Q.1. What is democracy?
Ans. Democracy is a form of government in which the people can vote for representatives to govern the state on their behalf.
Q.2. Define the term constitution. Why do we need a constitution?
Ans. In large societies, in which different communities of people live together, the rules are formulated through consensus, and in modern countries, this consensus is usually available in written form. A written set of principles according to which a state or organization is governed is called a constitution.
The constitution serves several purposes:
- First, it lays out certain ideals that form the basis of the kind of country that we, as citizens aspire to live in.
- A constitution tells us what the fundamental nature of our society is. A country is usually made up of different communities of people who share certain beliefs but may not necessarily agree on all issues.
- A constitution helps serve as a set of rules and principles that all persons in a country can agree upon as the basis of the way in which they want the country to be governed.
- This includes not only the type of government but also an agreement on certain ideals that they all believe the country should uphold.
- The other important purpose of a constitution is to define the nature of a country’s political system.
- The constitution often lays down rules that guard against this misuse of power by our political leaders.
- Another important function that a constitution plays in a democracy is to ensure that a dominant group does not use its power against it. Other, less powerful people or groups.
- Another reason why we need to have a constitution is precise to prevent tyranny or domination by the majority of a minority.
- The last significant reason why we need a constitution is to save us from ourselves.
Q.3. Differentiate between a monarchy and a democracy?
A country that is governed by a king or a queen is called a monarchy.
Democracy is a form of government where people can vote to select their respective representatives well govern the state on their behalf.
Q.4. Explain the functions of organs of government.
According to the constitution, there are three organs of the state:
- The legislature refers to our elected representatives. It forms laws and procedures, along with examining the administration and its resolutions.
- The executive is a smaller group of people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government. It comprised of the President or Governor, Council of Minister at Union or State level, along with the administration which executes and enforces laws made by the legislature.
- The judiciary refers to the system of courts in this country. The Supreme Court (SC) at the top level to the community courts at the bottom. They interpret the laws made.
Q.5. What do you mean by the tyranny of the majority?
Ans. Every society is prone to the tyranny of the majority. The constitution usually contains rules that ensure that minorities are not excluded from anything that is routinely available to the majority. The constitution is precise to prevent this tyranny or domination by the majority of a minority.
Q.6. Describe in detail the various features of the Indian constitution.
- This refers to the existence of more than one level of government in the country. In India, we have governments at the state level and at the center. Panchayati Raj is the third tier of government.
- The vast number of communities in India meant that a system of government needed to be devised that did not involve only persons sitting in the capital city of New Delhi and making decisions for everyone. Instead, it was important to have another level of government in the states so that decisions could be made for that particular area.
- While each state in India enjoys autonomy in exercising powers on certain issues, subjects of national concern require that all of these states follow the laws of the central government.
- The constitution contains lists that detail the issues that each tier of government can make laws on. In addition, the constitution also specifies where each tier of government can get the money from for work that it does.
- Under federalism, the states are not merely agents of the federal government but draw their authority from the constitution as well. All persons in India are governed by laws and policies made by each of these levels of government.
(b) Parliamentary Form of Government
- The different tiers of government consist of representatives who are elected by the people. The constitution of Indian guarantees universal adult suffrage for all citizens.
- When they were making the constitution, the members of the constituent assembly felt that the freedom struggle had prepared the masses for universal adult suffrage and that this would help encourage a democratic mindset and break the clutches of traditional caste, class, and gender hierarchies.
- This means that the people of India have a direct role in electing their representatives. Also, every citizen of the country, irrespective of his/ her social background, can also contest in elections. These representatives are accountable to the people.
(c) Separation of Powers
According to the Constitution, there are three organs of the state. These are the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.
- The legislature refers to our elected representatives.
- The executive is a smaller group of people who are responsible for implementing laws and running the government.
- The judiciary refers to the system of courts in this country.
In order to prevent the misuse of power by any one branch of the state, the constitution says that each of these organs should exercise different powers. Through this, each organ acts as a check on the other organs of the state and this ensures the balance of power between all three tiers of government.
(i) Central government
(ii) State government
(iii) Panchayati raj
(d) Fundamental Rights
The section on Fundamental Right has often been referred to as the ‘conscience’ of the Indian Constitution. Colonial rule had created a certain suspicion of the state in the minds of the nationalists and they wanted to ensure that a set of written rights would guard against the misuse of state powers in independent India.
Fundamental Right, therefore, protects citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the state. The constitution, thus, guarantees the rights of individuals against the state as well as against other individuals.
In addition to fundamental rights, the constitution also has a section called directive principles of state policy.
This section was designed by the members of the constituent assembly to ensure greater social and economic reform and to serve as a guide to the independent Indian state to institute laws and policies that help to reduce the poverty of the masses.
(e) SecularismQ.7. What is a constitutional monarchy? Give an example.
Ans. In a constitutional monarchy, a country is ruled by a king or a queen, but the country has a constitution that the king follows.
Until quite recently, Nepal was a monarchy. The previous constitution of Nepal, which had been adopted in 1990, reflected the fact that the final authority rested with the king.
A people’s movement in Nepal fought for several decades to establish democracy and in 2006, they finally succeeded in putting an end to the powers of the king.
Now the people have to write a new constitution to establish Nepal as a democracy.
The reason that they do not want to continue with the previous constitution is that it does not reflect the ideals of the country that they want Nepal to be and that they have fought for.
Q.8. What will happen if there is no restriction to the powers of elected representatives?
Ans. If there would have been no restrictions to the powers of elected representatives, they may have misused their powers. They could have used their powers in doing wrong deeds. They could even have supported a single religion.
Q.9. Explain how the constitution of India gets made?
- The long experience of authoritarian rule under the colonial state convinced Indians that free India should be a democracy in which everyone should be treated equally and be allowed to participate in government.
- This was not done by one person but by a group of around 300 people who become members of the constituent assembly who had a huge task before them.
- The country was made up of several different communities who spoke different languages, belonged to different religions, and had district culture. Also, when the constitution was being written, India was going through considerable turmoil.
Q.10. What is the importance of the constitution?
Ans. The constitution plays an important role in laying out certain guidelines that govern decision-making within society.
- It lays down rules that guard against the misuse of power by our political leaders.
- It also contains rules to prevent tyranny.
- It also helps to protect us against certain adverse effects on the larger principle that the country believes in.