Legal Terms | Part 1 | Indian Constitution

1. What do you mean by Certiorari ?

Ans. The word Certiorari literally means “to be made certain in regard to”. Certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of the lower court or administrative agency. Actually it is a writ that is issued to inferior courts, tribunals or authority to transmit to it the record of proceedings pending with them for scrutiny and, if necessary, for quashing the same.

2. What do you mean by Prorogation ?

Ans. Prorogation in politics means an act of proroguing, or terminating a session of  Parliament for a given period of time, without its dissolution. The prorogation can be issued by the President of India under article 85(2)(a) of the Constitution. When the business of the house is completed, the presiding officer declares the House adjourned sine die, and within few days of adjournment, notice of prorogation is issued. The time between the Prorogation and reassembly is called Recess.

3. What do you mean by Axis Powers ?

Ans. Axis Powers is an alliance of powers under the leadership of Germany that fought Great Britain and its allies during the First World War.

4. What do you mean by Appropriation Bill ?

Ans. A appropriation bill is one that provides for setting aside the money (out of the Consolidated Fund) needed to meet the requirements of various departments of the government, already been approved by the lower house of the legislature/ Parliament in the form of demands for grants. It means appropriating the money, i.e. how much money and for what purpose it shall be used.

5. What do you mean by Affirmative Action ?

Ans. By Affirmative Action we mean, the positive policies or steps taken to improve the conditions of the disadvantaged groups of people who were discriminated earlier. Policies such as such as reservation of seats in the legislatures and / or reservation in jobs are examples of the affirmative action.

6. What do you mean by Adjournment Motion ?

Ans. An Adjournment motion is a privileged motion that proposes to adjourn the regular business of the house of a legislature as fixed in its agenda and instead gives priority to some other matter, which the mover of the motion feels, needs immediate attention. It can be moved with the consent of the speaker. An Adjournment motion has allowance only in Lok Sabha (or in state legislative assembly) as it has an element of censure against the government.

7. What do you mean by Colony and Colonialism ?

Ans. When a group of people living in a new territory continue retaining ties with the parent state it is called a Colony.

The policy of a country seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories generally with an aim to have economic dominance is called Colonialism.

8. What do you mean by Composite Culture ?

Ans. A culture that combines the features or characteristics of two or more culture is called a composite culture. India is a classic example of a composite culture with its various lifestyle, traditions, customs, religion, caste and much more.

9. What do you mean by Backward Classes ?

Ans. The Constitution of India does not define the term Backward Classes. Though the Constitution makes special provisions for promoting the interests of Backward Classes. As to who shall constitute the Backward Classes is the decision of the Commission appointed by the President/ Governor.

10. What do you mean by Commutation ?

Ans. It is an act of substitution of one form of punishment with a different kind generally with a lighter form of punishment. Example: a death sentence if changed to a sentence of life imprisonment.

Article 72 of the Indian Constitution empowers the President of India the power to grant pardon, reprieves, respites or remissions or to suspend or commute the sentence of any convicted person.

11. What do you mean by Communal/ MacDonald Award ?

Ans. The Communal or the MacDonald Award that was made by the then British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald on 16th August 1932 had extended separate electorates for the depressed class (SC/ ST) and minorities.

In the Second Round Table conference that was held in London, when in India there was no consensus amongst the participants as to who shall stand as the representation of the Scheduled Castes in legislatures the matter was then left at the disposal of Ramsay MacDonald. The decision then came in the form of an award known as Communal/ MacDonald Award.


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