Crisis of Constitutional Order: NBSE Class 12 Political Science

Crisis of Constitutional Order nbse 12
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Get summary, textual answers, solutions, notes, extras, PDF to NBSE Class 12 (Arts) Political Science Chapter/unit 5 Crisis of Constitutional Order. However, the educational materials should only be used for reference and students are encouraged to make necessary changes.

Introduction

Th chapter “Crisis of Constitutional Order” discusses the political and social dynamics of India during the 1970s. It highlights the struggle for a committed bureaucracy and judiciary, the Bihar and Gujarat movements, the declaration of emergency, and the role of mass protests and civil liberties organizations.

It  discusses the need for a committed bureaucracy, emphasizing the importance of civil servants being accountable and sensitive to the needs of the people. It also discusses the conflict between the Parliament and Judiciary, with cases like the Golaknath case (1967) and the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973) being highlighted. These cases led to the establishment of the “Basic Structure” doctrine, which became a touchstone for the rigidity and flexibility of India’s Constitution.

The chapter delves into the Bihar and Gujarat movements, which were agitations against unemployment and corruption. These movements provided a platform for students, farmers, workers, the dalits, the Adivasis, and other backward classes to express their resentment over issues like rising prices, unemployment, corruption, casteism, communalism, untouchability, and the abuse of democratic institutions.

It talks about the declaration of emergency in 1974, which was a result of judicial pronouncements and other factors. This period saw a great crisis, with Indira Gandhi’s supporters and advisors organizing large public rallies to convince her that the country needed her.

Lastly, the chapter discusses the role of mass protests and civil liberties organizations in a democracy. It highlights the formation of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and the establishment of the Human Rights Commission in 1993. These organizations have been instrumental in drawing public attention to human rights abuses in India.

Textual questions and answers

A. Long Answer Questions

1. Examine the Causes responsible for Proclamation of Emergency in 1975.
Or
Explain the circumstances which led to the Proclamation of Emergency in 1975.

Answer: The following were the main causes of Emergency:

The Bihar and Gujarat Movements: These movements had gradually spread to many parts of India. That was the era when politicians’ credibility was at its lowest ebb. People were disillusioned with politicians. But their mood changed overnight when Jayaprakash Narayan agreed to lead the ongoing movement against corrupt State governments in Bihar and Gujarat. JP was successful in transforming regional protests into a national movement.

Economic Situation: Indira Gandhi had fought the 1971 General Election on the populist slogan- Garibi Hatao. But the early 1970s were marked by considerable economic discontent. First, the influx of millions of refugees from Bangladesh had placed a great burden on India’s economic resources. Second, following the international oil crisis of 1973, there was a general increase in the prices of oil, steel, fertilizers and petroleum. There was a sharp drop in food production. Third, famine conditions in some parts of the country, decline in agricultural productivity and unemployment became causes of great unrest in the years 1972-1973. In Bihar and then in Gujarat, there was a widespread agitation against corruption of the Congress governments. It grew into a powerful anti-government movement.

The Naxalite Movement: Naxalbari is a hilly area in Northern Bengal. The peasants there had forcibly occupied lands in an anti-landlord Movement launched by the Communists, led by Charu Majumdar. Thereafter, the term ‘Naxalite was used to denote Communist revolutionaries in India. In 1969 they left both the CPI and the CPI-M and formed a third Communist Party Known as ‘Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)’. This party was dedicated to revolution. Their land-grab activities which started a few years ago were now spreading across many parts of India especially Bihar Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

Allahabad High Court’s Judgement of 12 June 1975: In 1971 Smt. Indira Gandhi was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rai Bareli constituency in Uttar Pradesh. The Socialist leader Raj Narain filed an election petition against Indira Gandhi’s election. The Allahabad High Court delivered its judgement on 12 June 1975. Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha declared Indira Gandhi guilty of ‘electoral malpractices’ including excessive election expenditure and the misuse of government machinery for party purposes. The Judge set aside her election and also debarred her from contesting any election for six years. The opposition parties now began to shout for her resignation. Since the Prime Minister had been unseated, she had lost all moral claims to continue in power. She appealed to the Supreme Court and obtained only a conditional stay order on June 24. She could remain a member of the Lok Sabha pending until a decision on her appeal was made. She, however, could not participate in the proceedings of the House.

2. Discuss any six consequences of this declaration of Emergency in India.

Answer: The declaration of the Emergency in India led to several significant consequences:

Effects on Civil Liberties: Fundamental rights, including the right to life and personal liberty, were curtailed. Citizens were deprived of the right to move any court for the enforcement of their Right to Life. Prominent opposition leaders were arrested.

Misuse of Mass Media and Press Censorship: The media and press were subjected to censorship and government control. This included a ban on reporting certain events and issues.

Ban on Many Organisations: Around twenty-five organisations, including Jamait-e-Islami, Ananda Marg, and the RSS, were banned due to fears of damaging social harmony.

Working of the Police, Bureaucracy, and Magistrates: The Emergency exposed collusion between bureaucrats and the police. Thousands were detained without being informed of the grounds for arrest.

Weakness of the Judiciary: Most High Court Judges rejected habeas corpus petitions against detention without trial. The Supreme Court upheld the Emergency and the suspension of fundamental rights, including the right to life.

Changes in the Constitution of India: The 39th Amendment Act (1975) and the 42nd Amendment Act (1976) led to significant changes in the Constitution, including the addition of a new Chapter on ‘Fundamental Duties’, extension of the term of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies from 5 to 6 years, and a clause stating that no Amendment to the Constitution shall be challenged in any Court.

3. The first non-Congress Government at the Centre assumed office following the Lok Sabha elections in 1977. In this context answer the following questions:

(a) What were the three main reasons for the first non-Congress Government coming to power at the Centre in India?

Answer: The three main reasons for the first non-Congress Government coming to power at the Centre in India are as follows:

Suppression of Civil Liberties: In the northern States where the Congress had become very unpopular because of excesses of the Emergency, the Janata Party had a landslide victory. One of the reasons for the Janata Party coming to power was the “Suppression of civil liberties” during the Emergency period.

Forced Sterilisation: Forced sterilisation refers to the controversial family planning program implemented during the Emergency period, which was widely criticized and led to significant public discontent.

Opposition Unity: The third reason for the first non-Congress Government coming to power was the unity of the opposition parties. For the first time the Congress Party faced a strong opposition, united under a strong leadership. 

(b) How did the Mid-term Elections in 1980 restore Congress (Indira Gandhi) to power once again?

Answer: People of India obviously felt frustrated. The Janata Government collapsed under the weight of its own factional disputes and inner power struggles. Faced with a divided Opposition, the Congress-I won 353 seats and came back to power with thumping majority. Indira Gandhi won the 1980 elections on the convincing slogan: ‘Vote for a Government that Works’. It had a desired effect on the voters Indira Gandhi was quite justified in calling the Janata Government as ‘khichdi sarkar’ (a confused mixture). The Congress-I got completely identified with Indira’s personality. Indira Gandhi now attempted to use the organisation for dynastic succession. She groomed Sanjay, her younger son, to take over the leadership of the Party. In June 1980 Sanjay died in an air crash. Thereafter Rajiv, the elder son, became her close advisor in party affairs.

4. With reference to the legacy of Emergency (between 1975 and 1977) describe:

(a) How did it affect the Party System in India?

Answer: The Emergency and the period between 1977 and 1980 did affect the party system in India in ways more than one.

Non-Congressism: All opposition leaders had been put behind bars. Their common sufferings brought them very near to each other. Non-Congressism became a marked feature of Indian politics. The Janata Party, prevented a division of ‘Non-Congress Votes’ in the election.

The Congress and all Other Parties appeared to pursue Pro-Poor Programme: Smt. Gandhi claimed to be raising the standard of life for the poor masses. The tilt of Janata Party’s programme was also towards poor farmers and the working classes.

Issue of the Welfare of Backward Castes: Soon after the 1977 General Elections and Assembly elections took place in several states. Janata governments were formed in the North Indian states. In these elections leaders of the backward castes like Ram Naresh Yadav and Karpoori Thakur had an important role to play.

(b) How did it lead to NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation) Coming up in India?

Answer: The late seventies also saw the spate of many Mass Movements in the country. There were movements for separate States within Indian Union or for greater Autonomy within the existing Constitution. The Assam Movement was caused by the fears that illegal immigrants threatened the peace, economy and culture of the State. 

Protection of Human Rights is impossible without close ties between Government and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). In India Peoples Union for Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights (PUCLDR) was founded after a National Seminar organised in October 1976. In November 1980 this body came to be known as Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). It has been active in drawing public attention to human rights abuses, such as bondage (forced Labour), detention on shallow grounds, cruel treatment towards prisoners, violence against women, undertrials and punishing writers for their writings. The government of India constituted a Human Rights Commission in 1993. The Commission encourages the efforts of NGOs working in the field of human rights.

B. Short answer questions

5. What is meant by the ‘Search for Committed Bureaucracy’ by Congress after winning the Fifth General Election in 1971?

Answer: The ‘Search for Committed Bureaucracy’ refers to the desire of the Congress party, under Indira Gandhi’s leadership, for a bureaucracy that was committed not just to the Constitution, but to the government or persons in authority. It was stated that, Congress, under Indira’s leadership, openly talked about a ‘Committed Bureaucracy’ and a ‘Committed Judiciary’. The implications were that the Bureaucrats and the Judges both had become an obstacle in the way to progress. In other words, the bureaucrats lacked efficiency and judges were conservative; they were unwilling to accept changes and new ideas. Furthermore, during the Emergency from June 1975 onwards, the civil services were in a terrible mess. The civil servants forgot their commitment to the Constitution and the people of this country. They became the playthings of their political masters.

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8. Write a brief note on the Gujarat Movement in 1974-1975.

Answer: In January 1974 Students in a Gujarat College started an agitation against an increase in their ‘hostel mess charges’ owing to rise in prices of food grains. The waves of unrest started affecting more and more colleges. Under the banner of Nav Nirman Samiti students and crowds marched in demonstrations, demanding the dismissal of the corrupt Congress Government led by Chimanbhai Patel. The students sought Jayaprakash Narayan’s support for their agitation. He agreed on the condition that the protestors would not use violence. Jayaprakash Narayan had insisted that all agitating political parties should come under one banner. This did not happen, as only the Congress(O), the Jana Sangh and BKD could go hand in hand with each other. The RSS and its student-wing the ABVP responded very enthusiastically. The people fought fearlessly against corruption, profiteering, maladministration, hoarding of food grains and other socio-economic evils. Morarji Desai, leader of the Congress (O) went on an indefinite fast in March 1974 in support of the demands of the Nav Nirman Samiti. As protests paralysed the State, the Gujarat Legislative Assembly was dissolved. The opposition parties then launched a movement ‘to restore democracy’ in Gujarat. In the Assembly elections, held in Gujarat in June 1975, the Congress Party faced a strong opposition which resulted in its defeat.

9. What was the effect of Allahabad High Court’s Judgement of 12 June 1975?

Answer: The Allahabad High Court delivered its judgement on 12 June 1975. Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha declared Indira Gandhi guilty of ‘electoral malpractices’ including excessive election expenditure and the misuse of government machinery for party purposes. The Judge set aside her election and also debarred her from contesting any election for six years. The opposition parties now began to shout for her resignation. Since the Prime Minister had been unseated, she had lost all moral claims to continue in power. She appealed to the Supreme Court and obtained only a conditional stay order on June 24. She could remain a member of the Lok Sabha pending until a decision on her appeal was made. She, however, could not participate in the proceedings of the House.

10. What was the 39th Constitutional Amendment Act?

Answer:  In Order to undo the effect of the Allahabad High Court Judgement which unseated Indira Gandhi, the 39th Amendment Act (1975) provided that disputes relating to the elections of President, Vice-President, Prime Minister and Speaker were to be determined by such authority as would be constituted by the Parliament. Thus their elections could not be challenged in any Court on any ground. Many changes had been made to the Constitution of India by the 42nd Amendment Act (1976). A new Chapter on ‘Fundamental Duties’ was added to the Constitution. The term of the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies was extended from 5 to 6 years. A new clause was inserted in Article 368. It said that no Amendment to the Constitution shall be challenged in any Court.

C. Very short answer questions

11. What is the expanded form of PUCL?

Answer: The expanded form of PUCL is People’s Union for Civil Liberties.

12. Who led the Railway Strike of 1974?

Answer: The Railway Strike of 1974 was led by George Fernandes.

13. Who filed an Election Petition in Allahabad High Court against Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha?

Answer: The Election Petition in Allahabad High Court against Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha was filed by Raj Narain.

14. Who was Charu Majumdar?

Answer: Charu Majumdar was a Communist leader who led the peasants in Naxalbari, a hilly area in Northern Bengal, to forcibly occupy lands in an anti-landlord movement.

D. Multiple Choice Questions: Tick (✔) the correct answer

15. Who among the Indian leaders gave a Call for Total Revolution in the early 1970s?

Answer: (c) Jayaprakash Narayan

16. The students in Gujarat fought in 1974 under the banner of:

Answer: (a) Nav Nirman Samiti

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Extra/additional MCQs

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