vision ias test series, vision ias test series 2024 pdf TEST 1

vision ias test series

Question 1 – Explain the importance of the Constitution in the context of a democratic country like India.

Approach:

  • Give a brief introduction about the Constitution.
  • Write about the importance of the Constitution along with examples from India.
  • Conclude accordingly.

Answer:
The Constitution of a country is the supreme law that determines the relationship between the
people and government in a territory and also the relationship among people living in that territory.All countries that have Constitutions are not necessarily democratic. But all countries that are
democratic will usually have a Constitution; for example: U.S.A, France, India and South Africa.
Importance of Constitution in democratic country like India:

  • Lays down the structure and functions of the organs of the state: A Constitution usually
    specifies how the state and its various organs will be constituted, who will have power to take
    which decision.
    o For example, Articles 79 to 122 in Part V of the Indian Constitution; Articles 1, 2, and 3 of the
    US Constitution.
  • Act as a beacon to the elected government: To guide what the elected government should
    aim to do and devise the policies accordingly.
    o For example, Directive Principles of State Policy.
  • Rule of Law: It lays down limits on the power of the government and specifies the rights of the
    citizens.
    o For example, Article 13 of the Indian Constitution declares any law, which takes away or
    abridges the Fundamental Rights of citizens as void under certain circumstances.
    o Fundamental Rights under Articles 12-35 of part III of Indian constitution
  • Protection of Minorities: The Constitution in a democracy usually provides safeguards for the
    rights of minorities.
    o For example, Articles 29 and 30 of the Indian Constitution.
  • It may lay down certain duties of citizens: A Constitution may lay down not only rights but
    also certain duties for citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and uphold the unity of the
    country.
    o Article 51(A) of the Indian Constitution lays down the duty of citizens individually and
    collectively to strive towards excellence in all spheres.

QUESTION 2 –

Bring out the differences between ‘coming together federations’ and ‘holding together
federations’ with examples.
Approach:

  • Write a brief introduction about federalism.
  • Mention the differences between both the types of federations – ‘coming together’ and ‘holding
    together’.
  • Conclude accordingly.

Answer:
Federalism is a system of government in which the power is divided between a central authority
and various constituent units of the country by the Constitution itself. However, all the federations
across the world are not the same and they can be broadly categorised into “coming together’ federation and ‘holding together’ federation.

Differences between ‘coming together’ and ‘holding together’ federations:

Attributes Coming together federation Holding together federation
FormationIndependent states coming together on their own to form a bigger unit, so that by pooling sovereignty and retaining identity they can increase their security.
Example: USA, Switzerland and Australia.
A large country decides to divide its power between the constituent States and the national government. Example: India, Spain and Belgium
Distribution of powers across statesAll the constituent states usually have equal powers. Example: 50 states in USA have equal powers.Very often different constituent units of the federation have unequal powers though some units are granted special powers.
Example: Schedules V and VI of the Indian Constitution
Distribution of power across states and federal governmentUsually, states are as strong as the federal government.Centralised tendency i.e., vesting more powers in the centre vis-à-vis the states.
Example: Schedule VII of the Indian Constitution, which leans towards the Centre.
States power to secedeStates may secede from the union under certain very specific circumstances.The union is indestructible i.e., states
have no right to secede from the union.
It is also known as ‘Indestructible union with destructible state’.
Example: India.
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QUESTION 3 -Compare the powers of the Lok Sabha with that of the Rajya Sabha.
Approach:

  • Briefly mention the composition of the Parliament.
  • Highlight the similarities in the powers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • Mention the special powers of the Rajya Sabha.
  • Draw conclusions accordingly.
    Answer:
    Under the Constitution, the Parliament of India consists of three parts, the President,
    the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the people (Lok Sabha). Rajya Sabha
    is the upper house and Lok Sabha is the lower house. The first represents the states of the Indian Union
    , while the second represents the people of India as a whole. Both Houses share equal powers and responsibilities with respect to
    passing ordinary bills,
    amending the Constitution, impeaching the President, removing judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court , etc. However, the Lok Sabha has been given some special powers:

  • Collective Responsibility: The Rajya Sabha cannot remove the Council of Ministers by passing
    a no-confidence motion. This is because the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible only
    to the Lok Sabha. But, the Rajya Sabha can discuss and criticise the policies and activities of the
    government.
  • With regard to Money Bill: A Money Bill can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in
    the Rajya Sabha. The Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject a Money Bill. It should return the
    bill to the Lok Sabha within 14 days, either with recommendations or without
    recommendations. The Lok Sabha can either accept or reject all or any of the recommendations
    of the Rajya Sabha. In both the cases, the money bill is deemed to have been passed by the two
    Houses.
  • With regard to financial bill: A financial bill, not containing solely the matters of Article 110,
    also can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha and not in the Rajya Sabha. But, with regard to its
    passage, both the Houses have equal powers.
  • Powers of the Speaker: The Speaker of Lok Sabha presides over the joint sitting of both the
    Houses. The final power to decide whether a particular bill is a Money Bill or not is vested in the
    Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • Voting powers: Rajya Sabha can only discuss the budget but cannot vote on the demands for
    grants (which is the exclusive privilege of the Lok Sabha). A resolution for the discontinuance of
    the national emergency can be passed only by the Lok Sabha and not by the Rajya Sabha.
    Similarly, the Rajya Sabha also enjoys some special powers that are not given to the Lok Sabha.
  • Legislating on a subject in State List: Only the Rajya Sabha can authorize the Parliament to
    make a law on a subject enumerated in the State List.
  • Creation of All India Services: It is the Rajya Sabha which can authorize the Parliament to
    create new All-India Services common to both the Centre and states.
  • Removal of the Vice-President: The Rajya Sabha alone can initiate a motion for the removal of
    the Vice-President.
    The Rajya Sabha was envisaged as a revising chamber and a protection against majority
    government. Thus, both the houses play a critical role in the maintenance of the federal equilibrium
    in the country.

QUESTIONS 4 – What do you understand by judicial activism and overreach? Also discuss the associated
concerns.
Approach:

  • Introduce briefly by explaining the concepts of judicial activism and judicial overreach.
  • Differentiate between judicial activism and judicial overreach.
  • Mention the concerns associated with judicial overreach.
  • Conclude accordingly.
    Answer:
    Judicial activism is a judicial philosophy that motivates the judiciary to depart from the traditional
    precedents in favour of progressive and new social policies. It is manifested when the Supreme
    Court or High Court compels the authorities to act and sometimes also directs the government,
    government policies and the administration. Instances of judicial activism include directing the
    Centre to create new policy to handle drought, directing the Centre to set up a bad loans panel.
  • Judicial Overreach refers to an extreme form of judicial activism where arbitrary and
    unreasonable interventions are made by the judiciary into the domain of the legislature or
    executive. This is a situation where the court encroaches upon the role of the legislature by making
    laws. For example, some have argued that the court’s decision on closing the issuing of licenses for
    new liquor shops in and around highways, was a case of judicial overreach.
    Reasons for judicial activism as well as judicial overreach in a democracy like India can be
    attributed to various factors like asymmetry of power, Public Interest Litigations, lackadaisical approach of other organs and various other factors like growing consciousness of people for their rights, globalization, active media and civil society organizations, concerns for the environment among others.
  • While the higher courts have done a tremendous amount of good for the public through judicial activism; however, in many cases, the judiciary has used excess powers, which transcend the normal bounds of judicial activism. Such judicial overreach has given rise to the following concerns:
  • Undermining the doctrine of the separation of powers: The power vested in the Supreme
    Court through Article 142 of the Constitution is extraordinary. Frequent use of this power may
    be considered as a violation of the doctrine of the separation of powers.
  • Oversight of the challenges faced by legislature and executive: Sometimes the judiciary
    passes the order without keeping in mind fund, function, framework, and functionary (4 F) that
    limit the work of the legislature and the executive. For example, cancelling of coal blocks
    allocations and spectrum allocations led to the poor health of the financial institutions of the
    country.
  • Lack of accountability towards people: Judiciary as an institution is not accountable to the
    people in the same way as the legislature and the executive are. Further, the judiciary also has
    the power to punish for ‘contempt of court.’ This way the judiciary may evade public criticism
    for many of its actions.
  • Threat to the credibility of the judiciary: Frequent transgressions in the domains of the
    legislature and the executive may diminish the image of the judiciary.

The Supreme Court has often highlighted the importance of judicial restraint. The judiciary must,
therefore, exercise self-restraint and eschew the temptation to act as a super-legislature. Judicial
activism is appropriate when it is in the domain of legitimate judicial review. However, it should not
be a norm nor should it result in judicial overreach.

Question 5 – What do you understand by rule of law? Explain how this idea is reflected in the Constitution of
India.
Approach:

  • Introduce briefly by explaining the concept of the rule of law.
  • Mention the principles associated with the rule of law.
  • Discuss the provisions of the Constitution where this idea is reflected.
  • Conclude accordingly.
    Answer:
    According to A.V. Dicey, the rule of law means the absolute supremacy or predominance of the
    regular law as opposed to the influence of arbitrary power and excludes the existence of
    arbitrariness and discretion on the part of the executive. Constitutionalism or limited government is
    the essence of Rule of Law. Only a State that is governed by law and imbibes the ideals of justice and equity can be said to have the “Rule of Law”. A.V. Dicey’s Rule of Law: According to Prof. Dicey, Rule of law contains three principles:
  • Supremacy of Law: No man is punishable except for a distinct breach of law. It includes
    protection from arbitrary arrest and the opportunity to defend oneself.
  • Equality before Law: It means that all persons are equal before law, irrespective of their
    position or rank.
  • Predominance of Legal Spirit: Constitution is the result of rights of Individuals as defined and
    enforced by Courts of Law.
    This idea of rule of law is reflected in following provisions of the Indian Constitution:
  • Article 13(1) states that any law that is made by the legislature has to be made in conformity
    with the Constitution failing which it will be declared invalid. Similarly, Article 14 of the
    Constitution lays down the principle of equality before law and equal protection of laws.

The Preamble to our Constitution incorporates the word justice, liberty and equality which are a
clear indicator of just and fair system without any existent disparity between the masses
irrespective of their stature in life.

  • The right to life and personal liberty which is the basic human right is also guaranteed to every
    person by the Constitution.
  • Rule of law is a basic feature of the Constitution which permeates the whole of the
    constitutional fabric and is an integral part of the constitutional structure.
  • Independence of the judiciary has been ensured in order to uphold the principle of the rule of
    law. It is the judiciary which is entrusted with the task of keeping every organ of the state within
    the limits of the law and thereby making the rule of law meaningful and effective.
  • Rule of law is ensured through Constitutional Supremacy as the legislative and the executive
    derive their authority from the constitution.
  • Under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, the Supreme Court has the power to issue writs in
    the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto, and certiorari. The power of
    judicial review is also given to the Supreme Court so as to preserve the ‘Rule of law’.

Supremacy of law is the spirit that drives the Constitution which is based on justice and equality
and the Rule of Law establishes it. The Rule of Law has evolved and it is also linked with human
rights. In India, the Rule of Law has been upheld by the judiciary in many instances which led to creation of new remedies for human rights violations. Also, repealing of archaic laws, safeguarding
against misuse of laws, curbing criminalization of politics etc. can be actions in the right direction to
uphold the Rule of Law

QUESTION 6 Explain the concept of separation of powers. What are the provisions in the Indian Constitution,
which reflect separation of powers?
Approach:

  • Define separation of powers and discuss the concept.
  • Mention the constitutional provisions, which help in establishing the separation of powers in
    India.
  • Conclude accordingly.
    Answer:
    The term “trias politica” or “separation of powers” was coined by the French social and political
    reformer, Montesquieu. The doctrine asserts that the political authority of the state should be
    divided into legislative, executive and judicial powers, and to most effectively promote liberty, these
    three powers must be separate and act independently.
    The theory of separation of powers has three essential elements:
  • The same person should not form part of more than one of the three organs of the state.
  • One organ should not interfere with any other organ of the state.
  • One organ should not exercise the functions assigned to any other organ.

The separation of powers reduces conflict of interests between different organs of the state,
which would reduce corruption, nepotism etc. in administration and governance.

  • While separation of powers is key to the workings of modern governments, no democratic system
    exists with an absolute separation of powers. Governmental powers and responsibilities
    intentionally overlap as they are too complex and interrelated to be neatly compartmentalized. As a
    result, there is an inherent measure of competition and conflict among the branches of government.

In India, there are no separate provisions regarding the Doctrine of Separation of Powers in the
constitution. But, following provisions reflect its status:

  • Article 50: It puts an obligation over the State to separate the judiciary from the executive.
    But, since this falls under the Directive Principles of State Policy, it is not enforceable.
  • Articles 53 and 154: These provide that the executive power of the Union and the State shall
    be vested with the President and the Governor respectively and they enjoy immunity from
    civil and criminal liability.

Articles 121 and 211: These provide that the legislatures cannot discuss the conduct of a
judge of the Supreme Court or High Court. They can do so only in case of impeachment.

Article 361: The President and Governors enjoy immunity from court proceedings. They shall
not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of
their office.
The separation of powers has been considered an essential element of the Indian Constitution in the
Golaknath Case. Later, in Kesavananda Bharati Case, it was added as the ‘Basic Structure’ of Indian
Constitution and was later affirmed in Indira Gandhi vs. Raj Narain and in the I. R. Coelho case.
However, functional overlap does occur in India, since the executive is a part of the legislature and
is also involved in judicial appointments.

The legislature also exercises judicial powers in case of
breach of privileges and impeachment. Further, the judiciary has power to declare void the laws
passed by legislature and actions taken by the executive if they violate any provision of the
constitution.

QUESTION 7- Discuss the veto powers of the President of India.
Approach:

  • Briefly explain the concept of veto power of the President of India.
  • Discuss the various veto powers in this context.
  • Conclude accordingly.
    Answer:
    For a bill to become an Act, it requires the assent of the President. It is up to the President to either
    reject the bill, return the bill or withhold his/her assent to the bill. The choice of the President over
    the bill is called the veto power. Veto Power of the President of India is guided by Article 111 of the
    Indian Constitution.
    Following are the veto powers available to the President:
  • Absolute Veto: The power of the President to withhold the assent to the bill. In this case, the
    bill passed by the Parliament lapses and does not become an Act. The President uses his
    absolute veto in the following two cases:
    o When the bill passed by the Parliament is a Private Member Bill.
    o When the cabinet resigns before the President could give his assent to the bill. The new
    cabinet may advise the President to not give his assent to the bill passed by the old cabinet.
    For instance, in 1954, absolute veto was exercised against PEPSU Appropriation Bill. Also,
    in 1991, it was used in the Salary, Amendments and Pension of Members of Parliament
    (Amendment) Bill.
  • Suspensive Veto: The power of the President to return the bill to the Parliament with or
    without consideration is called suspensive veto.
    o The President of India uses his suspensive veto when he returns the bill to the Parliament
    for its reconsideration. His suspensive veto can be overridden by the re-passage of the
    bill by the Parliament. If the Parliament resends the bill with or without amendment to the
    Indian President, he has to approve the bill without using any of his veto powers.
    o With respect to state bills, the state legislature has no power to override the suspensive
    veto of the President.
    o However, the President cannot exercise his suspensive veto in relation to the Money Bill.
  • Pocket Veto: The power of the President to not act upon the bill is termed as a pocket veto. The
    Constitution does not give any time-limit to the President within which he has to act upon the
    bill. Therefore, the President uses his pocket veto where he does not have to act upon the bill.
    o For instance, the President of India used pocket veto power to prevent the Indian Post
    Office (Amendment) Bill from becoming a law.
    The veto powers assigned to the President empowers him/her to use his/her own judgment and
    wisdom in the matters of legislation to avoid any hasty or erroneous passing of law.
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QUESTION 8 – Discuss the role of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees in strengthening
parliamentary democracy in India.
Approach:

  • Give an overview of the Departmentally Related Standing Committees in India.
  • Highlight their role in strengthening parliamentary democracy in India.
  • Conclude accordingly.
    Answer:
    The Department-related Standing Committees are the parliamentary committees of both the houses
    related to various ministries/departments. These consist of Members of Parliament (MPs) from
    both Houses, across political parties and they function throughout the year.

These panels study and deliberate on a range of subject matters, bills, and budgets of all the ministries. Therefore, they
ensure that the Parliament keeps up with the growing complexity of governance.
Presently, there are 24 Department-related committees in India; out of which 8 work under the
Rajya Sabha and 16 under the Lok Sabha. These committees contribute in strengthening the
parliamentary democracy by investing in with more meaningful parliamentary support in the
following ways:

  • Ensure that a bill is scrutinized properly: The Parliament meets only for three sessions a
    year which is not enough for members to get into the depth of matters being discussed in the
    house. In the last 10 years, the Parliament met for 67 days per year, on average. Therefore,
    committees, which meet throughout the year, can help make up for lack of time available on
    the floor of the house.
  • Provide technical expertise: The Parliament deliberates on complex matters which require
    technical expertise to understand such matters better. The committees can help by providing a
    forum where members can engage with domain experts and government officials during
    the course of their study.
  • Forum for building consensus across political parties: The proceedings of the House during
    sessions are televised, and MPs are likely to stick to their party positions on most
    matters. Committees have closed door meetings, which allow them to freely question and
    discuss issues and arrive at a consensus.
  • Ensure financial accountability: Only a limited proportion of the budget is usually discussed
    on the floor of the House. However, the committees study and examine detailed estimates of
    expenditure of all ministries, called Demand for Grants, the trends in allocations, spending by
    the ministries, utilisation levels, and the policy priorities of each ministry.
  • Examine various policy issues: Committees also study policy issues in their respective
    Ministries, and make suggestions to the government. The government has to report back on
    whether these recommendations have been accepted or not. Based on this, the Committees
    then table an Action Taken Report, which shows the status of the government’s action on each
    recommendation.

While the Committees have substantially impacted Parliament’s efficacy in discharging its roles,
there is still scope for strengthening the Committee system. The working of these committees
should be reviewed periodically and their recommendations should be discussed in greater detail in
Parliament.

QUESTION 9 – What do you understand by pressure groups? Citing examples, state the different types of
techniques used by pressure groups.
Approach:

  • Introduce with the definition of pressure groups.
  • Explain the techniques used by the pressure groups along with appropriate examples.
  • Conclude appropriately.

Answer:
Pressure groups are organised associations, unions or organisations of people having common
interests. Through organised efforts, they try to influence the legislature, executive and other
decision makers to have decisions made in their favour. Examples: FICCI, ASSOCHAM, India
Against Corruption etc.
Techniques used by pressure groups

  • Manipulate public opinion: Pressure groups provide the necessary information to the concerned people to shape their attitude towards a specific issue.
    o For instance, pressure groups are attempting to promote environmental awareness around the Kaiga project in Karnataka.
  • Lobbying: At times, pressure groups are able to influence the legislators for making or removing some specific provision in a legislation.
    o For instance, ASSOCHAM lobbying the government to consider a wage support mechanism and interest subvention for MSMEs.
  • Appeals & public interest litigations (PILs): Pressure groups adopt the technique of
    influencing the government through PILs in courts of law.
    o For instance, Medha Patkar and her associates have exercised a vast amount of pressure on
    the executive at the state and central levels over the question of the Narmada Dam and
    particularly the resettlement of the people affected by the Sardar Sarovar Project.
  • Demonstrations and processions: These groups may carry out satyagraha or adopt other nonviolent techniques.
    o For instance, farmers protest in 2021 to repeal the Farm Laws.
  • Involvement of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs): It is a form of mass pressure tactics in
    India. CSOs act as pressure groups on the government, to promote implementation of policies in
    their areas of concern.
    o For instance, civil society movements like the Chipko, Appiko movements for the
    protection of environment.
  • Financing the political parties: It has been argued by some that pressure groups may fund
    political party campaigns at times, in order to influence policy-making.
  • Media: Pressure groups distribute pamphlets, issues press releases, organize discussions and
    debates to raise awareness of the people on certain issues.
    Given the diverse role and functions performed by them, pressure groups are considered as an
    indispensable part of the democratic process.

QUESTIONS 10 – Enumerate the composition and functions of the National Commission for Women (NCW). Also,
highlight the initiatives taken by the Commission to give an impetus to women empowerment.
Approach:

  • Briefly mention the National Commission for Women Act, 1990 which set up the National
    Commission for Women (NCW).
  • Provide the composition and functions of the NCW.
  • Highlight the role played by the NCW in women empowerment.
  • Conclude appropriately.
    Answer:
    The National Commission for Women (NCW) was set up as a statutory body under the National
    Commission for Women Act, 1990. It strives to enable women to achieve equality and equal
    participation in all spheres of life by securing their due rights and entitlements.

Section 3 of the National Commission for Women Act, mentions the composition of the NCW:

  • A Chairperson, committed to the cause of women.
  • Five Members from amongst persons of ability, integrity and standing who have had
    experience in law or legislation, trade unionism, management of an industry potential of
    women, women’s voluntary organisations ( including women activists ), administration,
    economic development, health, education or social welfare.
    o Provided that at least one member each shall be from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled
    Tribes respectively.
  • A Member-Secretary who shall be
    o An expert in the field of management, organisational structure or sociological movement, or
    o An officer who is a member of a civil service of the Union or of an all-India service or holds a
    civil post under the Union with appropriate experience
    Under Section 10 of the National Commission for Women Act, the commission shall perform
    the following functions:
  • Investigate and examine all matters relating to the safeguards provided for women under the
    Constitution and other laws.
  • Provide an annual report to the Central Government on working of these constitutional and
    legislative safeguards.
  • Provide recommendations for the effective implementation of those safeguards, needed
    legislative reforms and advise the Government on all policy matters affecting women.
  • Take up cases of violation of the provisions of the Constitution and of other laws relating
    to women with the appropriate authorities, and
  • Look into complaints and take suo-moto notice of matters that affect women rights with the
    Commission having been endowed with powers of a civil court.
    Role of the NCW in women empowerment
  • The Commission has developed a fully functional online system for registration, processing
    and resolution of complaints.
  • Suo-moto cognizance of offences has resulted in expeditious investigation and also
    prosecution of perpetrators.
  • Providing assistance for resolving matters relating to non-resident Indian marriages in
    coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs and State authorities.
  • Gender sensitization programmes for the police officials to enable them to handle cases
    involving distressed women in a more compassionate manner.
  • It has taken up the issue of child marriage, sponsored legal awareness programmes, and
    evolved the concept of Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats. Also, it has reviewed laws such as Dowry
    Prohibition Act, 1961, PNDT Act 1994, Indian Penal Code 1860 and the National Commission for
    Women Act, 1990 to make them more effective.
    However, the Commission faces challenges like inadequate funding, functionary issues, its
    recommendations only a being advisory, among others. Consequently, to make it more effective, the
    above issues need to be resolved and provisions for greater powers, finances and training and
    capacity building need to be undertaken.
vision ias current affairs in hindi | vision ias monthly current affairs | vision ias monthly magazine 6 March 2024
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