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BPSC-102: Constitutional Government and Democracy in India

BPSC-102: Constitutional Government and Democracy in India

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BPSC-102/ASST/TMA/2021-22

Course Code: BPSC-102

Assignment Name: Constitutional Government and Democracy In India

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Answer all questions in the three Assignments and submit them together.


Assignment – I


Answer the following in about 500 words each.


Q1) Discuss the philosophical foundations of the Constitution of India. 20

Ans) The philosophical foundations of Constitution of India are as follows:

Objectives Resolution

Before the framing of the constitution started, an Objectives Resolution (the resolution that defined the aims of the Assembly) was moved by Nehru in 1946. This resolution enshrined the aspirations and values behind the Constitution making. On the basis of the Objectives Resolution, India’s Constitution gave institutional expression to the fundamental commitments:


"WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN, SOCIALIST, SECULAR, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; IBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity:

Ingredients of the Preamble The preamble reveals four ingredients.

  1. Source of the authority of the constitution: The authority is derived from the people of India.

  2. Nature of Indian state: India has been declared as sovereign, socialist, secular, democratic and republican polity.

  3. Objectives of the constitution: Justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity.

  4. Date of adoption: Adopted on November 26, 1949.


Means India is neither a dependency nor a dominion of any other nation but an independent state. It is supreme both internally and externally. India did not sever all ties with the British common wealth. The conception of the common wealth itself has under gone a change owing to India's decision to adhere to the common wealth without acknowledging allegiance to the crown, the symbol of unity of the old British Empire. It is this decision of India that has converted the British common wealth a relic of imperialism- into a free association of independent nations under the honourable name of the "Common wealth of nations". This historic decision took place at the PM's conference at London on April 27, 1949.


Even before the term was added by the 42nd amendment in 1946, the constitution had a socialist content in the form of certain directive Principles of State Policy. The congress party itself adopted a resolution to establish a socialistic pattern of society in its avid session in 1955. How far this aim has been achieved is debatable. However, the trend had been from a socialistic pattern towards a socialistic state, bringing industries and private enterprises under state ownership and management and carrying on trade and business as a state function.


The term 'secular' was added by the 42nd constitution amendment act 1976. As the supreme court rightly pointed out in 1974 though the word secular state was not expressly mentioned in the constitution there can be no doubt that constitution makers wanted to establish a secular state in accordance with Articles 25-28. The Indian constitution embodies the positive concept of secularism i.e., all religions in our country have the same status and support from the state. The state has no religion of its own it is neither religious, nor irreligious, nor antireligious, but is only nonreligious.


A democratic polity as stipulated in the preamble is based on the doctrine of "popular sovereignty" it means the position of supreme power lies in the hands of people. Indian democracy is an indirect and representative democracy. The term democratic is used in the preamble in the broader sense embracing both political and social and economic democracy. In this context we can quote Dr. B. R. Ambedkar's concluding speech in the constituent assembly which says: "Political democracy cannot last unless there lies at the base of it social democracy.


A democratic polity can be classified into 2 categories:

i)       Hereditary monarchy.

ii)     Elected head of states.

The example for the hereditary monarchy is British crown. The examples for the elected head of state or the president of India and the President of US. Apart from the elected head of the state, the term republic in our preamble indicates two things: Resting of political sovereignty in the people and the absence of any undue privileges to any particular class.


Q2) Explain the significance of Directive Principles of State Policy in the accomplishment of social justice goals of India? 20

Ans) Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy in this unit, it will be interesting to compare them. Both have some similarities and differences. They share some goals: protection of rights and welfare of people or social revolution. Granville Austin terms both – Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy, as the conscience of the constitution. Both emerged in the similar situations. Both are rooted in freedom struggle. Timings and circumstances of origin of both were same: from the 1920s when ideas of socialism became popular, and the Congress frequently raised demands for granting of rights to Indians leading to formation of the Rights sub-committee in the Constituent Assembly. As you have read, suggestions to include Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy in the constitution were made by the same Right Sub-committee. Indeed, in the Constituent Assembly, there was little disagreement on principles of Fundament Rights and Directive Principles. The differences were more on techniques.

However, despite the similarities between them, there is a basic difference between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The Fundamental rights are negative, and Directive Principles of State Policy are positive. It means that Fundamental Rights deny the state the authority to encroach upon these rights. It also means that Directive Principles of State Policy are not about denial but about providing benefits from the state to the people. As you have read, Fundamental Rights are justiciable, and Directive Principles of State Policy are non-justiciable. But Austin argues that despite being non-justiciable, the Directive Principles of State Policy are “fundamental in governance of the country.” The fundamental rights promote welfare of the individuals and groups and provide personal and political rights. Directive Principles of State Policy is concerned about the welfare of the community. The fundamental rights do not need any legislative act to enforce them legally, while the Directive Principles of State Policy come into effect only when it is legally implemented.

The justiciability and enforceability of the fundamental rights have given it an upper hand, and thus in cases involving an apparent conflict between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles, it is the former that will prevail. However, the provision on Directive Principles of State Policy terms them as fundamental and imposes a moral obligation on the State for its application and this at times has created a legal and political dilemma. This conflict on whether the Fundamental Rights were superior to Directive Principles of State Policy manifested in the Champakam Dorairajan case in 1951. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that in cases involving a conflict between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of Sate Policy, it is the former that will prevail. The Golaknath case of 1967 and Kesavanand Bharati case of 1973 further established the superior positions of the Fundamental Rights in comparison to Directive Principles of State Policy.

According to Kesavanand Bharati case, the former cannot be amended. The question as to Fundamental Rights were superior to Directive Principles of State Policy was settled in the Minerva Mills case of 1980. In this case, the Supreme Court made an important observation regarding the relationship between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy. The court observed “the Indian Constitution is founded on the bedrock of the balance between the Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles. They together constitute the core of commitment to social revolution. They are like two wheels of a chariot, one no less than the other. To give absolute primacy to one over the other is to disturb the harmony of the Constitution.


Assignment – II


Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.


Q3) Explain the Doctrine of Basic Structure 10

Ans) The basic structure doctrine is a common law legal doctrine that the constitution of a sovereign state has certain characteristics that cannot be erased by its legislature. The doctrine is recognised in India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Kenya, and Uganda. ... State of Kerala, where the doctrine was formally adopted. According to the Basic Structure Doctrine, the Parliament cannot change through amendments the basic features of the constitution, which include Fundamental Rights along with judicial review, secularism, and parliamentary democracy. This doctrine emerged from the Supreme Court judgement in March 1973 about Kesavanad Bharati vs. State of Kerala case. In this case, His Holiness Kesavanand Bharati Spripadagalvanu, leader of a math in Kerala challenged in the Supreme Court the decision of Kerala government about taking over the private land as part of land reforms programme. In its judgement about this case, the Supreme Court pronounced that basic structure of the constitution, i.e., Fundamental Rights cannot be changed. However, the court also held that right to property did not constitute basic structure of the Constitution.

The 44th Amendment, 1978 removed the right to property as Fundamental Rights. As Fundamental Rights are enforceable, the courts have a special responsibility to protect them. The courts protect Fundamental Rights by issuing writs. Prior to Kesavanad Bharati case, the Supreme Court protected Fundamental Rights in Golakhnath vs. State of Punjab case. In this case, the court restricted Parliament from curtailing any Fundamental Right. In Indira Gandhi vs. Raj Narayan case in 1975, the Supreme Court used Basic Structure doctrine to strike down the 39th Constitutional Amendment, which sought to place elections of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Speaker of Lok Sabha beyond the purview of judicial review.


Q4) Explain the special powers of Rajya Sabha. 10

Ans) Rajya Sabha’ or the ‘Council of States’ is the second chamber of the Indian parliament, which traces its origin to the Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, 1919. It has every right to seek information on all matters which are exclusively in the domain of Lok Sabha. It has no power to pass a vote of no-confidence in the Council of Ministers. It also does not have much influence on the matters of Money Bill. However, the Constitution grants certain special powers to the Rajya Sabha. As the sole representative of the States, the Rajya Sabha enjoys two exclusive powers which are of considerable importance. First, under Article 249, the Rajya Sabha has power to pass a resolution by a majority of not less than two-thirds of members present and voting, declaring that it is ‘necessary or expedient in the national interest’. The matter in such resolution should belong to the State List. The law passed on the matter in the resolution shall be valid for one year. The second, Article 312 also provides special power to the Rajya Sabha to pass a resolution on another matter, i.e., to create one or more All India Services. Like the resolution to be passed under Article 249, under Article 312 also, the resolution should be passed by two-third of members present and voting in the House. Thus, these special provisions make the Rajya Sabha an important component of Indian Legislature rather than just being an ornamental body. Its compact composition and permanent character provide continuity and stability in the system.


Q5) Explain the concept of Collective Responsibility in the Cabinet System. 10

Ans) Collective responsibility means that all Ministers are bound by the collective decisions made by Cabinet. Accordingly Ministers act with and on behalf of their Cabinet colleagues. Ministers must seek Cabinet approval for all their proposals before making any public announcements. The Council of Ministers functions on the principle of collective responsibility. Under this principle, all ministers are equally responsible for each act of government. That is, under the collective leadership, each minister accepts and agrees to share responsibility for all decisions of the cabinet. Doubts and disagreements are confined to the privacy of the cabinet room. Once a decision has been taken, it must be loyally supported and considered as the decisions of the whole government. If any member of the Council of Ministers is unable to support government policy in the Parliament or the country at large, that member is morally bound to resign from the Council of Ministers. Even if the Council of Ministers is formed as a result of a coalition of various political parties, a minimum common programme becomes essential for maintaining the solidarity of the ministry, and the various political parties forming the coalition government must stand behind that programme. Unless they do so, the Cabinet cannot survive. Unity within Council of Ministers is not only essential for its very survival but also necessary for its efficiency and efficacy, and it is also necessary to enjoy the confidence of the people. Open bickering between members of the Janata government on matters of public policy was the prelude to the collapse of the government in 1979.

Assignment – III


Answer the following questions in about 100 words each.


6. What is the Concurrent List? 6

Ans) The Concurrent List consists of forty-seven items. These are items with respect to which uniformity of legislation throughout the Union is desirable but not essential. As such they are placed under the jurisdiction of both the Union and the States. The list includes items such as marriage and divorce, transfer of property other than agricultural land, contracts, bankruptcy and insolvency, trustees and trusts, civil procedure, contempt of court, adulteration of foodstuffs, drugs and poisons, economic and social planning, trade unions, security, labour welfare, electricity, newspapers, books and printing presses, stamp duties, etc. The Parliament of India and state legislatures have concurrent powers of legislation over the items included in this list. Once Parliament enacts a law on an item in this list, the parliamentary law shall prevail over any state law on an item. There is, however, one exception to this general rule.


7. Write a brief note on Sarkaria Commission. 6

Ans) In the light of Sarkaria commission report, the National Front Government established the Inter- State Council through a presidential notification on May 25,1990. The Council was to consist of the Prime Minister, Chief Ministers of all States, Chief Ministers or Administrators of Union Territories and six ministers of cabinet rank of the Union Government. The Council is headed by the Prime Minister and in his absence by the cabinet minister nominated by him. The council prepares guidelines for identifying issues to be brought before it and is expected to meet at least thrice every year. It also recommended that the persons of high integrity should be appointed as Governors of states and Article 356 should be used sparingly and last resort when other alternatives were not available.


8. What is the Advisory Jurisdiction of Supreme Court? 6

Ans) The Supreme Court is vested with the power to render advisory opinions on any question of fact or law that may be referred to it by the President. The advisory role of the Supreme Court is different from ordinary adjudication in three senses: first, there is no litigation between two parties; second, the advisory opinion of the Court is not binding on the government; and finally, it is not executable as a judgement of the court. The practice of seeking an advisory opinion of the Supreme Court helps the executive to arrive at a sound decision on important issues. At the same time, it gives a soft option to the Indian government on some politically difficult issues.


9. Write a brief note on Financial Emergency under Article 360. 6

Ans) According to Article 360, Financial emergency can be imposed when there is financial instability in India or any part of it. In India, financial emergency has not been imposed. If a situation arises for proclamation of financial emergency in India, it must be approved by the Parliament within two months of promulgation. In case, the lower house is dissolved at the time of proclamation of financial emergency, it will cease to exist on expiry of thirty days from the date of its first meeting after its reconstitution. Under the situation of financial emergency, the President can reduce the salaries of all government officials, including Supreme Court and High Court judges. Even money bills and other bills under article 207 passed by the State Legislatures need to be submitted to the President for the approval under such circumstance. With respect to Jammu and Kashmir as the state enjoys special status under Article 370, Indian Union have no power to promulgate financial emergency in Jammu & Kashmir.


10. Write a brief note on the Fifth Schedule. 6

Ans) Under Article 244(1) of the Constitution, the provisions of the Fifth Schedule shall apply to the administration and control of the Scheduled Areas and Scheduled Tribes in any state other than the State of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, and 119 Mizoram. The principal object of these specific provisions in the Fifth Schedule is to protect the interests and rights of the tribals in their land, habitat, and economy; and to preserve the communities’ customs and tradition and to ensure a faster socio-economic development in the “Scheduled Areas.” The “Scheduled Areas” as defined in Part C of the Fifth Schedule are “such areas as the President may by order declare to be Scheduled Areas.” The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution applies to an overwhelming majority of India’s tribal areas in states other than the North-East. However, the general impression is that the Fifth Schedule has failed to deliver its desired impact due various reasons. In fact, the provisions of the Fifth Schedule have never been applied the way it should have been.

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