ISC Political Science Previous Year Question Paper 2014 Solved for Class 12

Maximum Marks: 80
Time allowed: Three hours

  • Candidates are allowed additional 15 minutes for only reading the paper. They must NOT start writing during this time.
  • Answer Question 1 (Compulsory) from Part I and five questions from Part II, choosing two questions from Section A, two questions from Section B and one question from either Section A or Section B.
  • The intended marks for questions or parts of questions are given in brackets [ ].


Question 1.
Answer briefly each of the questions (i) to (xv): [15 x 2]
(i) Why is Aristotle’s classification of States considered to be inadequate even from the traditional point of view ?
(ii) Define Oligarchy.
(iii) How is a federation formed ?
(iv) What is the difference between a constitutional law and an ordinary law ?
(v) How is flexibility achieved in the British Constitution ?
(vi) Under what circumstances is a coalition government formed ? Give an example of a coalition government.
(vii) Write any one criterion required for a political party in India to be recognized as a National Party.
(viii) State any two factors that have contributed to the recent growth in the powers of the Executive.
(ix) The House of Commons is more powerful than the House of Lords in its financial powers. Give two reasons in support of the given statement.
(x) What is the suspensory veto of the President of USA. ?
(xi) State the semi-judicial function of the civil services in present times.
(xii) Distinguish between judicial activism and judicial restraint.
(xiii) What is Public Interest Litigation ?
(xiv) Give two examples of Separatist Movements in India.
(xv) What is regional imbalance ?
Answer 1.
(iii) A federation is a state with one central government which is very powerful and several state governments existing side by side with the former acting for the whole territory and all the people of the state, and the latter acting within their respective areas. A federation comes into existence when several sovereign states combine to form a big state.
Example — India, U.S.A., Canada and Australia.

(viii) The two factors that have contributed to the recent growth in the powers of the executive are as follows :

  • Rise of delegated legislation.
  • Increased burden of work in the legislature.

(x) The President of U.S.A. can return a bill, to the congress before the expiry of 10 days, excluding Sundays, taken from the date on which it is submitted to him for his signature. In this event, the two houses of the congress have to repass it by 2/3rd majority. In case, the bill fails to get this majority, it stands rejected. However in case it qualifies this requirement, it becomes a law and the President has to sign it. The power of returning the bill to the congress and forcing its passage by 2/3rd majority is known as the suspensory veto power of the President.

(xi) The disputes involving the grant of permits and licences and tax concessions, quotas etc. are examples of some semi judicial functions of the civil servants in present times.


Answer two questions

Question 2.
(a) Enumerate the merits and demerits of a unitary government. [8]
(b) Explain the various factors that make the central government more powerful even in a federation. [6]
(a) Merits:

  • It is a source of strong, stable and all powerful government.
  • It ensures a single uniform administration for the whole of the state.
  • The system deserves special praise for its simplicity and less expensiveness.
  • The administration of a unitary state is flexible and can easily adopt itself to the changing social needs and environment because the central government can amend the constitution as and when required.
  • This system is very suitable for small countries, because it establishes organisation and unity after ending all differences.
  • It is very suitable for meeting emergencies because, being an all powerful government, the central government can take all necessary decisions quickly and implement them with full force.

The unitary state provides for the creation of an all powerful central government with full centralization of powers. It involves a possibility for central despotism over local areas.

The central government often behaves inefficiently because of being overloaded with all the work. It often finds itself not fully capable of meeting the pressure of work resulting from the social economic cultural functions that it has to perform as an agent of the modem welfare state.’

A unitary government, because of being located at the centre and faced with pressing national problems, very often fails to satisfy local needs.

The unitary system is suitable only for small and homogeneous states. For big states or states with racial, linguistic, cultural, religious and regional diversities, a federal system alone can be suitable.

A unitary government is more bureaucratic. The existence of a single political executive and legislature for the whole state makes way for the dominance of the administration by the bureaucracy.

It kills local initiative. It further discourages popular interest in public affairs.

(b) It is the most suitable system for every big state. It alone provides strength to the idea of the world state. The federal system gives more power and authority to the central government.

In a federal system all important departments lie in the jurisdiction of the central government. Like in India all the issues or subjects are divided into three categories the union list, the state list and the concurrent list. All vital issues or important departments like defense, currency regulation, railways etc., lie in the control of the central government. The national list which contains all the important subjects is only controlled by the central government which make it more powerful than all the federating units or states.

The national government concentrates upon the task of satisfying the common national needs and goals of development and the state governments concentrate upon the satisfaction of local needs. The central governments makes it possible for the states with social, cultural, linguistic, religious and regional diversities to maintain themselves as states. Thus the central government constitutes the best means for harmonizing these diversities with the need for national unity. Thus the central government plays a very crucial and pivotal role thus making the central government more powerful in a federation.

Question 3.
(a) What is a constitution ? State any six qualities of a good constitution. [8]
(b) Give three merits and three demerits of a flexible constitution. [6]
(a) The constitution is the supreme and fundamental law of the state. The government is organised and it performs all its functions according to the constitution of the state. It lays down the nature of relations between the people with their government. A modern constitution necessarily involves a charter of the rights and duties of its citizens.

The six qualities of a good constitution are as follows:

  • A constitution must be systematically written and it should incorporate the constitutional law of the state.
  • It should have the ability to develop and change in accordance with the changes in the environment in which it operates.
  • It should be neither unduly rigid nor unduly flexible.
  • It must include a chapter on fundamental rights and freedom of the people and provide a constitutional guarantee to it.
  • It should clearly define the organization, powers and functions of the government of the state, its three organs, their inter-relationship and the limitations on its powers.
  • The constitution must clearly reflect the sovereignty of the people and should itself enjoy the status of the supreme law of the state.

(b) A flexible constitution is one which can be easily amended. Merits and demerits of flexible constitution are as follows :
Merits of Flexible Constitution :
A flexible constitution can easily be changed in accordance with the changes in the social and political environment of the society.

A flexible constitution enables the government to undertake all steps deemed essential for meeting situation at the time of an emergency.

Since the flexible constitution keeps on changing with time, it always continues to be popular and remains fresh. It effectively mirrors the historical developments which take place in the society it serves.

Demerits of Flexible Constitution :
Flexible constitution is a source of instability. It enables the government in power to amend the constitution in order to fit its narrow interests.

In federation type of government, a flexible constitution can lead to undesirable changes in the constitution by the federal government, so it is not suitable for a federation.

A flexible constitution can be successful only when there are certain conditions present in the environment, otherwise it becomes a source of instability and trouble. For example, it demands honest and mature leadership, otherwise flexibility of the constitution will lead to pursuing selfish and narrowly conceived goals.

Answer three questions

Question 4.
(a) How did Montesquieu explain the theory of separation of powers ? To what extent is the theory followed in the constitutions of USA. and India ? [8]
(b) What role does a political party play in a democratic country ? [6]
(b) The role of the parties can be examined through an analysis of the functions performed by them:
Formulation of Public Opinion : The first and the most important function of political parties is to give coherence and meaning to the ideas, desires and ambitions of public upon various issues and problems. They are the instruments for clarifying public opinion and thereby for making it possible for the Government of the state to base or change its policies on the basis of public opinion.

Agencies of Political Education and Political Socialization : Political parties play an important role as agencies of political education. Along with other agencies like family, school and mass media, the political parties transmit the values of the political system to the people. Mostly, it is through political parties that people learn and act out their roles as citizens and voters. Political parties play a vital role in the integration of an individual with his political community.

Recruitment : Political parties are the essential and ideal channels for recruiting leaders. In all political systems, democratic as well as totalitarian, leaders emerge through political parties. These provide necessary leadership education and training to their members, some of whom emerge as leaders.

Interest Articulation : However, interest articulation is mostly a function of the interest groups, yet political parties, as the organised political structures working in the environment of the political systems, always play an important role in interest articulation. These help the people to sort out, clarify and specify their claim demands. In a political system with a single party system, the political party in-built groups act as the agency of interest articulation. To some extent, it is also true of single party dominant multi-party systems.

Interest Aggregation : Political parties are the main agencies of aggregation. These are specialized aggregation structures of modem societies. The articulated interests are aggregated into a set of policy proposals or alternatives by the political parties. They take these to the Government for approval.

Question 5.
(a) Discuss the advantages of a bicameral legislature. [8]
(b) Explain the powers and functions of the House of Representatives of U.S A. [6]
(a) The main advantages of bicameral legislature are as follows :
Second Chamber is a Safeguard against the Despotism of a Single Chamber : The second chamber is essential for preventing the first House from becoming arbitrary and despotic. As such a single chamber with all the legislative power can become corrupt and despotic. The second chamber is needed for keeping the first chamber in balance and away from tyrannical tendencies. It is an essential means for safeguarding ourselves against the arbitrariness of the legislature with a single chamber.

Second Chamber is Essential for Preventing Hasty and Ill-considered Legislation : With a view to satisfy mass passions and demands, the single chamber can commit the mistake of passing ill-considered measures in a haste, which can subsequently be a source of big harm to the national interests. The second chamber, with a composition different from the first chamber, can prevent or at least considerably limit such chances. The directly elected lower chamber is liable to be swayed with popular passions resulting into half-baked expediency based on ill-considered laws.

Second Chamber acts as a Revising Chamber : The legislative work in the modern welfare state has become highly complex and technical. It demands a deep and carefully examination of all aspects of the measures which are to be enacted into laws. A single chamber can be guilty of both omission of desired laws and ‘commissions of errors’. There is, therefore, full justification for having a second chamber performing the role of a reviser. Second Chamber Lessens the Burden of the First House .A modem legislature has to pass a large number of laws covering all aspects of social relations. Under the circumstances a legislature with a single chamber is most likely to be found wanting and unable to meet the heavy rush. Two Houses can together share the legislative work and handle the entire work systematically. The division of work between the two Houses can go a long way to increase the ability of the legislature to cope with the rush of work and to ensure efficiency in handling it.

Two Houses Better Represent Public Opinion : A single House can grow out of tune and fail to keep in pace with public opinion. The second House chosen at a different time can help the legislature in overcoming the above defect and in keeping continuous contact with the public opinion. Essential for giving Representation to Special Interests : The second chamber provides a convenient means for giving representation to different classes and interests which need representation but which, for want of proper organisation or disinclination for contesting elections or other reasons, do not get such representation in the lower House. Laborers, women, scientists, artists, teachers, intellectuals, writers, special interest groups can be given suitable and necessary special representation in the upper House.

Delay is Useful : The passing of laws by two Houses instead of a single House, leads to some delay. However, this delay is a very useful interval as it helps the crystallization of public opinion on all bills before they become laws. The existence of second chamber, “interposes delay between the introduction and final adoption of a measure and thus permits time for reflection and deliberation.” Bicameralism is a Source of Independence for the Executive : The two Houses of the legislature act as checks on each other. The authority and role of each House has a balancing effect on the other. This feature helps the executive to act with more and needed independence.

(b) House of Representatives is the lower, popular and directly elected House of the U.S. Congress. It represents the people of the United States and is directly responsible to them. We can describe it as the “National representative House which directly reflects the national public opinion.

Composition : The House of Representatives consists of 435 directly elected representatives of the people. It is generally agreed that the strength of 435 is adequate to represent the people of the U.S .A. The Constitution lays down that no representative shall represent less than 30,000 citizens, but a state must be represented by at least one representative even if its population is less than 30,000.

Legislative Powers : In the sphere of law-making, the House of Representatives has legally an equal share with the Senate. Any bill in respect of any Federal subject can be introduced in it. After getting passed from it, the bill goes to the Senate. In case the Senate also passes it, the bill goes to the President for his signatures. In case, the President signs it or if he does not sign it and 10 days elapse, it becomes an act. In case, however, the President returns the bill within 10 days and with or without proposals for changes, the two Houses have to repass it by 2/3rd majority. Failure to get 2/3rd majority in any House, means the rejection of the bill. In case there develops a conflict between the House of Representatives and the Senate, and it remains unresolved, the two Houses appoint a six- member (3 from each House) conference committee which gives the final verdict regarding the fate of the bill.

Financial Powers : Money bills can originate only in the House of Representatives. The budget too is first introduced in this House. The Money bills and the budget are first passed by it. Thereafter, these go to the Senate which has the power to make any change in them. As such the Senate determines the final shape of money bill. The priority given to the House of Representatives in respect of the introduction of the money bill, in fact acts as a limitation because it gives to the Senate the opportunity to take the final decision.

Constituent Powers : The passing of an amendment by the Congress requires approval by 2/3rd majority in both the Houses. House of Representatives as such has equal role in initiating amendments to the Constitution. The Houses together and not the Senate or the House separately can undertake the initiation of amending executive functions. The House of Representatives has only minor executive functions. It can appoint investigation committees for investigating the working of various Government departments. The Congress i.e., the House of Representatives and the Senate together, have power to declare war. Senate cannot do it individually, besides, the House of Representatives has not been assigned any role in the executive sphere.

Judicial Functions : The House of Representatives, acting along with the Senate has the power to create new Federal courts and decide their jurisdictions. It shares.with the Senate, the power to impeach the President, Vice President, the Judges of Supreme Court and other high Federal officials.

Question 6.
(a) Discuss the powers of the President of U.S A. [6]
(b) What are the powers of the Prime Minister of India ?
(a) The powers of the President of U.S.A.:

  • The U.S. has adopted the presidential form of government and as such the U.S. President is both the real as well as the nominal head of the government.
  • The President of U.S. holds a permanent tenure of four years and he is not responsible to the legislature .
  • The President of U.S. can nominate and by and with the consent of the Senate shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court and all other officers of the United State powers.
  • The President has almost unhindered authority to remove persons he disapproves of as executive members.
  • The President not only formulates foreign policy but also conducts foreign relations of the U.S .A.
  • All executive actions are taken by the President or under his authority and in his name by his secretaries and civil
  • U.S. President is the head of the state. As the head of the state, he performs all such ceremonial functions which are performed by heads of states of all other countries.
  • The U. S. President is the single most powerful leader of the American nation, upon whom the whole nation depends for their peace, security and development needs.

(b) The powers and functions of the Prime Minister can be briefly discussed as under :
Formation of the Council of Ministers : The task of formation of the ministry begins with the appointment of the Prime Minister by the President. The leader of the majority in the Lok Sabha gets appointed as the Prime Minister. After the appointment of Prime Minister, the President appoints all the ministers on the advice of Prime Minister (Article 75). Prime Minister submits the list of persons who are to be appointed as ministers in the Council of Ministers. He is free to determine the strength of his ministry. He decides the proportionate strength of the ministers from each House of the Parliament. Conventionally, most of the ministers are drawn from Lok Sabha. He decides who amongst them shall be the Cabinet Minister or Minister of State or a Deputy Minister. He can, if he desires, even have one or two Deputy Prime Ministers in his Council of Ministers.

Allocation of Portfolios : It is an undisputed privilege of the Prime Minister to allocate portfolios to his ministers. Which particular department shall be entrusted to which minister is determined by him. Any minister objecting to such an allotment only invites the wrath of the Prime Minister and can get completely ignored for the ministry.

Reshuffling of Portfolios : The Prime Minister has the power to shuffle and reshuffle his ministry at any time. It is his privilege to make changes in his ministry. He can make any change if in his judgement it is required for bringing effectiveness, efficiency and discipline in the administration. He has the unfettered right to review, from time to time, the allocation of portfolios and make changes whenever and wherever desirable.

Chairman of the Cabinet : The Prime Minister is the leader of the Cabinet. He presides over its meetings. He decides the agenda of its meetings. In fact, all matters are decided in the Cabinet with the approval and consent of the Prime Minister. It is up to him to accept or reject items, issues and proposals for discussions in the cabinet. All ministers conform to his views and policies. There is scope for deliberations and discussions but not for dissension and opposition. Any minister, not finding his policy acceptable, has no choice except to submit his resignation.

Removal of Ministers : The Prime Ministers can demand resignation from any minister at any time and the latter has always to accept the wishes of the former. However, if at any time a minister does not resign even on the asking of the Prime Minister, he can either get him dismissed by the President or can submit his own resignation which in fact, means the resignation of his whole Council of Ministers. He being still the leader of the majority party, can again be invited by the President to form his ministry and obviously he can drop that minister from his new team. No one can remain a minister against the wishes of the Prime Minister.

Chief Link between the President and the Cabinet : The Prime Minister is the main channel of communication between the President and the Cabinet. He communicates to the President all decisions that arrive at in the Cabinet, and puts before the Cabinet the views of the President. Prime Minister keeps the President informed of all affairs of the Government. This is the sole privilege of the Prime Minister and no other minister can, on his own convey the decisions or reveal to the President the nature or summary of the issues discussed in the Cabinet.

Coordinator-in-Chief : The Prime Minister acts as the general manager of the state and the chief coordinator. It is his responsibility to co-ordinate the activities of all the departments and to secure co-operation amongst all departments. He resolves the differences, if any, among the ministers and ensures the working of each ministry without coming into conflict and clash with other ministries. If there is any crisscross of functions, he irons out the differences. He ensures mutual understanding and team spirit among ministers. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) always acts under the authority of the Prime Minister.

Leader of the Parliament : The Prime Minister, as the leader of the Lok Sabha, is also the leader of the Parliament. It is he who decides, in consultation with the Speaker of . the Lok Sabha, the complete agenda of the House. The summoning and the proroguing of Parliament is in fact decided upon by him. The President acts upon his advice.

Question 7.
(a) Explain any eight salient features of the judiciary in U.K. [8]
(b) Explain any six steps that should be taken to ensure the independence of the judiciary. [6]
(b) Judiciary is the most important organ of the government. Lord Bryce says that if the lamp of justice goes off, we cannot imagine how much the darkness would be. The independence of judiciary is the essential condition for the success of democracy. Following are the steps for ensuring the independence of judiciary.

The appointment of judges should be free from political interference. It should be done on the basis of merit through a well laid down and transparent procedure.

The salary and other perks of members of judiciary should not be subject to approval of political authority. It should not be liable to be reduced to their disadvantage.

The process for removal of judges should be difficult and it should not be in the hands of political executive. Usually, judges are removed by impeachment motion passed with special majority in the legislature.

The fixed and long tenure of judges also ensures their independence.

The judiciary should have full control over the judicial administration, which carries out its responsibility.

The judiciary should have the power to determine the rules of procedure to conduct its business.

Judiciary should be vested with the power to punish the guilty for the contempt of court. The orders of judiciary should be given full respect, throughout the country.

The judges should not be allowed to hold any official position after their retirement.

Question 8.
(a) Explain the caste and gender based inequality in India. What is the impact of these social inequalities on the Indian democratic system ? [8]
(b) Discuss any six forms of political violence in India. [6]
(a) The challenge of social inequality can be analyzed in two parts

  • Caste based Social Inequality and
  • Gender Inequality.

Caste based Social Inequality : Indian society has been a caste-based society and social inequality exists as inequality between the upper castes or swam caste Hindus and the so called low caste Hindus. Indian social system stands still divided into two broad divisions : High castes and Low castes. Some parts of India like Bihar and UP still have caste wars. The Constitution of India has granted and guaranteed the fundamental right to equality which clearly lays down that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, religion, place of birth and sex. Untouchability stands constitutionally prohi-bited and now this evil practice has become a crime punishable by law.

Single uniform citizenship, equal rights and freedoms, Universal Adult Franchise and single electorate, have been the foundational principles of Indian Democracy. Further, Indian state has been directed to take special steps for the protection of the interests of weaker sections of society. A system of reservations of seats in the legislatures, and admissions in educational institutions, and Government and private sector for the people belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes (OBC’s) has been in operation for the last six decades. Originally, Indian society got stratified in 4 basic castes : Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudras. Later on, these got divided into a very large number of castes and sub-castes based on family and characterized by the so called higher and lower divisions involving rigid and violent inter¬actions. Till today, Indian society continues to be a caste ridden society.

The most unfortunate development has been caste based violence. Atrocities are committed on caste grounds. Each year several thousand cases of atrocities against the people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Dalits) are committed. There are caste based political parties, caste interest groups, caste- based voting, and caste-based selection of candidates for contesting elections, caste-based policies and decisions, caste violence, caste discrimination’s, continuous menace posed by the illegal and inhuman practice of untouchability.

Gender Inequality : Indian Society continues to be a male dominated society in which women continue to live with certain inequalities and exploitation’s. The Constitution of India grants equal fundamental rights to all the citizens, both men and women, and holds that there is to be no discrimination on the basis of gender. Women are to enjoy equal opportunities for development as are enjoyed by men. Article 39 of the Constitution of India calls upon the state to provide adequate means of livelihood to men and women.

Article 51 A makes it a duty of every citizen to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. There is to be equal pay for equal work. The state has been also directed to take special steps for protecting the interests of weaker sections of society, women and children. The state has in fact passed several laws for ensuring a better protection and development of women e.g., Special Marriage Act, 1954, Hindu Code Bill 1955, Indian Succession Act 1956, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Bill 1956, Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1983 and Suppression of Immoral Traffic Act.

The 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts have given 30% reservations to women in Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Government institutions. In 2006, the state enforced an act aimed at preventing domestic violence against women. All Five Year Plans have been giving special attention for securing the objective of empowerment of women.

However, unfortunately, women in India continue to face several types of discrimination’s. Female foeticide represents the ugliest face of this type of discrimination.

(b) Various forms of violence in India are as follows:
Linguistic Violence : Love for one’s language, which symbolises love for one’s culture, is something very natural as well as an essential feature of human thinking. However, a blind and aggressive love for one’s language involving national faith in its superiority always acts as a potent source of violence. Unfortunately linguistic violence has been continuously present in Indian politics. Hindi agitations, English Vs. Hindi agitations, violent agitations for securing the creation of linguistic states and opposition to the development of Hindi as a national language, have been present in Indian polity. These agitations have been a source of violence.

Caste Conflict and Violence : In some of the states of India, particularly in Bihar and U.P. several caste-based groups and organisations have been in existence. These have been engaged in violent activities. Some high caste organisations have been committing violence against the so called low caste groups and in retaliation the latter have been doing the same. The politics of reservations Vs. anti-reservations has been a source of violence in Indian politics. Caste has been a major factor of Indian society and politics and it has been a source of caste conflict and violence.

Politics of Violent Agitations : Several Political parties and interest groups have been actively present in Indian politics. Unfortunately however, these resort to direct action means like strikes, dharnas, bandhas and public demonstrations. Quite often their agitations have been taking the form of violent agitations. Burning of trains, platforms, public property and even private property is often used by them as a means of protest against the government.

Social Violence : In general, caste violence, communal violence and infact all other forms of violence come under the category of social violence because all the violent activities take place in the social environment. Several evil social customs have been acting as a source of violence against women. Indian women continue to be a weak class. In the family, the girl child faces discrimination and even violence. In the name of some ancient traditions, some fundamentalist religious and caste groups have been even supporting the cases of discrimination and violence against women. Social violence always act as a potent source of political violence.

Political Violence : Indian politics has been living with violence. Murder of political leaders and opponents has been a sad reality. Two Prime Ministers of India had to face deaths inflicted by political violence. It has been indeed very unfortunate that in the land of Buddha, Nanak and Gandhi, violence continues to live. The criminalisation of politics due to entry of criminals in politics as well as due to the adoption of violence as means by some unscrupulous political leaders has been a major reason behind the increasing presence of violence in politics.

6. Electoral Violence : The International Foundation for Eelctoral Systems (IFES) defines electoral violence as any harm or threat of harm to any person or properly involved in the election process, or the process itself, during the election period. Several political parties have been continuously involved in electoral politics and the struggle for power. However, unfortunately, along with the popularity of elections in India, the emergence of electoral violence has been a sad development. Violence against the contesting candidates and their supporters has come to be a grim reality. On the polling day, despite the presence of security forces in large number, electoral violence takes place.

ISC Class 12 Political Science Previous Year Question Papers

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