Important Topics for Indian Polity for UPSC 2023
Topics for Indian Polity
Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions, and basic structure
Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
Issues and challenges about the federal structure
Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
Separation of powers between various organs disputes redressal mechanisms and institutions
* Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
> Differences between the Parliamentary system of government in India and the UK
The ousting of Boris Johnson as leader of the British Conservative Party by the party’s MPs to get rid of a leader who has become an electoral or political liability highlighted the issue of Inner Party democracy in India.
Unlike their counterparts in the U.K., MPs in India have no autonomy to question and challenge their party leadership.
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Empowering elected representatives: It will ensure accountability for party leadership.
- MPs in the U.K. are able to act boldly because they do not owe their nomination to the party leader, but are selected by the local constituency party.
- In India, however, it is the party leadership that decides candidates, with an informal consultation with the local party.
Changes in the anti-defection law: Neither do MPs in the U.K. stand a risk of disqualification if they speak out against the leader, a threat perpetuated in India through the anti-defection law.
|The Head of the State in India (that is, the President) is elected- Republic||The Head of the State in Britain (that is, the King or Queen) enjoys a hereditary position- Monarchy|
|Parliament is not supreme in India and enjoys limited and restricted powers due to a written Constitution, the federal system, judicial review and fundamental rights.||The doctrine of the sovereignty of Parliament.|
|In India, the prime minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of Parliament.||In Britain, the prime minister should be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons) of the Parliament.|
|India has no such system||Britain has the system of legal responsibility of the minister|
|There is no such institution in India.|
|‘Shadow cabinet’ is a unique institution of the British cabinet system. It is formed by the opposition party to balance the ruling cabinet and to prepare its members for future ministerial office.|
|In India, anyone can hold the position of Minister at the pleasure of the president, with due qualification as per law, even if he is not a member of both the houses. But he has to get elected within six months to either of the houses.||Ministers of Britain are invariably selected among the members of the parliament|
|In India President can ask the Prime Minister to place a subject before the council of ministers if it is not discussed and decided by the Cabinet.||In the United, Kingdom cabinet serves as a unit before the Parliament and Sovereign. Its views are placed by the cabinet as a single whole before the Parliament and Sovereign as if they are views of one man.|
|Federalism: Quasi-federal and works on competitive federalism Distribution of powers between centre and states||Unitary in character – All powers of the government are vested in the British Parliament, which is a sovereign body|
Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, the conduct of business, powers & privileges, and issues arising out of these
Smart Notes for - Indian Vice President Election 2022
- The opposition named former Governor and former union minister Margaret Alva as its candidate for Vice President.
- The ruling NDA has announced West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar will be its candidate for the post.
- The term of office of Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice-President of India, is ending on 10 August 2022.
- As per Article 68 of the Constitution of India, an election to fill the vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of the outgoing Vice-President is required to be completed before the expiration of the term
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- Article 63: It states that “there shall be a Vice-President of India”.
- Article 64: The Vice-President “shall be ex officio Chairman of the Council of the States” (Rajya Sabha).
- Article 65: It says that “in the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President by reason of his death, resignation or removal, or otherwise, the Vice-President shall act as President until the date on which a new President…enters upon his office”.
- The Vice-President shall also discharge the functions of the President when the latter is unable to do so “owing to absence, illness or any other cause.
- Article 324 of the Constitution read with the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952 and the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, vests the superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of election to the office of the Vice-President of India in the Election Commission of India.
The notification for election shall be issued on or after the sixtieth day before the expiration of term of office of the outgoing Vice-President.
As per Article 66 of the Constitution of India, the Vice-President is elected by the members of the Electoral College.
Electoral College consists of:
Elected members of Rajya Sabha.
Nominated members of Rajya Sabha.
Elected members of Lok Sabha.
- Since, all the electors are members of both Houses of Parliament, the value of the vote of each Member of Parliament would be the same i.e.1 (one).
- The Election Commission, in consultation with the Central Government, appoints the Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, by rotation, as the Returning Officer.
- Accordingly, the Secretary-General, Lok Sabha will be appointed as the Returning Officer for the present election to the Office of the Vice-President of India.
- The Commission has also decided to appoint Assistant Returning Officers in Parliament House (Lok Sabha) to assist Returning Officers.
- As per Rule 8 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, polls for the election will be taken in the Parliament House.
- Article 66(3): It says “No person shall be eligible for election as Vice-President unless he:
- Is a citizen of India
- Has completed the age of thirty-five years
- Is qualified for election as a member of the Council of States”.
- Article 66(4): “A person shall not be eligible for election as Vice-President if he holds any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said Governments.”
- Article 67:
- It lays down that the “Vice-President shall hold office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office”.
- However, the Vice-President “shall, notwithstanding the expiration of his term, continue to hold office until his successor enters upon his office”.
- The Vice-President may leave office before the end of his term by resigning to the President,
- Or he “may be removed…by a resolution of the Council of States passed by a majority of all the then members of the Council and agreed to by the House of the People”.
- Article 71: It says that “all doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with the election of a President or Vice-President shall be inquired into and decided by the Supreme Court whose decision shall be final”.
- Parliament may by law regulate any matter relating to or connected with the election of a President or Vice-President”.
> Union government rolls back Data Protection Bill
- The Union Information Technology Minister announced the withdrawal of The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 in the Lok Sabha.
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> Parliament passes Anti Doping bill
- The parliament passed the National Anti-Doping Bill unanimously on Wednesday by a voice vote.
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> Parliament passes Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022
- The Rajya Sabha passed the Family Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2022 by voice vote.
- The Bill makes a provision to grant statutory cover to family courts set up in Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
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Structure, organization, and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government
Smart Notes for - Important Reforms in Judiciary
- Chief Justice of India said aimless and hasty arrests, locking up undertrial prisoners in jail for long spells and making it almost impossible for them to get bail is proof that the system is in dire need of an overhaul.
- The CJI said it is a “grave issue” that 80% of the 6.10 lakh prisoners across the country are undertrials.
- CJI was speaking at the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly on the 75 years of parliamentary democracy.
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- Separate Law for Bail: The court underlined that the CrPC, despite amendments since Independence, largely retains its original structure as drafted by a colonial power over its subjects.
- Uniformity and certainty in the decisions: courts are the foundations of judicial dispensation, persons accused of the same offence shall never be treated differently by the same court.
- Indiscriminate Arrests: The court noted that the culture of too many arrests, especially for non-cognisable offences, is unwarranted.
- It emphasized that even for cognisable offences, the arrest is not mandatory and must be “necessitated”.
- Bail Application: There need not be any insistence on a bail application while considering the application under Sections 88, 170, 204 and 209 of the Code.
- These sections relate to various stages of a trial where a magistrate can decide on the release of an accused.
- Direction to States: The SC also directed all state governments and Union Territories to facilitate standing orders to comply with the orders and avoid indiscriminate arrests.
- The CrPC does not define the word bail but only categories offences under the Indian Penal Code as ‘bailable’ and ‘non-bailable’.
- The CrPC empowers magistrates to grant bail for bailable offences as a matter of right.
- This would involve release on furnishing a bail bond, without or without security.
- In the case of Non-bailable offences, a magistrate would determine if the accused is fit to be released on bail.
- Non-bailable offences are cognisable, which enables the police officer to arrest without a warrant.
- Section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, lays down that a person accused of a bailable offence under I.P.C. can be granted bail.
- Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lays down that the accused does not have the right to bail in non-bailable offences.
- It is the discretion of the court to grant bail in case of non-bailable offences.
Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity
> World Press Freedom Index 2022
- India has been ranked India at 150 (declined from 142) among 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders
- Top: Norway (1st) Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd)
- Worse: North Korea (bottom) and Russia were placed in 155th position.
- Increased polarization: The report reveals a two-fold increase in “polarisation” amplified by information chaos, that is, media polarisation fuelling divisions within countries
- India is “one of the world’s most dangerous countries for the media” and noted that “journalists are exposed to all kinds of physical violence.
- India’s position has been consistently falling in the index since 2016 when it was ranked 133.
- India’s Neighbour: Nepal (76th position), Pakistan (157th position), Sri Lanka ( 146th), Bangladesh (162nd) and China (175th position)
- The government doesn’t agree with the findings of the report
- Reasons cited by the government are:-
- very low sample size,
- little or no weightage to fundamentals of democracy,
- adoption of a methodology which is questionable and non-transparent.
Salient features of the Representation of People's Act
Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
> 33% quota for OBCs in ULB polls in Karnataka
- Bhakthavatsala Commission recommends a 33% quota for OBCs in ULB polls in Karnataka. The committee was formed following the SC directive.
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- Reserve 33% seats for OBCs, including minorities, in ULB elections (44% of the population in Karnataka comes from OBC background)
- Ensure the aggregate of all reservations of seats does not exceed 50%
- Bring all ULB election wings under the control of the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms
- Make term of office of Mayor and Deputy Mayor 30 months in all city corporations like in Bangalore BBMP
- Provide OBC reservations for the office of Mayor and the Deputy Mayor in BBMP
Supreme Court accepted the recommendations of the Banthia commission to apply 27 per cent OBC reservations in local body elections in Maharashtra.
In December 2021 the Supreme Court directed that reservation for OBCs in local bodies will not be permitted unless they fulfil the triple test
- Data to be made available on the backwardness of OBCs in every locality
- Specify the proportion of reservation in each local body
- Total reservation doesn’t exceed 50%
- Seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every Municipally.
- Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved for women
- The office of Chairpersons in the Municipalities shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.
- The Kalelkar Commission, set up in 1953, was the first to identify backward classes other than the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) at the national level.
- The Mandal Commission Report, 1980 estimated the OBC population at 52% and classified 1,257 communities as backward.
- It recommended increasing the existing quotas, which were only for SC/ST, from 22.5% to 49.5% to include the OBCs.
- The central government reserved 27% of seats in union civil posts and services for OBCs [Article 16(4)].
- The quotas were subsequently enforced in central government educational institutions [Article 15 (4)].
- The 102nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2018 provided constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC).
* Statutory, regulatory, and various quasi-judicial bodies
> Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022
- Government has introduced the CCI bill which will allow it to settle cases with businesses accused of anti-competitive practices, including abuse of their dominant positions.
- Previously, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and the income tax department has offered settlements under different schemes.
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- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory and quasi-judicial body.
- It works under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
- It was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009.
- Increasing transparency and strengthening accountability:
- A board with part-time members to supervise CCI activities.
- CCI to mandatorily issue penalty guidelinesand give reasons in case of any divergence.
- Enforcement efficiency
- CCI could engage in structured negotiations with parties and arrive at mutually-workable solutions without having to go through lengthy formal proceedings.
- Changes in the governing structure of CCI
- The regulator at present has two members in addition to chairperson Ashok Kumar Gupta, though the law allows up to six members.
- Provisions for regulation of the digital economy