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UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2023: Law Paper 2 (Section- A) | Law Optional Notes for UPSC PDF Download

Section - A

Q1: Answer the following in about 150 words each. Support your answers with relevant legal provisions and judicial pronouncements.
(a) Discuss the doctrine of ‘Transferred Malice’ as applied to law relating to culpable homicide under the Indian Penal Code, 1860.     (10 Marks)

The doctrine of Transferred Malice is a fundamental principle in criminal law. It holds that if a person intends to harm one individual but inadvertently harms another, the law attributes the intention from the intended victim to the actual victim.

Application in Culpable Homicide: In the context of culpable homicide under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 299 and 300 deal with the definition and punishment for culpable homicide.

  • Section 299: This section defines culpable homicide and encompasses acts where death is caused with the intention of causing death or bodily injury, which the offender knows is likely to cause death.

  • Section 300: This section lays down the exceptions for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It distinguishes between murder (Section 300) and culpable homicide (not amounting to murder) by enumerating specific situations where the act will be considered culpable homicide.

Example: If A intends to shoot B but misses and accidentally hits C, the law applies the intention to cause harm from B to C. Therefore, A is liable for the harm caused to C under the doctrine of Transferred Malice.

(b) Discuss the nature and scope of right of Private defence of property along with limitations if any, on the exercise of such right.        (10 Marks)

The right of private defence is a legal principle that allows an individual to protect themselves, their property, or others from immediate harm.


  • Immediate Threat: The right of private defence can only be exercised when there is an immediate and imminent threat to property.

  • Proportional Force: The force used must be proportionate to the threat faced. Excessive force may lead to legal consequences.


  • Protection of Property: The right extends to the protection of movable and immovable property.

  • Protection Against Trespass: It allows a person to use reasonable force to prevent trespass or interference with property.


  • No Retributive Action: The right of private defence cannot be used for revenge or punishment.

  • Avoidance of Harm: If it's possible to avoid the threat without resorting to force, the right may not apply.

Example: If an individual, in a reasonable belief that their house is about to be broken into, uses force to prevent it, they may be protected under the right of private defence of property.

(c) Illustrate the doctrine of ‘constructive-criminality’ with reference to law on Abetment.        (10 Marks)

The doctrine of Constructive-Criminality deals with situations where a person aids or abets in a crime, making them equally culpable as the principal offender.

Application in Abetment: Under Section 107 of the IPC, abetment involves:

  • Instigating the commission of a crime.
  • Engaging in a conspiracy for the commission of a crime.
  • Intentionally aiding in the commission of a crime.

Example: If A encourages B to commit theft and provides tools for the act, A is considered an abettor and is equally liable for the crime.

(d) “He who acts through another, does the act himself.” Discuss the tortious liability entailed in the above statement.        (10 Marks)

This principle implies that if a person causes harm through another person (agent), the person who gave the instruction or had control over the agent is liable.

Tortious Liability:

  • Vicarious Liability: Employers can be held vicariously liable for the torts committed by their employees during the course of employment.

  • Negligent Supervision: If a person fails to adequately supervise an agent, they may be held liable for any harm caused.

Example: If an employer instructs an employee to drive recklessly, and the employee causes an accident, the employer can be held liable for the resulting harm.

(e) Explain the various kinds of damages that a plaintiff can claim after a tort has been committed against him.       (10 Marks)

Damages in tort law are a legal remedy sought by a plaintiff to compensate for harm or loss suffered due to the wrongful act of the defendant.

Types of Damages:
1. Compensatory Damages:

  • Special Damages: Cover specific, quantifiable losses like medical expenses, property damage, and lost wages.
  • General Damages: Non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.

2. Punitive Damages:

  • Imposed to punish the defendant for egregious conduct and to deter similar conduct in the future.

3. Nominal Damages:

  • Symbolic awards when the plaintiff proves a legal right was violated but suffered no actual loss.

4. Contemptuous Damages:

  • Small amounts awarded when the court acknowledges the plaintiff's right but does not approve of the case.

Understanding these various forms of damages is crucial for plaintiffs seeking legal redress in tort cases, as they provide a means to obtain compensation or relief for the harm suffered.

(a) A twenty year old girl ‘G’ was coming back to home after attending college. A man ‘M’ held her, shut her mouth and dragged her to a nearby bush, where he slit the girl’s throat thereby killing her. Thereafter he raped her. Decide what offence(s), if any, ‘M’ has committed in the above case. Explain the relevant statutory provisions in detail.        (20 Marks)

In the described scenario, 'M' has committed multiple offences that are grave in nature and punishable under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

  • Kidnapping or Abduction (Sec. 363-373 IPC): 'M' forcibly took 'G' against her will. The act of dragging her to a nearby location demonstrates abduction.
  • Murder (Sec. 300 IPC): 'M' slit the girl's throat, causing her death. This is a clear case of murder as the act was done with the intention of causing death.
  • Rape (Sec. 375 & 376 IPC): 'M' sexually assaulted 'G' after her death. This act, though posthumous, still constitutes rape as per the definition under the IPC.

In light of the above, 'M' has committed serious crimes as per the Indian Penal Code, and he is liable for stringent punishment if convicted.

(b) “In Negligence, the chain of causation must remain intact.” Describe the essentials o f ‘negligence’ by referring case-laws.        (15 Marks)

Negligence refers to a breach of duty caused by the omission to do something which a reasonable man would do, or doing something which a prudent and reasonable man would not do. It's a primary ground for tortious liability.
Essentials of Negligence:

  • Duty of Care: The defendant must owe a duty of care towards the plaintiff.
  • Breach of Duty: The defendant must have breached this duty.
  • Direct Causation: The plaintiff's harm should be a direct result of the defendant's breach.
  • Foreseeability: The harm must have been a foreseeable consequence of the defendant's action or omission.

Case Reference: In the landmark case of Donoghue v Stevenson [1932] AC 562, it was established that a manufacturer owes a duty of care to the end consumer, thus highlighting the principles of negligence.
Negligence requires a clear chain of causation. Any break in this chain can relieve the defendant from liability. It underscores the importance of the direct relationship between a negligent act and the injury sustained.

(c) Define ‘Atrocity’. Also discuss the acts that amount to ‘atrocity’ under the provisions of The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.       (15 Marks)

The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 is a crucial legislative measure in India to curb and punish atrocities against members of the SC/ST communities.
Definition of Atrocity:
Atrocity refers to an act of extreme cruelty, inflicted by a person not belonging to the SC/ST community, subjecting any person belonging to the SC/ST community to various forms of exploitations and humiliations.
Acts Amounting to Atrocity:

  • Forceful consumption of inedible substances.
  • Dumping excreta, waste, or any obnoxious substance in their premises or neighborhood.
  • Wrongfully occupying or cultivating land owned by a member of SC/ST.
  • Interference with the right of franchise of an SC/ST member.
  • Compelling an SC/ST member to perform bonded labor.
  • Abusing in caste name in public.
  • Committing offenses against Dalit women, such as assault or sexual harassment.

ExampleCases like the Khairlanji massacre showcase the brutalities and atrocities faced by members of the SC/ST communities.
The Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 serves as a protective shield for members of the SC/ST communities, ensuring that they are not subjected to any form of cruelty or humiliation. Violations of the provisions of this act can lead to stringent punishments for the offenders.

(a) Discuss the law relating to ‘Assault or Criminal force’ to woman with intent to ‘Outrage her Modesty’ and ‘Sexual Harassment’ as defined under Indian Penal Code, 1860. Is there any difference between the two ? Explain.       (20 Marks)

These sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) aim to protect the dignity and bodily integrity of women. They address different forms of offenses against women.

1. Assault or Criminal Force with Intent to Outrage Modesty (Section 354 IPC):

  • Definition: This section deals with the use of criminal force or assault with the intent to outrage the modesty of a woman.
  • Punishment: The offender may be imprisoned for a term which may extend to two years, or with a fine, or both.
  • Difference from Sexual Harassment: It primarily focuses on physical acts that violate a woman's modesty, such as touching or groping without her consent.

Example: A man forcefully kisses a woman without her consent.

2. Sexual Harassment (Section 354A IPC):

  • Definition: This section encompasses a broader range of behaviors, including unwelcome physical contact, making sexually colored remarks, or any other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.
  • Punishment: The offender may be imprisoned for up to three years, or with a fine, or both.
  • Difference from Assault with Intent to Outrage Modesty: Sexual harassment covers a wider spectrum of behavior, including verbal and non-verbal conduct, and it need not involve physical contact.

Example: A colleague consistently makes explicit sexual comments to a female co-worker.

Differences between Assault with Intent to Outrage Modesty and Sexual Harassment:
UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2023: Law Paper 2 (Section- A) | Law Optional Notes for UPSC

Case Study: In the case of Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997), the Supreme Court of India laid down guidelines to protect women from sexual harassment at the workplace, which were later codified into law.

While Assault with Intent to Outrage Modesty and Sexual Harassment share the common goal of safeguarding women's dignity, they differ in their scope and the types of behavior they cover.

(b) Elaborate the reasons for including ‘e-commerce’ in Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Also discuss the consequences for not complying with the provisions of the Act by the e-commerce entities.        (15 Marks)

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, was enacted to safeguard the interests of consumers in the rapidly evolving digital marketplace.

Inclusion of E-commerce:

  • Reasons:
    • Rising E-commerce Transactions: With the increasing popularity of e-commerce, there was a need for specific regulations to protect consumers in this domain.
    • Complexity of Transactions: Online transactions involve various parties and processes, necessitating specific guidelines for dispute resolution.
    • Ensuring Accountability: Holding e-commerce platforms accountable for counterfeit or substandard products, misleading advertisements, etc.

Consequences for Non-Compliance:

  • Penalties: E-commerce entities failing to comply with the provisions of the Act can face penalties, including fines and even suspension of their operations.
  • Liability for Defective Products: E-commerce platforms can be held liable for selling counterfeit or substandard products.
  • Consumer Redressal: The Act empowers consumers to seek compensation, replacement, or refund for faulty or misrepresented goods or services.
  • Mandatory Compliance: Non-compliance may lead to reputational damage, loss of consumer trust, and legal repercussions.

Example: If an e-commerce platform fails to deliver a product as described or provides a defective item, the consumer can file a complaint under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, seeking redress.

The inclusion of e-commerce in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, reflects the recognition of the significant role played by online platforms in modern commerce. This move aims to ensure that consumers are protected and can have confidence in digital transactions.

(c) Elucidate the essentials of ‘Private Nuisance’. Also discuss the remedies available to a plaintiff in a suit for ‘private nuisance’.        (15 Marks)

Private Nuisance is a legal concept that addresses interference with a person's use and enjoyment of their property due to the actions of another party.

Essentials of Private Nuisance:

  • Unlawful Interference: The interference must be substantial and unreasonable, causing a significant disturbance to the use and enjoyment of the plaintiff's property.
  • Ownership or Possession: The plaintiff must have a legal interest in the property affected.
  • Direct Causation: The interference must be directly caused by the defendant's actions.
  • Substantial Harm: The interference must cause substantial harm or inconvenience to the plaintiff.

Remedies Available to a Plaintiff:

  • Damages: The plaintiff can seek monetary compensation for the losses suffered due to the nuisance.
  • Injunction: A court order can be obtained to stop the defendant from continuing the nuisance.
  • Abatement: The plaintiff may be allowed to take reasonable measures to remove the source of the nuisance.
  • Specific Performance: In certain cases, the court may order the defendant to take specific actions to rectify the nuisance.

Example: If a neighbor consistently plays loud music late at night, disturbing the peace and quiet of the adjoining property, it could be considered a private nuisance.

Private Nuisance serves as an important legal recourse for individuals whose enjoyment of their property is disrupted by the actions of others. Understanding the essentials and available remedies is crucial for seeking appropriate redress.

(a) “Dishonest Intention is the gist of the offence of Theft.” Examine the above statement with the help of relevant illustrations. Also discuss how ‘theft’ is different from ‘dishonest misappropriation of property.’       (20 Marks)

Introduction: The offence of theft under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, is defined in Section 378. Dishonest intention is considered the cornerstone of this offence.

Dishonest Intention as Gist of Theft:

  • Definition of Theft (Section 378 IPC): "Whoever, intending to take dishonestly any movable property out of the possession of any person without that person's consent, moves that property in order to such taking, is said to commit theft."
  • Illustration: If A takes B's wallet from B's pocket without B's consent and with the intention to permanently deprive B of it, A has committed theft.

Difference from Dishonest Misappropriation of Property (Section 403 IPC):

UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2023: Law Paper 2 (Section- A) | Law Optional Notes for UPSCCase Study: In the case of R v. Robinson (1933), it was held that taking property with the intent to return it later does not negate the dishonest intention necessary for theft.

Conclusion: Dishonest intention is fundamental to the offence of theft, distinguishing it from other forms of property-related offences like misappropriation.

(b) Examine the term ‘Undue-Advantage’ as difmed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. Also discuss the persons authorised and the procedure required to be followed while investigating cases that are registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.        (15 Marks)

Introduction: The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, aims to combat corruption in public offices and holds public servants accountable for any undue advantage obtained through corrupt means.

  • Definition of Undue Advantage: Section 2(1)(g) of the Act defines 'undue advantage' as any gratification, other than legal remuneration, in any form.
  • Example: If a public servant accepts a bribe in exchange for expediting official work, it constitutes the receipt of undue advantage.

Persons Authorized for Investigation: Under Section 17 of the Act, police officers, or officers of the Vigilance Department, or any other authority appointed by the government are authorized to investigate offences under this Act.

Procedure for Investigation: The investigation of cases registered under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, follows the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, with certain special provisions.

  • Secrecy of Investigation: Section 17A empowers the authorities to maintain the secrecy of the investigation.
  • Speedy Trial: The Act mandates that the trial should be conducted as expeditiously as possible, and the proceedings should be concluded within two years.

Case Study: In the case of State of Maharashtra v. B.S. Tuljapurkar (1985), the Supreme Court emphasized the need for speedy trial in cases involving corruption.

Conclusion: The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, defines and penalizes the obtaining of undue advantage by public servants, aiming to curb corruption in public offices. The Act also lays down specific procedures for the investigation of such cases.

(c) Critically analyse with the help of decided cases, the essentials to be proved by a plaintiff in a suit for damages for ‘Malicious Prosecution.’       (15 Marks)

Introduction: Malicious Prosecution refers to the initiation of legal proceedings against a person without reasonable cause and with malice, which results in damage to the reputation or financial standing of the accused.

Essentials to be Proved:

  • Initiation of Prosecution: The plaintiff must establish that the defendant initiated a legal proceeding against them.
  • Absence of Reasonable and Probable Cause: The plaintiff must prove that there was no reasonable or probable cause for the prosecution.
  • Malice: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the prosecution was initiated with malice, i.e., with an improper motive or without honest belief in the accused's guilt.
  • Termination in Favor of the Accused: The prosecution must have ended in favor of the accused, indicating their innocence.
  • Damages: The plaintiff must show that they suffered actual harm, such as loss of reputation, financial loss, or mental distress, due to the malicious prosecution.

Case Study: In the case of N. Radhakrishnan v. Maestro Engineers (2010), the Madras High Court emphasized the importance of proving malice in a suit for damages for malicious prosecution.

Conclusion: To succeed in a suit for damages for malicious prosecution, the plaintiff must establish the initiation of prosecution without reasonable cause and with malice, along with other essential elements, as recognized by the courts.

The document UPSC Mains Answer PYQ 2023: Law Paper 2 (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 2023: Law Paper 2 (Section- A) - Law Optional Notes for UPSC

1. What is the syllabus for the Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. The syllabus for Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam includes topics such as Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, Law of Crimes, Law of Torts, Family Law, Law of Contracts, and Legal Language and Legal Writing.
2. How can I prepare for Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. To prepare for Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam, you can follow these steps: 1. Understand the syllabus and exam pattern. 2. Read standard textbooks on the topics mentioned in the syllabus. 3. Make concise notes for revision. 4. Solve previous year question papers and mock tests to practice time management and improve your understanding of the subject. 5. Stay updated with recent legal developments and landmark judgments.
3. Are there any recommended books for Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. Yes, there are several recommended books for Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam. Some popular ones include: - Introduction to the Constitution of India by D.D. Basu - Administrative Law by I.P. Massey - Indian Penal Code by Ratanlal and Dhirajlal - Law of Torts by R.K. Bangia - Family Law by Paras Diwan - Law of Contracts by Avtar Singh
4. Can I choose any language for answering the Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. No, you cannot choose any language for answering the Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam. The paper can be answered only in either English or Hindi.
5. Is it necessary to have a background in law to appear for the Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam?
Ans. No, it is not necessary to have a background in law to appear for the Law Paper 2 in UPSC Mains exam. However, having a basic understanding of legal concepts and principles will be beneficial in comprehending the subject matter and answering the questions effectively.
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