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Polity GS Paper II by Neeraj

  • Category
    GS -II
  • Published
    2021-10-07 10:37:00
  • Evaluated
    Yes

Instruction:

  • Attempt One question out of the given two.
  • The test carries 15 marks.
  • Write Your answer in 150 words.
  • Any page left blank in the answer-book must be crossed out clearly.
  • After Writing the Essay upload your copy in JPEG format in the comment box.
  • Evaluated Copy will be re-uploaded on the same thread after 2 days of uploading the copy.
  • Discussion of the question and one to one answer improvement session of evaluated copies will be conducted through Google Meet with concerned faculty. You will be informed via mail or SMS for the discussion.

Question #1. Discuss the effect of anti-defection law on the role of legislators in relation to their constitutional mandate.

Question #2. "Governor's discretionary power though being a necessary evil has detrimental implications on the federal structure of India." Comment
(Examiner will pay special attention to the candidate's grasp of his/her material, its relevance to the subject chosen, and to his/ her ability to think constructively and to present his/her ideas concisely, logically and effectively). 

Model Answer

Question #1. Discuss the effect of anti-defection law on the role of legislators in relation to their constitutional mandate.

The anti-defection law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution. The Amendment added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution, with an intent to curb “the evil of political defections”.

This amendment has had following impact on the role of legislators:

  • Compromised the role of legislators:
    • If the member has an opinion that differs from his party leadership, he does not have the freedom to vote as per his choice.
    • For example, in a discussion on river water sharing between states, MPs representing constituencies in different states may be forced to vote in a unanimous manner, despite holding divergent views, in order to avoid the risk of disqualification from office.
  • Affected a legislator’s ability to hold the government accountable
    • The anti-defection law deters a legislator from his duty to hold the government accountable, by requiring him to follow the instruction of the party leadership on almost every decision.
    • By prohibiting dissent, the anti-defection undermines the system of executive accountability to the legislature, and gives the executive control over Parliament on all votes
  • Affected a citizen’s ability to hold his elected representative accountable
    • under the anti-defection law, the accountability mechanism breaks down. Every member is required to vote as per the direction issued by their party. He can easily justify his voting decisions and absolve himself of this representational responsibility to his voters by merely saying that the party whip compelled him to vote in a particular way.
  • Impacted decision-making in the House
    • The anti-defection law leads to major decisions in the legislature being taken by a few party leaders and not by the larger body of legislators.
    • This reduces Parliament from a deliberative body to one where party leaders are able to unilaterally decide the vote on an issue

Conclusion

The law has unintended consequences which refrain legislators from effectively carrying out their duties hence there should be wide discussions on how to make it more effective as per its intent.

Question #2. "Governor's discretionary power though being a necessary evil has detrimental implications on the federal structure of India." Comment

Article 153 established the office of governor for each state drawing inspiration from Government of India Act 1935 who is a bridge connecting the union and states in a circle of democracy.

Discretionary powers of the governor

  • Reserving bills for the consideration of president
  • Recommendation of president rule
  • Appointing Chief Minister during hung assembly
  • Dismissing the council of ministers on account of loss of confidence of house

Discretionary power as necessary evil

  • State Governments are required to work in subordination to the Central Government and therefore, the Governor will reserve certain things in order to give the President the opportunity to see that the rules under which the State Governments are supposed to act according to the Constitution or in subordination to the Central Government
  • The scheme providing for reservation of State legislations for the consideration and assent of the President are intended to subserve the broad purpose of co-operative federalism.
  • They are necessary means and tools for evolving cohesive, integrated policies on basic issues of national significance.
  • Even from the federal stand-point, the reservation of State Bills, if made sparingly in proper cases, e.g. where the Bill relates to a matter falling clearly within the Union List, serves a useful purpose to limit the litigations.
  • These act as safeguard for the unity and integrity of the union of India that was formed by the merger of numerous British administered provinces and princely states.

Detrimental implications on federal structure

  • In relation to reservation of bills
    • A large number of Bills are being reserved for con-sideration of the President and this could lead to delays. During the period from 1977 to 1985, no less than 1130 State Bills were reserved for consideration of the President.
    • Delays in disposal of such Bills have largely occurred due to differences between the Union and States on policy issues reflected in the legislations.
    • As per Sarkaria Commission most, if not all, Bills relating to matters in the Concurrent List are being reserved for President's consideration without adequate examination as to whether or not they fall within the purview of Article 254(2). This results in unnecessary increase in the strain within federal structure
  • In relation to invoking President’s Rule
    • Since Governor holds his office at the pleasure of President (advised by council of ministers at centre)
    • Therefore, there is a great probability of the governor’s report being influenced by the ruling party’s interests and agendas at the center and it has also been observed in various times.
    • For example, Indira Gandhi as PM has a record of imposing President rule the most number of times and in 90% circumstances, it was imposed in states that were ruled by opposition parties or in states that didn’t run in accordance with her party interests.
  • In relation to appointing chief minister
    • this discretionary power of the government to get the largest party invited has often been misused in order to be favourable to a particular party.
    • During Maharashtra elections where the elections did not come out with a clear majority side and hence the Governor was left in a situation to handle the situation, even though ruling party at centre was the largest party but yet it failed to form the government in the state and ultimately an alliance of other parties formed the government. And while all this was happening the Governor used his discretionary power of President’s Rule

Many undesirable actions, from the standpoint of federal and democratic constitutional system that governors often at times engage in, could be the result of uncertainty of tenure that they suffer from.

Conclusion

It is a dire necessity that we have a governor with a sound understanding of the constitutional principles and also uphold the same with diligence and moral integrity. Undoubtedly, the office of a governor has a huge bearing on the smooth functioning of our federal system. Therefore, in actualising the dreams of the founding fathers of our Constitution, we need a governor who upholds constitutional values the in the right spirit of constitutional trust and morality.

Note: You have to write your answers on an A4 size sheet leaving margins on both sides based on UPSC pattern. Mention Your Name on 1st page and Page Number on each page. After writing the answer, Click pictures of each page of the answer sheet and upload them altogether (in JPG/JPEG/PNG format) in the comment section of the same question.

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