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In the chapter “Constitution” of Political Science Class 11 students will learn about the constituent assembly, an overview of the Indian Constitution, the basic structure of the Constitution, the Constitution as a living document, how the Constitution was made, the evolution of the Constitution, procedural achievements, and much more.
Which of these is not a function of the Constitution?
- It gives a guarantee of the rights of the citizen.
- It marks out different spheres of power for different branches of the government.
- It ensures that good people come to power.
- It gives expression to some shared values.
(c) It ensures that good people come to power.
Which of the following is a good reason to conclude that the authority of the Constitution is higher than that of the Parliament?
- The Constitution was framed before the Parliament came into being.
- The Constitution makers were more eminent leaders than the members of the Parliament.
- The Constitution specifies how Parliament is to be formed and what are its powers.
- The Constitution cannot be amended by the Parliament.
The Constitution specifies how Parliament is to be formed and what are its powers.
Constitutions are written documents about formation and power of the government.
Constitutions exist and are required only in democratic countries.
Constitution is a legal document that does not deal with ideals and values.
A Constitution gives its citizens a new identity.
State whether the following inferences about the making of the Indian Constitution are Correct or Incorrect. Give reasons to support your answer.
- The Constituent Assembly did not represent the Indian people since it was not elected by all citizens.
- Constitution making did not involve any major decision since there was general consensus among the leaders at that time about its basic framework.
- There was little originality in the Constitution, for much of it was borrowed from other countries.
- This inference about the making of the Indian Constitution is incorrect. No doubt, the Constituent Assembly was not elected on the basis of adult franchise. But, the Constituent Assembly was the galaxy of stalwarts like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. Ambedkar, Sardar Patel and Maulana Azad. Almost all the leaders were the members of the Constituent Assembly. In fact, the Constituent Assembly was a representative body of all the sections of people.
- This inference is correct because there was a consensus among the leaders on the main principles of the Constitution. These principles were forged during the long struggle for freedom.
- This inference is correct because the Indian Constitution is a bag of borrowing. It was not the purpose of our Constitution makers to produce an original or unique Constitution. What they wanted was a good and workable one. The framers of the Constitution have drawn freely from the British and American Constitutions.
Give two examples each to support the following conclusions about the Indian Constitution:
- The Constitution was made by credible leaders who commanded peoples’ respect.
- The Constitution has distributed power in such a way as to make it difficult to subvert it.
- The Constitution is the focus of people’s hopes and aspirations.
- Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Sardar Patel, Maulana Azad, etc. were all well respected leaders of the Indian masses who played a very important role in framing the Indian Constitution. Moreover, these leaders emphasised on discussion and arguments.
- The Constitution has made a balance arrangement of the three organs of the government. There is a distribution of powers between the Centre and the States on one hand and on the other hand, there is a distribution of powers among the three organs of the government.
- The Objectives Resolution encapsulated the aspirations and values behind the Constitution. The Indian Constitution enshrined fundamental values and the highest aspirations shared by the people. Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles are included in the Constitution.
Why is it necessary for a country to have a clear demarcation of powers and responsibilities in the Constitution? What would happen in the absence of such a demarcation?
It is necessary for a country to have a clear
demarcation of powers and responsibilities in the
Constitution. There is a great need of demarcation of
powers between the Centre and the States. Powers and responsibilities should also be clearly
distributed among the three organs of the government. In the absence of such a demarcation,
decision-making power and responsibility will not be clearly fixed. It will lead to conflict
between the different organs of the government, especially between the executive and
Moreover, it will affect the efficiency of the government.
For the protection and the rights of the citizens, clear demarcation of powers is needed.
Why is it necessary for a Constitution to place limitations on the rulers? Can there be a Constitution that gives no power at all to the citizens?
It is necessary for a Constitution to place certain limitations on the powers of the government. Constitution limits the power of a government in many ways. Generally, the powers of the government are limited by giving fundamental rights to the citizens. The government cannot violate the fundamental rights. In India, fundamental rights are mentioned in the Constitution. The Supreme Court protects the rights of the citizens.
The Japanese Constitution was made when the US occupation army was still in control of Japan after its defeat in the Second World War. The Japanese Constitution could not have had any provision that the US government did not like. Do you see any problem in this way of making the Constitution? In which way was the Indian experience different from this?
The Japanese Constitution was framed under the supervision of American General MacArthur. But, the Indian Constitution was framed by the Constituent Assembly. After Independence, the Constituent Assembly became independent and all restrictions were removed. It was fully independent in framing the Constitution. The British government had no role in framing the Indian Constitution.
Rajat asked his teacher this question: “The Constitution is a fifty-year old and therefore, outdated book. No one took my consent for implementing it. It is written in such tough language that I cannot understand it. Tell me why should I obey this document?” If you were the teacher, how would you answer Rajat?
Our Constitution is not an outdated book. No doubt our Constitution was enforced on 26 January, 1950, but it has been amended from time to time. Rajat should obey the Constitution because the Indian Constitution has been framed by the Constituent Assembly on behalf of the people of India. The Constitution has not been imposed upon us. It originates from the people of India and is promulgated in the name of the people. The people are the source of all authority and all powers lie with them. Since the Constitution is founded on the authority of the people, no state or group of states can destroy it.
In a discussion on the experience of the working of our Constitution, three speakers took three different positions:
- Harbans: The Indian Constitution has succeeded in giving us a framework of democratic government.
- Neha: The Constitution made solemn promises of ensuring liberty, equality and fraternity. Since this has not happened, the Constitution has failed.
- Nazima: The Constitution has not failed
us. We have failed the Constitution.
Do you agree with any of these positions? If yes, why ? If not, what is your own position?
Harbans rightly said that the Indian Constitution has succeeded in giving us a framework of democratic government. Parliamentary democracy has been established under the Constitution. Democratic government is functioning successfully since 1950. Fourteen elections of the Lok Sabha have been held free and fair. All the organs of the government are working within the limits of the Constitution.
The following are certain laws. Are they connected with any value? If yes, then what is the underlying value? Give reasons.
- Both daughters and sons will have share in the family property.
- There will be different slabs of sales tax on different consumer items.
- Religious instructions will not be given in any government school.
- There shall be no begar or forced labour.
- The underlying value is that there is equality between boys and girls. No discrimination can be made on the basis of sex.
- The underlying value is that there shall be higher slab of sales tax on luxury items which are used by rich people.
- The underlying value is that India is a secular state. Hence, no religious instructions should be given in government schools and colleges.
- The underlying value is that there should be no exploitation either by the state or by privileged classes in the society.
Which of the options given below cannot be used to complete the following statement? Democratic countries need a Constitution to:
- Check the power of the government.
- Protect minorities from majority.
- Bring independence from colonial rule.
- Ensure that a long-term vision is not lost by momentary passions.
(c) Bring independence from colonial rule.
The following are different positions
about reading and understanding Constituent
(i) Which of these statements argues that Constituent Assembly debates are relevant even today? Which statement says that they are not relevant?
(ii) With which of these positions do you agree and why?
(a) Common people are too busy in earning livelihood and meeting different pressures of life. They can’t understand the legal language of these debates.
(b) The conditions and challenges today are different from the time when the Constitution was made. To read the ideas of Constitution makers and use them for our new times is trying to bring past in the present.
(c) Our ways of understanding the world and the present challenges have not changed totally. Constituent Assembly debates can provide us reasons why certain practises are important. In a period when constitutional practises are being challenged, not knowing the reasons can destroy them.
(a) It is true that common people are having neither time nor knowledge to understand the legal and complicated language of these debates. (b) This statement argues that Constituent Assembly debates are not relevant but we do not agree with this statement. (c) This statement argues that Constituent Assembly debates are relevant even today. We fully agree with this statement because Constituent Assembly debates are very useful even today.
Explain the difference between the Indian Constitution and western ideas in the light of:
- Understanding of Secularism.
- Articles 370 and 371.
- Affirmative action.
- Universal Adult Franchise.
(a) Understanding of Secularism: Like
many western countries, India is also a secular state.
But the western concept of Secularism is different from
the Indian concept. Western Secularism means mutual
exclusion of state and religion in order to protect
individual freedom. Mutual exclusion means that
religion and state are separate from each other.
Western Secularism means that state should not
interfere in the religious matter nor religion should
interfere in the affairs of the state. To protect religious
freedom of individuals, the state has no right to help
religious organisations. The state should keep distance
from religious organisations.
But, Indian conditions were different and the framers of the Indian Constitution adopted alternative concept of Secularism. The Constitution of India has accordingly been described as “The ideal of secular, religiously neutral state”. The word ‘Secular’ does not mean irreligious attitude or opposition to religion. It merely denotes that as far as the State is concerned, it shall not discriminate between the citizens on grounds merely of differences in the religious beliefs of the people. Nor for that reason will the persons belonging to any particular religious faith be entitled to any special rights or privileges. Article 25 of our Constitution, therefore, says: “Subject to public order, morality and health, all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to fully profess, practice and propagate religion.” Moreover, the Indian Constitution grants various rights to all religious communities such as the right to establish and maintain their educational institutions. In India, freedom of religion means the freedom of religion of both individuals and communities.
In India, Secularism does not mean complete separation of religion and state. In order to promote equality, liberty and social justice, the state can interfere in the affairs of the religion. Moreover, the State can also help religious communities by giving aid to educational institutions run by them.
(b) Article 370 and 371: The Constitution of India establishes a federal system of government in the country. But, the federal system of government in India is different from the western concept of federalism. There is a Constitutional symmetry of American federalism while Indian federalism has been constitutionally asymmetric. In American federalism, all states enjoy equal status and no state is provided special status under the Constitution. But in India, all states are not equal. Article 370 gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir till August 2019, but on 5– 6 August 2019, Article 370 was abrogated from the Indian constitution while Article 371 provides special status to the North-Eastern State of Nagaland. The religious, social practices and customary law of Nagaland are protected by the article. But, such provisions are not available in the American Constitution.
(c) Affirmative Action: The Indian Constitution has included Directive Principles of State Policy. These principles are in the nature of directions, instructions or recommendations to the various governments and government agencies to be followed as fundamental in the governance of the country. It shall be the duty of the state to apply these principles in making laws. The Indian Constitution is full of affirmative action. Right to equality, Right to freedom, religious freedom, social justice and community values are the main tenets of the Indian Constitution. But the Western idea is different from the Indian concept. Western countries do not believe in applying moral values of the 19th century to the 21st century.
(d) Universal Adult Franchise: The idea of Universal Adult Franchise lays securely within the heart of nationalism. Pt. Motilal Nehru Report (1928) recommended Universal Adult Franchise, i.e., every citizen who has completed the age of 21 (At present 18 years) is entitled to vote for the House of Representatives or Parliament. The Indian Constitution has incorporated the principle of adult suffrage and has abolished the old system of communal electorates. But in Western democracies, right to Universal Adult Franchise was introduced in stages.
Which of the following principles of Secularism are adopted in the Constitution of India?
- that state will have nothing to do with religion
- that state will have close relation with religion
- that state can discriminate among religions
- that state will recognise rights of religious groups
- that state will have limited powers to intervene in affairs of any religion
(a) that state will have nothing to do with religion
(d) that state will recognise rights of religious groups
(e) that state will have limited powers to intervene in affairs of any religion
Match the following:
- Freedom to criticise treatment of widows
- Taking decisions in the Constituent assembly on the basis of reason, not self interest
- Accepting importance of community in an individual’s life
- Article 370 and 371
1. (b) 2. (a) 3. (d) 4. ( c)
This discussion was taking place in a
class. Read the various arguments and state
which of these do you agree with and why.
Jayesh: I still think that our Constitution is
only a borrowed document.
Saba: Do you mean to say that there is nothing Indian in it? But is there such thing as Indian and western in the case of values and ideas? Take equality between men and women. What is western about it? And even if it is, should we reject it only because it is western? Jayesh: What I mean is that after fighting for independence from the British, did we not adopt their system of parliamentary government? Neha: You forget that when we fought the British, we were not against the British as such, we were against the principle of colonialism. That has nothing to do with adopting a system of government that we wanted, wherever it came from.
According to Jayesh, the Indian Constitution
is only a borrowed document. But this is not a correct
statement. No doubt, the Indian Constitution has drawn
extensively from the major constitutions of the world.
The framers of the Indian Constitution have drawn
freely from the British Constitution. We have adopted
British Parliamentary system and the Rule of law has
also been taken from England. The framers of the
Indian Constitution have also drawn from the American
Constitution, Irish Constitution, Canadian Constitution,
South African Constitution, Govt. of India Act 1935,
etc. But Indian Constitution is not just a borrowed
document. The framers of the Constitutions were
interested in making a fine and workable Constitution
which should work efficiently and should prove to be
a living means for the development of India. Prof.
M.P. Sharma has very rightly said, “It was not the
purpose of our Constitution makers to produce an
original or unique Constitution. What they wanted
was a good and workable one.”
We fully agree with the statement of Saba that there is no such thing as Indian and Western in the case of values and ideas. Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are universal principles. We also agree with Neha that we fought the British Colonial system and not with the British system of government or with British people. Moreover, there are many things in the Indian Constitution which are not borrowed from anywhere. The Indian Constitution is a unique Constitution in many ways and is the longest Constitution in the world. In fact, the Indian Constitution is a happy blend of many constitutions.
Why is it said that the making of the Indian Constitution was unrepresentative? Does that make the Constitution unrepresentative? Give reasons for your answer.
Many times critics criticised the making of the
Indian Constitution as unrepresentative because the
Constituent Assembly of India was not elected on the
basis of adult franchise. Nor were the members directly
elected. The members were elected by the Provincial
Legislatures who themselves were elected on a narrow
franchise. Only 14% of the population had the right to
vote. The total strength of the Constituent Assembly
was 389. Out of this, 292 were from British Provinces,
4 from Chief Commissioner’s Provinces and 93 were
representatives of the Indian States. These 93
representatives were also not the representatives of the
people. Thus, critics point out that the making of the
Indian Constitution was unrepresentative. But it is not
true. No doubt, the members were not directly elected
on the basis of adult franchise. Even then, the
Constituent Assembly was the galaxy of stalwarts
like Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru,
Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan, K.T.
Shah, etc. Almost all communities and major shades of opinion were represented in the Assembly. Moreover, the element of democratic procedure was not lost sight of.
The work on the Constitution was conducted in a democratic manner. To the Draft Constitution, no less than 7,632 amendments were tabled by the members. Of these, 2,473 were actually moved, discussed and disposed of. This establishes clearly the fact that the Assembly allowed free and full discussion in its proceedings. “There was great tolerance of criticism and no decision without long drawn out debates, no attempt to hustle through, no endeavour at imposition. It way a full-fledged democratic procedure of which Indians can be proud.”
Thus, we can conclude that neither the Constituent Assembly nor the Indian Constitution is unrepresentative. The Constitution has not been imposed upon us. It originates from the people of India and is promulgated in the name of the people.
One of the limitations of the Constitution of India is that it does not adequately attend to gender justice. What evidence can you give to substantiate this charge? If you were writing the Constitution today, what provisions would you recommend for remedying this limitation?
The Indian Constitution has many limitations. It is not a perfect Constitution because the framers of the Constitution were influenced by the political, economic and social conditions of India. One of the limitations of the Constitution of India is that it does not adequately attend to gender justice. Women are not given equal rights compared to men regarding family property and children. Equal pay for equal work for both men and women is not mentioned in the chapter of Fundamental Rights. It is mentioned in the Directive Principles of State Policy that the State will secure equal pay for equal work for both men and women. If I am given a chance to write the Constitution of India, I would add the following provisions in the Indian Constitution:
- I would add equal pay for equal work for both men and women in the chapter of Fundamental Rights.
- I would make women equal to men in the family property.
- One-third seats in the Parliament and State Legislatives should be reserved for women.
- In every sphere, women should be treated equal to men, and this provision should be a part of the Constitution.
Do you agree with the statement that “it is not clear why in a poor developing country, certain basic socio-economic rights were relegated to the section on Directive Principles rather than made an integral feature of our Fundamental Rights”? Give reasons for your answer. What do you think are the possible reasons for putting socio-economic rights in the section of Directive Principles?
The Directive Principles embodied in Part IV
are in the nature of directions, instructions or
recommendations to the various governments, and
government agencies (including village panchayats) to
be followed as fundamental in the governance of the
country. “It shall be the duty of the State to apply
these principles in making laws.” These principles guide the path which will lead the people
of India to
achieve the noble ideals which the Preamble of the
Constitution proclaims: “Justice, social, economic and
political; Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”
But, certain basic socio-economic rights are
included in the Directive Principles and in the chapter
of Fundamental Rights. In a poor developing country
like India, socio-economic rights are included in
Directive Principles and in Fundamental Rights due
to following reasons:
1. Directive Principles though declared ‘fundamental in the governance of the country’ are not justiciable. In other words, the state cannot be used in any court of law in case they are ‘violated’ or not implemented. The Right to Constitutional Remedies, as enshrined in Art. 32 of the Constitution, covers Part III and not Part IV of the Constitution. They, thus, lack legal force. They confer no legal rights and create no legal remedies. The Fundamental Rights, on the other hand, are enforceable by the courts. They are cognizable. The judiciary has been empowered to issue orders, directions and writs for the enforcement of the Fundamental Rights. But no such legal status has been conferred on the Principles. The Constitution clearly lays down that the Directive Principles “shall not be enforceable by any court”. Hence, socio-economic rights were not included in the chapter of Fundamental Rights because India is a poor developing country. If these rights had been included in the chapter of Fundamental Rights, it was not possible for the government to implement these socio-economic rights. Shortage of funds is a main reason for not including socio-economic rights in Fundamental Rights.
2. It is not practicable to provide economic rights to all the citizens.
Choose the correct statement from the following.
A Constitution needs to be amended from time to time because,
- Circumstances change and require suitable changes in the Constitution.
- A document written at one point of time becomes outdated after some time.
- Every generation should have a Constitution of its own liking.
- It must reflect the philosophy of the existing government.
A Constitution needs to be amended from time to time because circumstances change and require suitable changes in the Constitution.
The President cannot send back an amendment bill for reconsideration of the Parliament.
Elected representatives alone have the power to amend the Constitution.
The Judiciary cannot initiate the process of constitutional amendment but can effectively change the Constitution by interpreting it differently.
The Parliament can amend any section of the Constitution.
Which of the following are involved in the amendment of the Indian Constitution? In what way are they involved?
- President of India
- State Legislatures
- Voters are not involved in the amendment of the Indian Constitution.
- President of India is involved in the amendment of the Indian Constitution. When a Constitutional amendment bill is passed by the Parliament, it is sent to the President. The Constitutional amendment bill becomes an Act when it is signed by the President.
- State legislatures are involved in the amendment of the Indian Constitution. If an amendment bill is concerned with the article and the subjects given in the Article 368, it must be approved by fifty per cent of the State legislatures.
- Without the involvement of Parliament, no amendment is possible in the Indian Constitution. There are certain articles of the Constitution which can be amended by simple majority of the Parliament. There are certain articles which can be amended by the Parliament by 2/3rd majority of the members present and voting.
- Governors have no role to play in the amendment of the Constitution except those amendment bills which are to be approved by the State legislature. Those amendment bills are also signed by the Governor.
- Judiciary (Supreme Court) specifies the basic structure. If any amendment violates the basic structure of the Constitution, the Supreme Court can declare that amendment null and void.
You have read in this chapter that the 42nd Amendment was one of the most controversial amendments so far. Which of the following were the reasons for this controversy?
- It was made during national emergency, and the declaration of that emergency was itself controversial.
- It was made without the support of special majority.
- It was made without ratification by State legislatures
- It contained provisions, which were controversial.
(1) and (4)
Which of the following is not a reasonable explanation of the conflict between the legislature and the judiciary over different amendments?
- Different interpretations of the Constitution are possible.
- In a democracy, debates and differences are natural.
- Constitution has given higher importance to certain rules and principles and also allowed for amendment by special majority.
- Legislature cannot be entrusted to protect the rights of the citizens.
Legislature cannot be entrusted to protect the rights of the citizens.
Explain the reason for requiring special majority for amending the Constitution.
Due to the following reasons, special majority is required for amending the Constitution:
- Special majority is required to make a distinction between an ordinary law and a Constitutional law.
- Special majority is needed so that the Constitution does not become a plaything in the hands of political parties. No political party can easily get it changed. The majority party cannot use the Constitution for furthering its own interests.
- A rigid Constitution is needed for a federation. India has adopted a federal form of government. Hence, special majority is required for amending the Constitution.
- Rigid Constitution is needed to prevent the absolutism of the government.
Many amendments to the Constitution of India have been made due to different interpretations upheld by the Judiciary and the Parliament. Explain with examples.
The Constitution of India has placed the responsibility of interpreting the Constitution on the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the final authority to explain the meaning and intent of the Constitution. Many amendments to the Constitution have been made due to different interpretations given by the Judiciary. In 1967, in Golak Nath’s Case, the Supreme Court declared that the Parliament has no power to amend the provision of Fundamental Rights. In the Bank Nationalisation Case, the Supreme Court held that the Banking Companies Act 1969 violated equality before law. Article 19 concerning Right to acquire, hold and dispose of property and Article 31 regarding compulsory acquisition of property are invalid and unconstitutional. The 24th, 25th and 29th Constitution Amendment Acts were challenged in the Supreme Court by Swami Kesavananda Bharati, a religious head in Kerala, and others on a variety of grounds. The Supreme Court delivered the judgement on 24 April 1973. It reversed the Golak Nath Case ruling and upheld Parliament’s right to amend the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights but not the basic structure or framework of the Constitution. This judgement has imposed specific limits to the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution. No amendment can violate the basic structure of the Constitution. In many decisions, the Supreme Court had held that reservations in jobs and educational institutions cannot exceed fifty per cent of the total seats. On 9 May 1980, the Supreme Court in Minerva Mills Case struck down Section 55 of the 42nd Amendment Act 1976 which gave unlimited power to the Parliament.
If amending power is with the elected representatives, judiciary should NOT have the power to decide the validity of amendments. Do you agree? Give your reasons in 100 words.
In India, the power to amend the Constitution is vested with the elected representatives, i.e., the Parliament and state legislatures. The Supreme Court is vested with the power of Judicial review. Many times, amendments passed by the Parliament have been struck down by the Supreme Court. The power of Judicial Review is, in fact, against democratic principles. While amending the Constitution, elected representatives are expected to act in accordance with the people, of the people. There is no justification of such a law being declared ultra vires by the courts. In democracy, sovereignty resides with the people and not with the judiciary. Judges of the Supreme Court are not elected by the people. On what ground they can claim to be the guardians of the will of the people. When the amendment passed by the Parliament is declared unconstitutional, it naturally undermines its prestige. Moreover, while determining the constitutionality of an amendment, what the court says depends largely upon who the judges are, their temperaments as well as their social, economic and political views. Thus, the judiciary should not have the power to decide the validity of amendments.
A Bill of Rights lays down the rights enjoyed by the people of a country.
A Bill of Rights protects the liberties of an individual.
Every country of the world has a Bill of Rights.
The Constitution guarantees remedy against violation of Rights.
Which of the following is the best description of Fundamental Rights?
- All the rights an individual should have.
- All the rights given to the citizens by law.
- The rights given and protected by the Constitution.
- The rights given by the Constitution that cannot ever be restricted.
(c) The rights given and protected by the Constitution.
Read the following situations. Which Fundamental Right is being used or violated in each case and how?
- Overweight male cabin crew are allowed to get promotion in the national airlines but their women colleagues who gain weight are penalised.
- A director makes a documentary film that criticises the policies of the government.
- People displaced by a big dam take out a rally demanding rehabilitation.
- Andhra society runs Telugu medium schools outside Andhra Pradesh.
- Right to equality is violated because overweight male cabin crew are allowed to get promotion in the national airlines, whereas their women colleagues who gain weight are penalised. It is gender based discrimination which is against Right to Equality.
- By making a documentary film that criticises the policies of the government, the director has used his Right to Freedom.
- Right to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India is violated.
- Andhra Society is using ‘Cultural and Educational Rights’ guaranteed under Article 29 of the Constitution.
Which of the following is a correct interpretation of the Cultural and Educational Rights?
- Only children belonging to the minority group that has opened educational institution can study there.
- Government schools must ensure that children of the minority group will be introduced to their belief and culture.
- Linguistic and religious minorities can open schools for their children and keep it reserved for them.
- Linguistic and religious minorities can demand that their children must not study in any educational institution except those managed by their own community.
(c) Linguistic and religious minorities can open schools for their children and keep it reserved for them.
Which of the following is a violation of Fundamental Rights and why?
- Not paying minimum wages
- Banning of a book
- Banning of loudspeakers after 9 p.m.
- Making a speech
Not paying minimum wages is a violation of Fundamental Rights because not paying minimum wages amounts to begar or forced labour, which is a violation of Right against Exploitation.
An activist working among the poor says that the poor do not need Fundamental Rights. What they need are Directive Principles to be made legally binding. Do you agree with this? Give your reasons.
An activist has rightly pointed out that the poor do not need Fundamental Rights. They need Directive Principles to be made legally binding. Actually, an activist needs economic Fundamental Rights which are not mentioned in Part III of the Constitution. If Directive Principles are made legally binding then economic democracy will be established. No doubt, economic democracy is essential to enjoy political rights, i.e., political democracy. For a poor person, right to work is more important than right to freedom. He needs right to adequate livelihood, equal pay for equal work, right against economic exploitation, etc.
Several reports show that caste groups previously associated with scavenging are forced to continue their job. Those in positions of authority refuse to give them any other job. Their children are discouraged from pursuing education. Which of their Fundamental Rights are being violated in this instance?
In this instance, three rights are violated. In the first instance, Right to Freedom is violated. No citizen can be forced to adopt a particular job. It is the right of the citizen to practise any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. Moreover, children have the Right to Education. Hence, their Right to Education is also violated. Thirdly, Right to Equality is also violated.
A petition by a human rights group drew
attention of the Court to the condition of
starvation and hunger in the country. Over five
crore tonnes of foodgrains was stored in the
godowns of the Food Corporation of India.
Research shows that a large number of rationcard
holders do not know about the quantity of
foodgrains they can purchase from Fair Price
shops. It requested the Court to order the
government to improve its public distribution
(a) Which different rights does this case involve? How are these rights interlinked?
(b) Should these rights form a part of the right to life?
(a) In this case, different rights are involved,
i.e., Right to Life, Right to Equality, Right against
Exploitation and Right to Constitutional Remedies.
Everybody is equal before law and has equal protection
of law. The fact that a large number of ration-card
holders do not know about the quantity of foodgrains
they can purchase from Fair Price shops makes it clear
that they have no equal protection of law. Fair Price
shop owners are exploiting the poor ration card-holders.
Thus, Right against Exploitation is violated. More than
five crore tonnes of foodgrains were stored in the godowns
of the Food Corporation of India. But large number of people
were starving because they did not know how much
foodgrains they could purchase from the Fair Price shops.
This involved violation of Right to Life.
(b) All these rights form a part of the Right to life.
Read the statement of Somnath Lahiri in the Constituent Assembly quoted in this chapter. Do you agree with him? If yes, give instances to prove it, if not, give arguments against his positions.
I agree with the statement of Somnath Lahiri to a great extent. The Constitution of India imposes direct restrictions on these rights. It also empowers the government to impose reasonable restrictions on the enjoyment of Fundamental rights. Thus, the Constitution empowers the government to put reasonable restrictions on Fundamental Rights in the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of India, security of the state, in the interest of the general public etc. Somnath Lahiri has rightly said that those rights which are demand by the people should be included in the fundamental rights.
Which of the Fundamental Rights is in your opinion the most important right? Summarise its provision and give arguments to show why it is most important.
Right to Constitutional Remedies is the most important right. This right is often described as the most Fundamental of all the Fundamental Rights as all other rights given in the Constitution would become meaningless without this right. Our other rights are not only implemented by this right but safeguarded also. That is why many constitutional experts describe this right as the heart and soul of Fundamental Rights.