Here, you will find summaries, questions, answers, textbook solutions, pdf, extras etc. of (Nagaland Board) NBSE Class 12 Political Science Chapter 12: System of Representation. These solutions, however, should be only treated as references and can be modified/changed.
The chapter provides an overview of the electoral system in India, focusing on the First Past the Post System (FPTP), the composition and role of the Election Commission, and measures to ensure free and fair elections.
The FPTP system, prevalent in countries like Britain and India, is a simple majority system. The candidate with more votes than any other, even if it’s a small proportion of the total votes, wins. This system has its merits and demerits. Its simplicity makes it easy for voters to understand, and it increases the chances of a single party gaining a majority in the House, thus providing political stability. However, it’s criticized for being undemocratic as the elected person may not represent the majority of the voters. Also, minority parties have little chance of fair representation.
The Election Commission in India is a three-member body appointed by the President. The Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years. The Commission’s main functions include preparation of the electoral rolls and photo identity cards.
It also highlights measures to ensure free and fair elections, such as adult suffrage, an independent Election Commission, restrictions on election spending, and the use of electronic voting machines. It also discusses electoral reforms like proportional representation, concerns about the role of money and muscle power in elections, and reservation of seats for women.
Textual questions and answers
A. Long answer questions
1. What is First Past the Post System? What are demerits of the First Past the Post (FPTP) election system?
Answer: The First Past the Post System (FPTP) is a simple majority system followed by most countries. It is usually referred to as First Past the Post (FPTP) System and is prevalent in countries such as Britain. In these countries, there are single-member constituencies. The winner is the person with more votes than any other candidate even though the winner may receive only a small proportion of the total number of votes. In other words, the post marks the finishing point on an election-racing track and the candidate who crosses the post first is declared the winner.
The demerits of the First Past the Post System are as follows:
The system seems to be undemocratic because the person elected may not represent the majority of the voters in the constituency. For instance, if four candidates contest the election and they receive votes in the following order: A-100000, B-50,000, C-70,000, and D-50,000, A shall be declared elected for whom only one-third of the voters have cast their votes.
Under this system, minorities or the minority parties have hardly any chance of fair representation. The majority must rule, but that does not mean that the minority should have no representation at all.
2. Why did India adopt the First Past the Post election system? Give any two examples to show that in this system it is difficult to convert the Vote Share into Seat Share.
Answer: India adopted the First Past the Post election system due to several reasons. It is for these reasons that the framers of the Constitution of India opposed the adoption of Proportional Representation for the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Under the Indian Councils Act, 1909 the British Government introduced the system of Communal Electorates (Separate Electorates) in India. The Act provided for separate representation of the Muslim community at the Centre as well as in Provincial Legislatures. The Government of India Act, 1919 extended this privilege to other communities as well, namely the Sikhs, the Anglo-Indians, Europeans and the Indian Christians. This was all done in order to work at the policy of “divide and rule”. Community was set against community and the growth of a healthy political system became impossible. That is the reason why makers of the Constitution of India rejected the system of separate electorates.
Two examples to show that in the First Past the Post System, it is difficult to convert the Vote Share into Seat Share are:
- In the 2014 elections, the BJP obtained only 31 per cent of the total votes polled, yet it could win 282 Lok Sabha seats, i.e., nearly 52 per cent of the total number of elective seats. The Congress, which obtained 19.4 per cent of the total votes, could win only 44 Lok Sabha seats, i.e., nearly 8 per cent of the total 543 seats.
- On the other hand, the AIADMK, with only 3.3 per cent of the votes, could have a tally of 37 Lok Sabha MPs.
5. What are the merits and demerits of Proportional Representation?
Answer: The merits of proportional representation are:
- It ensures that all parties and minorities shall be proportionally represented in the legislature.
- The system of proportional representation is in harmony with the true spirit of democracy. Parliament would then become a true “mirror of the nation”, as it must be in a democracy.
- The Single Transferable Vote System is the only method which ensures that no vote is wasted.
The demerits of proportional representation are:
- The Complexity of the system makes it difficult in practical operation.
- All methods of proportional representation call for Multi-Member Constituencies. As a result, the bonds between the ‘electors’ and the ´representatives’ are bound to be less direct and personal. Large constituencies will also greatly increase the election expenses of the candidates.
- The success of parliamentary system depends upon the existence of two or three well organised national parties. Under proportional representation all governments have necessarily to be “Coalition Governments.” Such governments lack solidarity and stability.
6. Discuss the powers and functions of the Election Commission in India.
Answer: The powers and functions of the Election Commission in India are:
Preparation of the Electoral Rolls and Photo Identity Cards: The Constitution lays down that there shall be one ‘General Electoral Roll’ for every territorial constituency. For free and fair elections the voters are required to bring their Photo Identity Cards or some other document, allowed by the Election Commission.
Recognition to Political Parties: There are a number of national and State parties in India. The Election Commission grants recognition to parties for election purposes.
Allotment of Symbols to Parties and Independent Candidates: The national and State level parties can have a reserved symbol for all the candidates nominated by them. The independent candidates can select any symbol out of a list of Free Symbols
Delimitation of Constituencies: The Constitution lays down that after each Census the allocation of seats in the Lok Sabha to States and Union Territories shall be readjusted.
Conduct of Election: The Election Commission conducts all elections to Parliament and the State Legislatures. It also supervises and directs elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President.
Ensuring Free and Fair Election: The Commission takes the following measures to ensure free and fair elections.
Model Code of Conduct: The Election Commission decides the model code of conduct. (a) It lays down that no attempt shall be made to arouse caste or communal feelings, and (b) Ministers shall not combine their official visits with the electioneering work.
Settlement of Disputes as regards Disqualification on Grounds such as being of Unsound Mind or Holding an Office of Profit, etc.: Such a question has to be referred to the President of India. Before giving any decision the President is required to obtain the opinion of the Election Commission and shall act according to such opinion.
7. Mention how does the Constitution ensure that the Election Commission act as an independent body.
Answer: The Constitution ensures that the Commission shall act as an independent body. Its independence is secured by these provisions:
The Election Commission derives its authority from the Constitution. The Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners do not receive any instructions from the Government as to how to perform their duties.
The Constitution ensures the Security of Tenure of the Chief Election Commissioner. The Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from office except in like manner as a Judge of the Supreme Court. The conditions of service of the Chief Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
Their salaries and allowances are charged on the Consolidated Fund of India. The same can not be varied to their disadvantage during their term of office.
It is duty of the President or the Governor of a State to make available to the Commission such staff as may be necessary for the conduct of elections. The Commission has complete control over the Staff on election duty.
8. What measures have been taken to ensure free and fair elections in India?
Answer: The Constitution and the election laws ensure that elections are free and fair in India through the following measures:
Adult Suffrage: In the matter of electing representatives to Parliament and State Assemblies, India follows the principle of ‘One Person, One Vote, One Value.’
Management of Elections: The management of Elections is the task of the Election Commission. Its Independence is secured by the Constitution. The Chief Election Commissioner shall not be removed from office except in like manner as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Regulation of Election Expenses: It is a corrupt practice for a candidate to spend more money than the prescribed amount on his election.
Separation of Official and Electioneering Work: The Election Commission prescribed that Ministers shall not combine their official visit with the electioneering work. Moreover, government vehicles and personnel shall not be used for boosting the interests of the party in power.
Monitoring of Sensitive Constituencies: The Election Commission sends observers to sensitive constituencies. If rigging or booth capturing has taken place at a certain polling station, the Commission shall order for a fresh poll.
Prohibition of Arms: Carrying any kind of arms within the vicinity of a polling booth is a cognisable offence. It is punishable with imprisonment up to two years or fine or both.
Use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs): In order to reduce poll-related crimes, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and tamper-proof Video Cameras have been introduced.
Adjudication of Election Petitions: Election petitions are tried by the High Courts. If any corrupt practice has been committed by a returned candidate, the High Court shall declare the election to be void.
B. Short answer questions
9. Who have the right to vote and the right to contest an election in India?
Answer: In India, the right to vote and the right to contest an election are granted as follows:
Right to vote: The Constitution of India gives voting right to every person who is a citizen of India and is not otherwise disqualified under any law. In 1989 the Constitution Sixty first Amendment Act reduced the voting age from 21 to 18 years. The argument advanced for lowering the voting age was that “enfranchisement of the youth shall make them more sensible, more creative.”
Right to contest election: A citizen who is a voter can also contest an election if he is at least 25 years old (in case of the Lok Sabha or the State Assembly) and not less than 30 years of age (in case of the Rajya Sabha or State Legislative Council elections). The disqualifications for membership are:
- holding an office of profit
- unsoundness of mind
- being otherwise disqualified under any law.
10. Discuss the composition of the the Election Commission with reference to:
(a) Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners
Answer: The Chief Election Commissioner and the other Commissioners are appointed by the President. The President may appoint the Regional Commissioners to assist the Election Commission in its functions.
(b) Their term of office and conditions of service.
Answer: The conditions of service and term of office of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners are as follows:
(i) The Chief Election Commissioner or an Election Commissioner shall hold office for a term of six years. However, if the Chief Election Commissioner or an Election Commissioner has attained the age of 65 years, he shall vacate office on the date on which he attains the said age.
(ii) The Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners are paid a salary equal to the salary of a Judge of the Supreme Court.
(iii) If the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners differ in opinion on any matter, such matter shall be decided according to the opinion of the majority.
D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer.
11. In India the Single Transferable Vote System is followed for the election of:
Answer: (c) President of India
12. In India the Voting Age was lowered from 21 to 18 years by the:
Answer: (a) Constitution Sixty-first Amendment Act, 1989
13. Which of the following elections are not conducted by the Election Commission (the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners)?
Answer: (b) Panchayat Elections
14. Who among the following categories of Citizens are not assured of representation in the Lok Sabha either by Nomination or by Reservation of Seats?
Answer: (b) Other Backward Classes (OBCs)
Additional/extra questions and answers
1. What is the definition of democracy and representative democracy?
Answer: Democracy is defined as “that system of government in which people elect their rulers by voting for them in an election.” In a democracy, the ruling authority is not passed on from father to his son or daughter. Elections are key to democracy. Representative democracy, on the other hand, is based on the idea that while the people cannot be actually present in person at the seat of government, they are considered to be present through their representatives, who make laws and supervise the functioning of the executive.
2. What is the First Past the Post (FPTP) system of elections? Which countries use this system?
Answer: The First Past the Post (FPTP) System is a simple majority system, followed by most countries, where single member constituencies exist. The winner in these elections is the person with more votes than any other candidate, even though the winner may receive only a small proportion of the total number of votes. Countries such as Britain and India use this system.
3. Explain the First Past the Post (FPTP) system using an example?
Answer: In the First Past the Post (FPTP) system, the candidate who receives more votes than any other candidate wins, even if they don’t receive a majority of the votes. For instance, if four candidates contest the election and they receive votes in the following order: A-100,000, B-50,000, C-70,000 and D-50,000, candidate A will be declared elected even though only one-third of the voters have cast their votes for candidate A.
4. List and explain the demerits of the First Past the Post System?
Answer: The First Past the Post system has two main demerits. Firstly, the system can be viewed as undemocratic because the person elected may not represent the majority of the voters in the constituency. For example, if four candidates contest the election and they receive votes in the following order: A-100,000, B-50,000, C-70,000 and D-50,000, candidate A will be declared elected even though only one-third of the voters have cast their votes for candidate A. Secondly, under this system, minorities or the minority parties have hardly any chance of fair representation. While the majority must rule, this system does not guarantee that the minority will have any representation at all.
5. Discuss the merits of the First Past the Post System?
Answer: The First Past the Post system has several merits. Firstly, its main advantage is its simplicity. It can be easily understood by the voters who are simply asked to choose a single candidate or vote for the party they found to be the best. Secondly, this system increases the chances of a single party gaining a majority in the house and being able to govern on its own, thus giving political stability to the country. Lastly, the First Past the Post system has led to the growth of mainly two-party systems, as observed in countries like Britain and the United States. However, in recent years, Britain seems to be losing its traditional two-party system.
72. What is the proposed role of the State in election funding?
A. No role B. Limited role C. Full funding D. Subsidized funding
Answer: C. Full funding
Get notes of other boards, classes, and subjects