Questions on Constitutional Values & Political System

1. What is the meaning of Constitution?

When used in the context of a State or a Nation, Constitution means a set of fundamental principles, basic rules and established precedents. It identifies, defines and regulates various aspects of the State and the structure, powers and functions of the major institutions under the three organs of the Government, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

It also provides for rights and freedoms of citizens and spells out the relationship between individual citizen and the State and government.

2. What do you mean by the term value?

Value is that which is very essential or ‘worth having and observing’ for the existence of human society as an entity.

3. State two important constitutional values embodied in the Preamble of Indian Constitution?

The values expressed in the Preamble are expressed as objectives of the Constitution.These are: sovereignty, socialism, secularism, democracy, republican character of Indian State, justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, human dignity and the unity and integrity of the Nation.

4. What are the main features of the Indian Constitution?

(i) Written Constitution; (ii) Unique blend of rigidity and flexibility; (iii) Fundamental Rights and Duties; (iv) Directive Principles of State Policy; (v) Integrated Judicial System; (vi) Single Citizenship; (vii) Universal Adult Franchise; (viii) Federal System and Parliamentary Form of Government.

5. What are the constitutional values reflected in the Directive Principles of State Policy?

Social and economic equality, elimination of social discrimination, international peace

6. Why Indian judiciary is called an integrated judiciary?

Although the Supreme Court is at the national level, High Courts at the state level and Subordinate Courts at the district and lower level, there is a single hierarchy of Courts. At the top of the hierarchy is the Supreme Court.

7. What is the meaning of single citizenship?

It means that every Indian is a citizen of India, irrespective of the place of his or her residence.

8. What are the main features of a federal system?

(i) Two-tier government at the Centre and at the state level; (ii) Division of Powers between the Centre and the States; (iii) Written Constitution; (iv) Supremacy of Judiciary

9. State reasons why is it said that "India is federal in form, but unitary in spirit"?

(i) The Central government has sole power on the territory of India. The very existence of a State including its territorial integrity is in the hands of the Parliament; (ii) The division of powers between the Centre and the States is in favour of the Union government. The Union List contains all the key subjects; (iii) India has a unified or integrated judiciary with the Supreme Court at the apex; (iv) Union government becomes very powerful when any of the three kinds of emergencies are proclaimed; (v) During all the three types of Emergencies, The Union government becomes all powerful, and India becomes almost a unitary state; (vi) According to the constitutional provisions, the executive powers of the Centre are superior to those of the States.

10. In a parliamentary system, what kind of relation is between the executive and the legislature?

There is a close relationship between the executive, i.e. the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head and the legislature, i.e. the Parliament. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Parliament. If the Lok Sabha passes a no-confidence motion against the Council of Ministers, it has to resign.

11. Why is the President of India only the nominal executive?

The President who is the Head of the State is the nominal and formal executive. Theoretically, all the executive powers are vested by the Constitution in the President of India. But in practice these are not exercised by him or her. These are actually used by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head is the real executive. The President can not act without the advice of the Council of Ministers. The President is elected by an Electoral College that consists of the Members of Parliament. If the Parliament passes an impeachment against the President, he or she leaves the office.

12. What is the meaning of collective responsibility?

It means that the responsibility of every Minister is the responsibility of the entire Council of Ministers. Even one ministry is criticized, the entire Council of Ministers is considered responsible for that.

13. How do both the Houses of Parliament have control over the Council of Ministers?

They do it by asking questions and supplementary questions on the policies, programmes and functioning of the government. They can move adjournment motion and calling attention notices. No bill tabled by the Council of Ministers can become a law unless it is approved by the Parliament. The annual budget also is to be passed by the Parliament.