Basic Theory | Part 1 | Indian Constitution

Q1. What do you mean by the term Constitution ?

Ans. The term Constitution is derived for the Latin word “constituto” that means “to establish“. According to the Oxford Latin mini Dictionary: Constitution is the body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a State or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.

Aristotle (384 – 322 BCE): Constitution is a way of life which the state has chosen for itself.

The Constitution of a State lays down the duties, powers and functions of the various organs of the government. It establishes the relationship among the organs, the State and its citizens. Thus a Constitution is an agreed upon document, which “establishes” the basis on which consenting people shall govern themselves.

Q2. What are the distinctive features of a Constitution ?

Ans. The Constitution may have the following distinctive features:

  1. it is a body of rules
  2. it my be in a written or unwritten form
  3. it may be written in a single document or in several documents
  4. it determines the powers and responsibilities of state and organs of government
  5. it determines the rights and duties of the citizens of a State
  6. it is the fundamental law of a State.

Q3. What are the significant legislations of the British Parliament responsible for the governance of India ?

Ans. The significant legislations of British Parliament responsible for the governance of India are:

  1. Government of India Act, 1858
  2. Indian Councils Act, 1861
  3. Indian Councils Act, 1892
  4. Indian Councils Act, 1909
  5. Government of India Act, 1919
  6. Government of India Act, 1935

According to D.D. Basu, “the Indian Constitution draws much of its source from Government of India Act, 1935.  It had provided the administrative details and language to the provisions of the Constitution”.

Q4. Write shortly about the Indian Independence Act 1947 ?

Ans. The Indian Independence Act, 1947 enacted by the British Parliament got Royal Assent and came into force on July 18, 1947. The Act provided that from 15th August 1947, referred to as “appointment date” under Government of India Act, 1935, two independent Dominions, to be known as India and Pakistan would be established.

Q5. What does the Article 1 deal about ?

Ans. The Article 1(1) declares that India, that is Bharat, shall be a Union of States.

Q6. Why was the term Bharat adopted in the Constituent Assembly ?

Ans. The term Bharat was adopted in the Constituent Assembly because the country was so known in the ancient times. The name Bharat was the only name that was suited to the history and the culture of India.

Q7. What is the system of prerogative writs ?

Ans. the system of prerogative writs namely the writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo warranto, prohibition and certiorari can be issued by the Supreme Court and High Courts to protect the fundamental rights and to exercise judicial control over administrative action as guaranteed by the constitution of India.

Q8. What is the writ of Habeas corpus and its purpose of issue ?

Ans. The Latin word habeas corpus literally means, you may have the body. The writ of habeas corpus can be invoked to produce a person who has been detained, whether in prison or in private custody, before the court and to release him/her if such detention is found illegal.

Q9. What is the writ of Mandamus and its purpose of issue ?

Ans. The latin word mandamus means “we command”. The writ of mandamus is said to be invoked when there is a command issued by the court to any public or quasi-public legal body that has refused to perform it legal duty. It is an order by a superior court commanding a person or a public authority to do or forbear to do something in the nature of public duty.

Q10. What is the writ of Quowarranto and its purpose of issue ?

Ans. The latin word “quowarranto” means “by what warrant (or authority)“. The writ is an order by the court to prevent a person from holding office to which he is not entitled and to oust him from that office.

Q11. What is the writ of Certiorari and its purpose of issue ?

Ans. The latin word “certiorari” means “to be more fully informed“. The writ is issued by a superior court to an inferior court or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial powers to remove a suit and adjudicate upon the validity of the proceedings or body exercising judicial or quasi-judicial functions.

Q12. What is the writ of Prohibition and its purpose of issue ?

Ans. The English word “prohibition”  means “to forbid or to stop”. It is issued by a superior court to an inferior court in order to prevent the inferior court from dealing with a matter over which it has no jurisdiction. The aim of this writ is to keep the inferior court within the limits of their jurisdiction.

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