Democratic Rights Extra questions, Important exam Questions
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. What was the background in which ethnic massacre took place in Kosovo?
Ans. Kosovo was a province of Yugosalvia before it split away. In this province the population was overwhelmingly ethnic Albanian. But in the entire country, Serbs were in majority. A narrowminded Serb nationalist, Milosevic, had won the election and became the President of Yugoslavia. His government was very hostile to the Kosovo Albanians. He wanted that ethnic minorities like Albanians should either leave the country or accept the dominance of the Serbs. The massacre was carried out by the army under the direction of the government.
Q.2. Explain what is meant by ‘Rule of Law’. [Important]
Ans. Rule of law means equality before the law or equal protection of the laws. It means that the laws apply in the same manner to all, regardless of a person’s status. Rule of law is the foundation of any democracy. It implies that no person is above the law. There cannot be any distinction between a political leader, government official and ordinary citizen.
Q.3. Are the reservations provided to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs against the Right to Equality? Give reasons.
Ans. These reservations are not against the Right to Equality. In a broader sense, equality does mean giving everyone the same treatments, no matter what they need. Equality means giving everyone an equal opportunity to achieve whatever one is capable of. Sometimes, it is necessary to give job reservations to socially and economically backward sections of the society to ensure equal opportunity. The constitution says that reservations of this kind are not a violation of the Right to Equality.
Q.4. Mention the freedoms provided under the ‘Right to Freedom’. Why are reasonable restrictions imposed on them? [Important]
Ans. Under the Right to Freedom, the Indian constitution guarantees six freedoms. These are :
(i) Freedom of speech and expression
(ii) Freedom to assemble peacefully without arms
(iii) Freedom to form associations and unions
(iv) Freedom to move freely throughout the country
(v) Freedom to reside in any part of the country and,
(vi) Freedom to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business. Reasonable restrictions are imposed on our freedoms in the larger interest of the society. Freedom should be exercised in such a manner that it does not violate others’ right to freedom.
Q.5. What does the term ‘minority’ refer to under the Cultural and Educational Rights? Ans. Here minority does not mean only religious minority at the national level. In some places, people speaking a particular language are in majority; people speaking a different language are in a minority. For example, Telugu-speaking people form a majority in Andhra Pradesh but they are a minority in Karnataka. Sikhs constitute a majority in Punjab, but they are a minority in Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi.
Q.6. What is the role of National Human Rights Commission in securing the human rights? How does it work?
Ans. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) focuses on helping the victims secure their human rights. These include all the rights granted to the citizens by the constitution. For NHRC human rights also include the rights mentioned in the UN-sponsored international treaties that India has signed. The NHRC cannot by itself punish the guilty – that is the responsibility of the courts. The NHRC makes an independent and credible inquiry into any case of violation of human rights. The commission presents its findings and recommendations to the government or intervenes in the court on behalf of the victims. Like any court, it can summon witnesses, question any government official, demand any official paper, visit any prison for inspection or send its own team for on-the-spot inquiry.
Q.7. Give some examples with regard to the expansion of the scope of rights for the citizens. Ans. Certain rights like right to freedom of press, right to information, and right to education are derived from the Fundamental Rights. Recently school education has become a right for Indian citizens.
Parliament has passed a law giving the right to information to the citizens. Under the direction of the Supreme Court, right to life now includes the right to food. Right to property is not a Fundamental Right but it is a legal right. Right to vote in elections is an important constitutional right.
Q.8. Explain the ’Right to Equality’ enjoyed by the citizens of India. What is its importance?
Ans. All citizens irrespective of caste, colour, region, religion ethnicity, sex or place of birth are equal before the law. There shall be no discrimination against any citizen. All citizens shall have equal opportunity in matters of employment. This is what the ‘Right to Equality’ means.
Q.9. Describe in detail the cultural and educational rights of the minorities as provided in the Indian constitution. [CBSE 2010]
Ans. The language, culture and religion of minorities need protection otherwise they may get neglected or undermined under the impact of the language, culture and religion of the majority. All minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Q.10. The ’Right to Constitutional Remedies’ is called the heart of the constitution. Explain.
Ans. This ‘Right’ makes other ‘Rights’ effective. If sometimes our rights are violated by fellow citizens, private bodies or by the government, we can seek remedy through courts. If it is a Fundamental Right we can directly approach the Supreme Court or the high court of a state. That is why Dr. Ambedkar called it “the heart and soul” of our constitution.
Q.11. “The right to freedom is a cluster of six rights”. Explain. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. The right to freedom is a cluster of six rights. Therefore :
(i) Freedom of speech and expression
(ii) Freedom of assembly in peaceful manner
(iii) To form association and unions
(iv) Move freely through out the country
(v) Reside in any part of the country
(vi) Practice any profession or occupation.
Q.12. Why are the rights guaranteed by the Indian constitution called Fundamental Rights?
Ans. (i) They are fundamental to our life.
(ii) Fundamental Rights put into effect the securing for all citizens equality, liberty and justice as given in the Preamble to our constitution.
Q.13. State any three provisions of the Fundamental Right Against Exploitation. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) The constitution prohibits ‘traffic in human beings’ i.e. selling and buying of human
(ii) It also prohibits forced labour or begar in any form.
(iii) The constitution also prohibits child labour. No one can employ a child below the age of
fourteen to work in a factory, mine or any hazardous work.
Q.14. Why do we need rights in a democracy? [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. Rights are claims of a person over other fellow beings; over the society, and over the government. Rights are necessary for the very sustenance of democracy. Rights protect minorities. Rights are guarantees which can be used when things growing.
Q.15. Write three constitutional provisions for the protection of women and children in India.
Ans. These are : The constitution prohibits
(i) traffic in human beings i.e. selling & buying of human beings specially women for immoral purposes.
(ii) It prohibits forced labour
(iii) It protects children under years of age by prohibiting their employment in any factory, mine or hazardous work.
Q.16. Right to freedom comes with some limitations. Justify with three suitable examples.
Ans. (i) You cannot use your Right to Freedom to incite people to rebel against government or to defame others.
(ii) We can hold meetings but peacefully.
(iii) We cannot carry weapons while participating in a procession or a meeting.
Q.17. Mention any three features of Right to Equality. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) The law apples to all citizens irrespective of his status (The Rule of Law).
(ii) The government shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds of religion, caste ethnicity, sex or place of birth.
(iii) All citizens have equality of opportunity in matters of employment
Q.18 State the three features of cultural and educational rights. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) Any sections of citizens with a distinct language or culture have a right to conserve it.
(ii) Admission to any educational institution maintained by government or with its aid cannot be denied to any citizen on the ground of religion or language.
(iii) All minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
Q.19. Mention any three rights of a detained person. [2011 (T-2)]
Ans. (i) A person who is arrested and detained in custody will have to be informed of the reasons for such arrest.
(ii) Such a person shall be produced before the nearest magistrate within a period of 24 hours of arrest.
(iii) Such a person has the right to consult a lawyer or engage a lawyer for his defence.
Q.20. “Right to constitutional remedies is the heart and soul of the constitution.” Justify.
Ans. This right makes other rights effective when any of our rights are violated we can seek remedy through courts. If it is a Fundamental Right we can directly approach the Supreme Court. That is why Dr Ambedkar called it ‘‘the heart and soul of our constitution^’’.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS
Q.1. Explain the correctness of the following statement, “Rights are necessary for the very sustenance of a democracy.”
Ans. It is absolutely correct to say that rights are necessary for the very sustenance of a democracy. Rights are the heart and soul of democracy. In a democracy, every citizen has the right to vote and the right to be elected to government. For democratic elections to take place, it is necessary that citizens should have the right to express their opinion, form political parties and take part in political activities.
Rights also perform a very special role in a democracy. They protect minorities from the oppression of the majority. They ensure that interests of the minorities are protected and majority does not act as per its whims and fancies. Rights are guarantees which can be used when things go wrong. Things may go wrong when some citizens may wish to take away the rights of others. Generally, the majority wants to dominate the minority. The government should protect the citizens’ rights in such a situation. Sometimes elected governments may not protect or even attack the rights of their own citizens (as happened in Yugoslavia under Milosevic). Therefore, some basic rights of the citizens are written down in the constitution of most democracies.
Q.2. What is a secular state? In which way does our constitution make India a secular state?
Ans. A secular state is one that does not confer any privilege or favour on any particular religion. It does not punish or discriminate against people on the basis of religion they follow. It implies that the government cannot compel any person to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of a particular religion or religious institution. There shall be no religious instruction in the government educational institutions. In private institutions, no person can be compelled to take part in a religious activity. A secular state is one that does not establish any one religion as official religion.
Indian secularism practises an attitude of principled and equal distance from all religions. The Preamble to Indian constitution declares India to be a secular nation. There is no official religion in India. The Indian state is neutral and impartial in dealing with all religions. Right to freedom of religion is a Fundamental Right. Every citizen of India has a right to profess, practise and propagate the religion he/she believes in. Every religious group or sect is free to manage its religious affairs.
Q.3. State the provisions of the Cultural and Educational Rights. [Important]
Ans. For the simple reason that the working of democracy gives power to the majority, it is the language, culture and religion of minorities that needs special protection. Therefore, the cultural and educational rights of the minorities are specified in the constitution.
(i) Any section of citizens with a distinct language or culture has a right to conserve it.
(ii) Admission to any educational institution maintained by government or receiving government aid cannot be denied to any citizen on the ground of religion or language.
(iii) All minorities have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
(iv) Full compensation has to be paid if the state seeks to acquire the property of a minority educational institution.
Q.4. Explain what is meant by the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’.
Ans. Rights guaranteed by the constitution are useless if there are no special provisions to guarantee them. The Fundamental Rights in the constitution are enforceable. We have the right to seek the enforcement of these rights by moving to the High Courts or the Supreme Court. This is called the Right to Constitutional Remedies which is provided by Article 32 of the constitution. This itself is a Fundamental Right. This right makes other rights effective. It is possible that sometimes our rights may be violated by fellow citizens, private bodies or by the government. When any of the rights are violated we can seek remedy through a court. If it is a Fundamental Right we can directly approach the Supreme Court or the High Court of a state. Dr. Ambedkar called the Right to Constitutional Remedies (Article 32) the ‘heart and soul’ of our constitution. There can be no law or action that violates the Fundamental Rights. Such a law can be declared null and void by the Supreme Court.
Q.5. What can a person do in case of the violation of Fundamental Rights? What is PIL and how does it work? [Important]
Ans. In case of any violation of Fundamental Right, the aggrieved person can approach the High Court or the Supreme Court for remedy. Moreover any person can go to court against the violation of the Fundamental Right, if it is of social or public interest. It is called the Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
Under this any citizen or group of citizens can approach the Supreme Court or the High Court for the protection of public interest against a particular law or action of the government. One can write to the judges even on a postcard. The court will take up the matter if the judges find it in public interest. Even a newspaper article or report can be treated as a PIL by the court.
Q.6. Mention four new rights which the constitution of South Africa has guaranteed to its citizens. [Important]
Ans. The scope of rights has been expanding and new rights are evolving over time. They are the result of the struggle of the people. New rights emerge as societies develop or as new constitutions are made.
The constitution of South Africa guarantees its citizens several kinds of new rights.
(i) Right to privacy, so that citizens or their home cannot be searched, their phones cannot be tapped, their communication cannot be opened.
(ii) Right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being.
(iii) Right to have access to adequate housing.
(iv) Right to have access to health care services, sufficient food and water; no one can be refused emergency medical treatment.
Q.7. The Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression does not come without qualifications.
Explain. [CBSE 2010]
Ans. Freedom of speech is one of the essential features of any democracy. Our ideas and personality develop only when we are able to freely communicate with others. You may disagree with a policy of government, you are free to criticise the government. You may publicise your views through pamphlet, magazine or newspaper. However, you cannot use this freedom to instigate violence against others. You cannot incite people to rebel against the government, nor can you use it to defame others by saying false and mean things that cause damage to a person’s reputation. This is called freedom of speech with qualifications.
Q.8. Discuss the provisions included in the Right against Exploitation [CBSE 2010]
Ans. Once the right to liberty and equality is granted it follows that every citizen has a right to not to be exploited yet the constitution makers thought it was necersary to write down certain clear provisions to prevent exploitation of the weaker sections of the society. The constitution mentions three weaker sections of the society. The constitution mentions three evils and declares these as illegal. First, the constitution prohibits traffic in human beings, i.e., selling and buying of human beings. Secondly, it prohibits ‘‘begar’’ or forced labour in any form. Finally the constitution prohibits child labour. No one can employ a child below the age of fourteen to work in a factory or mine.