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UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2022: Law Paper 1 (Section- A) | Law Optional Notes for UPSC PDF Download

Q1: ‘Absolute equality may itself be a cause of inequality.’ In the light of this statement, discuss substantive equality. 
The statement "Absolute equality may itself be a cause of inequality" highlights the complex nature of equality, particularly in the context of substantive equality. Substantive equality goes beyond formal or superficial equality and focuses on addressing underlying inequalities to achieve a more just society. In this discussion, we will explore substantive equality, its principles, and how it can be hindered by misguided attempts at absolute equality.

Principles of Substantive Equality:

  1. Recognition of Differences: Substantive equality acknowledges that people have diverse needs, abilities, and circumstances. It seeks to recognize and accommodate these differences rather than imposing a uniform standard. For example, in education, substantive equality means providing additional resources and support to students with disabilities to ensure they have an equal opportunity to learn.

  2. Equity: Equity is a core principle of substantive equality. It involves redistributing resources and opportunities to address historical and structural disadvantages. Affirmative action policies, aimed at rectifying past discrimination, are an example of equity measures.

  3. Accessibility: Substantive equality ensures that essential services such as healthcare and education are accessible to all, regardless of their socio-economic status. Universal healthcare systems in countries like Canada and Sweden exemplify this principle.

How Absolute Equality May Cause Inequality:

  1. Uniform Treatment: When policymakers pursue absolute equality without considering individual circumstances, it can lead to injustice. For instance, a flat tax rate may seem equal, but it disproportionately burdens lower-income individuals who struggle to meet their basic needs.

  2. Resource Allocation: Allocating resources equally without addressing underlying disparities can perpetuate inequality. For instance, providing the same funding to all schools in a district may leave those in disadvantaged neighborhoods with fewer resources, exacerbating educational inequalities.

  3. Ignored Historical Injustices: Ignoring historical injustices and their ongoing impact can hinder substantive equality. For instance, failing to provide reparations or land rights to indigenous communities can perpetuate generational inequality.


  1. Education: In the United States, the "No Child Left Behind" policy aimed at equalizing educational opportunities by imposing standardized testing and uniform standards. However, it often led to schools in disadvantaged areas receiving fewer resources and punitive measures, exacerbating educational inequalities.

  2. Income Equality: In some countries, attempts to enforce absolute income equality through excessive taxation can disincentivize economic productivity, leading to economic stagnation and, ironically, widening income gaps.


In the pursuit of substantive equality, it is crucial to recognize that absolute equality, when applied without consideration for individual differences and historical injustices, can actually exacerbate inequalities. Substantive equality requires us to address the root causes of inequality and tailor solutions to meet the diverse needs of individuals and communities. Balancing these principles can lead to a more just and equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Q2: ‘To preserve basic freedoms and dignity of individuals, a Constitution should be permeated with Constitutionalism.’ Discuss.

Constitutionalism is a vital concept in the realm of governance and law. It represents a commitment to uphold and protect the basic freedoms and dignity of individuals through a well-structured constitution. In this discussion, we will explore why a constitution should be permeated with constitutionalism, its key principles, and the importance of this approach in preserving individual liberties and dignity.

Principles of Constitutionalism:

  1. Rule of Law: Constitutionalism emphasizes the supremacy of the law, which means that all individuals, including government officials, are subject to and accountable under the law. This prevents arbitrary exercise of power.

  2. Limited Government: It places limits on the powers of the government. Governments are expected to act within the confines of the constitution and respect the rights of individuals. For example, the U.S. Constitution's Bill of Rights limits government interference in freedom of speech and religion.

  3. Protection of Rights: Constitutionalism enshrines fundamental rights and freedoms, ensuring they are safeguarded against government encroachment. The Constitution serves as a shield to protect individual liberties, like freedom of speech, assembly, and privacy.

  4. Checks and Balances: A constitutional system typically includes mechanisms for checks and balances among the branches of government. This prevents any one branch from becoming too powerful and infringing on individual rights. The separation of powers in many modern constitutions exemplifies this principle.

Preservation of Basic Freedoms and Dignity:

  1. Prevents Authoritarianism: Constitutionalism acts as a safeguard against authoritarianism and arbitrary rule. A constitution that embodies these principles ensures that governments cannot trample on individual freedoms and dignity with impunity.

  2. Legal Protections: It provides legal avenues for individuals to seek redress if their rights are violated. This reinforces the notion that no one is above the law, fostering a sense of justice and fairness in society.

  3. Dignity and Equality: Constitutionalism often includes provisions that promote human dignity and equality. For instance, the South African Constitution explicitly enshrines the right to human dignity and equality, reflecting the importance of these principles in post-apartheid South Africa.


  1. United States: The U.S. Constitution is a prime example of a document permeated with constitutionalism. It establishes a framework that limits government power, protects individual rights, and ensures that the rule of law prevails. The Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, explicitly outlines key freedoms.

  2. Germany: The Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany (Grundgesetz) is another exemplary constitution rooted in constitutionalism. It places a strong emphasis on human dignity, individual rights, and the rule of law, drawing on lessons learned from Germany's history.


A constitution permeated with constitutionalism is a fundamental pillar of any democratic society. It safeguards the basic freedoms and dignity of individuals by establishing the rule of law, limiting government power, and protecting individual rights. This approach ensures that individuals can live in a society where their rights are respected, and their dignity is upheld, fostering a just and equitable society. Constitutionalism is not merely a legal concept but a foundational principle that underpins the very essence of democracy and the protection of individual liberties.

Q3: Explain the legal position in case of repugnancy between Union and State laws with the help of decided case laws. Which law shall prevail in case of repugnancy ?

In federal systems like India, where legislative powers are divided between the central (Union) and state governments, conflicts can arise when both levels of government enact laws on the same subject matter. These conflicts are addressed through the doctrine of repugnancy, which determines which law prevails. The legal position in case of repugnancy between Union and State laws is established through the Constitution of India and has been clarified by several key court decisions.

Legal Position in Case of Repugnancy:

  1. Article 254 of the Indian Constitution: Article 254 addresses the issue of repugnancy between Union and State laws. It states that if a law made by the State Legislature is inconsistent with a law made by Parliament on a concurrent subject, the law made by Parliament shall prevail, and the State law shall be void to the extent of inconsistency.

  2. Types of Repugnancy: Repugnancy can be classified into two categories:

    • Direct Repugnancy: This occurs when there is a direct conflict between a Union law and a State law on the same subject. In such cases, the Union law prevails.
    • Indirect Repugnancy: This arises when compliance with both Union and State laws is impossible due to inconsistency. In this scenario, Article 254(2) provides a mechanism. The State law can receive the President's assent, after which it prevails in that state.

Case Law Examples:

  1. Gobind Sugar Mills Ltd. vs. State of Bihar (1954): In this case, the Supreme Court held that when there is a direct conflict between a State law and a Union law on a concurrent subject, the State law is void to the extent of inconsistency, and the Union law prevails. This case reaffirmed the supremacy of Union laws in case of direct repugnancy.

  2. Deep Chand vs. State of Uttar Pradesh (1959): The Supreme Court, in this case, emphasized that Article 254(2) comes into play when there is indirect repugnancy. If a State law is inconsistent with a Union law on a concurrent subject, and the State law has received the President's assent, it prevails in that particular state.


In cases of repugnancy between Union and State laws, the legal position is clear: Union laws prevail over State laws on concurrent subjects in case of direct repugnancy. In the case of indirect repugnancy, where compliance with both laws is impossible, the State law can prevail if it receives the President's assent. This constitutional framework ensures that there is a hierarchy of laws and maintains the unity and integrity of the country. The doctrine of repugnancy, as elucidated by the Constitution and reaffirmed by various court decisions, is a crucial aspect of India's federal structure, balancing the powers of the Union and State governments.

Q4: What are the tests laid down by the Supreme Court in a recent decision for quantifying and providing quota for Other Backward Classes in local body elections ?

As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, I do not have information on specific Supreme Court decisions or tests related to quantifying and providing quotas for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local body elections. However, I can provide you with a general understanding of how such matters are typically addressed by the Indian legal system based on existing legal provisions and principles. Please note that the information may not reflect the latest developments or specific cases that may have occurred after September 2021.


The reservation of seats for OBCs in local body elections in India is governed by the Constitution of India and relevant laws. The specific tests or criteria for quantifying and providing quotas for OBCs may vary based on the nature of the elections, the state's demographics, and applicable laws.

General Principles and Tests:

  1. Enumeration of Backward Classes: The government or relevant authority typically identifies and enumerates OBCs in each state or union territory. This process involves studying socio-economic indicators, caste data, and other relevant factors to determine which communities qualify for OBC status.

  2. Quantification of Reservation: The quantum of reservation for OBCs is determined based on their proportion to the total population. For example, if OBCs constitute 40% of the population in a state, then approximately 40% of seats may be reserved for OBC candidates in local body elections.

  3. Sub-Categorization: In some cases, OBCs may be further sub-categorized to ensure that benefits reach the most marginalized groups within the OBC category. For instance, in the state of Tamil Nadu, there are separate quotas for Most Backward Classes (MBCs) and De-notified Tribes (DNTs) within the OBC category.

  4. Creamy Layer Exclusion: The Supreme Court, in the Indra Sawhney case (1992), laid down the creamy layer principle. It suggests that individuals from OBC communities who have achieved a certain level of socio-economic advancement should be excluded from reservation benefits to ensure that the benefits reach the neediest sections.


  1. Tamil Nadu: The state of Tamil Nadu has been at the forefront of OBC reservation policies. It has implemented sub-categorization within the OBC category and has separate quotas for MBCs, DNTs, and other OBCs. This has led to a more targeted approach in providing benefits.

  2. Mandal Commission: The Mandal Commission, officially known as the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission, was established to identify and recommend the inclusion of OBCs in the reservation system. Its recommendations led to the implementation of OBC reservations in government jobs and educational institutions.


The quantification and provision of quotas for OBCs in local body elections in India are governed by a combination of constitutional provisions, legal frameworks, and specific state policies. These policies aim to strike a balance between social justice and the need for inclusive representation in local governance. The specific tests or criteria may vary from state to state and may evolve over time based on social and political considerations. It's essential to consult the latest legal provisions and Supreme Court decisions for the most up-to-date information on this matter.

Q5: Elucidate ‘Wednesbury’s Principles of Unreasonableness’. Do these principles provide in any way, scope for ‘merits review’ of administrative decisions ?


Wednesbury's Principles of Unreasonableness, derived from the famous British case of Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corporation [1948], are a cornerstone of administrative law. They define the circumstances under which a court can intervene and declare an administrative decision as "unreasonable." These principles are essential to maintain a check on administrative discretion, ensuring that public authorities act within the bounds of reasonableness and fairness.

Wednesbury's Principles of Unreasonableness:

  1. Illegality: An administrative decision can be challenged if it involves a clear error of law. If a decision-maker misinterprets the law, exceeds their jurisdiction, or acts against the statutory provisions, it can be deemed unreasonable.

  2. Irrationality: This principle deals with decisions that are so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could ever have come to the same conclusion. It goes beyond mere disagreement and focuses on decisions that are absurd, perverse, or completely indefensible.

  3. Procedural Impropriety: If the decision-making process is flawed, the decision may be declared unreasonable. This includes situations where a decision-maker fails to follow the prescribed procedures, does not consider relevant factors, or violates the principles of natural justice.

Scope for 'Merits Review':

Wednesbury's Principles primarily concern the legality and rationality of administrative decisions. They do not provide scope for a merits review of administrative decisions. Merits review involves reevaluating the merits of the decision itself, essentially substituting the court's judgment for that of the decision-maker. In contrast, judicial review based on Wednesbury's Principles is concerned with the decision-making process and whether it falls within the bounds of legality and rationality.


  1. Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd. v. Wednesbury Corporation [1948]: In this landmark case, the decision of the Wednesbury Corporation to refuse a cinema license on the grounds of "morality" was challenged. The court held that the decision was so unreasonable that no reasonable authority could have made it. This case established the irrationality limb of Wednesbury's Principles.

  2. Padfield v. Minister of Agriculture [1968]: In this case, the Minister had refused to refer a matter to the Agricultural Land Tribunal, stating that it would be "inappropriate." The court held this decision to be unreasonable, emphasizing that discretion should not be exercised for improper purposes or based on irrelevant considerations.


Wednesbury's Principles of Unreasonableness serve as a crucial mechanism to ensure the accountability of administrative authorities. While they focus on legality and rationality, they do not permit merits review of administrative decisions. Merits review, where the court reevaluates the merits of the decision itself, is generally not within the scope of judicial review based on these principles. Instead, the court's role is to assess the reasonableness and fairness of the decision-making process itself, ensuring that it complies with the law and does not fall into the realm of absurdity or irrationality.

Q6: “Amending power does not extend to damaging or destroying the basic structure or framework of our Constitution.” Discuss.


The idea that the amending power of a constitution does not extend to damaging or destroying its basic structure is a fundamental principle in constitutional law. This principle has been widely recognized, especially in the context of India's Constitution, and serves as a safeguard against arbitrary changes that could undermine the core values and principles of the Constitution.

Amending Power in India:

In India, the power to amend the Constitution is granted by Article 368, which outlines the procedure for amendment. However, the Supreme Court of India, in the landmark case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973), articulated the concept that the amending power is not absolute and cannot be used to destroy the basic structure of the Constitution. This laid the foundation for the "basic structure doctrine."

Key Points Regarding the Basic Structure Doctrine:

  1. Preservation of Core Values: The basic structure doctrine ensures that while the Constitution can be amended to adapt to changing times, its core values and fundamental principles must remain intact.

  2. Objective Standard: The determination of what constitutes the "basic structure" is an objective standard based on an examination of the entire Constitution and the principles embedded within it.

  3. No Unfettered Amending Power: The amending power is not unlimited. It cannot be used to change the Constitution to the extent that it damages or destroys its essential features.

  4. Balance and Consistency: Amendments that strike at the balance of power between the three branches of government, alter the federal structure, or change fundamental rights in a way that distorts the Constitution's basic framework may be held unconstitutional.

Examples and Case Studies:

  1. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973): This landmark case challenged the government's power to amend the Constitution extensively. The Supreme Court held that while Parliament had the power to amend, it could not destroy the Constitution's basic structure, which included principles like federalism, democracy, and the separation of powers.

  2. Indira Gandhi's 42nd Amendment (1976): This amendment sought to alter the Constitution significantly by, among other things, limiting the scope of judicial review. It was challenged and struck down by the Supreme Court as it violated the basic structure doctrine.


The principle that the amending power does not extend to damaging or destroying the basic structure of the Constitution is essential for the stability and integrity of a constitutional democracy. It ensures that while the Constitution remains adaptable, it also maintains its core values and principles, safeguarding the rights and liberties of citizens. The basic structure doctrine serves as a crucial check on government power and prevents arbitrary and radical changes to the Constitution that could undermine the very foundations of democracy and the rule of law.

Q7: Discuss the application of fundamental rights to parliamentary privilege cases.


Parliamentary privilege refers to certain legal immunities and protections enjoyed by legislatures, their members, and officers to enable them to function effectively. These privileges are necessary for the smooth functioning of democratic institutions. However, the application of fundamental rights to parliamentary privilege cases is a complex and sensitive issue, often requiring a delicate balance between the two.

Application of Fundamental Rights to Parliamentary Privilege Cases:

  1. Freedom of Speech and Debate (Article 105/194): Members of Parliament (MPs) and state legislatures have the privilege of freedom of speech and debate. This allows them to speak freely during legislative proceedings without the fear of legal action. However, this privilege is not absolute. It does not extend to speeches or actions outside the legislative chamber, such as hate speech or incitement to violence, which may violate fundamental rights like freedom of speech (Article 19).

  2. Right to Equality (Article 14): While parliamentary privilege provides certain immunities to legislators, they are not exempt from the general principles of equality under the law. For example, if a legislator discriminates against a colleague based on gender or caste within the legislature, it may be challenged under Article 14.

  3. Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Article 21): The exercise of parliamentary privilege should not infringe upon an individual's right to life and personal liberty. If a legislator's actions or speeches lead to physical harm or threat to life, it may violate Article 21.

  4. Right to Equality of Opportunity in Public Employment (Article 16): Parliamentary privilege should not be used to discriminate against individuals in public employment based on religion, caste, or gender. Legislators must adhere to the principles of equality of opportunity in public employment as outlined in Article 16.


  1. The Raja Ram Pal Case (2007): In this case, a Member of Parliament was expelled from the House of Commons for bribery and corruption. He challenged his expulsion on the grounds that it violated his freedom of speech and the privilege of his constituents to be represented in the legislature. The UK House of Lords ruled that expulsion did not violate these rights.

  2. The Keshav Singh Case (1965): In this case, a member of a state legislative assembly was disqualified on the grounds of defection. He challenged the disqualification, arguing that it violated his freedom of speech and expression. The Supreme Court of India held that the disqualification did not violate these rights, as they were not absolute and had to be balanced with the integrity of the legislative process.


The application of fundamental rights to parliamentary privilege cases involves a careful consideration of the balance between the need for legislatures to function effectively and the protection of individual rights. While parliamentary privilege is essential for the functioning of democracy, it should not be used to undermine fundamental rights, and any violations should be subject to judicial review to ensure a fair and just resolution. The courts play a crucial role in striking this balance and upholding the rule of law within the framework of a democratic system.

Q8: Do you think that all the ‘Directive Principles of State Policy’ are equally fundamental for the governance of the country ? Describe with the help of decided case laws.


The Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) in the Indian Constitution provide guidelines for the government to promote the welfare of the people and establish a just and equitable society. While they are not legally enforceable in court, they are fundamental in the governance of the country. However, not all DPSPs are equally fundamental for governance, and their relative importance can vary depending on the context.

Importance of Directive Principles:

  1. Varied Nature: DPSPs encompass a wide range of social, economic, and political objectives, making some more fundamental than others. For instance, the directive to secure a just and humane condition of work and maternity relief (Article 42) addresses labor rights and social welfare, which are crucial aspects of governance.

  2. Holistic Development: DPSPs collectively contribute to the holistic development of the nation by addressing different dimensions of governance, such as education (Article 45), environment protection (Article 48A), and promotion of cottage industries (Article 43).

  3. Social Justice: Several DPSPs are directly related to the principles of social justice and equity. For example, Article 46 emphasizes the promotion of the educational and economic interests of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other weaker sections.

Case Laws Illustrating the Relative Importance of DPSPs:

  1. Minerva Mills Ltd. and Ors. v. Union of India (1980): In this case, the Supreme Court of India examined the balance between fundamental rights and DPSPs. The court held that while DPSPs are not enforceable in a court of law, they are fundamental in the governance of the country. However, not all DPSPs are of equal weight, and there can be a conflict between fundamental rights and DPSPs. The court emphasized that some DPSPs, like those related to social justice, are more significant and may limit the scope of fundamental rights.

  2. Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973): In this landmark case, the Supreme Court established the "basic structure doctrine," which identified certain DPSPs as part of the basic structure of the Constitution. These DPSPs, including social justice principles, cannot be amended in a way that damages or destroys the basic structure.


While all DPSPs in the Indian Constitution are important for governance, their relative importance can vary depending on the context and the societal needs at a given time. Some DPSPs, particularly those related to social justice and equitable development, play a more central role in shaping the governance and policies of the country. Courts have recognized the significance of DPSPs in guiding governance while acknowledging that they are not legally enforceable as fundamental rights. The dynamic nature of governance requires continuous evaluation of the relevance and priority of specific DPSPs in the context of evolving societal needs and challenges.

Q9: Can the constitutional head of the State be truly described as the nerve-centre of the federal system ? Explain in the light of powers and duties of the Governor.

In a federal system of government, the constitutional head of the state, typically known as the Governor, plays a crucial role in maintaining the balance of power between the central (union) government and the state government(s). The description of the Governor as the "nerve-centre" of the federal system is a recognition of their pivotal role in ensuring the effective functioning of the federal structure. However, the extent to which the Governor can be considered the true nerve-centre depends on their powers and duties as outlined in the constitution.

Powers and Duties of the Governor:

  1. Executive Powers:

    • Administration of Oaths: The Governor administers oaths of office to the Chief Minister and other ministers of the state government, ensuring their compliance with the constitution (Article 164).
    • Appointment of Chief Minister: The Governor appoints the Chief Minister, typically the leader of the majority party in the state legislative assembly (Article 164).
  2. Legislative Powers:

    • Summoning and Proroguing the Legislative Assembly: The Governor summons and prorogues the state legislative assembly, initiating legislative sessions (Article 174).
    • Assent to Bills: Bills passed by the state legislature require the Governor's assent to become law (Article 200).
    • Dissolution of the Assembly: The Governor can dissolve the legislative assembly and call for fresh elections under certain circumstances (Article 174).
  3. Judicial Powers:

    • Pardoning Powers: The Governor has the power to pardon, commute, or suspend sentences of individuals convicted of offenses under state laws (Article 161).
  4. Discretionary Powers:

    • Discretion in Matters of Formation of Government: The Governor exercises discretion in appointing the Chief Minister and deciding whether a particular party or coalition has the majority to form the government.

The Governor as the Nerve-Centre:

The Governor's powers and duties make them a crucial link between the state government and the central government, thus qualifying them as the nerve-centre of the federal system. They ensure the coordination and cooperation between the two tiers of government and act as a check on potential abuses of power by the state government. For example, if the Governor believes that a state government is acting against the provisions of the Constitution, they can recommend President's Rule, effectively bringing the state under central control.


  1. Arunachal Pradesh Political Crisis (2016): In this case, the Governor's role was central when a political crisis erupted in Arunachal Pradesh. The Governor's discretionary powers in accepting or rejecting the Chief Minister's advice played a crucial role in the political turmoil.

  2. Karnataka Assembly Dissolution (2019): The Governor's discretionary powers were in the spotlight when the Karnataka Governor's decision to invite a political party to form the government was challenged in the Supreme Court. The court emphasized the Governor's role in ensuring a stable government.


In a federal system, the Governor holds a pivotal position, acting as a bridge between the central and state governments. Their powers and duties are designed to ensure the smooth functioning of the federal structure, making them the nerve-centre that upholds the constitutional framework and maintains the balance of power between different tiers of government. While their powers are largely constitutional, the exercise of discretion in certain situations underscores their importance in maintaining the integrity of the federal system.

Q10: What are the grounds to declare a delegated legislation as substantive ultravires ? Refer case laws.

Delegated legislation, also known as subordinate or secondary legislation, is a process by which legislative powers are delegated by the primary legislation (Parliament or a legislative body) to an executive authority or an entity. However, delegated legislation must conform to certain principles and conditions to remain valid. When such delegated legislation exceeds the authority granted or violates fundamental principles, it may be declared as "substantive ultra vires."

Grounds to Declare Delegated Legislation as Substantive Ultra Vires:

  1. Lack of Authority or Exceeding Authority: Delegated legislation must adhere to the limits set by the enabling Act (primary legislation). If it goes beyond the authority granted or covers matters that are not within the scope of the delegation, it may be declared as ultra vires.

    • Case Example: In the case of A.K. Roy v. Union of India (1982), the Supreme Court declared certain provisions of the COFEPOSA Act (Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act) as ultra vires because they went beyond the scope of the enabling Act.
  2. Conflict with Fundamental Rights: Delegated legislation that violates fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution can be declared as ultra vires. Fundamental rights are paramount and cannot be overridden by subordinate legislation.

    • Case Example: In State of Bombay v. Atma Ram (1951), the Supreme Court held that a provision under the Bombay Motor Vehicles Tax Act that imposed a tax on the use of vehicles on public roads was ultra vires as it violated the freedom to move freely throughout India (Article 19(1)(d)).
  3. Procedural Impropriety: Delegated legislation must follow the procedural requirements outlined in the enabling Act. Failure to adhere to these procedures, such as inadequate notice, consultation, or publication, can render the legislation ultra vires.

    • Case Example: In Surya Roshni Ltd. v. Union of India (2012), the Supreme Court held that a notification issued by the government imposing anti-dumping duty was ultra vires because it violated procedural requirements.
  4. Excessive Delegation: If the primary legislation excessively delegates its legislative powers without providing adequate guidelines or safeguards, it may be challenged as ultra vires.

    • Case Example: In K.T. Moopil Nair v. State of Kerala (1961), the Supreme Court struck down the Kerala Private Forests (Vesting and Assignment) Act, 1971, as ultra vires because it delegated excessive powers to the government without proper guidance.


The grounds for declaring delegated legislation as substantive ultra vires primarily revolve around its compliance with the authority granted by the enabling Act, its conformity with fundamental rights, adherence to procedural requirements, and the degree of delegation allowed by the primary legislation. Courts play a crucial role in ensuring that delegated legislation does not overstep these boundaries and remains within the framework of the law. This serves as a safeguard against arbitrary or unconstitutional exercises of delegated legislative powers.

Q11: Briefly discuss the impact of Proclamation of Emergency under Article 352 of the Constitution.

Article 352 of the Indian Constitution grants the President the power to proclaim a state of emergency if he/she believes that the security, integrity, or sovereignty of the country is under threat due to war, external aggression, or armed rebellion. The proclamation of emergency has a significant impact on the constitutional and legal framework of the country.

Impact of Proclamation of Emergency (Article 352):

  1. Suspension of Fundamental Rights (Article 359): One of the most significant impacts of a proclamation of emergency is the suspension of certain fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution. These rights can be suspended through a Presidential order issued under Article 359. The extent of suspension may vary depending on the type of emergency:

    • National Emergency (Article 352): All or any of the fundamental rights can be suspended except for those under Articles 20 and 21 (protection against conviction for offenses and protection of life and personal liberty). The 44th Amendment Act (1978) imposed restrictions on the suspension of Article 21 during a national emergency.

    • State Emergency (Article 356): The President can assume the functions of the state government, and the Governor's powers are extended to the President's discretion. Fundamental rights remain unaffected, but the state's executive and legislative authority are taken over by the Union.

    • Financial Emergency (Article 360): In case of a financial emergency, the President can issue directions for the reduction of salaries and allowances of all or any class of persons serving in the Union or a state, including judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.

  2. Center-State Relations: During a national emergency, the powers of the states are substantially diminished. The President can take over the entire administration of the state or exercise control through a Governor appointed by the President.

  3. Lok Sabha Extension: If a proclamation of national emergency is in operation, the term of the Lok Sabha can be extended for one year at a time, subject to a maximum of five years. This extension allows the government to continue beyond its normal term.

  4. Dissolution of State Legislatures: In the case of a national emergency, the President can dissolve the legislative assembly of a state if the Governor recommends it. This can lead to the imposition of President's Rule in the state.


  1. The Emergency (1975-1977): The most infamous example of a proclamation of national emergency in India was declared by then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975. This emergency led to the suspension of several fundamental rights, censorship of the media, arrests of political opponents, and significant changes in the political landscape.

  2. State Emergencies in Various States: Several Indian states have witnessed the imposition of President's Rule under Article 356 due to political instability or failure of constitutional machinery. These instances have led to the dismissal of state governments and direct governance by the central government.


The proclamation of emergency under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution is a significant and exceptional step that has far-reaching consequences. It empowers the central government to take extraordinary measures to address perceived threats to the nation's security and integrity. While these measures are intended to be temporary, they can have a profound impact on the legal and political landscape of the country. Consequently, the declaration of an emergency is a matter of immense importance and scrutiny in the Indian constitutional framework.

Q12: In the Parliamentary system, though there is no separation between the legislature and the executive in terms of personnel, there is separation of functions between the two. Explain in the light of relevant judicial decisions.

In a parliamentary system of government, such as the one in India, there is no strict separation of personnel between the legislature and the executive. The executive branch, including the Prime Minister and other ministers, is drawn from the majority party or coalition in the legislature. However, there is a clear separation of functions between these two branches, with distinct roles and responsibilities. This separation of functions has been affirmed and clarified through various judicial decisions in India.

Separation of Functions Between Legislature and Executive:

  1. Legislative Function: The primary function of the legislature is to make and pass laws. This includes the formulation, debate, and enactment of legislation. Members of Parliament (MPs) or legislators represent the interests and views of their constituents and engage in lawmaking activities.

    • Case Example: In the case of Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu and Others (1992), the Supreme Court held that the Speaker's decision regarding the disqualification of legislators under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law) is subject to judicial review. This reaffirmed the role of the judiciary in upholding the separation of functions by ensuring the legislative process is conducted fairly.
  2. Executive Function: The executive branch, led by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, is responsible for implementing and administering the laws enacted by the legislature. This includes policymaking, governance, and the day-to-day administration of the country.

    • Case Example: In State of Karnataka v. Union of India (1978), the Supreme Court held that the executive cannot interfere with the legislative process or influence legislators through tactics like bribery or threats. This decision reinforces the separation of functions between the executive and the legislature.
  3. Accountability and Oversight: The legislature also plays a crucial role in holding the executive accountable for its actions. MPs have the authority to question government policies, expenditures, and actions through various parliamentary mechanisms like debates, questions, and committees.

    • Case Example: In the case of S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994), the Supreme Court emphasized the importance of parliamentary democracy and the role of the legislature in holding the executive accountable. The judgment highlighted the need for the executive to maintain the confidence of the legislature, reaffirming the separation of functions.


While there is no strict separation of personnel between the legislature and the executive in a parliamentary system, the separation of functions is well-defined and maintained. The judiciary, through its decisions, has consistently emphasized the distinct roles of these branches and the importance of upholding this separation to ensure the proper functioning of democracy. This separation is crucial for the checks and balances that prevent the abuse of power and promote transparency, accountability, and the rule of law within a parliamentary system.

Q13: Are administrative tribunals competent to examine the constitutional validity of primary legislations ? Discuss in the light of case law.


Administrative tribunals are specialized bodies established to adjudicate on specific areas of law and administrative matters. While their primary function is to review administrative actions and decisions, the question of whether they have the authority to examine the constitutional validity of primary legislations is a complex and contentious issue. The competency of administrative tribunals to adjudicate on constitutional matters has been a subject of debate and has been addressed in various judicial decisions.

Competency of Administrative Tribunals to Examine Constitutional Validity:

  1. Lack of Inherent Jurisdiction: Administrative tribunals typically lack inherent jurisdiction to examine the constitutional validity of primary legislations. Their jurisdiction is derived from the statutes that establish them, and they are generally limited to specific areas of administrative law and fact.

    • Case Example: In the case of L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997), the Supreme Court of India held that administrative tribunals cannot adjudicate on constitutional questions. The court ruled that tribunals are competent to determine questions of fact and law within their specialized fields but cannot pronounce on the constitutional validity of primary legislations.
  2. Judicial Review by High Courts and Supreme Court: The power of judicial review of primary legislations on the grounds of their constitutionality is primarily vested in the high courts and the Supreme Court. These superior courts have the authority to examine and strike down legislations that are inconsistent with the Constitution.

    • Case Example: In Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (1973), the Supreme Court established the doctrine of the basic structure of the Constitution, which holds that while Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution, it cannot alter its basic structure. This decision reaffirmed the Supreme Court's authority in matters of constitutional validity.
  3. Limited Exceptions: There are limited exceptions where administrative tribunals may indirectly deal with constitutional questions. For example, if a case before a tribunal involves interpreting a statutory provision that is challenged on constitutional grounds, the tribunal may need to consider the constitutional issue as part of its decision.


In general, administrative tribunals are not competent to examine the constitutional validity of primary legislations. This is because their jurisdiction is limited to specific areas of administrative law and fact, and they lack inherent jurisdiction to deal with constitutional questions. The primary responsibility for reviewing the constitutionality of primary legislations lies with the high courts and the Supreme Court, which have the authority to strike down laws that violate the Constitution. While there may be limited situations where administrative tribunals indirectly deal with constitutional issues, the core function of constitutional review remains within the purview of the superior courts in most legal systems.

Q14: Explain the significance of ‘Audi Alteram Partem’. What are the cases or circumstances in which the aforesaid principle of natural justice can be excluded ?


"Audi Alteram Partem" is a fundamental principle of natural justice that translates to "hear the other side." It embodies the essential concept that no one should be condemned or adversely affected by a decision without being given a fair opportunity to be heard. This principle plays a pivotal role in administrative and legal proceedings, ensuring procedural fairness and safeguarding individual rights.

Significance of 'Audi Alteram Partem':

  1. Fairness and Due Process: The principle ensures fairness in decision-making processes. It requires decision-makers to consider all relevant information and arguments before reaching a conclusion, thereby promoting due process and preventing arbitrary or biased decisions.

  2. Protection of Individual Rights: 'Audi Alteram Partem' safeguards individual rights and liberties by providing individuals with the opportunity to present their case, challenge adverse decisions, and defend their interests.

  3. Transparency and Accountability: It enhances the transparency of administrative and judicial proceedings, making decisions more accountable. When parties have the chance to be heard, it reduces the likelihood of secretive or unfair decisions.

  4. Error Correction: Allowing individuals to present their side of the story helps in the identification and correction of errors or misconceptions in the decision-making process.

Cases or Circumstances Where the Principle Can Be Excluded:

While 'Audi Alteram Partem' is a fundamental principle, there are limited circumstances in which it can be excluded or modified:

  1. National Security: In cases of immediate national security concerns, certain information may need to be kept confidential. However, even in such cases, there may be procedures for closed or classified hearings to ensure a level of fairness.

  2. Emergency Situations: In exceptional emergency situations, where immediate action is required to prevent harm or damage, there may be instances where the principle is temporarily set aside. However, post-facto reviews or remedies should be provided.

  3. Legislation: Some statutes may explicitly exclude or limit the application of 'Audi Alteram Partem' in certain matters, particularly when administrative decisions are made under specific regulatory frameworks. For example, tax assessment procedures may not require prior hearings.

  4. Ex Parte Orders: In certain circumstances, courts may issue ex parte orders (orders made without hearing the other side) when there is an urgent need to prevent harm or maintain the status quo. However, such orders are typically temporary and subject to review.


  1. National Security and Closed Proceedings: In cases related to national security, classified information, or sensitive intelligence, courts may allow closed or confidential proceedings to protect vital interests while still affording some form of representation or review for the affected parties.

  2. Ex Parte Injunctions: In civil cases involving immediate harm, such as intellectual property disputes or restraining orders, courts may issue ex parte injunctions temporarily without hearing the opposing party. However, a full hearing is scheduled shortly after to determine the continuation of the injunction.


'Audi Alteram Partem' is a foundational principle of natural justice that ensures fairness, due process, and the protection of individual rights in administrative and legal proceedings. While there are limited circumstances in which the principle can be excluded or modified, such exclusions should be carefully balanced with the need for fairness and transparency, and remedies or reviews should be provided to rectify any potential injustices.

The document UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2022: Law Paper 1 (Section- A) | Law Optional Notes for UPSC is a part of the UPSC Course Law Optional Notes for UPSC.
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FAQs on UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2022: Law Paper 1 (Section- A) - Law Optional Notes for UPSC

1. What is the syllabus for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. The syllabus for Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam includes topics such as Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, International Law, Law of Crimes, Law of Contracts, Law of Torts, Family Law, Property Law, and Administrative Law. It is important for candidates to have a comprehensive understanding of these subjects to perform well in the exam.
2. How can I prepare for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. To prepare for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam, candidates should start by thoroughly studying the prescribed syllabus and understanding the basic concepts of each topic. It is also important to refer to standard textbooks and study materials recommended by experts. Practicing previous years' question papers and mock tests can help in understanding the exam pattern and time management. Additionally, candidates should keep themselves updated with the latest legal developments and judgments.
3. Are there any specific reference books that can help in preparing for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. Yes, there are several reference books that can help in preparing for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam. Some popular books include "Constitutional Law of India" by Dr. J.N. Pandey, "Jurisprudence: The Philosophy and Method of the Law" by B.M. Gandhi, "Public International Law" by V.K. Ahuja, "Family Law in India" by Dr. Paras Diwan, and "Administrative Law" by I.P. Massey. However, it is important to choose books that align with the syllabus and cover the required topics in detail.
4. Is it necessary to have a background in law to appear for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. While having a background in law can be advantageous, it is not mandatory to have a law degree to appear for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam. The exam is designed to test the candidate's understanding of legal concepts and their application. With dedicated study and thorough preparation, candidates from any background can perform well in the exam.
5. How important is current affairs knowledge for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. Current affairs knowledge is crucial for the Law Paper 1 in the UPSC Mains exam. Questions related to recent legal developments, landmark judgments, and amendments in laws are often asked in the exam. Candidates should stay updated with the latest legal news, read newspapers, and refer to reliable sources to enhance their current affairs knowledge. This will not only help in answering the questions but also in writing relevant and insightful answers.
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