Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Class 11 Political Science Notes

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Class 11 Political Science Notes for Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How?

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Chapter Definitions and Short Notes

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Short Notes and Definitions

Why Do We Need A Constitution?

A constitution is a single comprehensive legislation that establishes the structure of government and the rights of citizens. It enables people of diverse backgrounds to coexist peacefully by codifying values and guidelines. The key functions of a constitution are: outlining the powers of government branches, safeguarding citizens’ rights, and promoting national unity.

Short Pointers:

  • Single legislation
  • Defines government structure
  • Protects citizen rights
  • Promotes diversity and unity
  • Prevents government overreach

Constitution Allows Coordination And Assurance

A constitution serves as a fundamental set of rules in a society, ensuring peaceful coexistence and cooperation among its diverse members. These members, differing in aspects like religion, culture, profession, and personal preferences, rely on each other and must coexist despite their differences. The constitution establishes rules that are publicly known and legally enforceable, providing assurance to all that these rules will be followed. The primary purpose of a constitution is to facilitate minimal coordination among society’s members, preventing discrimination and ensuring that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.

Short Pointers:

  • A constitution provides a basic rule set for societal coexistence.
  • It addresses diversity in religion, culture, profession, and personal preferences.
  • Constitutions ensure cooperation and dependency among society’s members.
  • Rules in a constitution are publicly promulgated and legally enforceable.
  • The constitution’s main function is to facilitate minimal coordination and avoid discrimination.

It provides legal assurance of rule adherence and consequences for non-compliance. 

 Stipulation Of Decision Making Powers

A constitution is a framework of fundamental principles that outlines how a state is structured and governed. It primarily defines who has the authority to make decisions within a society. This allocation of power varies depending on the type of constitution. For instance, a monarch makes decisions in a Monarchical Constitution, a single party in some constitutions like that of the old Soviet Union, and the people in a democratic constitution. The Indian Constitution, as an example, adopts a parliamentary system where elected representatives in Parliament decide on laws and national policies. Thus, the second key function of a constitution is to determine the decision-making powers and the structure of government within a society.

Short Pointers:

  • A constitution sets fundamental principles for state governance.
  • It determines who has the power to make decisions in society.
  • Different types of constitutions allocate power differently (Monarchical, single-party, democratic).
  • In a democratic constitution, the people decide, often through elected representatives.
  • The Indian Constitution uses a parliamentary system for decision-making.
  • The constitution’s role includes specifying how the government is constituted and operates.

Limitations On The Powers Of Government

The constitution is crucial in controlling the government’s authority and preventing the passage of unjust and unfair legislation. It does this by defining basic rights that all people have and that the government cannot violate unless under particular circumstances, such as a national emergency. These rights include freedom of expression, religion, conscience, and association. Thus, the third duty of a constitution is to establish basic boundaries on what a government may impose on its inhabitants, guaranteeing that certain rights and freedoms are always safeguarded.

Short Pointers:

  • Constitutions limit government power to prevent unfair and unjust laws.
  • Fundamental Rights are specified to restrict government actions.
  • These rights include freedom of speech, religion, conscience, and association.
  • The government cannot violate these rights, except in situations like emergencies.
  • This function of the constitution is fundamental, ensuring government does not overstep its bounds.
  • The exact content and interpretation of these rights can vary between constitutions.

Aspirations And Goals Of A Society

A constitution limits government power and helps governments achieve social goals. It allows the government to combat inequality and poverty. For instance, the Indian Constitution empowers the government to work towards a caste-free society. The Indian Constitution’s framers wanted everyone to have a dignified life with material wealth and education. The Preamble, Fundamental Rights, and Directive Principles of State Policy support this. Thus, the fourth function of a constitution is to empower the government to achieve society’s goals and establish justice.

Short Pointers:

  • Constitutions enable governments to achieve societal aspirations and goals.
  • They empower governments to address inequalities and deprivations.
  • Example: Indian Constitution’s aspiration to eliminate caste discrimination.
  • Constitutions envision providing individuals with dignity, well-being, and education.
  • Key supporting elements include the Preamble, Fundamental Rights, and Directive Principles.
  • The fourth function of a constitution is creating conditions for a just society.

Enabling Provisions Of The Constitution

The constitution not only limits the power of the government but also enables it to pursue the collective welfare of society. It assigns responsibilities like conservation of nature, protecting rights, providing housing, healthcare, education, etc. to the government.

Short Pointers:

  • Empowers government
  • Pursues collective good
  • Assigns welfare responsibilities
  • Enables positive action
  • South Africa and Indonesia examples

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NCERT Solutions

NCERT Solutions for Class 11 Political Science – Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How?

 NCERT Questions

Exercises

  1. Which of these is not a function of the constitution?
  2. It gives a guarantee of the rights of the citizen.
  3. It marks out different spheres of power for different branches of government.
  4. It ensures that good people come to power.
  5. It gives expression to some shared values.

Answer: c. It ensures that good people come to power.

  1. Which of the following is a good reason to conclude that the authority of the constitution is higher than that of Parliament?
  2. The constitution was framed before Parliament came into being.
  3. The constitution makers were more eminent leaders than the members of Parliament.
  4. The constitution specifies how Parliament is to be formed and what are its powers.
  5. The constitution cannot be amended by the Parliament.

Answer: c. The constitution specifies how Parliament is to be formed and what are its powers.

  1. State whether the following statements about a constitution are True or False.
  2. Constitutions are written documents about formation and power of the government.
  3. Constitutions exist and are required only in democratic countries.
  4. The Constitution is a legal document that does not deal with ideals and values.
  5. A constitution gives its citizens a new identity.

Answer: a. True b. False c. False d. True

  1. State whether the following inferences about the making of the Indian Constitution are Correct or Incorrect. Give reasons to support your answer.
  2. The Constituent Assembly did not represent the Indian people since it was not elected by all citizens.
  3. Constitution making did not involve any major decision since there was a general consensus among the leaders at that time about its basic framework.
  4. There was little originality in the Constitution, for much of it was borrowed from other countries.

Answer: 

  1. Incorrect: The Constituent Assembly did represent the Indian people despite not being elected through universal adult suffrage. The members were chosen indirectly by the members of the Provincial Legislative Assemblies under the Government of India Act of 1935. It included representatives from different provinces, religious communities, and included women and members from Scheduled Castes, ensuring a diverse representation.
  2. Incorrect: The process of drafting the Indian Constitution involved significant decision-making and was not just a consensus-driven process. There were numerous debates and disagreements on various provisions of the Constitution. Each clause was carefully scrutinised and debated, and some were even put to a vote in the Assembly. This indicates that the Constitution’s creation was a dynamic and deliberative process, reflecting diverse viewpoints and the need for robust discussions.
  3. Correct: While it is true that the Indian Constitution borrowed elements from other countries’ constitutions, such as the parliamentary system from Britain, Fundamental Rights from the USA, and Directive Principles from Ireland, it was not a mere act of copying. These provisions were adapted to fit India’s unique social, political, and economic challenges. The borrowing was done thoughtfully, ensuring that the Constitution was well-suited to India’s needs and aspirations.
  4. Give two examples each to support the following conclusions about the Indian Constitution:
  5. The Constitution was made by credible leaders who commanded peoples’ respect.
  6. The Constitution has distributed power in such a way as to make it difficult to subvert it.
  7. The Constitution is the locus of people’s hopes and aspirations.

Answer:

  1. The Constitution of India stands as a testament to the insight and vision of its creators. To illustrate that the Constitution was crafted by respected and trustworthy leaders, consider two key points. Firstly, the Constituent Assembly comprised members from a wide range of backgrounds, embracing all religions and social strata, including the Scheduled Castes and representatives from different regions and former princely states. These members were indirectly elected, which solidified their legitimacy and esteem among the populace. Secondly, notable figures such as Pt. Nehru, Sardar Patel, Dr. Ambedkar, and Rajendra Prasad, who were instrumental in the independence movement and held pivotal roles in various major committees during the Constitution’s development, were integral members of this assembly.
  2. On the matter of power distribution within the Constitution to avert its misuse, the Constitution ensures a horizontal division of power across the Judiciary, Legislature, and Executive. This separation of powers prevents any single entity from gaining undue influence, thus maintaining equilibrium and promoting a system of checks and balances. The Constitution is structured to be both flexible and steadfast in permitting modifications, thereby sustaining its relevance and integrity as a revered, living document.
  3. The role of the Constitution as a focal point of the nation’s hopes and ambitions became clear during the nationalist movement, mirroring the collective aims and desires of the Indian populace as expressed in the objective resolution introduced by Nehru. It champions principles such as equality, freedom, and democracy, and outlines the Directive Principles of State Policy, which, although not enforceable in court, act as ethical directives for governance and encapsulate the societal hopes and dreams.
  4. 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?

Answer: Having a clear demarcation of powers and responsibilities in a country’s constitution is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures that each branch of the government — the Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary — operates efficiently without interference or overlapping duties. This separation of powers allows each branch to perform its functions independently, which helps maintain a balance within the government. Secondly, by fragmenting power among various institutions, including independent bodies like the Election Commission, it prevents any single entity from gaining a monopoly on power, thereby upholding the principle of checks and balances.

In the absence of such clear boundaries, several negative consequences could arise. For instance, without defined roles, there could be conflicts between different government institutions, each claiming authority over the same responsibilities. This could lead to a dysfunctional government where no clear authority is recognized, resulting in laws and policies that might be perceived as unfair or unjust by the citizens. Furthermore, such a situation could potentially lead to the subversion of the constitution as the conflicting institutions might overstep their boundaries to assert dominance.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

Importance of Demarcation:

  • Efficient functioning of institutions
  • Prevents overlapping of duties

Fragmentation of Power:

  • Across Executive, Legislature, Judiciary
  • Inclusion of independent bodies (e.g., Election Commission)

Consequences Without Demarcation:

  • Conflicts between institutions
  • Potential government dysfunction
  • Unfair or unjust laws
  • Possible subversion of the constitution
  1. 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?

Answer: It is vital for a constitution to place limitations on the rulers to prevent the rise of authoritarianism or dictatorship, which could endanger fundamental human rights. Such constraints ensure that the government does not pass laws that infringe upon the basic Fundamental Rights guaranteed to all citizens, such as the right to freedom of speech, expression, and the freedom to form trade unions and associations. These rights are safeguarded in the constitution and can only be restricted under specific circumstances like a national emergency.

Regarding the possibility of a constitution that gives no power to the citizens, it is impractical and contrary to the principles of democracy. The citizens form the very fabric of the state, making them the foundation of any constitution. Without the participation and empowerment of the citizens, state institutions would merely serve to deny citizens their rights rather than protect them. In democracies like India, the constitution derives its power from the people, requiring public mandate to enact policies. Thus, a constitution that provides no power to the citizens would not be viable as it contradicts the essential democratic principle that the authority of the government derives from the consent of the governed.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

Limitations on Rulers:

  • Prevents authoritarianism/dictatorship
  • Safeguards against unjust laws
  • Protects fundamental rights (e.g., speech, assembly)

Power to Citizens:

  • Essential for democracy
  • Citizens as the foundation of the state
  • Public mandate necessary for legislation
  • Prevents denial of rights
  1. 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?

Answer: The creation of the Japanese Constitution under the influence of the U.S. occupation army post-World War II presents a significant issue in constitutional law. Since the constitution could not contain any provisions disfavored by the U.S. government, it potentially limited the reflection of the genuine aspirations and cultural values of the Japanese people. This external influence could compromise the perceived legitimacy and acceptance of the constitution among the Japanese citizens, as it may not entirely represent their will.

In contrast, the Indian constitution-making experience was markedly different and more autonomous. The Indian Constitution was drafted by the Constituent Assembly, which was composed of representatives elected by the Indian people through their provincial assemblies. This process was rooted in the historical Passage of India’s long struggle for independence, reflecting a broad consensus and diverse perspectives within the country. The drafting process was inclusive, allowing for extensive debates and discussions, which ensured that the constitution represented the aspirations, values, and needs of the Indian populace without external pressure or influence.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

Japanese Constitution Issues:

  • U.S. occupation influence
  • Limited representation of Japanese values
  • Legitimacy concerns

Indian Constitution Differences:

  • Constituent Assembly drafted
  • Elected representatives
  • Reflective of national consensus
  • Autonomous and inclusive process
  1. Rajat asked his teacher this question: “ The constitution is a fifty year old and therefore outdated book. No one took my consent to implement it. It is written in such a 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?

Answer: Rajat, your concerns about the constitution being an old document and not personally consenting to it are understandable. However, the constitution is more than just a document; it is a living framework that governs our society and ensures our rights and freedoms. While the language may seem complex, it is designed to cover detailed legal ground to protect the rights of every citizen, not just for the present but for future generations as well.

Even though you did not personally consent to the constitution, it was framed by a representative Constituent Assembly, which consisted of members elected by the people of India. This process ensures that the constitution reflects the collective agreement and shared values of the nation. The constitution isn’t static; it has been amended several times to stay relevant to changing societal needs, showing its ability to adapt and evolve.

The reason we obey the constitution is not just because it is the law, but because it upholds the values of democracy, justice, freedom, and equality. It structures our government and defines the limitations of what the government can and cannot do, protecting us, the citizens, from potential misuse of power. It’s crucial for maintaining order and ensuring the fair treatment of all individuals within the country.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

Purpose of the Constitution:

  • Upholds rights and freedoms
  • Governs society

Why Obey:

  • Democratic legitimacy
  • Protection from misuse of power
  • Maintains order and fairness

Adaptability:

  • Amended to reflect societal changes

Personal Consent:

  • Collective agreement through elected representatives

Complex Language:

  • Detailed to cover legal aspects
  • Protects rights comprehensively
  1. In a discussion on the experience of the working of our Constitution, three speakers took three different positions:
  2. Harbans: The Indian Constitution has succeeded in giving us a framework of democratic government.
  3. Neha: The Constitution made solemn promises of ensuring liberty, equality and fraternity. Since this has not happened, the Constitution has failed.
  4. 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?

Answer: I agree with Harbans and Nazima’s positions on the effectiveness of the Indian Constitution. Harbans rightly points out that the Constitution has successfully provided a democratic framework for governance. This is evident from the continued functioning of India’s democratic processes and institutions since its adoption. On the other hand, Neha criticises the Constitution for failing to fully achieve liberty, equality, and fraternity. While it is true that disparities still exist, it is crucial to understand that these issues stem more from societal practices than constitutional limitations. Nazima’s argument that “the Constitution has not failed us; we have failed the Constitution” resonates deeply with this notion. It suggests that the shortcomings in achieving the constitutional promises are due to the failures in implementation by the citizens and the government, rather than flaws in the Constitution itself.

Thus, the Constitution provides a solid framework, but its success largely depends on how effectively it is upheld and implemented by both the governing bodies and the citizens. The ongoing efforts to ensure equality, liberty, and fraternity as envisioned by the Constitution are testament to its enduring relevance and the need for continuous commitment from everyone in the nation.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

  • Harbans’ View: Constitution successful in democratic governance.
  • Neha’s Criticism: Promises of liberty, equality, fraternity unfulfilled.
  • Nazima’s Argument: Failure in implementation, not in Constitution.
  • Personal Agreement: With Harbans and Nazima, due to sustained democratic processes and implementation issues.
  • Key Concept: Constitution is effective but depends on execution by government and society.

MCQ Questions

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – MCQ Questions

 What is the primary function of a constitution?

(a) To outline the cultural norms of a society(b) To set basic rules for minimal coordination amongst society members
(c) To describe the historical Passage of a nation(d) To provide a detailed description of national symbols

Answer: (b) To set basic rules for minimal coordination amongst society members

  • How does the Constitution of India specify the allocation of power?
(a) By allowing the monarch to make all decisions(b) By granting power to a single party
(c) By specifying that Parliament decides on laws and policies(d) Through direct voting by the citizens on each matter

Answer: (c) By specifying that Parliament decides on laws and policies

  • Which of the following is NOT a function of the Constitution according to the textbook?
(a) Providing a framework for government(b) Limiting the powers of government
(c) Ensuring every citizen has a private property(d) Enabling the government to take positive measures for societal welfare

Answer: (c) Ensuring every citizen has a private property

 What is the result of the Constitution having authority due to its creators’ credibility?

(a) It must be rewritten every ten years(b) It is only applicable in urban areas
(c) It gains wide acceptance and legitimacy among the populace(d) It is criticised for being outdated

Answer: (c) It gains wide acceptance and legitimacy among the populace

  • What does the Constitution do to protect citizens’ rights according to the textbook? 
(a) It allows arbitrary arrest by the government(b) It enforces laws that discriminate based on religion or caste
(c) It limits government power and protects fundamental rights(d) It requires that all citizens follow the same religion

Answer: (c) It limits government power and protects fundamental rights

  • What is one of the innovative features of the Indian Constitution as described in the textbook? 
(a) It focuses solely on limiting government power.(b) It allows for caste-based discrimination.
(c) It includes enabling provisions for the government to fulfil societal aspirations.(d) It mandates that laws be approved by a monarchy.

Answer: (c) It includes enabling provisions for the government to fulfil societal aspirations.

  • How is the power distributed according to the Indian Constitution?
(a) Solely through the judiciary.(b) Between Parliament, the executive, and independent statutory bodies.
(c) Only through direct votes from the citizens on every matter.(d) Through a single central authority without checks.

Answer: (b) Between Parliament, the executive, and independent statutory bodies.

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Very Short Answer Type Questions

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Very Short Answer Type Questions

  1. What is the primary function of a constitution in a society?
    Answer: A constitution provides basic rules for minimal coordination among society members.
  2. Name the three main organs of the Indian government.
    Answer: The Legislature, the Executive, and the Judiciary.
  3. What date marks the establishment of the Constituent Assembly?
    Answer: The Constituent Assembly was established on 9th December 1946.

  1. Who headed the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution?
    Answer: Dr. B.R. Ambedkar headed the drafting committee of the Indian Constitution.
  2. What are the two types of majorities required for amending the Constitution?
    Answer: Simple majority in Parliament and special majority of both houses.
  3. Explain the term “ratification by states” in the context of constitutional amendments.
    Answer: Ratification by states is needed when amendments affect state powers or representation.
  4. Why has the Indian Constitution been amended multiple times?
    Answer: To address faults and adapt to changing needs and situations.
  5. Describe the role of fundamental rights in limiting government power.
    Answer: Fundamental rights protect citizens from arbitrary government actions and ensure basic liberties.

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Short Answer Type Questions

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Short Answer Type Questions

  1. What is the primary purpose of having a constitution in any society?

Answer: The primary purpose of a constitution in any society is to establish basic rules for coordination and governance. It defines how decisions are made and the powers of government, ensuring peaceful coexistence and security within a diverse society.

Mindmap to remember this answer

Purpose – Basic rules; Coordination – Governance; Decisions – Powers; Peaceful coexistence – Security; Diverse society

  1. Describe the concept of “public reason” as used in constitutional discussions.

Answer: “Public reason” in constitutional discussions refers to the principle of rational dialogue among citizens and lawmakers. It emphasises the use of reason and argument in making laws and policies, ensuring they are justified and acceptable to all.

Mindmap to remember this answer

Public reason – Rational dialogue; Citizens – Lawmakers; Reason and argument; Justified laws – Acceptable policies

  1. What signifies the “fundamental identity” of a people according to the constitution?

Answer: The “fundamental identity” of a people according to the constitution is the collective political and moral identity formed by agreeing to shared norms and values, which govern and define the society as a whole.

Mindmap to remember this answer

Fundamental identity – Collective identity; Political – Moral; Shared norms – Values; Govern society

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Assertion & Reason Type Questions

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Assertion & Reason Type Questions

  1. Why Do We Need A Constitution?
    Assertion (A): A constitution is essential because it provides a single comprehensive legislation that establishes the government’s structure and the citizens’ rights.
    Reason (R): It enables people of diverse backgrounds to coexist peacefully by codifying values and guidelines.
    Answer: (a) Both A and R are true and R is the correct explanation of A.

  1. Constitution Allows Coordination And Assurance
    Assertion (A): A constitution serves as a fundamental set of rules ensuring peaceful coexistence and cooperation among society’s diverse members.
    Reason (R): The constitution’s primary purpose is to facilitate minimal coordination among society’s members, preventing discrimination and ensuring that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities.
    Answer: (a) Both A and R are true and R is the correct explanation of A.
  2. Stipulation Of Decision Making Powers
    Assertion (A): A constitution defines who has the authority to make decisions within a society.
    Reason (R): Different types of constitutions, such as monarchical or democratic, allocate power differently.
    Answer: (a) Both A and R are true and R is the correct explanation of A.

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Passage Based Objective Types Questions

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Passage Based Objective Types Questions

  1. Passage: “The constitution allows coordination and assurance… Imagine you are a member of a reasonably large group… members of this group are diverse in various ways… What will enable the group to live together peacefully?”
    Question: Why is it necessary for a diverse group to agree on basic rules according to the passage?

(a) To ensure peaceful coexistence

(b) To enforce religious beliefs

(c) To promote individual interests

(d) To limit the power of the government

Answer: (a) To ensure peaceful coexistence

  1. Passage: “The first function of a constitution is to provide a set of basic rules that allow for minimal coordination amongst members of a society.”
    Question: What is the primary function of a constitution as mentioned in the text?

(a) To provide basic rules for social coordination

(b) To assign specific roles to government officials

(c) To determine the economic policies of a state

(d) To regulate international relations

Answer: (a) To provide basic rules for social coordination

  1. Passage: “Specification of decision-making powers… The constitution has to provide an answer to this question. It specifies the basic allocation of power in a society.”
    Question: What does the constitution primarily specify regarding decision-making powers?

(a) The roles of local governments

(b) The basic allocation of power in a society

(c) The specific laws that need to be followed

(d) The rights and duties of citizens

Answer: (b) The basic allocation of power in a society

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Long Answer Type Questions

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Long Answer Type Questions

  1. Discuss the historical background and the significant influences that shaped the drafting of the Indian Constitution. Include a detailed account of how the Cabinet Mission Plan influenced the composition and proceedings of the Constituent Assembly.

Answer: The historical background of the Indian Constitution is deeply rooted in the struggle for independence from British rule. This prolonged struggle not only united diverse groups but also highlighted the need for a robust framework to govern such a varied nation. The Cabinet Mission Plan of 1946 significantly influenced the structure of the Constituent Assembly, proposing a decentralised form of governance to accommodate the diverse social and political landscape of India. This plan outlined the composition of the Assembly, allocating seats based on population and ensuring representation from all major communities, thus shaping the drafting process of the Constitution by providing a diverse and representative body that could address the multitude of national issues effectively.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

  • Historical background: struggle for independence
  • Significant influences: Cabinet Mission Plan 1946, decentralised governance
  • Composition: based on population, representation from all communities
  • Impact: shaped diverse and representative Constituent Assembly.

  1. Analyse the role of the Objectives Resolution in the making of the Indian Constitution. How did this resolution reflect the aspirations and values behind the Constitution, and how was it manifested in the final document?

Answer: The Objective Resolution, moved by Jawaharlal Nehru in 1946, played a pivotal role in the making of the Indian Constitution by outlining the aspirations and values of the new nation. It set the ideological framework for the Constitution, emphasising sovereignty, republicanism, and inclusive governance. This resolution reflected the collective aspirations for social, economic, and political justice, equality of status and opportunity, and the safeguarding of fundamental freedoms and rights. These aspirations were deeply embedded in the final document, guiding the formulation of various articles and ensuring that the Constitution not only governed but also uplifted the citizens.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

  • Objectives Resolution: moved by Nehru, 1946
  • Aspirations: justice, equality, sovereignty
  • Impact: guided constitutional articles, fundamental rights and freedoms.
  1. Explain the concept of “Balanced Institutional Design” as applied in the Indian Constitution. Discuss how this design addresses the fragmentation of power and ensures a system of checks and balances.

Answer: The concept of “Balanced Institutional Design” in the Indian Constitution refers to the careful structuring of government powers to prevent any single entity from gaining too much control. This design fragments power across the legislature, executive, and judiciary to ensure a system of checks and balances. Such an arrangement not only prevents abuse of power but also promotes cooperation among various branches of government. This framework has been crucial in maintaining the democratic integrity and functionality of the nation, adapting to changes while preserving core democratic values.

Mindmap to remember this answer:

  • Balanced Institutional Design: fragments power
  • Components: legislature, executive, judiciary

Purpose: prevent power abuse, ensure checks and balances. 

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Sample Questions Paper

Chapter 1: Constitution: Why and How? – Sample Questions Paper

Sample Questions: 1

Time Allowed: 2 hours Maximum Marks: 40

General Instructions:

  1. The question paper contains 14 questions.
  2. All questions are compulsory.
  3. Section A: Question numbers 1 and 2 are 1 mark source-based questions. Answers must not exceed 10-15 words.
  4. Section B: Question numbers 3 to 9 are 2 marks questions. Answers should not exceed 30 words.
  5. Section C: Question numbers 10 to 12 are 4 marks questions. Answers should not exceed 80 words.
  6. Section D: Question numbers 13 and 14 are 6 marks questions. Answers should not exceed 200 words.

Section A (1 Mark Each)

  1. What fundamental role does a constitution play in a society?
  2. How does a constitution provide assurance to the citizens regarding the enforcement of rules?

Section B (2 Marks Each)

  1. Explain the concept of “basic allocation of power” in a constitution.
  2. What are the limitations placed on the powers of government by a constitution?
  3. Discuss the significance of having fundamental rights enshrined in a constitution.
  4. What is the role of “Directive Principles of State Policy” in a constitution?
  5. How does a constitution reflect the aspirations and goals of a society?
  6. Explain the term “balanced institutional design” in the context of a constitution.
  7. Why is it important for a constitution to be adaptable to changing circumstances?

Section C (4 Marks Each)

  1. Discuss how the Indian Constitution ensures the distribution of power among various bodies.
    OR
    Explain the importance of checks and balances provided by the Indian Constitution.
  2. What provisions does the Indian Constitution make to protect and promote social justice and equality?
    OR
    How does the Indian Constitution empower the government to take positive welfare measures?
  3. How does the Constitution reflect the fundamental identity of a people?
    OR
    Discuss the relationship between national identity and constitutional provisions in India.

Section D (6 Marks Each)

  1. Analyse the effectiveness of a constitution in maintaining social order and providing a framework for governance.
    OR
    Discuss how public reason and deliberation played a crucial role in the framing of the Indian Constitution.
  2. What are the principles underlying the effectiveness of a constitution, and how are these reflected in the Indian context?
    OR
    Examine the role of historical movements and public consensus in shaping the Indian Constitution.

Sample Question: 2

Time Allowed: 2 hours Maximum Marks: 40

General Instructions:

  1. This question paper contains 14 questions.
  2. All questions are compulsory.
  3. Section A: Questions 1 and 2 are 1 mark source-based questions. Answers must not exceed 10-15 words.
  4. Section B: Questions 3 to 9 are 2 marks questions. These are very short-answer type questions. Answers should not exceed 30 words.
  5. Section C: Questions 10 to 12 are 4 marks questions. These are short-answer type questions. Answers should not exceed 80 words.
  6. Section D: Questions 13 and 14 are 6 marks questions. These are long-answer type questions. Answers should not exceed 200 words.

Section A (1 Mark Each)

  1. What is the primary function of a constitution as described in the textbook?
  2. According to the text, why is it necessary for a constitution to set limitations on government powers?

Section B (2 Marks Each)

  1. What basic role does a constitution play in a diverse society?
  2. Explain how a constitution ensures coordination among society members.
  3. What is the importance of having enforceable rules within a constitution?
  4. Describe the concept of “decision-making powers” as outlined in the constitution.
  5. How does a constitution specify who gets to decide the laws in a society?
  6. What safeguards does a constitution provide to prevent government overreach?
  7. What are the aspirations and goals mentioned in modern constitutions like that of India?

Section C (4 Marks Each)

  1. Discuss how the constitution of a country can reflect its societal goals and aspirations.
    OR
    Explain how a constitution balances the distribution of power within a society.
  2. What is meant by the term “fundamental identity” as it relates to a constitution?
    OR
    How does a constitution contribute to defining the national identity of a country?
  3. How do constitutions empower governments to address societal inequalities?
    OR
    Illustrate with examples how a constitution can restrict government actions to protect individual rights.

Section D (6 Marks Each)

  1. Analyse the relationship between a constitution’s authority and its acceptance by the public. Discuss with reference to the process of constitution-making in India.
    OR
    Evaluate how the Indian Constitution balances the historical traditions and the diverse needs of its population.
  2. Discuss the role of public participation and consensus in the constitution-making process, highlighting the case of the Indian Constitution.
    OR
    Explore the effectiveness of a constitution in shaping the governance of a country, using the Indian Constitution as an example.
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