[Part 1] IAS Mains 2014 GS-2 Solutions and Answerkey

Dear Aspirants,

Aspirant Forum is putting the answers for some of the questions for the GS-2 Paper. Since these questions contained broad topics, we have decided to put detailed answers. Thus, you might find the answers to be surpassing the word limit.

We’ll post and update the answers for more questions soon…


Question 1: Starting from inventing the ‘basic structure’ doctrine,the judiciary has played a highly proactive role in ensuring that India develops into a thriving democracy. In light of the statement evaluate the role played by judicial activism in achieving the ideals of democracy

Answer: The question whether Fundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under Article 368 came for consideration of the Supreme Court. In the Shankari Prasad case (1951), the Supreme Court ruled that the power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to amend Fundamental Rights. The word ‘law’ in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not the constitutional amendment acts (constituent laws). Therefore, the Parliament can abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting a constitutional amendment act and such a law will not be void under Article 13.

But in the Golak Nath case (1967), the Supreme Court reversed its earlier stand and ruled that the Fundamental Rights are given a ‘transcendental and immutable’ position and hence, the Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights. A constitutional amendment act is also a law within the meaning of Article 13 and hence, would be void for violating any of the Fundamental Rights.

However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case , the Supreme Court overruled its judgement in the Golak Nath case . It upheld the validity and stated that Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights. At the same time, it laid down a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. It ruled that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. This means that the Parliament cannot abridge or take away a Fundamental Right that forms a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution. Again, the Parliament reacted to this judicially innovated doctrine of ‘basic structure’ by enacting the 42nd Amendment Act . This Act amended Article 368 and declared that there is no limitation on the constituent power of Parliament and no amendment can be questioned in any court on any ground including that of the contravention of any of the Fundamental Rights. However, the Supreme Court in the Minerva Mills case invalidated this provision as it excluded judicial review which is a ‘basic feature’ of the Constitution. Applying the doctrine of ‘basic structure’ with respect to Article 368, the court held that:

“Since the Constitution had conferred a limited amending power on the Parliament, the Parliament cannot enlarge that very power into an absolute power.Indeed, a limited amending power is one of the basic features of the Constitution and, therefore, the limitations on that power cannot be destroyed. In other words, Parliament cannot, under article 368, expand its amending power so as to acquire for itself the right to repeal or abrogate the Constitution or to destroy its basic features.

The various role played by the judicial activism to keep the ideas of democracy are as following:

  1. Maintaining the Secular character of the Constitution
  2. Unity and integrity of the nation at high notes
  3. to keep the ethos of welfare state (socio-economic justice)
  4. Provide sound platform to the Freedom and dignity of the individual and Principle of equality
  5. Rule of law
  6. Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principle
  7. Effective access to justice
  8. Principle of reasonableness


Question 2: Though the federal feature is dominant in our Constitution and that principles is one of its basic feature,but it is equally true that federalism under the Indian Constitution leans in favour of a strong centre, a feature that militates against the concept of strong federalism.discuss

Answer: The constitutional provision which empower the federal feature in our constitution are :

  1. The Constitution is not only a written document but also the lengthiest Constitution of the world. It specifies the structure, organisation, powers and functions of both the Central and state governments and prescribes the limits within which they must operate. Thus, it avoids the misunderstandings and disagreements between the two.
  2. The Constitution divided the powers between the Centre and the states in terms of the Union List,State List and Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule. Both the Centre and the states can make laws on the subjects of the concurrent list, but in case of a conflict, the Central law prevails.
  3. The Constitution is the supreme (or the highest) law of the land. The laws enacted by the Centre and the states must conform to its provisions. Otherwise, they can be declared invalid by the Supreme Court or the high courts through their power of judicial review. Thus, the organs of the government (legislative, executive and judicial) at both the levels must operate within the jurisdiction prescribed by the Constitution.
  4. The division of powers established by the Constitution as well as the supremacy of the Constitution can be maintained only if the method of its amendment is rigid. Hence, the Constitution is rigid to the extent that those provisions which are concerned with the federal structure (i.e., Centre–state relations and judicial organisation) can be amended only by the joint action of the Central and state governments.
  5. The Constitution establishes an independent judiciary headed by the Supreme Court for two purposes: one, to protect the supremacy of the Constitution by exercising the power of judicial review; and two, to settle the disputes between the Centre and the states or between the states. The Constitution contains various measures like security of tenure to judges, fixed service conditions and so on to make the judiciary independent of the government.
  6. The Constitution provides for a bicameral legislature consisting of an Upper House (Rajya Sabha) and a Lower House (Lok Sabha). The Rajya Sabha represents the states of Indian Federation, while the Lok Sabha represents the people of India as a whole. The Rajya Sabha is required to maintain the federal equilibrium by protecting the interests of the states against the undue interference of the Centre.

The factor which leans in the favour of strong centre that militates the concept of strong federalism are as:

  1. The division of powers is in favour of the Centre and highly inequitable from the federal angle. Firstly, the Union List contains more subjects than the State List. Secondly, the more important subjects have been included in the Union List. Thirdly, the Centre has overriding authority over the Concurrent List. Finally, the residuary powers have also been left with the Centre.
  2. Unlike in other federations, the states in India have no right to territorial integrity. The Parliament can by unilateral action change the area, boundaries or name of any state. Moreover, it requires only a simple majority and not a special majority. Hence, the Indian Federation is “an indestructible Union of destructible states”.
  3. Usually, in a federation, the states have the right to frame their own Constitution separate from that of the Centre. In India, on the contrary, no such power is given to the states. The Constitution of India embodies not only the Constitution of the Centre but also those of the states. Both the Centre and the states must operate within this single-frame.
  4. The Constitution stipulates three types of emergencies—national, state and financial. During an emergency, the Central government becomes all powerful and the states go into the total control of the Centre. It converts the federal structure into a unitary one without a formal amendment of the Constitution. This kind of transformation is not found in any other federation.
  5. In US, the Federal government and the state governments have their separate public services. In India also, the Centre and the states have their separate public services. But, in addition, there are all-India services (IAS, IPS, and IFS) which are common to both the Centre and the states. The members of these services are recruited and trained by the Centre which also possess ultimate control over them. Thus, these services violate the principle of federalism under the Constitution.
  6. The Comptroller and Auditor-General of India audits the accounts of not only the Central government but also those of the states. But, his appointment and removal is done by the president without consulting the states. Hence, this office restricts the financial autonomy of the states. The American Comptroller-General, on the contrary, has no role with respect to the accounts of the states.
  7. Even in the limited sphere of authority allotted to them, the states do not have exclusive control. The Parliament is empowered to legislate on any subject of the State List if Rajya Sabha passes a resolution to that effect in the national interest. This means that the legislative competence of the Parliament can be extended without amending the Constitution. Notably, this can be done when there is no emergency of any kind.


Question 3: The ‘Power, privilege and immunities of parliament and its member ‘ as envisaged in article 105 of the constitution leave room for a large number of uncodified and un-enumerated privilege to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privilege ‘. How can this be addressed?

Answer: For a peaceful functioning of a democracy, it is essential that the people’s representatives are given the maximum amount of freedom of speech and expression, so as to communicate the opinion and demands of the various sections of the society. The Indian Constitution provides for the privileges and rights of the Member of Parliaments, in Article 105. The Article provides for an unrestrained freedom of speech and expression, which sometimes become problematic:

  1. The provision that saves the Parliamentarians from being trialed for their speech in the House should be amended to restrict the members from indulging into hateful speeches and derogatory remarks against any particular individual/group or community.
  2. By leaving the rights and special privileges of the Members of Parliament before the Parliament, the Constitution falls short of it’s obligations of equality before law and a participatory democracy. The severe restrictions put on the freedom of visitors to speak in the house create the Parliamentary house a place of restrictions.
  3. Uncodified and unenumerated rights of the Parliamentarians give the Parliament an unrestricted freedom to frame the rights and privileges of the Parliamentarians, thus, creating the grounds for political inequality in the society. The Chairperson of the house should be obliged to submit a report to the President or the Supreme Court, about the sanctions that should be put against unruly members.
  4. This also hampers the principle of Checks and Balances, as Judiciary fails to restrict the violations of the illegitimate actions by the Parliamentarians within the House. There should be provisions through which the Supreme Court could put on trial the members for violations and unacceptable behaviour.
  5. The Constitution could also be amended to form an independent committee to scrutinise the proceedings of the house on regular basis, and submit a report before the President. Appropriate provisions could be made to empower the President to take an independent action against the unruly members.


Question 4: What do you understand by the concept of ‘freedom of speech and expression’? Does it cover hate speech also? Why do the films in India stand on a slightly different plane from other forms of expressions? Discuss.

Answer: Freedom of Speech and Expression implies that every citizen has the right to express his views, opinions, belief and convictions freely by word of mouth, writing, printing, picturing or in any other manner. The Supreme Court has held that the freedom of speech and expression includes the following:

(a) Right to propagate one’s views as well as views of others.

(b) Freedom of the press.

(c) Freedom of commercial advertisements.

(d) Right against tapping of telephonic conversation.

(e) Right to telecast, that is, government has no monopoly on electronic media.

(f) Right against ‘bundh’ (shut-down) called by a political party or organisation.

(g) Right to know about government activities.

(h) Freedom of silence.

(i) Right against imposition of pre-censorship on a newspaper.

(j) Right to demonstration or picketing but not right to strike.

The freedom of speech and expression does not include hate speech. The State can impose reasonable restrictions on the exercise of the freedom of speech and expression on the grounds of sovereignty and integrity of India; security of the state; friendly relations with foreign states; public order, decency or morality; contempt of court, defamation, and incitement to an offence. Hate speeches are kept outside the ambit of the freedom of speech and expression, as it violates the rights of the other persons/communities.

The films in India stand on slightly different plane from other form of expression because of the many reason:

  1. The films are made for the commercial and entertaining purpose, hence compromise the various parameter which are indispensable in nature. Films are made to address the mass audience, and thus have an impact on a greater audience.
  2. There exist a rich variety in the film industry, that might include works with lack of creativity, negligence of knowledge, unethical work environment. Thus, there is a need to put a regulatory framework on the films that are produced.
  3. Since films are a means of entertainment for a large number of masses, who often get influenced from them, it is important that the right message is delivered through them. Films containing hate speech and defamatory content could create havoc in the society.


Question 5: Instances of President’s delay in commuting death sentence has come under public scrutiny as denial of justice. Should there be a time limit for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.

Answer: Article 72 of the Indian constitution empower the president to pardon the person convicted and sentenced by the court of law.The president has power to commute death sentence into life imprisonment, but there is no specified time limit for the president to accept/ reject the plea.The president,s delay in commuting death sentence is considered as denial of justice, as it is said that “justice delayed is justice denied.It can be explained from two point of view:from the point of view of the convict; and from the point of view of victim.

  • the delay in the procedure of commuting death sentence lead to delay in the execution ,which may lead to mental suffering of the convict.Long years on death row had made them mentally ill.
  • recently  Supreme Court has commuted Khalistani terrorist Bhullar’s death sentence to life term on the same ground.
  • In the landmark judgement, the court had held that prolonging execution of death sentence has a “dehumanising effect” on condemned prisoners who have to face the “agony” of waiting for years under the shadow of death during the pendency of  their mercy plea.
  • the delay in commuting death sentence is denial of justice from  the point of view of victim also as delay in the execution ,increasing the disatisfaction level of victim which may lead to mental suffering of victim also.

Though no time limit can be fixed within which the mercy petition ought to be disposed of, there should not be inordinate delay.The supreme court in its recent verdicts also expressed this view.


Question 6: The size of the cabinet should be big as  governmental work justifies and as big the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the efficacy of a  government then inversely related to the size of the  cabinet? Discuss.

Answer: The Cabinet is the governing framework of the India which is not only machinery of government but also the nerve centre of the government of India.If it is nerve of governmental machinery then it should be framed according to the requirement of structure means neither too small or too big but optimum size of cabinet.

Advantages of mid-size cabinet

  • Means less burden on the Public Exchequer
  • Eases the problem of  Coordination
  • Conducive to the fostering of team spirit
  • For healthy development  of democracy a compact cabinet is always to be commended.

Disadvantages of small/gigantic  cabinet

  • excessive centralisation of power
  • conflict of interest
  • Excessive  burden
  • Overlapping of duties

Although,in the scheme of parliamentary system of government provided by constitution,President is the head of state while Prime Minister is the head of the government.

Prime Minister described as “the steersman of steering wheel of the ship of the state”.PM being a leader of government need cabinet in compact size that steer members act more precise manner not liquidated by working burden of other ministry.

Whereas a large  sized cabinet is also not conducive to the healthy growth of public life and the political parties. For such growth it is essential that quite a large number of Parliamentarians should remain out of government to look to non-governmental affairs and to organize them.This aspect of life is important in countries where political process are still in a formative stage.


Question 7:  Though the 100 percent FDI is already allowed in non news media like trade publication and general entertainment channel,the government is mulling over the proposal for increased FDI in news media for quite some time. What difference would an increase in FDI make? Critically evaluate the pros and cons?

Answer: Government has already allowed the 100 FDI in non news media but reluctant to increase the FDI cap from 26 percent to further, Government recently look over to increase the FDI cap in  news media also but with lots of cautious,discussion, involving several stakeholder influence from increased FDI.

The increased limit of FDI in media especially the audio and visual form make a lots of sense because right to know the genuine information is the right of every people and state is the ultimate authority to ensure such right,hence analysing and understanding the composite culture of the nation,Government should think the matter multidimensionally.

Pros of Increase in FDI

  1. Internal democracy of the working of media increase.
  2. Transparent, Responsible,Accountable media section emerge which skip off the unscrupulous practice of domestic media house.
  3. Scrutiny, authenticity and standard of news increased because at present media coverage is limited due to financial crunch and the dogmatic commercial houses who influence the news for profit seeking purpose.
  4. Mitigate the effect of Yellow Journalism (sensationalism) and broaden the scope for investigation journalism.
  5. Diversified media coverage

Cons of Increase in FDI

  1. Media in narrow aspect is news making but in broader sense is connected to integrity and security of India,it’s a very responsible task hence handle to the people of national at large.
  2. A firm with illicit intention can harm the stakeholder of large spectrum i.e Bureaucrat, politician , commercial firm and people itself.
  3. It harm the already established domestic media houses.
  4. Lobby,grouping,partisanship,malafide collaboration etc by the external player for policy norm regarding media might and will make the condition of chaos and confusion.
  5. Westernisation of India.


Question 8: The setting of a Rail Tariff Authority to regulate fares will subject the cash strapped Indian railways to demand subsidy for obligation to operate non profitable routes and services. Taking into account the experience in the power sector, Discuss if the proposed reform is expected to benefit the consumer, the Indian Railways or the private container operator.

Answer: Rail tariff authority is an authority to institutionalize a regulatory mechanism for pricing of passenger and freight services. It will be vested with the function to develop an integrated, transparent and dynamic pricing mechanism for the passenger and freight segments of the Indian Railway’s business. It will also advise the Central Government on fixation of tariff, based on cost of operations and factors impinging it, to help generate requisite surpluses for healthy growth in the future. The reason for creating such an authority is the inability of the Railways to increase passenger fares to cover the rising cost of operation of passenger services, which is currently heavily subsidised by earnings generated from freight transport and it is also compulsion for the railways provide the enlarge the connectivity of its services making it obligation for railways operation non profitable route and services, which exert the money staunch railways into vicious cycle. The formation of such authority will ameliorate the condition of railway services.

The increase of private sector participation in the power sector lessen the risk aversion factor of the Government and the delivery of service also enhanced. In line of the power sector, the reforms recommended for the Rail tariff authority will help the consumer, India railways as well as the private sector.

The consumer will get the fast, efficient and comfortable service as the subsidised rates have affected passenger business profitability — the loss gradually reaching an unsustainable level. The cast trapped railways will make the good revenue from this by balancing the passenger and freight services, while the private container operator will significantly get the benefits from it because as of now, for subsidising passenger services, Indian Railways has had to increase freight rates, sometimes keeping them abnormally high. This has hurt the Railways which has consistently lost its market share in freight traffic, particularly in cement and steel transport, so Industry get benefits from it.

Question 9: National Human Right Commission in India can be the most effective when its tasks are adequately supported by other mechanism that ensure the accountability of a government.In light of the above observation assess the role of NHRC as an effective complement to the judiciary and other institution in promoting and protectiong human rights satandards.

Answer: National Human Right Commission is the watchdog of human rights in India. It protects the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the international covenants and enforceable by courts in India.

However, factor responsible for Ineffectiveness of National Human Right Commission:

  1. It is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure. It has all the powers of a civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character. It may call for information or report from the Central and state governments or any other authority subordinate but the concern authority are non obliged with such norm and covertly deny or delay in response to such information, making the proceeding ineffective.
  2. The commission has its own nucleus of investigating staff for investigation into complaints of human rights violations. Besides, it is empowered to utilise the services of any officer or investigation agency of the Central government or any state government for the purpose, however many a time the authority might reluctant to provide the assistance due to political influence or other and if provide it will be of ill or biased intention toward the culprit.
  3. It may recommend to the concerned government or authority the initiation of proceedings for prosecution or any other action against the guilty public servant but here also public authority is not always choose to take the appropriate action which caused to fall down the status of NHRC.

The following are the some empowerment and role played by the NHRC in contemporary which shows that it is an effective complements to the judiciary and other institutions in promoting and protecting human rights .

  1. Abolition of Bonded Labour
  2. Issues Concerning Right to Food
  3. Abolition of Child Labour
  4.  Guidebook for the Media on Sexual Violence against Children
  5. Trafficking in Women and Children: Manual for the Judiciary for Gender Sensitisation
  6. Sensitisation Programme on Prevention of Sex Tourism and Trafficking
  7. Combating Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace
  8. Dalits Issues including Atrocities Perpetrated on them
  9. Problems Faced by Denotified and Nomadic Tribes
  10. Rights of the Disabled Persons
  11. Issues Related to Right to Health


Question 10: The penetration of self help group (SHG) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles? Examine.

Answer: The penetration of self help group (SHG) in rural areas in promoting participation in development programmes is facing socio-cultural hurdles in many ways:

With the promotion of women self help group in rural areas, women are crossing the gender barrier into what was called the mens zone such as construction of road, handling building construction and machinery. With the emergence of women as a new social order are setback for orthodox patriarchal mindset which created the problem in promotion of self help group.

Sustainability of some groups not possible due to lack of understanding, distrust and suspicion due to caste/ class differences among the various segments of population which mitigate the intention of self help group.

Self help organisation empower people and have develop own marketing system, the demonstrating effect cause the people the  underprivileged population to feel like privileged the upper and dominant class of society which are opposite of such empowerment cause the hurdle in broad manner.

Some other socio-cultural reason that create hurdle in the path of SHG are:

  1. Generally the actions and achievements of the SHGs are not visible. Due to which their impact upon the society is never acknowledged.
  2. Social evils such as liquor consumption exist and impact them adversely.
  3. Remote village and illiterate members with little or no awareness of their rights.
  4. The local governance structure sometimes keep distance with self help group due to narrow mindset which lessen the impact of self help group.

More Coming Soon…

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5 responses to “[Part 1] IAS Mains 2014 GS-2 Solutions and Answerkey”

  1. shashi says :

    good effort but to be true your answers are substandard ,vague and not as per the requirement of the question


    • aspirantforum says :

      Dear friend, thank you for reading these answers well.
      We don’t proclaim that these answers are perfect. What we seek to do is open a discussion/debate on these answers.
      We would be glad if you and others could enrich these answers by adding more

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Shiv Sundar says :

    Thank you for your effort, answer to question 5 could include the judgement of SC on Shatrugan Chauhan v/s Union of India.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nareshkumar says :

    I like it


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