Special Sub-Topic: The Constitution of India
|Which of the following words was added into the Pre-amble of the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976?|
Socialist. The word "socialist" along with "secular", was added to the Pre-amble of the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976, ostensibly to reflect the rationale for the policies of the Indira Gandhi government during the Emergency period between 1975-1977. Several commentators have criticized the inclusion of these two words into the Pre-amble as they are vague, unclear concepts, which could cause confusion while interpreting the Constitution.
|Which important human right is protected in Article 21 of the Constitution of India?|
Right to life and liberty. Article 21 states that no one maybe deprived of their life or liberty unless it is by due procedure of law. In the first 25 years or so, this Article was very narrowly interpreted by the Supreme Court to mean that no matter what the procedure of law stated, as long as it was followed, deprivation of one's life and liberty was not illegal. This view, however, changed with the landmark decision in Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India in 1979, wherein Justice Bhagwati introduced the American concept of due process, i.e., the law itself should be fair and non-violative of the other provisions of the Constitution, into the interpretation of Article 21.
This opened the floodgate for the expansive interpretation of Article 21, by the Supreme Court, which has been used to protect not just civil and political rights of the citizens, but also guarantee socio-economic rights which were not originally justifiable in the Constitution.
|From which Constitution was the Concept of a Five Year Plan borrowed into the Indian Constitution?|
USSR. A simple one actually. The framers of the Constitution were amazed at the success of the Five Year Plans in industrializing the USSR and wished to follow the planned economy model of the Soviet Union in modernizing India. Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first Prime Minister, was also a huge fan of the Soviet Five Year Plans and wanted a similar Planning Commission in India to oversee economic growth and Industrialization of the country.
|Which of the following Constitutional posts is enjoyed for a fixed term?|
President. The President, according to Article 56 of the Constitution, enjoys his post for 5 years and can only be removed by a complicated impeachment process, akin to the President of the USA.
The Prime Minister's term lasts only as long as his Cabinet enjoys the confidence of the Parliament.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court holds his post till the retirement age of 65.
The Governor of a State, appointed by the President, holds his position only at the pleasure of the President and may be recalled by the President at any time.
|A custom or usage, inconsistent with the principles of the Constitution can be struck down as unconstitutional.|
True. Article 13(3) which refers to kinds of laws which may be struck down as being ultra vires the Constitution include custom and usage. However, the Supreme Court has been a little wary of doing so, especially in case of religious personal laws, after the uproar among the conservative elements of the Muslim Community after the decision of the Supreme Court in the Shah Bano case in 1987.
The women-friendly decision in this case, was overturned by Parliament under pressure from the Muslim Community by passing a law abrogating the rights of Muslim women to maintenance upon divorce by their husbands. Even this however, was interpreted in a women-friendly manner by many lower courts, and in 2003 by the Supreme Court itself in the case of Danial Laitifi v. Union of India.
|How many judges sat on the bench to hear the landmark case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala in 1973?|
13. The largest ever Bench of the Supreme Court was constituted to hear what would, out of the thousands of cases involving Fundamental Rights, be called THE Fundamental Rights case. The question to be considered was Parliament's power to amend the Constitution with regard to Fundamental Rights, especially in the light of recent Land Reform Legislation which kept getting struck down by the Supreme Court as being violative of the Right to Property.
A previous judgment of the Supreme Court in 1967, Golaknath v. Union of Indian, given by a 11 Judge Bench had stated that Fundamental Rights could not be amended at all and caused some concern among commentators and Parliament alike. In the Keshavananda Bharati case, the Supreme Court overruled the Golaknath case, but introduced a new concept which would change the face of Constitutional law in India and abroad forever.
|Which famous doctrine was introduced by the Supreme Court in the landmark 1973 case of Keshavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala?|
Basic Structure. The roots of the Basic Structure doctrine can be traced to the arguments of eminent Supreme Court lawyer, MK Nambyar in the very first Fundamental Rights case, AK Gopalan v. Union of India in 1950. It kept appearing in limited forms in other landmark Fundamental Rights cases, but was fully enunciated by the Supreme Court only in Kesavananda Bharati.
BY a 7-6 majority, the Supreme Court held that there were some parts of the Constitution which constitute the very heart of the existence of the Indian State and Polity, such as democracy, judicial review of executive action, separation of powers, etc. This was based on the fact that some parts of the Constitution could not be amended as easily as others and this, thus meant that the framers originally intended for some parts to be more vital to the existence of the Indian State than others.
The doctrine was extended, again by a majority of 7-6, to state that Fundamental Rights were included in this Basic Structure. However, by a majority of 7-6, it was also held that the right to property was not a Fundamental Right of the same kind as the Right to life etc., and hence it could not be protected by the Basic Structure doctrine from amendment by the Legislature.
The judgement which made all the difference was the one by Khanna J, who would also go on to write a courageous dissent in the ADM Jabalpur case in 1976 during the Emergency. While he agreed with the majority on the Basic Structure Doctrine being part of the Constitution, he differed when it came to the Right to Property.
As a result, a fairly decent compromise was arrived at after 1500+ pages of judgment. Fundamental Rights could not be amended recklessly, but land reform could be carried out as the Right to Property was not a Fundamental Right covered by the Basic Structure Doctrine.
|The amendment which was passed in 2003 was the ______ occasion upon which the Constitution was amended.|
92nd. The amendment made in the 92nd Amendment Act, 2003, came into force in July, 2004 when it received the Presidential assent. It provided for three more national languages to be included in the Constitution and the imposition of service tax on service providers by the Central Government.
|From which country's Constitution was the concept of Directive Principles of State Policy adopted into the Indian Constitution|
Ireland. The Directive Principles, found in Articles 39-51 entail mostly socio-economic rights of the people, which the Government has to provide for, but cannot be claimed in a Court of Law. The Supreme Court, in the landmark Minerva Mills case (1980), has held that Fundamental Rights are superior to Directive Principles of State Policy, though the two must be interpreted harmoniously for the larger welfare of people.
|Which of the following is not a Constitutionally mandated body?|
Commission for Center-State Relations. The Commission for Center-State Relations, better known as the Sarkaria commission after the Retired Supreme Court Justice who headed the Commission, was constituted to study various aspects of Center State relations as set out in the Constitution and see what changes needed to be made.
All other commissions are provided for in the Constitution and have to be headed by a person appointed by the Executive.
I have barely scratched the edge of the surface of the engrossing field of Indian Constitutional Law in this quiz, and hope you enjoyed it.
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