4 of the Constitution. They aim at providing the social and economic basis for a genuine democracy. These principles are not enforceable through courts and are merely directives which the government has to keep in mind while framing a policy. This novel feature of the Constitution has been borrowed from the Constitution of Ireland. Broadly speaking, there are three types of Directive Principles (1) Economic or Socialist- these principles aim at providing social and economic justice and ushering in a welfare state. (2) Gandhian Principles- These are the embodiment of the Gandhian programme for

reconstruction. (3) Liberal Principles- these principles are based on liberal thinking of freedom in every walk of life. 9. What are Fundamental Duties? The Fundamental Duties are ten in number and are contained in Art. 51A Part 4-A of the Constitution. This Article was inserted into the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act 1976. These duties are statutory duties and are enforceable by law. Violation of the duties can be met with punishment.