NCERT Class 9 Civics Chapter 2 - Constitutional Design

Chapter 2 - Constitutional Design

Question 1: What is a constitution? Why do we need a constitution?
Answer:
The constitution of a country is a set of written rules that are accepted by all people living together in a country. Constitution is the supreme law that determines the relationship among people living in a territory (called citizens) and also the relationship between the people and government.
• First, it generates a degree of trust and coordination that is necessary for different kind of people to live together.
• Second, it specifies how the government will be constituted, who will have power to take which decisions.
• Third, it lays down limits on the powers of the government and tells us what the rights of the citizens are.
• Fourth, it expresses the aspirations of the people about creating a good society.

Question 2: What is meant by Constituent Assembly? How was it constituted?
Answer:
An assembly of people’s representatives that writes a constitution for a country.
• Elections to the Constituent Assembly were held in July 1946.
• The Constituent Assembly that wrote the Indian Constitution had 299 members.
• The Assembly represented members from different language, groups, castes, religion, classes and occupation. 

Question 3: Why should we accept the Constitution that was made 70 years ago?
Answer:

• The Constitution does not reflect the views of its members alone. It expresses a broad consensus of its time.
• Over the last half a century, several groups have questioned some provisions of the Constitution. But no large social group or political party has ever questioned the legitimacy of the constitution itself.
• This is an unusual achievement for any Constitution.
• The Constituent Assembly represented the people of India. There was no universal adult franchise at that time. So, the Constituent Assembly couldn’t have been chosen directly by all the people of India.
• Constituent Assembly worked in a systematic, open and consensual manner.

Question 4: “The apartheid system was particularly oppressive for the blacks.” Justify by giving reasons.
Answer:
The apartheid system was particularly oppressive for the blacks.
• Apartheid was the official policy of racial separation and ill treatment of blacks followed by the government of South Africa between 1948 to 1989.
• It was particularly oppressive for the blacks. They were forbidden from living in the white areas.
• They could work in white areas only if they had a permit.
• Trains, buses, taxis, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges, libraries, cinema hall, theatres, beaches, swimming pools, public toilets, were separated for the whites and the blacks. This was called segregation. They couldn’t even visit the churches where the whites worshipped. Blacks couldn’t form associations or protest against the terrible treatment.

Question 5: What is a Preamble and define the following terms used in Preamble
Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic, Justice, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
Answer:
An introductory statement in a constitution which states the reasons and guiding values of the Constitution.
• Sovereign: People have supreme right to make decisions on internal as well as external matters. No external power can dictate the government of India.
• Socialist: Wealth is generated socially and should be shared equally by society. Government should regulate the ownership of land and industry to reduce socio-economic inequalities.
• Secular: Citizens have complete freedom to follow any religion. But there is no official religion. Government treats all religious beliefs and practices with equal respect.
• Democratic: A form of government where people enjoy equal political rights, elect their rulers and hold them accountable. The government is run according to some basic rules.
• Republic: The head of the state is an elected person and not a hereditary position.
• Justice: Citizens cannot be discriminated on the grounds of caste, religion and gender. Social inequalities have to be reduced. Government should work for the welfare of all, especially of the disadvantaged groups.
• Liberty: There are no unreasonable restrictions on the citizens in what they think, how they wish to express their thoughts and the way they wish to follow up their thoughts in action.
• Equality: All are equal before the law. The traditional social inequalities have to be ended. The government should ensure equal opportunity for all.
• Fraternity: All of us should behave as if we are members of the same family. No one should treat a fellow citizen as inferior.

Question 6: What are constitutional amendments? Why are they necessary?
Answer:
A change in the constitution made by the supreme legislative body in a country.
• The Constitution is a very long and detailed document. Therefore, it needs to be amended quite regularly to keep it updated.
• Those who crafted the Indian Constitution felt that it has to be in accordance with people’s aspirations and changes in society.
• So, they made provisions to incorporate changes from time to time. These changes are called constitutional amendments.

Question 7: “Indian Constitution adopted many institutional details and procedures from different countries.” Explain by giving examples.
Answer:
The Indian Constitution adopted many institutional details and procedures from colonial laws like the Government of India Act, 1935.
• Our leaders gained confidence to learn from other countries, but on our own terms.
• Many of our leaders were inspired by the ideals of French Revolution.
• We adopted the practice of democracy in Britain and the Bill of Rights in US.
• The socialist revolution in Russia had inspired many Indians to think of shaping a system based on social and economic equality.
• Yet they were not simply imitating what others had done. At each step they were questioning whether these things suited our country.

Question 8: “The making of the Constitution for huge and diverse country like India was not an easy affair.” Justify the statement.
Answer:
The making of the Constitution for huge and diverse country like India was not an easy affair.
• At that time the people of India were emerging from the status of subjects to that of citizen.
• The country was born through a partition on the basis of religious differences. This was a traumatic experience for the people of India and Pakistan.
• The British had left it to the rulers of the princely states to decide whether they wanted to merge with India or with Pakistan or remain independent.
• When the Constitution was being written, the future of the country did not look as secure as it does today.
• The makers of the Constitution had anxieties about the present and the future of the country.
India being a country with varied culture, language, religion, socio-economic differences - the interest of every section of the society should have been given equal importance, rights and opportunity so that no one should be inferior and left out. The Constitution arrangement need to be made in such a manner that all should lead harmonious life.

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