BPSE -212/EPS-12: Government and Politics in India Assignment
Answer all questions in the three Assignments and submit them together.
Assignment – I
Answer the following in about 500 words each.
Elaborate upon the essential features of the Constitution of India.
The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens.
Here are some of the essential features of the Constitution of India:
Federal structure: India is a federal system, with a central government and state governments. The Constitution defines the powers and functions of each level of government and provides for a system of checks and balances to ensure that no one level of government becomes too powerful.
Written and comprehensive: The Constitution is a written document and is the longest constitution in the world. It consists of a preamble and 22 parts, divided into 448 articles and 12 schedules.
Rigid and flexible: The Constitution is rigid in the sense that it cannot be amended easily. However, it is also flexible in the sense that it allows for reasonable changes to be made in order to adapt to changing circumstances.
Republican and democratic: The Constitution establishes India as a democratic republic, with the President as the head of state and the Prime Minister as the head of government. It provides for a universal adult franchise, which means that all Indian citizens over the age of 18 have the right to vote.
Secular: The Constitution guarantees religious freedom and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion. It also declares that the state shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion.
Federal court system: The Constitution establishes a federal court system, consisting of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and has the power of judicial review, which means that it can declare a law or action of the government to be unconstitutional.
Fundamental rights: The Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights to all citizens, such as the right to equality, freedom of speech and expression, and protection against discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
Directive principles: The Constitution also sets out certain directive principles, which are non-justiciable and serve as guidelines for the government in framing policies and laws. These principles include the promotion of equality, the promotion of international peace and security, and the protection of the environment.
Emergency provisions: The Constitution provides for emergency powers to be exercised by the President in the event of a national emergency, such as war or armed rebellion. These powers allow the government to take measures to protect the security and integrity of the country.
Amendment process: The Constitution can be amended by a special majority of the Parliament. However, certain provisions, such as those related to the federal structure and fundamental rights, are more difficult to amend and require a higher level of consensus.
Explain the concept of Judicial Review and its significance in safeguarding fundamental rights.
Judicial review is the power of a court to review and potentially invalidate a law or action of the government if it is found to be unconstitutional. In other words, it is the power of the judiciary to interpret the Constitution and to ensure that the government and other organs of the state act within the limits set by the Constitution.
In India, the power of judicial review is vested in the Supreme Court and the High Courts, which have the authority to declare a law or action of the government to be unconstitutional if it violates any of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. This power is essential in safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens, as it ensures that the government and other organs of the state are held accountable to the Constitution and cannot violate the fundamental rights of citizens with impunity.
The power of judicial review is an important check on the power of the government and helps to maintain the rule of law in the country. It allows individuals and groups to challenge laws or actions of the government that they believe to be unconstitutional and to seek protection for their fundamental rights. It also helps to ensure that the government acts in accordance with the principles and values set out in the Constitution, such as democracy, equality, and justice.
In summary, judicial review is an essential feature of the Constitution of India and plays a crucial role in safeguarding the fundamental rights of citizens and upholding the rule of law in the country.
The concept of judicial review is an important mechanism for safeguarding fundamental rights. It allows individuals to challenge laws or actions of the government that they believe infringe upon their fundamental rights. For example, if a law is passed that violates the right to freedom of speech, an individual can challenge the law in court and seek to have it declared unconstitutional.
Judicial review also helps to maintain the separation of powers and the balance of power between the different branches of government. It ensures that the judiciary can hold the other branches of government accountable for their actions and prevent them from overstepping their constitutional bounds.
Overall, judicial review plays a crucial role in protecting the fundamental rights of citizens and ensuring that the government acts within the limits of its authority as prescribed by the Constitution.
Assignment – II
Answer the following questions in about 250 words each
Discuss the powers and functions of the Parliament of India.
The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body of the Republic of India. It consists of the President of India and two Houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The Parliament has the power to make laws on a wide range of subjects enumerated in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
Here are some of the powers and functions of the Parliament of India:
- Lawmaking: The Parliament has the power to make laws on a wide range of subjects, including national defence, foreign affairs, taxation, banking, and criminal law. It can also pass resolutions and motions to express its views on various issues.
- Control over the executive: The Parliament has the power to control and scrutinize the actions of the executive, which includes the President, the Prime Minister, and the Cabinet. It can do this through questions, debates, and discussions in the Houses, as well as through committees that investigate and report on specific issues.
- Financial control: The Parliament has the power to approve and oversee the government’s budget and financial policies. It does this through the presentation of the annual budget by the Finance Minister and the examination of it by the relevant committees.
- Impeachment of the President: The Parliament has the power to impeach the President if he or she is found to have violated the Constitution or committed any other offence. The impeachment process is initiated by the introduction of a motion in either House and requires the support of a two-thirds majority in both Houses.
- Amendment of the Constitution: The Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution by a special majority. However, certain provisions, such as those related to the federal structure and fundamental rights, are more difficult to amend and require a higher level of consensus.
- Representation: The Parliament represents the people of India and serves as a forum for the expression of their views and concerns. It ensures that the voices of all sections of society are heard and taken into account in the lawmaking process.
- International relations: The Parliament has a role in shaping India’s foreign policy and in ratifying international treaties and agreements. It can do this through debates and discussions in the Houses and through the participation of its members in international forums.
We can say, the Parliament plays a crucial role in the governance of India and is an important institution for the representation of the people and the oversight of the executive.
Discuss the emergency under article 356 of the Constitution of India
Article 356 of the Constitution of India allows the President of India to declare a state of emergency in the whole of India or in any part of the country in the event of a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state. There are three types of emergencies that can be declared under Article 356:
- President’s Rule: This type of emergency is declared when the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. When President’s Rule is imposed, the President takes over the administration of the state and the Governor of the state acts as the representative of the President.
- Financial emergency: This type of emergency is declared when the President is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the financial stability or credit of India or any part of its territory is threatened. When a financial emergency is declared, the President can give directions to the states to observe such financial propriety as he or she may specify.
- National emergency: This type of emergency is declared when the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India or any part of its territory is threatened by war, external aggression, or armed rebellion. When a national emergency is declared, the President can take any measures that he or she considers necessary for the defence of India or any part of its territory.
Article 356 provides for a number of safeguards to ensure that emergency powers are not abused. For example, the President’s proclamation of an emergency must be approved by both Houses of Parliament within two months of its issuance. The emergency can be extended only with the approval of Parliament. In addition, the Constitution requires the government to review the situation every six months and report to Parliament on the need to continue the emergency.
Now we can say, the provisions of Article 356 are intended to allow the government to take necessary measures to protect the security and integrity of the country in the event of a national emergency. However, the emergency powers have been criticized for being open to abuse and for being used as a means to centralize power.
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