UPSC Polity: Salient Features And Preamble To The Constitution -2

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1) The Indian Federal System differs from the American Federal System in respect of the following:

a) Representation of the States in the Upper House of the Federal Legislature.

b) Existence of a Written Constitution.

c) Vesting of Residuary Powers

d) Dual Citizenship

Select the correct answer from the codes given below:

a) 1 and 2                b) 3 and 4                c) 1,2 and 3                d) 4only

Ans      B

Explanation:    (The government of India is based on a tiered system, in which the Constitution of India delineates the subjects on which each tier of government has executive powers. The Constitution originally provided for a two-tier system of government and the State governments. Later, a third tier was added in the form of Panchayats and Municipalities. In the current arrangement, The Seventh Schedule of the Indian Constitution delimits the subjects of each level of governmental jurisdiction, dividing them into three lists:

Union List includes subjects of national importance such as the defense of the country, foreign affairs, banking, communications and currency. The Union Government alone can make laws relating to the subjects mentioned in the Union List.

State List contains subjects of State and local importance such as police, trade, commerce, agriculture, and irrigation. The State Governments alone can make laws relating to the subjects mentioned in the State List.

Concurrent List includes subjects of common interest to both the Union Government as well as the State Governments, such as education, forest, trade unions, marriage, adoption, and succession. Both the Union as well as the State Governments can make laws on the subjects mentioned in this list. If their laws conflict with each other, the law made by the Union Government will prevail.

A distinguishing aspect of Indian federalism is that unlike many other forms of federalism, it is asymmetric. Article 370 makes special provisions for the state of Jammu and Kashmir as per its Instrument of Accession. Article 371 makes special provisions for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Goa, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Sikkim as per their accession or state-hood deals. Also, one more aspect of Indian federalism is a system of President’s Rule in which the central government (Through its appointed Governor) takes control of the State’s administration for certain months when no party can form a government in the state or there is a violent disturbance in the state.

Federalism in the United States is the evolving relationship between state governments and the federal government of the United States. The American government has evolved from a system of dual federalism to one of associative federalism. The United States is composed of fifty self-governing states and several territories.

Because the states were pre-existing political entities, the U.S. constitution did not need to define or explain federalism in any one section but it often mentions the rights and responsibilities of state governments and state officials in relation to the federal government. The federal government has certain express powers (also called enumerated powers) which are powers spelled out in the Constitution, including the right to levy taxes, declare war, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce. In addition, the Necessary and Proper Clause gives the federal government the implied power to pass any law “necessary and proper” for the execution of its express powers. Other Powers-the reserved powers-are reserved to the people of the states. The power delegated to the federal government was significantly expanded by the Supreme Court decision in McCulloch v.Maryland (1819), amendments to the Constitution following the Civil War, and by some later amendments—as well as the overall claim of the Civil War, that the states were legally subject to the final dictates of the federal government.

The Federalist Party of the United States was opposed by the Democratic-Republicans, including powerful figures such as Thomas Jefferson. The Democratic-Republicans mainly believed that: the Legislature had too much power (mainly because of the Necessary and Proper Clause) and that they were unchecked; the Executive had too much power, and that there was no check on the executive; a dictator would arise; and that a bill of rights should be coupled with the constitution to prevent a dictator (then believed to eventually be the president) from exploiting or tyrannizing citizens. The federalists, on the other hand, argued that it was impossible to list all the rights, and those that were not listed could be easily overlooked because they were not in the official bill of rights. Rather, rights in specific cases were to be decided by the judicial system of courts.

After the American Civil War, the federal government increased greatly in influence on everyday life and in size relative to the state governments. Reasons included the need to regulate businesses and industries that span state borders, attempts to secure civil rights, and the provision of social services. The federal government acquired no substantial new powers until the acceptance by the Supreme Court of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.)

2) Which one of the following is the most important characteristic of a Parliamentary Government?

a) Majority Rule

b) Rule of Law

c) Direct election of Member of Parliament

d) Collective responsibility of the Executive to the Legislature

Ans      D

3) Given below are two statements, one labeled as Assertion (A) and the other labeled as Reason (R). Choose the correct answer from the codes.

Reason (R): Presidential System is suitable for meeting crises. Reason (R): The President has a fixed tenure.

a) Both (A) and (R) are true and (R) is the correct explanation of (A).

b) Both (A) and (R) are correct But (R) is not the correct explanation of (A).

c) (A) is true but (R) is false.

d) (A) is false but (R) is true

Ans      B

4) Consider the statement which is followed by two arguments (I) and (II):

Statement: Should India Switch over to a two-party system?


(I) Yes, it will lead to the stability of the Government.            (II) No, it will limit the choice of voters

a) Only argument (I) is strong.                     b) Only argument (II) is strong

c) Both the arguments are strong                d) Neither of the arguments is strong

Ans      C

Explanation:    (A two-party system is a system where two major political parties dominate politics within a government. One of the two parties typically holds a majority in the legislature and is usually referred to as the majority party while the other is the minority party. The term has different senses. For example, in the United States, Jamaica, and Malta, the sense of the Two-Party System describes an arrangement in which all or nearly all elected officials only belong to one of the two major parties, and third parties rarely win any seats in the legislature. In such arrangements, Two-Party systems are thought to result from various factors like winner takes all election rules. In such systems, while chances for third party candidates winning election to the major national office are remote, it is possible for groups within the larger parties, or in opposition to one or both of them, to exert influence on the two major parties. In contrast, in the United Kingdom and in other parliamentary systems and else-where, the term two-party system is sometimes used to indicate an arrangement in which two major parties dominate elections but in parties dominate elections but in which there are viable third parties which do win seats in the legislature, and in which the two major parties exert proportionately greater influence than their percentage of votes would suggest.

Two-Party systems can be compared with:

Multi-Party Systems: In these, the effective number of parties is greater than two but usually fewer than five; in a two-party system, the effective number of parties is two (according to one analysis, the actual average number of parties varies between 1.7 and 2.1). The parties in a multi-party system can control government separately or as a coalition; in a two-party system, however, coalition governments rarely form. Examples of nations with multiparty systems include Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, and Taiwan.

Single – Party systems or dominant – party systems happen in nations where no more than one party is codified in law and/or officially recognized, or where alternate parties are restricted by the dominant party which wields power. Examples include rule by the Communist Party of China and the people’s Action Party of Singapore.

Advantage: Some historians have suggested that two-party systems promote centrism and encourage political parties to find common positions that appeal to wide swaths of the electorate. It can lead to political stability which leads, in turn, to economic growth. Historian Patrick Allitt of the Teaching Company suggested that it is difficult to overestimate the long term economic benefits of political stability. Sometimes two-party systems have been as preferable to multi-party systems because they are simpler to govern, with less fractiousness and greater harmony, since it discourages radical minor parties, while multi-party systems can sometimes lead to hung-parliaments. The two-party have been identified as simple since there are fewer voting choices.

Disadvantages: Two-party systems have been criticized for downplaying alternative views, being less competitive, encouraging voter apathy since there is a perception of fewer choices, and putting a damper on the debate within a nation. In a proportional representation system, lesser parties can moderate policy since they are not usually eliminated from the government. One analyst suggested the two-party approach may not promote inter-party compromise but may encourage partisanship. In the Tyranny of the Two-party system, Lisa Jane Disch criticizes two-party systems for failing to provide enough options since only two choices are permitted on the ballot.

There have been arguments that the winner-take-all mechanism discourages independent or third-party candidates from running for office or promulgating their views. Ross Perot’s former campaign manager wrote that the problem with having only two parties is that the nation loses “the ability for things to bubble up from the body politic and give voice to things that aren’t being voiced by the major parties. “One analyst suggested that parliamentary systems, which typically are multiparty in nature, lead to a better “centralization of policy expertise” in government. Multi-party governments permit wider and more diverse viewpoints in government and encourage dominant parties to make deals with weaker parties to form winning coalitions. While there is considerable debate about the relative merits of a constitutional arrangement such as that of the United States versus a parliamentary arrangement such as Britain, analysts have noted that most democracies around the world have chosen the British multi-party model. Analyst Chris Weigant of the Huffington Post wrote that “the parliamentary system is inherently much more open to minority parties getting much more open to minority parties getting much better representation than third parties do in the American system.” After an election in which the party changes, there can be a “polar shift in policy-making” when voters react to changes.]

5) Consider the statement which is followed by two arguments (I)and (II):

Statement: Should persons with criminal background be banned from contesting elections?


(I) Yes, it will decriminalize politics.

(II) No, it will encourage the ruling party to file frivolous cases against their political opponents.

a)  only argument (I) is strong.                b) only argument (II) is strong.

c) Both arguments are strong.          d) Neither of the arguments is strong

Ans      A

Explanation:    (The Supreme Court’s of India came out with a judgment on July 10 to ensure that those who are convicted of serious crimes cannot sit in Parliament or State legislatures. The crucial verdict struck down as unconstitutional Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act that gives elected convicts the cover of appeal in order to sit in Parliament or State Assemblies for years.

The court, which allowed writ petitions filed by a public-spirited advocate Lily Thomas and Lok Prahari, a non-governmental organization fighting for people’s rights, took recourse to Articles 102 and Article 191 of the Constitution to declare section 8(4)ultra vires. The judgment makes it clear that the same disqualification clause must apply both to a person chosen to be a Member of Parliament or State Legislature and for a person to continue as an MP or MLA.

Political parties are themselves to blame for having brought about the present situation. They ought not to have allowed the entry of criminals into their own ranks. Criminals should not be given tickets to facilitate their entry into Parliament and State legislatures.)

6) Which one of the following statements is not correct?

a) Indian Parliament is Supreme

b) The Supreme Court of India has the power of judicial review.

c) There is a division of powers between the Centre and the States.

d) There is a Council of Ministers to aid and Advise the President.

Ans      A

Explanation:    (Like the British counterpart, the Parliament of India is not a fully sovereign legislature. It does not enjoy unlimited and absolute powers like that of the British Parliament. It is a creation of the Constitution. It has no natural growth like that of the British Parliament. As it is created by the Constitution, it is bound by the provisions of the Constitution.)

7) Which one of the following statements reflects the republic character of Indian democracy?

a) Written Constitution

b) No State religion

c) Devolution of power to local Government institutions

d) Elected President and directly or indirectly elected Parliament.

Ans      D

Explanation:    (A republic is a government where the head of state is not a monarch. India became a sovereign, democratic, republic after its constitution came into effect on 26th January 1950.

8) Which Constitutional Article states ‘This Constitution may be called the Constitution of India’

a) Article 397                b) Article 396                c) Article 395               d) Article 394

Ans      D

Explanation:    (394. Commencement This article and Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 366, 367, 379, 380, 388, 391, 392 and 393 shall come into force at once, and the remaining provisions of this Constitution shall come into force on the twenty-sixth day of January, 1950, which day is referred to in this Constitution as the commencement of this Constitution.)

9) Match List I with List II

President of India: 1.Secrecy of India information

Judges of Supreme Court: 2. Faithful Discharge of duties

Members of Parliament :                            3. Faith and Allegiance to the Constitution of India

Minister for the Union: 4.Upholding the Constitution and the law

a) A-3, B-4, C-1, D-2                b) A-4, B-3, C-2, D-1

c) A-3, B-4, C-2, D-1                d) A-4, B-3, C-1, D-2

Ans      C

10) The sequence in which the given terms are mentioned in the preamble to the Constitution of India is

a) Soverien, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republics

b) Socialist, Secular, Sovereign, Democratic, Republic

c) Secular, Socialist, Sovereign, Democratic, Republics

d) Sovereign, Democratic, Socialist, Secular, Republics

Ans      A

Explanation:    (Preamble 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; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all

Fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the (unity and integrity of the Nation;

In Our Constituent Assembly this twenty-sixth day of November 1949, do Hereby Adopt, Enact And Give To Ourselves This Constitution.)