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IASBABA

SYNOPSIS

TEST 2
CONNECT TO CONQUER (C2C) PHASE II

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Contents

Q.1) The Constitution of India was an outcome of accommodation and consensus. Do you
agree? Elaborate your response. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ........................................................ 4

Q.2) Many experts opine that the Tenth Schedule is in violation of the fundamental tenets of
the Constitution. What do you think? Elucidate. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ................................ 5

Q.3) Devolution of powers to the local governing bodies mean little in the absence of
meaningful financial devolution. Elucidate. What steps have been taken to address this issue?
Discuss. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ............................................................................................. 6

Q.4) The recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission and the implementation
of GST have transformed centre-state relations in India. Do you agree? Examine. (250 Words,
15 Marks) .............................................................................................................................. 9

Q.5) Do you agree with the view that secularism is a mere top-dressing for the Constitution of
India? Elaborate your views. (250 Words, 15 Marks) ............................................................ 11

Q.6) How do you assess the argument for and against the Uniform Civil Code? Elaborate your
response. (250 Words, 15 Marks)......................................................................................... 12

Q.7) Is it fair to argue that the basic structure doctrine contributes to a hyperactive judiciary
in India? Substantiate your response. (250 Words, 15 Marks) .............................................. 14

Q.8) The provisions for alternate dispute resolution in India follow from the Constitution.
Discuss. Also assess the performance of National Lok Adalats conducted so far in the country.
Can they be an effective tool for dispute resolution? Critically examine. (150 Words, 10
Marks)................................................................................................................................. 15

Q.9) Is Indian federalism a diluted form of federalism? Critically examine. (250 Words, 15
Marks)................................................................................................................................. 17

Q.10) How do you conceptualise reservation as a constitutional design for


empowerment? Critically examine. (150 Words, 10 Marks)................................
Marks) ............................................. 21

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Q.11) Emergency provisions are an easy option for establishing constitutional
authoritarianism. Do you agree? Critically comment. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ................... 22

Q.12) Article 370 inculcates healthy political practices in a federal India. Do you agree
with this view? Elaborate. (250 Words, 15 Marks) ................................................................ 24

Q.13) Why is the Election Commission an important instrument for democratic governance in
India? Discuss. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ................................................................................. 25

Q.14) The CAG has become the most reliable instrument to establish integrity in
administration. Critically comment. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ................................................. 28

Q.15) Is it possible for a democracy to function if the constitutional provisions for


amendments are completely removed? Substantiate your viewpoint. (150 Words, 10 Marks)
........................................................................................................................................... 29

Q.16) In what ways the office of the governor has become a blotch to India’s federalism?
Examine. (150 Words, 10 Marks) ......................................................................................... 31

Q.17) Localising governance is an offshoot of democratic decentralisation. Explain. How far


local governance has succeeded in India? Critically evaluate. (250 Words, 15 Marks) ........... 33

Q.18) Is political bitterness responsible for a dysfunctional Parliament? Examine the issue in
light of the recent stalemate in the Parliament. Is our national interest the first casualty of the
prevailing stalemate? Elucidate. (250 Words, 15 Marks) ...................................................... 35

Q.19) Politics is so deeply embedded in the national discourse that frequent elections in
states may derail the reform agenda of the incumbent government at the centre. In light of
the statement, do you think important decisions are held up during elections in order to
avoid electoral backlash? Can holding elections simultaneously address this issue? Critically
examine. (250 Words, 15 Marks) ......................................................................................... 37

Q.20) Civil society and voluntary sector occupy a prominent place in the democratic
landscape of India. However, rule of law must govern their functioning in matters of financing
and objectives. In light of the controversy and debates surrounding the voluntary sector,
analyse the statements given above. (250 Words, 15 Marks) ............................................ 39

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Q.1) The Constitution of India was an outcome of accommodation and
consensus. Do you agree? Elaborate your response. (150 Words, 10
Marks)

Approach:
 The case statement was given by Constitution expert Granville Austin. Since it is the
most accepted view, you need to go in favour of the statement.
 Separately discuss the points for accommodation and consensus.

Body:

The Constitution of India was framed by the Constituent Assembly, which, even though was not
a directly elected body, was representative of almost all sections of society.

The constitution was drafted by the Drafting Committee chaired by Dr. Ambedkar and then
every clause was discussed and deliberated in detail.

The Drafting Committee, after taking into consideration the proposals of the various
committees, prepared the first draft of the Constitution of India, which was published in
February 1948. The people of India were given eight months to discuss the draft and propose
amendments. In the light of the public comments, criticisms and suggestions, the Drafting
Committee prepared a second draft, which was published in October 1948.

Decision making by Consensus:

Consensus is the method of making decisions by unanimity. It was seen in countries which got
independence in recent times, that minority aspirations and ideas were bulldozed by majority
leaders, which gave birth to long term political conflicts in the country. Indian leaders were fully
aware of that hence all the decisions were taken by consensus keeping the trust of every
community and culture and hoping that Constitution of India stays durable.

One can provide some examples such as – abolition of Zamindari; Uniform Civil Code provision
was put under DPSP rather than Fundamental Rights because of consensus.

Principle of Accommodation:

The second of India’s original contribution to constitution making was the principle of
accommodation – the ability to reconcile apparently incompatible concepts. Leaders with
contradictory ideologies were present in the same assembly. As well as India borrowed many
concepts from various constitutions of the countries with different ideologies. India has

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reconciled federal and unitary systems , membership of commonwealth and republican status
of the government, provision for panchayatraj with the need of a strong central government.

Q.2) Many experts opine that the Tenth Schedule is in violation of the
fundamental tenets of the Constitution. What do you think? Elucidate.
(150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:

 You don’t have to get into the details of tenth schedule too much. Just mention what it
is in the introduction.
 Explain why it appears to be in violation of the fundamental tenets of the constitution.
 Also mention some points as to why/or in what form it should be there to balance the
answer.

Body:

The Constitution (Fifty-second Amendment) Act, 1985 added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian
Constitution to curb the growing tendency of political defections by parliamentarians and
legislators from one party to another after elections.

Members of Parliament and State legislatures are liable for disqualification if they leave the
political party on whose symbol they got elected and join another, or violate the party whip to
vote a certain way in the House.

Problem with 10th schedule:

While penalising individual acts of defection, it recognised the principle of splits whereby if one-
third of the members of a legislative party broke away and formed a separate group or joined
another political party, they could continue as members of the legislature.

Setting the one-third bar was explained in paragraph three of the Tenth Schedule in terms of
“honest dissent” — that is, a critical mass of numbers would be swayed not by monetary
considerations or the perks of office but by deep ideological or policy differences. In reality,
individual defections turned into a got converted into a mass-scale malady. Later the Schedule
was amended and bar was raised to two – third members of a party.

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(Note: Such detail is not required in the answer. Use this information to tell how it is against the
fundamental tenets.)

How it is against Fundamental Tenets:

Constitution makers kept Universal Adult Franchise so that citizens can select their
representatives and their needs and aspirations are reflected in the parliament. But because of
10th schedule, the individuality of the elected representative is lost and they have to abide by
party high command’s decision. Legislators, rather than articulating the predilections and
priorities of the territorial constituency that they represent, have become but virtual hostages
of a whip-driven tyranny.

Lawmaking in India, far from being a consultative and transparent process that takes all
stakeholders on board, essentially remains a bureaucratic function. On top of it is the party
whip, which directs its members which way to vote practically on each and every bill. This
enforced adherence to the party line means that a member invariably ends up voting for a bill if
he/she is on the Treasury benches and against a bill if he/she is in the Opposition, with the odd
spectacle of parliamentarians sometimes voting against a legislative instrument which they had
supported previously, depending on whether their party occupies the Opposition or Treasury
benches.

This has the effect of disincentivising lawmakers from seriously thinking, researching or even
rifling for best practices to incorporate into legislation that is before the House for
consideration and focus their energies on procedural matters. This, when legislation is the
principal function of Parliament. The problem becomes heightened as Indian laws do not come
with a sunset clause. If a bad law is enacted, it would remain on the statute books for at least a
century if not more.

Q.3) Devolution of powers to the local governing bodies mean little in


the absence of meaningful financial devolution. Elucidate. What steps
have been taken to address this issue? Discuss. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:

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 Show how financial devolution is a major concern with regard to local governing bodies
and how devolution of powers will not be complete without empowering local bodies
financially.
 Provide recent steps taken by the government.

Background:

National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated on April 24 every year as it was on this day that the
panchayati raj system got constitutional recognition during P.V. Narasimha Rao’s tenure as PM.
Seeking to empower rural local bodies financially and politically, the 73rd constitutional
amendment stipulated transferring 29 items to local bodies, setting up state election
commissions and finance commissions to conduct elections and enhance resources for local
bodies, reserving one-third seats for women and, in proportion to their population, for SCs and
STs in all three tiers, apart from forming gram sabhas with people’s participation.

Approach:

 Devolution of powers to local bodies.


 How devolution of power is more meaningful when it is financial devolution.
 Steps taken by the government to devolve finances and power.

Body:

A fully functional, responsive grassroots-level system of self-governance is a sine qua non for an
effective democracy. The government should work towards making gram swaraj a reality by
strengthening local self-governments and the three Ds — Decentralization, Devolution and
Development — go hand in hand for better strengthening of local governments.

Devolution of powers to local bodies:

Government’s “Gram Uday Se Bharat Uday” programme underlines the importance of the
concept: “Ram rajya would be incomplete without gram rajya”. The 73rd constitutional
amendment gave effect to Article 40 of the Constitution, which is actually part of the DPSP. It
states that the state shall take steps to organise village panchayats and endow them with such
powers and authority along with the financial support as may be necessary to enable them to
function as units of self-government.

Issues:

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 Even though it has been more than two decades since local bodies have been
constitutionally empowered, the devolution of 29 subjects to panchayats is not
satisfactory in many states.
 It appears that a majority of states are showing little interest in devolving power and
funds to local bodies and are taking only half-hearted measures.
 While states are seeking more powers and rightly so, they are not showing the same
interest in devolving powers to local bodies along with the three Fs — funds, functions
and functionaries.
 Holding elections to local bodies every five years should be made mandatory and there
should be no discretion or scope for the states to either postpone or advance them.

Steps taken by the government:

 The recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission for providing grants to the tune
of Rs 2,00,292 crore between 2015 and 2020 to gram panchayats (GPs) directly, and also
released the allocations to rural local bodies has been accepted.
 .14th FC recommendation of devolving funds to states from 32% to 42% has been
accepted.
 In addition to the funds received from the Centre and the states, the panchayats are
also mandated by the 14th Finance Commission to generate their own resources.

Present situation:

In a study conducted by the ministry of Panchayati raj in 2014-15 on the Panchayat Devolution
Index, which looked at the devolution of powers to Panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in terms of
the three Fs:

 Kerala topped the list in all parameters except funds.


 While Karnataka was best in transferring funds to PRIs.
 Though Sikkim did well in transferring functions, it was low on other parameters.

Way forward:

With the country’s democratic structure operating at three levels — national, state, and
panchayats and nagar palikas — democracy would be more meaningful and robust when
people participate in running their own affairs. However, this can be achieved only when states
fully empower rural local bodies in terms of devolution of funds, decentralization of powers,
and allow people to have a greater say in local area development.

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Q.4) The recommendations of the Fourteenth Finance Commission and
the implementation of GST have transformed centre-state relations in
India. Do you agree? Examine. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Approach:
 Introduce by writing about fourteenth Finance commission and GST combine and their
collective impact on federal relationship in the country
 Write recommendations of Fourteenth Finance commission, Examine positive and
negative impact of accepted recommendations.
 Write changes due to introduction of GST, impact with similar approach taken in case of
Fourteenth Finance commission
 Write contrast and similarity of both and conclude suitably

Background: Both being important issues in news, fourteenth finance commission due to
increased shift in funds towards states, GST for its impact on fiscal order, centre state financial
relations and debates on its effectiveness.

Introduction: Indian constitution envisaged center state co-operation to ensure success of our
federal policy. However increase in complication of the relations between the center and states
made this far from reality. Recent initiatives like implementation of Goods and Services tax
(GST), recommendations of 14th Finance commission have brought the states into prominence
and set them at fore-front in center state relations.

Body:

Fourteenth Finance commission recommendations transforming centre state relationship:

1. Share of 42% of the divisible pool of tax to states, hence it enhanced fiscal autonomy of
states

2. Doing away with the distinction between unconditional and conditional transfers. It provided
flexibility to states to use funds as per the needs.

3. Distinction between planned and unplanned expenditure has been done away with, thus
suiting the practical availability of fund devolution.

4. Reducing the number of central sector enabled the states with more autonomy and decision-
making power to spend on most needed initiatives.

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5. No recommendations for sector specific grants which put burden on state to attract more
investment hence it put a break on competitive federalism. Funds for local bodies helped in
strengthening the concept of federalism.

6. Distinction between general and special category states has been done away with , but
provided grants to 11 revenue deficit states. Overall it led to strengthening of cooperative
federalism

7. Finance commission recommended reducing the combined fiscal deficit of both centre and
the states requiring joint efforts from both.

GSTs transforming Centre state relationship:

1. GST has limited the financial powers of states in its jurisdiction in indirect taxes.

2 States now have to depend on GST council for any change in indirect taxation system.

3 Advantageous position enjoyed by some producing states like Maharashtra, Gujarat will be
eroded.

4. Implementation of GST as one tax for the whole of India integrates the centre and states
together.

5. Proportion of voting rights allotted to states in GST Council (2/3rd) when compared to centre
(1/3rd) and other provisions ensure that every decision of the council is taken in consonance
with the states.

6. Center has agreed to compensate the states with the loss in revenue for 5 years; this signifies
the mutual understanding of concerns.

Conclusion:

The Finance Commission acknowledged that the Centre may have to initially bear an additional
fiscal burden and higher devolution of net central taxes arising due to the GST compensation,
but this should be treated as an investment that is certain to yield substantial gains to the
nation in the medium and long run.

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Q.5) Do you agree with the view that secularism is a mere top-dressing
for the Constitution of India? Elaborate your views. (250 Words, 15
Marks)
Approach:

 Question’s demand is to take a stand on whether secularism is engraved in the


constitution of India or is it just on paper and not enacted with spirit.
 Substitute your views with suitable examples.

Body

Our Constitution doesn’t acquire its secular character merely from the words in the Preamble,
but from a collective reading of many of its provisions, particularly the various fundamental
rights that it guarantees.

The concept of secularism is embedded in our constitutional philosophy. India’s constitutional


commitment to secularism emerged out of the freedom struggle. In 1908, Gandhiji wrote in
Hind Swaraj: "India cannot cease to be one nation, because people belonging to different
religions live in it... In no part of the world are one nationality and one religion synonymous
terms; nor has it ever been so in India."

The Constitution, as it was originally adopted, did not contain the word “secular”, which was
inserted into the Preamble only through the 42nd amendment introduced by Indira Gandhi’s
government during the height of Emergency rule.

However Supreme Court noted in SR Bommai vs Union of India, 1994 case, “Notwithstanding
the fact that the words 'Socialist' and 'Secular' were added in the Preamble of the Constitution
in 1976 by the 42nd Amendment, the concept of Secularism was very much embedded in our
constitutional philosophy …. By this amendment what was implicit was made explicit.”

Constituent Assembly rejected a motion moved by Brajeshwar Prasad from Bihar to have the
words “secular” and “socialist” included in the Preamble because assembly took India’s secular
status for granted. To them, any republic that purports to grant equality before the law to all its
citizens, that purports to recognise people’s rights to free speech, to a freedom of religion and
conscience simply cannot be un-secular.

Secularism, as would be clear on any morally reasonable analysis, is inbuilt in the foundations
of constitutionalism, in the idea of a democracy properly understood. In the case of our
Constitution, it flows from the series of fundamental rights guaranteed in Part III.

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Indian Constitutional secularism can be best comprehended from K.M. Munshi’s words. “The
non-establishment clause (of the U.S. Constitution),” Munshi wrote, “was inappropriate to
Indian conditions and we had to evolve a characteristically Indian secularism… We are a people
with deeply religious moorings. At the same time, we have a living tradition of religious
tolerance — the results of the broad outlook of Hinduism that all religions lead to the same
god… In view of this situation, our state could not possibly have a state religion, nor could a
rigid line be drawn between the state and the church as in the U.S..”

Rajeev Bhargava has explained, secularism in Indian is the maintenance of a “principled


distance” between state and religion. This does not mean that the state cannot intervene in
religion and its affairs, but that any intervention should be within the limitations prescribed by
the Constitution.

Thus it is clear that a diverse, plural society such as India’s cannot thrive without following the
sui generis form of secularism that our founders put in place.

Q.6) How do you assess the argument for and against the Uniform Civil
Code? Elaborate your response. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Approach:

 As the question is to elaborate therefore each pros and cons of the Uniform Civil Code
must be dealt in detail with sufficient information.

Body:

Article 44 in Part IV of the Constitution of India says that “The State shall endeavour to secure
for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India.”

It means that all the personal religious laws shall be kept at bay and a uniform personal law
governing areas of marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance shall be
formulated. This law shall not keep in its ambit personal law regarding any religion or culture
and it shall be the same for all persons irrespective of their caste, creed or colour.

Arguments for a uniform civil code

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 The codification and unification of various personal laws will result in coherent system
of laws which will mitigate much of the existing confusion and enable easier and
efficient administration of laws. It will also result in better understanding of the law.

 Uniform civil code will provide considerable impetus towards a more secular nation by
placing all communities and religions on the same plane, and thereby placing an
individual’s Indian identity before his or her religious affiliation.

 From a gender perspective, it is argued that the personal laws of certain communities
and religions treat men and women unequally. In a democratic state, where women
have just as important a role to play as men, enacting a common civil code would
eliminate this inequality, and lead to a more gender sensitive society. (Example – Recent
Shayara Bano case where Supreme Court invalidated the practice of instant triple talaq.)

 A uniform civil code will infuse the Indian legal system with a much needed dose of
parity between different religions in respect of their personal laws. For instance, divorce
amongst Hindus and Christians is substantially more stringent and regulated (by virtue
of being codified) than under Muslim law.

Arguments against a uniform civil code

 Uniform civil code might be seen as a tyranny of the majority towards the minority, and
engender a great degree of divisiveness within the Indian society.
However, as K.M. Munshi said in the Constituent Assembly, specifically citing the
examples of Turkey and Egypt, “Nowhere in advanced Muslim countries the personal
law of each minority has been recognised as so sacrosanct as to prevent the enactment
of a Civil Code”.

 The task of actually devising a set of rules that will govern all communities is a very
daunting considering the vast array of interests and sentiments to be accounted for, in
order that all communities enjoy equal rights, which are also not disadvantageous
compared to their situation under their separate personal laws.

 Since personal laws are derived from, religious beliefs, it may be prudent not to disturb
them by enacting a common code, for this runs the risk of engendering a great deal of
animosity and tension between various religious communities – something that is
already a major problem in India.

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There are valid arguments on both sides of the ideological fence. Whatever the ultimate
outcome may be however, the decision has to be well thought out and grounded in reason and
not biased political motives or partisan communal interests.

Extras:

Some of the laws that were passed to bring about religious stability and gender equality are as
follows:-

 Indian Succession Act, 1865,


 The Indian Marriage Act, 1864,
 Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1856,
 Married Women’s Property Act of 1923,
 Hindu Inheritance (Removal of Disabilities) Act, 1928.

Q.7) Is it fair to argue that the basic structure doctrine contributes to a


hyperactive judiciary in India? Substantiate your response. (250 Words,
15 Marks)

Approach:
 Explain basic structure
 Since the directive is to substantiate give ample examples

Body:

The basic structure doctrine is an Indian judicial principle that the constitution of India has
certain basic features that cannot be altered through amendments by the Parliament. The
doctrine thus forms the basis of a limited power of the Supreme Court to review and strike
down the constitutional amendments which alter the basic structure. The basic structure has
not been explicitly defined by the judiciary and the claim of any particular feature of the
constitution to be basic is determined by the court.

Although Kesavananda was decided by a narrow margin of 7-6, the basic structure doctrine has
since gained widespread acceptance and legitimacy due to subsequent cases and judgments.

During emergency the 39th constitutional amendment placed the election of the President,
Vice President, the prime minister and the speaker of the Lok Sabha beyond the scrutiny of the
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Indian courts. In Raj Narain V Indira Gandhi court removed 39th amendment citing sovereign
and republic status , equality of an individual, secularism and rule of law which are part of basic
structure.

The 42nd constitutional amendment act also called as “mini constitution” had 59 clauses that
striped Supreme Court of its powers and moved the political democracy towards parliamentary
sovereignity. In Minerva mills case the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional citing the
basic structure. Supreme Court further established that democracy, power of judicial review ,
secularism, equality of status are the basic features of the constitution.

Similarly in Nachane, Ashwini Shivram v. State of Maharashtra, 1998, in Raghunath Rao v. Union
of India case, 1993, in R. Bommai case 1994 , in P. Sampath Kumar v. Union of India (1987), in
L.Chandrakumar v. Union of India (1997), Waman Rao v. Union of India(1981), Subhesh Sharma
v. Union of India (1991). The doctrine of Basic Structure established the theory of
constitutionalism. The doctrine of Basic Structure helped in maintaining the supremacy of the
Constitution and to prevent its destruction by a temporary majority in Parliament.

Conclusion

Though sometimes it acts as a limitation upon the constituent power and has helped in
arresting the forces which may destabilize the democracy but Parliament does not and should
not have an unlimited power to amend the Constitution. It helps to retain the basic ideals of the
Constitution which was meticulously constituted by the founding fathers our Constitution. It is
widely believed that if the Supreme Court had held that Parliament could alter any part of the
Constitution, India would most certainly have degenerated into a totalitarian State or had one-
party rule. Most importantly, the Constitution would have lost its supremacy. For instance, the
amendments that were made during the Emergency would have derailed the democratic set up
of our Constitution. If Parliament were indeed supreme, the following amendments would have
become part of the Constitution.

Q.8) The provisions for alternate dispute resolution in India follow from
the Constitution. Discuss. Also assess the performance of National Lok
Adalats conducted so far in the country. Can they be an effective tool for
dispute resolution? Critically examine. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach
 Constitutional roots of ADR
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 Explain how successful they are in resolving disputes
 what else should be done along with ADRs

Body:

Alternative Dispute Resolution in India is an attempt made by the legislators and judiciary alike
to achieve the “Constitutional goal” of achieving Complete Justice in India. In India, the quest
for justice has been an ideal, which the citizens have been aspiring for generations down the
line. Our Constitution reflects this aspiration in the Preamble itself, which speaks about justice
in all its forms: social, economic and political justice is a constitutional mandate.


The alternate dispute resolution mechanism (ADR), or informal access to justice, includes
modes like ADR for out of court settlement through mediation, lok adalats, nyaya panchayats,
etc. which are not bound to follow code of civil procedure or code of criminal procedure and
are only guided by principles of natural justice.

Constitutional roots of ADR

 Alternative Dispute Resolution in India was founded on the basis of Articles 14 and 21,
which deal with ‘equality before law’ and ‘right to life and personal liberty’ respectively.

 ADR also tries to achieve the DPSP relating to Equal Justice and Free Legal Aid as laid
down under Article 39A.

 Article 323-A deals with Administrative Tribunals; article 323-B deals with tribunals for
other matters.

 The Inter State Council is a non permanent constitutional body setup by a presidential
order on the basis of provisions in Article 263 of the Constitution of India. The Council is
formed to discussing or investigating policies, subjects of common interest, and
disputes, among states.

Performance of National Lok Adalats

 For bringing down the pressure on regular courts, the government with the help of the
Supreme Court has been encouraging alternate dispute resolution forums such as
disposal of cases through the Lok Adalats which adjudicates cases in the pre-litigation
stage as well as those pending in courts.

 Some of the states have actually done remarkable achievement in disposal of cases
through Lok Adalats. Uttar Pradesh tops the states with highest number of cases
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disposed of through such courts. In the last three years the state has disposed of 46
lakh cases through the National Lok Adalats alone. In addition, the states have also
disposed of cases through permanent Lok Adalats and regular Lok Adalats.

 Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, MP, Odisha, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh are some of the
other states that have managed to dispose of large number of cases through the Lok
Adalats. West Bengal, which had been disposing of less than 20,000 cases a year
through such courts, had made a remarkable achievement by disposing of a record
89,900 cases in the nine months.

How Lok Adalats act as an effective tool for dispute resolution?

Lok Adalats encourage parties to settle cases outside the formal court system. Generally, cases
where parties can reach an amicable settlement, including bounced cheque and bank recovery
cases, civil suits, motor accident claims, service matters, family matters and traffic challan cases
are taken up by the Lok Adalats.

Since the bench members do not have any judicial role, they can only persuade the parties to
come to a conclusion for settling the dispute outside the court. The Lok Adalats do not decide
the matter referred to it, instead cases are decided on the basis of the compromise or
settlement between the parties.

Lok Adalats have been given statutory status under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
Under the Act, the award reached by the Lok Adalat is deemed to be an order of a civil court
and is final and binding on all parties and no appeal against such an award lies before any court.

Conclusion

The government with the help of the apex court has been encouraging extension of the fast
track courts, mobile courts, shift system in subordinate courts, Lok Adalats and popularising
alternative dispute resolution mechanism and plea bargaining to bring down pendencies. Along
with the above efforts vacancies in the courts should be filled and there should be focus on
crime prevention and unnecessary litigation. Since government is the litigant in 80% of the
cases, the government should rationalise the rules for a litigation free governance.

Q.9) Is Indian
ndian federalism a diluted form of federalism
federalism? Critically
examine. (250
50 Words, 15 Marks)

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Approach:

 It’s a straight forward question. Show how Indian federalism has quasi-federal and
unitary features.
 Since directive is critically examine, provide why Indian system can be considered
Federal despite those unitary features.

Body:

It has been the matter of debate among the scholars that whether the constitution of India is
completely federal or unitary in nature. But actually Indian constitution contains both features
of a federal constitution and unitary constitution. This question cannot be answered without
going into the meaning of federalism and the essential features that are evident in federal
state.

Federal Constitution:

 In a federal set up there is a two tier of Government with well assigned powers and
functions. In this system the central government and the governments of the units act
within a well defined sphere, co-ordinate and at the same time act independently.

Unitary Constitution and Federal Features of Indian Constitution

 A unitary system is governed constitutionally as one single unit, with one


constitutionally created legislature. All power is top down. The supremacy of the
constitution means that both, the Union and the State Governments, shall operate
within the limits set by the Constitution. Written Constitution The most important
feature of a federation and is the most elaborate Constitution of the world.

 Rigid Constitution: The procedure of amending the Constitution in a federal system is


normally rigid. Indian Constitution provides that some amendments require a special
majority. However, in addition to this process, some amendments must be approved by
at least 50% of the states. After this procedure the amendment is signed by the head of
the state i.e; the President. Since in India important amendments can be amended
through this procedure Hence, Indian Constitution has been rightly called a rigid
constitution.

 Division of Powers: In Indian constitution the powers of state and centre are clearly
defined and there are very clear limits of both the centre and the state for law making
powers. Our constitution enumerates three lists, viz. the Union, the State and the

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Concurrent List. The Union List consists of 97 subjects of national importance the State
List consists of 66 subjects of local interest and the Concurrent List has 47 subjects
important to both the Union and the State.

 Supremacy and Independence of the Judiciary: Supremacy of judiciary is another very


important feature of a federal state where there is an independent judiciary to interpret
the Constitution and to maintain its sanctity. The Supreme Court of India has the original
jurisdiction to settle disputes between the Union and the States. It can declare a law as
unconstitutional, if it contravenes any provision of the Constitution.

Unitary Features of Indian Constitution:

 In spite of the fact that the Indian Constitution establishes a federal structure, it is
indeed very difficult to put the Indian Constitution in the category of a true federation.

 Union of States; Article I of the Constitution describes India as a ‘Union of States’, which
implies two things: firstly, it is not the result of an agreement among the States and
secondly, the States have no freedom to secede or separate from the Union. Besides,
the Constitution of the Union and the States is a single framework from which neither
can get out and within which they must function. The federation is a union because it is
indestructible and helps to maintain the unity of the country.

 Appointment of Governor: Art 155 and 156 provide that the Governor, who is the
constitutional head of a State, is to be appointed by the President and stays only until
the pleasure of the President. The working of Indian federal system clearly reveals that
the Governor has acted more as centre’s representative than as the head of the State.
This enables the Union government to exercise control over the State administration.

 Representation in the Legislature: The equality of units in a federation is best


guaranteed by their equal representation in the Uppers House of the federal legislature
(Parliament). They have unequal representation in the Rajya Sabha.

 Appointment on Key Positions: In addition to all this, all important appointments such
as the Chief Election Commissioner, the Comptroller and Auditor General are made by
the Union Government. Besides, there is single citizenship. There is no provision for
separate Constitutions for the states. The States cannot propose amendments to, the
Constitution. As such amendments can only be made by the Union Parliament. All India
Services such as IAS and IPS have been created which are kept under the cont
control of the
Union. In financial matters too, the States depend upon the Union to a great extent. The

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States do not possess adequate financial resources to meet their requirements. During
Financial Emergency, the Center exercises full control over the State’s finances.

 Disturbances in the state: In case of disturbances in any State or part thereof, the Union
Government is empowered to depute Central Force in the State or to the disturbed part
of the State. Also, the Parliament, by law may increase or decrease the area of any State
and may alter its name and boundaries.

 Unified Judiciary: The federal principle envisages a dual system of Courts. But, in India
we have unified Judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex.

 Power to make laws: The Constitution of India empowered the central government to
make laws on the subjects in the state list. It is exercised only on the matters of national
importance and that too if the Rajya Sabha agrees with 2/3 majority. The constitution
establishes a strong Centre by assigning all-important subjects to the Centre as per the
Union List. The State Governments have very limited powers.

 Power to form new states and to change existing boundaries: Under Art 3, center can
change the boundaries of existing states and can carve out new states. This should be
seen in the perspective of the historical situation at the time of independence. At that
time there were no independent states. There were only provinces that were formed by
the British based on administrative convenience. At that time States were artificially
created and a provision to alter the boundaries and to create new states was kept so
that appropriate changes could be made as per requirement. It should be noted that
British India did not have states similar to the States in the USA.

 Emergency Provisions: The President of India can declare three different types of
emergency under article 352, article 356 and article 360 for an act of foreign aggression
or internal armed rebellion, failure of constitutional machinery in a state and financial
emergency respectively.. During the operation of an emergency, the powers of the State
Governments are greatly curtailed and the Union Government becomes all in all.

Conclusion

From the above discussion it is seen that the constitution of India neither is the complete
federation nor it is completely unitary. It has the features of both. Sir Ivor Jennings was of the
view that India has a federation with a strong centralizing policy. In the words of D.D.Basu, the
Constitution of India is neither purely federal nor unitary, but is a combination of both. It is a
union or a composite of a novel type. It is often defined to be quasi-federal in nature. Thus we
can safely say that it is primarily unitary having some unitary features.
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Q.10) How do you conceptualise reservation as a constitutional
design for empowerment? Critically examine. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:
 Constitutional provisions for reservation
 Explain how reservation leads to empowerment
 Explain various loopholes / issues with the current reservation system

Body:

Constitution of India provides reservation to weaker sections of society like SC/ST, women etc
in various fields and facilitates for equitable development.

There is reservation for SC/ST in Lok Sabha , legislative assembly and in local bodies as per
Articles 330, 332, 243 D and 243 T which has provided an opportunity for the weaker sections
to be represented and involve themselves in law making.

Article 15 - Prohibition of Discrimination in Indian Constitution. No citizen shall, on grounds only


of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, be subject to any disability, liability,
restriction etc.

Article 16 provided reservation in public employment which has provided socio economic
empowerment and has enabled to them work at all levels of government.

DPSP Article 46: Promotion of educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes,
Scheduled Tribes and other weaker sections

Various amendments have enlarged the scope and has included reservation for other sections
like OBC , minorities , women. Example 73rd and 74th Amendment – 33% for women in GPs and
even in sarpanch posts

The Constitution backing has provided reservation greater sanctity and protection and has not
allowed to be a mere discretion but a meaningful right.

Empowerment: Education – Employment – Political Arenas (Give examples how)

Though it has helped in empowerment there are certain challenges and drawbacks such as

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 Representation of weaker sections still remains low especially women in legislative
bodies.
 Constitution doesn’t provide reservation in judiciary.
 Lack of horizontal distribution has resulted in elite among the weaker sections garnering
all the benefits.
 Frequent politicization of the issue.

Nevertheless reservation has been successful in bridging the gap between various sections and
thoughtful reforms can provide more impetus to empowerment as can be seen from various
amendments like providing reservation in promotions and proposed constitutional status to
NCBC.

Q.11) Emergency provisions are an easy option for establishing


constitutional authoritarianism. Do you agree? Critically comment.
(150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:

 Provide instances of misuse of Emergency Provisions and how it led to Centralizing


tendencies.
 How Emergency provision is acting as a weapon in the hands of the Central
Government.

Body:

Founding fathers of the Constitution provided emergency provisions to ensure sovereignty ,


security and Integrity of the country

3 types of emergency

Article 352: An emergency due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion. Popularly known
as National Emergency.

Article 356: Popularly known as President’s rule. An emergency arising out of failure of
constitutional
tional machinery in the states.

Article 360: Financial emergency. Arising due to threat to financial stability of the country.
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Need for the Provisions:

1. Wars – 1962/ 65 / 71 – proved necessity in certain conditions that might threaten


democracy like armed rebellion
2. Governance and Administrative continuity
3. Financial propriety

Provisions that lead to State being Authoritarian:

1. Effect on Fundamental Rights


2. Excessive powers to the arms of the state

Outcome of 1975-77 Emergency clearly reflect that the provisions were easy option for
establishing constitutional authoritarianism:

Critics have argued the following –

a. The federal character of the Constitution was destroyed and the Union had become all
powerful.
b. The powers of the State—both the Union and the units—entirely was concentrated in
the hands of the Union executive.
c. Innocents were affected
d. Political opponents were jailed and suppressed
e. Media freedom suppressed
f. Irrespective of the recommendation of the Governor, President can invoke Emergency.
g. Misuse of office of Governor with regard to recommendation of Emergency.

It cannot be said to be an easy option , for the supplanting an Authoritarian regime because

1. Constitutional protections - Lessons learnt incorporated in 44th Amendment ,


a. Complete parliamentary control – shift from executive control
b. Defined maximum duration on approval by parliament
c. Role of Election commission in deciding on conducting elections
2. Role of Judiciary and Various Centre – state relations committees like Sarkaria , Punchii

Inherent strength of Indian democracy and the previous experience of emergency situations,
have shown that justice has prevailed and it isn’t easy to fall into grip of authoritarianism. While
emergency provisions are necessary, checks and balances have made our democracy more
resilient in face of Authoritarian forces.

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Q.12) Article 370 inculcates healthy political practices in a federal
India. Do you agree with this view? Elaborate. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Approach

 What is Article 370?


 What are the political practices considered healthy to a Federal Nation
 Does 370 fall into that line or it differs?

Body:

Article 370 is a Special and Temporary provision under Part 21 of the Constitution, pertaining to
the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It was designated special because of the extraordinary
circumstances of accession of J & K to India [War and Instrument of accession]. It aimed at
provision of greater autonomy and creation of an environment that enabled better integration
of the State of J&K to the Indian Nation.

Article 1 : India is a Union of States and not a Federation ; Indian Union is sui generis system,
having both Unitary and Federal features

Art 246 and 248 form the basis of division of subjects between the Union and states and The
states are all powerful in their own sphere. The constitution provides for means in which such a
relation can change and it requires special majority for such an amendment.

All the states of the country are politically uniform but 370 and 371 provides for exception to
this uniformity based on historical and Socio – cultural considerations so as to enable
democratic governance.

Article 370 is very different from other special provisions in that,

a. Boundaries and name of state cannot be altered without consent of its legislature
b. It provided for a separate state constitution which give Jammu and Kashmir more
autonomy compared to rest of the states in India (Recent example of Governor’s Rule in
J&K)
c. Division of subjects is not same as for other states, limits centre’s control over the state
– needs state assembly’s concurrence in many situations
applicability of Emergency provisions on the ground
d. non-applicability grounds of “internal disturbance”
without the concurrence of the State

Current situation
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However like any other provision Article 370 was and is about providing space, in matters of
governance, to the people of a State and as a measure of trust building. Over the years, a series
of Presidential Orders has eroded Article 370 substantially. They have made most Union laws
applicable to the State. In fact today the autonomy enjoyed by the State is a shadow of its
former self, and there is virtually no institution of the Republic of India that does not include
J&K within its scope and jurisdiction.

Except for the provision that relates to permanent residents and their rights -> which could be
provided for in an article similar to those in Article 371, provision of other features discussed
above seem to be redundant and counter-productive in the current scenario where demands of
reversal of integrative factors are being raised. While federalism has to be respected , states
have to co-operate with the centre for various developmental activities. Article 370 has served
its purpose , it needs to be modified for a greater integration with the Indian union – slowly but
steadily - to bring in parity with other states and not act like a separating factor.

Q.13) Why is the Election Commission an important instrument for


democratic governance in India? Discuss. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach

 Straightforward question mention how Election commission plays a major role in


ensuring democratic transition.
 Enrich your answer with examples.

Body

The Preamble to the Constitution declares India to be a Democratic Republic. “Democracy” is


regarded as a basic feature of the Constitution as held in the Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narayan
case.

One of the most important features of the democratic polity is elections at regular intervals.
Elections constitute the signpost of the democracy. Elections symbolize the sovereignty of the
people and provide legitimacy to the authority of the government. Thus, free & fair elections
are indispensable for the success of the democracy. In order to ensure this the Constitution
established the Election Commission.

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It is autonomous in character and insulated from political pressures and executive influence.
Care has been taken to ensure that the Election Commission work as an independent body free
from external pressures from the party in power or executive of the day.

In the case of Election Commission of India v/s.Ashok Kumar Supreme Court observed that,
‘superintendence, direction & control’ these words are enough to include all powers necessary
for smooth and effective working, conduct of elections so that the will of the people may be
expressed.

ROLE IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE:

1. Guardian of Free & Fair Elections.

Holding periodic free & fair elections are essentials of democratic system. It is part of basic
structure of the Constitution. It has been held in T. N. Seshan V/s Union of India The
Commission has taken many efforts for the success of elections and thereby democracy. So it is
regarded as Guardian of both, democracy & free & fair elections.

2. Model Code of Conduct

In every election, it issues a Model code of Conduct for political parties and candidates to
conduct elections in free & fair manner It lay down guidelines for conduct of political parties &
candidates during elections.

In I.D. Systems (India) Pvt. Ltd. v/s. Chief Election Commissioner the Kerala High Court held
that the object of model code of conduct is not to stop all governmental activities but only
those actions which may directly influence a section of electors need to be prevented.

It has power to enforce drawing force under Art. 324.

3. Registration of Political Parties

The party system is an essential feature of the Parliamentary democracy. Law regarding to this
registration process enacted in 1989 and number of parties got registered with Commission. It
helps to avoid confusion and headache of the administrative machinery as well as confusion of
the electorate. It ensures that political parties can practice democracy only by their registration.

4. Limits on Poll Expenses

To get rid of the growing influences and vulgar show of money during elections the Election
Commission has fixed the legal limits on the amount of money which a candidate can spend

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during election campaigns. These limits have been revised from time to time. The Election
Commission by appointing observers keeps an eye on the individual account of election
expenditure. The contestants are also required to give details of expenditure with 30 days of
declaration of results.

The campaign period was reduced by the Election Commission from 21 to 14 days for Lok Sabha
and Assembly elections; it is for to trim down election expenditure.

In Common Cause v/s. Union of India it was pointed out that, in India elections are fought on
the basis of money. The Court ruled that, purity of election is fundamental to the democracy
and Commission can ask the candidates about the expenditure incurred by them and political
party for this purpose.

5. Use of Scientific and Technological Advancements.

The introduction of EVM – Electronic Voting Machines with view to reducing malpractices and
also improving the efficiency.

The Election Commission making use of Information Technology launched a web site of its own
on 28th February, 1998 It helps to provide accurate information, management, administration
and instant results of the elections. In 1998, Election Commission taken a bold step and decided
programme for ‘computerizations’ of the electoral rolls.

To prevent electoral fraud, in 1993 EPICs – Electoral Photo Identity Cards were issued. In, 2004
elections it was mandatory to possess card.

In 2013 elections VVPAT was used for the first time in Nagaland to ensure mis-voting

6. Multi –Member Election Commission

There was a long standing demand to make the Election Commission a multi member body. It is
both, necessary & desirable that, the powers are not exercise by one of individual, which
conforms to the tenets of democratic rule.

The Constitution Amendment Act, 1993 made Election Commission to be multi member body.

7. Checking Criminalization of Politics.

In 2003, a law was introduced to prohibit the election of criminals to the legislative bodies
The candidates are obliged to submit an affidavit in a prescribed form declaring their criminal

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records, including convictions, acquittals charge pending cases. The information so furnished by
the candidates shall be disseminated to the public, and to the print and electronic media.

The Commission over the years has conducted number of laudable electoral reforms to
strengthen democracy and enhance fairness of elections. All these efforts taken by the Election
Commission will help to grow democracy and its confidence in the minds of people.

Q.14) The CAG has become the most reliable instrument to establish
integrity in administration. Critically comment. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:

 Write about the CAG and how its helps in establishment of integrity in administration.
 As the question is about critically comment you have to go with arguments and at the
end you need to go for a fair judgement

Body:

The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India is an authority, established by the
Constitution of India under Chapter V, who audits all receipts and expenditure of the
Government of India and the state governments, including those of bodies and authorities
substantially financed by the government. The CAG is also the external auditor of government-
owned companies.

Working of CAG to establish integrity in administration:

CAG is mandated by the Constitution of India, institute promote accountability, transparency


and good governance through high quality auditing and accounting and provide independent
assurance to our stakeholders, the Legislature, the Executive and the Public, that public funds
are being used efficiently and for the intended purposes to establish integrity in administration.

The CAG as Auditor General:

 The primary purpose of audit is to ensure that the money has been applied to the
purpose or purposes for which the grants made by the Parliament were intended to
provide and that the expenditure conforms to the authority which governs it.

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 The audit thus performed becomes an important instrument in the control of public
expenditure, for it is this instrument which makes the executive accountable and to
maintain integrity in administration.
 It has a dual role to play: firstly, it checks the extent of application by the government
servants, of rules and regulations issued on behalf of the administration and secondly, it
ensures, on behalf of the legislature, that the actions of the government have been in
accordance with the views and requirements of the legislature.
 The purpose of audit is to ‘offer financial criticism’ and its value lies in its reports
pointing out the impropriety or irregularity of certain transactions so that appropriate
action could be taken to rectify them.

Limitations of CAG:

 Unlike the Supreme Court, the CAG’s powers are severely circumscribed by Sections 14,
15, 19(3) and 20(1) of the DPC Act.
 It curtails his overarching power over authorities that are substantially funded by
governments.
 Without prior government sanction, the CAG is prohibited by rule/law from auditing all
other entities, such as PPP partners, private contractors, regulators, NGOs, local
quangos.
 The CAG doesn’t have the right to release these reports in the public domain if they are
not presented in the legislature within a month of their submission. Nor can CAG
enforce any of its findings by decree, akin to Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.

Conclusion:

Thus it can be said that the CAG is a prosecutor with a law that hobbles its functioning, a judge
without the power to sentence and a litigant with no right of appeal. A lot of changes require to
be incorporated in the Audit Act of 1971; to address the limitations above, in order to make
CAG most reliable instrument to establish integrity in the administration.

Q.15) Is it possible for a democracy to function if the constitutional


provisions for amendments are completely removed? Substantiate your
viewpoint. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:

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 It is better to take positive stand how it is not possible for a democracy to function if the
constitutional provisions for amendments are completely removed.

Body:

Democracy is a system of government. A Constitution is a document outlining the fundamental


principles according to which a state is governed. Democracy is considered the finest form of
government in which every individual participates consciously and in which the people remain
the sovereign power determining their destiny. So, in democracy the people are the ultimate
source of power and its success and failure depend on their wisdom, consciousness and
vigilance.

Why there is a need to amend constitution?

As our former PM Nehru quoted “The democracy of Constitution which is unchanging and
static, it does not matter how good it is, how perfect it is, is a Constitution that has past its use.
It is in its old age already and gradually approaching its death. A Constitution to be living must
be growing; must be adaptable; must be flexible; must be changeable. As society changes, as
conditions change, we amend it in the proper way.”

It is not possible for a democracy to function if the constitutional provisions for amendments
are completely removed due to different reasons as given below:

 No one generation has a monopoly on wisdom. Humans are fallible but do learn from
experience and thus must be empowered to change the Constitution as per the
exigencies of time.
 Amendments are good if they reflect the evolution and maturity of constitutional
democracy.
 For instance, 44th amendment of Indian constitution deleted the Right to Property from
the list of fundamental rights. It aimed to establish equal distribution of resources.
Furthermore it was important for the development of India to abolish it .For example- if
Indian government wanted to build a dam or construct a road it had to acquire the
people's property and in return people used to revolt and approach judiciary even
though the government compensate them by giving money or land somewhere else for
taking their property hence this created problem to the development functions of the
government, hence it was abolished.
 Same way right to education and right to information, which made Indian democracy
more vibrant.

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 Another example: Earlier, tax collections were separate for the Centre and the States.
We introduced the Goods and Services Tax Council through a constitutional amendment
and changed the pattern of taxation between the Centre and the States. If the purpose
of amendments is to strengthen democracy and governance, they should be brought in.
The Constitution has been amended in the past to achieve this goal.

Conclusion:

If the constitution doesn’t have the power to amend its provision, then however best the
constitution might be, it will get obsolete as time passes and it won’t reflects the aspirations of
the people, community and to achieve individual goals according to the contemporaneous
times.

Q.16) In what ways the office of the governor has become a blotch to
India’s federalism? Examine. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Approach:

 Provide brief introduction about office of the governor and how in true spirit his office
does not compromise ‘federalism’.
 In body provide how office of the governor has become a blotch to India’s federalism?
 Provide some recent examples.
 End the answer with apt conclusion.

Just for understanding:

The term ‘federalism’ is used to describe a system of the government in which the power to
govern is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and constituent
political units like states or provinces.

In a federation several states form a unity; both the Centre and the States derive governing
authority from the constitution and each is soverign within the field assigned to it.

Body:

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The office of the Governor for each state in India has been a sensitive issue as it sometimes
poses a threat to the federal character of Indian Union. Centre’s visible arbitrariness in misusing
such constitutional office has been the subject of acrimonious debates and divergent opinions
in the country.

In true spirit, Governor’s Office occupies a unique position as a co-ordinating agency


between the Centre and the States - his office does not compromise ‘federalism’.

Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority


and constituent political units.

How office of the governor has become a blotch to India’s federalism?

 It is argued that the appointment of the Governor by the President of India cuts short
the autonomy of the states and goes against the principle of ‘state autonomy’ thereby
weakening federalism.
 The procedure of appointment and the removal of the Governor, also make the Centre
strong because his term of office is not secure and he acts only on the directions of the
Centre.
 Governor was expected to be a link between Centre and state, but instead, he/she has
become a tool in the hand of Centre to interfere in the working of state government.
Governor’s post has become highly politicized. None of the governments protected the
honour and dignity of the office of Governor in tune with the federal policy.
 One recent example is the situation in Arunachal Pradesh (during 2016-17). The
Governor’s sudden call for emergency created havoc in the state. Then the verdict of
the Supreme Court in this regard was an indication calling for the Centre to stop using
the post of Governor to destabilize governments.
 There are also various stances where the Governors are working on the whims of the
Central Government.
 Misuse of Article 200 (reservation of State Bills by the Governor for consideration of the
President) and emergency provisions under Article 356 had amounted to centralisation
of power which has been the major concern among the states. Centralisation is as such
a threat to Indian federalism.

Conclusion:

The office of Governor must act as a symbol and promoter of cooperative federalism and not as
the agent of the centre.

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It is the need of the hour that rules pertaining to appointment of governor and its function
must be codified in order to uphold the democratic functioning of the country.

Q.17) Localising governance is an offshoot of democratic


decentralisation. Explain. How far local governance has succeeded in
India? Critically evaluate. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Approach

 Briefly explain how local governance has led to empowerment.


 Since the directive is to critically evaluate you need to give how far it has been a success
and what are the pitfalls of local self-Government.

Body

Decentralisation has become a necessary facet of a modern state. This is particularly clear with
the growing importance of local government since the 1990s.

The democratic process cannot stop at the state level hence there is an urge for democratic
control of administration at local level as there is a growing complexity of developmental
programmes in rural areas which calls for closer coordination at levels below the state
(panchayats and municipalities). This kind of supervision at local level can become an effective
tool of coordination and these kind of multi-pronged developmental efforts needs effective
participation of people which can be ensured by localising governance.

Hence in order for democratic devolutionary decentralisation to strike a chord in Governance


an appropriate organizational structure was needed which would not only create space for
stakeholders participation but also act as a device to undertake administrative measures as per
needs of the population which is the true essence of localised governance.

It’s been 25 years since decentralised democratic governance was introduced in India by the
73rd and 74th Constitution Amendments, which came into force on April 24 and June 1, 1993,
respectively. The structural reforms that followed heralded an inclusive, responsive,
participatory democracy which was tasked to deliver economic development and social justice
roots level.
at the grass-roots

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In conformity with the Constitutional Amendment all the states have amended their state Acts
or passed new acts repealing the then existing ones. Today the PRIs are the bedrock of effective
implementation of India's rural development and poverty alleviation programmes.

SUCCESSES

 Devolution both political and financial as provided for in parts IX and IXA of the
Constitution ushered in participatory democracy.
 The local self-Government framework had several standardised features such as regular
elections every 5 years, reservations for historically marginalised communities and
women.
 The creation of a State finance commission to rationalise State-sub State level fiscal
relations. Under article 280(3).
 The establishment of a district planning committee to evaluate resource endowments,
to do spatial planning, and manage the conservation of resources with a mandate to
draw up a draft development plan for the district as a whole.
 West Bengal undertook another experiment of village level planning, in mid 1990s
under the programme Community Convergent Action, later followed by the
Strengthening Rural Decentralization programmes. This met with considerable success
and has become of the model of village level planning in the state involving villagers in
the Gram Sansad meeting.
 The recent issue of municipal bonds by ULB’s in Pune and Gurugram in a way is a sign of
financial maturity about rising revenue to meet local needs.
 Elected Mayor is assisted by Commissioner and such practice should be replicated in the
rest of cities where administration is complicated.

Example of Activity mapping in panchayats


After 17 years of the system coming into vogue, the Karnataka Government had by an order put
into the system a new concept called activity mapping. This was done to remove confusion over
the overlapping of the functional responsibilities among the three tiers of the panchayat raj
system — the zilla panchayat, taluk panchayat, and gram panchayat. The idea was to ensure
that a particular work which should be done at a particular level should be done only at that
level.

SHORTCOMINGS

While the economic reforms that were launched almost simultaneously with the
decentralisation reforms made tremendous headway, making India the fastest-growing

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economy in the world today, local democracy is a limited success due to the following
shortcomings

 There was no institutional decentralisation except in Kerala. The roles and


responsibilities of local governments remain ill-defined despite activity mapping in
several States. States control funds, functions and functionaries, making autonomous
governance almost impossible.
 Most States continue to create parallel bodies. For example, Haryana has created a
Rural Development Agency, presided over by the Chief Minister, to enter into the
functional domain of panchayats. Legislative approval of these parallel bodies
legitimises the process of weakening decentralised democracy.
 Increased allocations under MPLADS and MLALADS has resulted in weaker financial
devolution and still weaker autonomy.
 The increasing role of sarpanchpatis has made women empowerment a mere illusion
and did not lead to a major social transformation.
 In States like Gujarat, the DPC has not been constituted.
 There is no credible fiscal data base and budget system among local governments now
which shows a lack of political will.
 The above problems have been compounded by lack of accountability amongst the
functionaries of local bodies
 Even after 25 years, local government expenditure as a percentage of total public sector
expenditure comprising Union, State and local governments is only around 7% as
compared to 24% in Europe, 27% in North America and 55% in Denmark.

The only answer is effective empowerment, devolution of adequate resources, and strong,
independent local ombudsmen to enforce accountability.

Q.18) Is political bitterness responsible for a dysfunctional Parliament?


Examine the issue in light of the recent stalemate in the Parliament. Is
our national interest the first casualty of the prevailing stalemate?
Elucidate. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Approach

 The question is a straight forward one which needs to be answered in parts.

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 First part of the question we need to answer whether political confrontations have led
to loss of decorum and time of parliamentary debates.
 Whether national interests have been compromised for party politics needs to be
explained.

Body

Parliament, the highest legislative body is a platform for deliberation, discussion, constructive
debate and negotiations among competing ideologies, interests and political orientations.

 Mudslinging, immoral comments and personal jibes have become commonplace in


Parliament which are manifestations of the bitterness among the competing ideologies.
 It is the devolution of our politics into a non-ideological political competition that has
led to the demise of discussion and debate in Parliament.
 The gradual decline of Parliament and attenuation of parliamentary authority is also
attributed to frequent absenteeism, deterioration in the conduct and quality of
Members, poor levels of participation, and the falling standards of debates and
legislative business.

A dysfunctional parliament does no good to Indian democratic set up and hurts the national
interests in following ways.

 Loss of precious parliamentary time which could be used for constructive and
meaningful negotiation and discussions. there has been no meaningful discussion in
both Houses in the recent Budget session, with even the all-important finance bill
getting passed through a guillotine motion.
 Loss to national exchequer for every one-day washout of the Parliament session the loss
to the national exchequer is Rs 9 crore. About Rs 1.98 billion of taxpayers’ money was
lost due to disruptions during the 14th session of the current Lok Sabha. This includes Rs
1.92 billion for running the House and Rs 60 million for salaries and perks paid to MPs.
 Stalling of important legislations as Rajya Sabha was able to pass only one bill and the
Lok Sabha only four bills that too without discussion in the recently concluded budget
session.
 Disenchantment of public at large with the political setup thereby discouraging people
from participating in politics. Recent low voting turn out percentages especially in urban
areas are a cause for concern.
 The slower legislative output is one reason why governments have increasingly relied on
ordinances for pushing through reforms outside of the usual legislative mechanism. The
current government in its four year since coming to power has promulgated 35

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ordinances. Taking the ordinance route for pushing down its agenda, however well
meaning, erodes the parliamentary processes, of discussions, arguments, debates and
opinions on the merits and drawbacks of the proposed legislations.
 There is a serious concern about erosion in confidence in Parliament as a temple of
democracy which can undermine the national ethos of the constitution.

Dissent is a critical component of any democracy and, in that light, disruptions could be seen as
a part of established parliamentary practice. To wish it away is unrealistic and even
undemocratic. However, it becomes a cause for concern when disruptions become the norm,
rather than the exception

Q.19) Politics is so deeply embedded in the national discourse that


frequent elections in states may derail the reform agenda of the
incumbent government at the centre. In light of the statement, do you
think important decisions are held up during elections in order to avoid
electoral backlash? Can holding elections simultaneously address this
issue? Critically examine. (250 Words, 15 Marks)

Approach:

 Question is about the simultaneous elections and it is asking you to critically examine,
go with the main points from both side and then draw a fair conclusion based on your
arguments.

Body:

A debate which has periodically taken place in this country is about holding simultaneous
elections to the state legislative assemblies and the Lok Sabha. Prime Minister said to have time
and again supported this idea. PM went a step ahead from what others in the past. While many
of the senior members of the Government suggested simultaneous elections to both State
legislature and Lok Sabha, Prime Minister wanted to include even the Urban Local bodies and
panchayats.

Do government held up important decisions during elections in order to avoid electoral


backlash?

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 In terms of governance and implementation of development programmes, enforcing the
Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is detrimental. If government or politicians are
preoccupied with local body elections and Assembly elections throughout the year,
there is no time for developmental work.
 Continuous elections (State of national) mean the Govt remains in campaigning mode,
often at the expense of public welfare and critical policy making.
 Many major decisions with far reaching impact on the economy and other areas of
national life were taken during those decades when elections were held at different
times.
 A very recent example is of demonetisation, which was done just a couple of months
before the assembly elections. If such momentous decisions could be taken by the
prime minister when as many as five states were going to face elections shortly, the
argument that frequent elections affect decision making does not carry any weight.
 If anything, frequent elections create some compulsions for the government of the day
to take quick decisions to influence the voters.
 Another recent example is after a 19-day pre-Karnataka poll hiatus, petrol prices were
hiked just after polls by 17 paise a litre and diesel by 21 paise a litre as PSU oil firms
began passing on a spike witnessed in international crude oil rates to consumers.

Simultaneous elections:

 It refers to holding elections to Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies


simultaneously, once in a five year.
 The idea of simultaneous elections is not new to India. In 1951-52, the first general
election to the Lok Sabha was held simultaneously with all State Assemblies. This
practice of simultaneous elections continued till the general election of 1967.
 In Recent times, the idea got support from President and Prime Minister. Former
President of India Pranab Mukherjee has endorsed the idea by mentioning it in his
address to the joint session of the parliament ahead of the budget session.
 Reports of Law commission and the Parliamentary standing committee have also
favoured simultaneous elections.

To address the issue populist measures of simultaneous elections:

 The cost of an election has two components: first one, expenditure incurred by the
Election Commission and second, expenditure incurred by the political parties
parties, which
can be minimised.

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 A large number of government employees and public buildings are diverted from their
regular responsibilities for election duties, it can be limited.
 Supporters of the simultaneous elections argue that it will reduce election expenditure
in terms of finance and reduce diversion of human resources for election duties.
 During elections, political convenience takes precedence over public interest. To lure
voters, political parties concede to popular demands without any consideration to
public interest. Simultaneous elections reduce such opportunity for political parties.
 The simultaneous election once in five years provides stability to the governments. It
allows the government to take difficult and harsh decision in larger public interest.

Issues with simultaneous elections:

 Simultaneous elections may reduce the expenditure incurred by the Election


Commission. But there is no guarantee that expenditure of the political parties will
reduce. Political parties may spend entire fund at once rather than in phases.
 Centre and States are equal and sovereign within their jurisdiction. Simultaneous
elections may reduce the importance of state elections. Thus it affects the concept of
federalism.
 Elections are an important part of representative democracy. Simultaneous elections
with fixed tenure of five years curtail people’s right to express their confidence or
displeasure on the government.
 Simultaneous elections will relegate local issues or issues of state importance to the
background. This completely ignores the diversity of the country.

Conclusion:

Free and fair elections are integral to democracy. Continuity, consistency and governance are
also integral to democracy. And democracy, according to the experts, also implies good
governance. To achieve this, elections are held. But if the means (elections) become the goal,
this will not serve democracy well. Holding simultaneous elections will ensure consistency,
continuity and governance, and elections then will only be the means to achieve this and not an
end in themselves.

Q.20) Civil society and voluntary sector occupy a prominent place in the
democratic
ocratic landscape of India. However, rule of law must govern their
functioning in matters of financing and objectives. In light of the

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controversy and debates surrounding the voluntary sector, analyse the
statements given above. (250 Words, 15 Marks)
Approach:
 In brief, provide why CSOs and VOs occupy a prominent place in the democratic
landscape of India.
 Highlight the controversy and debates surrounding the voluntary sector. Provide some
recent examples to enrich your answer.
 Explain why there is a need for effective regulatory mechanism under rule of law to
govern their functioning in matters of financing and objectives.

Body:

Civil society and voluntary sector offers an alternative, innovative and people-centric and
people participation approach to development comprising service delivery, advocacy and
empowerment.

Their contribution in helping the state reaching out to the poor and giving voice to the common
citizens can’t be overstated.

Civil society and voluntary sector occupy a prominent place


 They act as service contractors, able to work more efficiently and more effectively than
government agencies thereby playing an important role in the socio-economic
transformation.
 It brings in accountability and transparency to governance.
 It acts as a human rights watchdog in the society.
 In India, through the progressive interpretation of the Constitution and its laws and
policies, the scope of development has been significantly broadened to include not just
economic progress for citizens, but also promotion of social justice, gender equity,
inclusion, citizen’s awareness, empowerment and improved quality of life. To achieve
this holistic vision of development, the state requires the constructive and collaborative
engagement of the civil society in its various developmental activities and programs.
Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as the operational arm of the civil society
therefore have an important role in the development processes.

Controversies

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 Recently, there are allegations that some CSOs/VOs have taken funds from government
for leading a luxurious life to few. Many NGOs don’t have sophisticated finance and
legal teams, nor do they have the funds to conduct audits.

 CSOs/VOs are blamed for running as frontal face for organisations which have ulterior
motive specifically, those getting foreign funding.

 The external issue of funding: According to government data a total of 3,068 non-
governmental organizations (NGOs) received foreign funding above Rs. 22,000 Cr in
2014-15. It is often said that foreign-funded NGOs tries to propagate the foreign
propaganda to stall developmental projects. Example: Kudankulam Protest.

 Non-accountable, nontransparent undemocratic functioning: CBI records filed in the


Supreme Court show that only 10% of the total registered NGOs under the Societies
Registration Act file annual financial statements.

 Money Laundering: Corrupt or unscrupulous NGOs that receive foreign funds may serve
as conduits for money laundering.

Other problems attached are lack of transparency, tax evasion, misappropriation of funds, and
lack of a regulatory mechanism.

(One can provide examples such as - Greenpeace, Ford Foundation which were centre of
controversy; examples on Kudamkulam , Teesta Seetalwaad etc to enhance your answers.)

In this background, government resorted to action and cancelled the permissions of 9000
NGO's under FCRA. Thus, this has become larger debate of rule of law and governing of
voluntary sector considering following points:-

1. Government is ultimately responsible to maintain law and order and financial security. The
manipulated protests of development projects and foreign funding linkages revealed by IB
highlights the need for government response and an effective rule of law governing their (CSOs)
functioning.

2. Due to lack of substantive evidence, lack of proper guidelines for regulation and absence of
any credit rating survey of such NGO's could not justify Government prompt action of
registration cancellation.

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3. The large scale action of gagging may discourage and stop functioning of many voluntary
organisation which are doing wonderful jobs of people welfare. The right of civil society of free
and fearless working should find space in government regulatory framework.

Conclusion:

Civil society and political society, both, are essential for inclusive social transformation in India.
Whenever they appreciate each other’s distinctive roles, complementary and synergistic
outcomes follow.

A regulatory mechanism to keep a watch on the financial activities of NGOs and voluntary
organizations is the need of the hour.

The government should frame guidelines for their accreditation, the manner in which these
organizations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to
submit their balance sheets.

Elaborated guidelines under National policy on the Voluntary sector and establishment of
National Accreditation council of India with representation of all stakeholders might be a step
in the right direction.

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