Polity & Governance (Features Of Indian Polity & Constitution (Mains))

UPSC Syllabus

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure
  • Separation of powers Fundamental Rights, Preamble, DPSP, Fundamental Duties, etc.
  • Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
  • Salient features of RP Act.

Historical Underpinning

  • Constitution: Why and How?
  • Historical Background


  • Constituent Assembly and its vision of future
  • Making of the Constitution
  • Constitution as a living document
  • Democracy and diversity
  • Outcomes of democracy
  • Crisis of Democratic order
  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution
  • Comparison of the Indian Constitutional scheme with that of other countries


  • Sources of the Constitution
  • Salient features of the Constitution
  • The Philosophy of the Constitution
  • System of Government: Parliamentary & Presidential System
  • Role of Convention under the Constitution
  • Comparison between Judicial Review and Parliamentary Supremacy


  • The Constitution Amendment of the Constitution
  • Keshvananda and Bharti Case Judgement
  • 42nd and 44th Amendment to the Constitution
  • The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 (124th Constitution Amendment Bill) to provide 10% reservation in government jobs and educational  institutions to the economically weaker sections (EWS)
  • (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019

Significant Provisions

  • Preamble of the Constitution
    • Debate : Is Preamble part of the Constitution and its amendment
  • Citizenship
    • National Register of Citizens
  • Fundamental Rights
    • Rule of Law
    • Procedure Established by Law vs Due Process of Law
    • Exceptions to Fundamental Rights
    • Amenability of Fundamental Rights
    • Rights following from other provision  of the Constitution
  • Major Debates/ Issues around Fundamental Rights:
    • Limitations upon the Freedom
    • Freedom of Press and Censorship
    • Free Speech: Rights & Limits and Hate speech
    • Data protection: Privacy Vs. Innovation
    • RTI amendments
    • Sedition-Law- Comprehensive public discussion regarding Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code 1860
    • Right To Information Act 2005.
    • Defamation-Should it be decriminialised
    • ‘Living wills’/ Euthanasia
    • Restriction on the entry of women in places of worship
    • Reservation in India – Explained in Layman’s Terms
    • Reservation in promotion
    • Aadhaar and Privacy issues
    • Constitutionality of article 35A
  • Directive Principles of the State Policy
    • Scope of DPSP: Economic and Social Democracy
    • Implementation of Directives
    • Conflict between Fundamental Rights and role of judiciary in harmonizing them
    • Challenge of implementing Uniform civil code
  • Fundamental Duties
  • Union Territories
    • Chief Minister Vs Lieutenant Governor: Rules, Rights and Responsibilities
  • Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir
    • Kashmir Unrest
  • Special Provisions for some States
  • Scheduled and Tribal areas
  • Official Language
    • Reasons for the 58th Amendment

Major Doctrines

  • Doctrine of Basic Structure of the Constitution
  • Doctrine of Harmonious Construction
  • Doctrine of Eclipse
  • Doctrine of Pith and Substance
  • Doctrine of Incidental or Ancillary Powers
  • Doctrine of Colourable Legislation
  • Doctrine of Severability
  • Doctrine of Territorial Nexus
  • Doctrine of Laches

Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

  • Pressure Groups
  • Popular Struggles and Movements
  • Rise of Popular movements

Election & The Representatives of People’s Act

  • Political Parties
    • Criminalisation of politics
    • Freebies Politics in India
    • Issues Related to the Working of Political Parties
    • Inner Party Democracy
    • Significance of Strong Opposition in Democracy
  • Elections
    • Role of Civil Society in Free and Fair Election
    • What is Tactical Voting and Proportional Representation?
    • What is Absentee Ballot?
  • Voting Behaviour
  • Election Laws
    • Representation of People (Amendment) Bill 2010- Voting rights to NRI
    • Introduction of NOTA
    • Bill on Right to Recall Legislators
  • Electoral reforms
    • Demand For A Hybrid Electoral System
    • Simultaneous Elections
    • About Paper Trail units
    • Election Funding (Electoral bonds) Corporate funding laws
    • State Funding in elections
    • Women voices in elections
    • Law Commission Report on Electoral Reforms
  • Anti-Defection Law
    • Anti-Defection Law: Is it time for reconsideration?

Development Processes and the Development Industry

  • The role of NGOs
    • NGOs and Development/ Crackdown on NGOs
    • Accountability and transparency in NGOs
  • SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

Major Issues

  • Dalit assertion and Politics of reservation
  • Should India spend more on science or Social welfare?
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005
  • Agrarian crisis: Issues in farmer economy
  • Issues related to Social Media
  • Media freedom and Responsible reporting
  • Marital rape
  • Section 377: Constitutionality Vs Morality
  • Legalising Sports Betting In India

Mechanism, laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

  • Special Provisions relating to Certain Classes
    • Muslim Personal law: Polygamy/ Triple talaq
  • Scheduled and Tribal Areas
    • SC/ST Act judgment: Protecting the innocent or diluting the Protection?

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