Class 8 Social Science | Chapter 1 | The Indian Constitution

1. What is a constitution?

A constitution is a written document in which we can find rules governing a society or country. It tells us what the fundamental nature of a country is. It also defines the nature of the political system in a country.

2. Nepal became a democracy in ………………………..

2006

3. The constituent assembly was formed in …………………………..

1946

4. Distinguish between state and government.

The state refers to the political institution that represents a sovereign people that occupy a definite territory. The government is the elected body responsible for administering and enforcing laws. Governments can change after each election. The government is one part of the state but the state is much more than the government.

5. What is referred to as the conscience of the Indian Constitution?

The section on fundamental rights

6. Which fundamental right enables a person to move the court if one of their fundamental rights are violated?

Right to constitutional remedy

7. Which fundamental right prohibits the employment of children under age 14?

Right against exploitation

8. What is human trafficking?

It refers to the illegal trade in human beings, particularly women and children.

Textbook questions

1. Why does a democratic country need a constitution?

A constitution is a set of written rules that determine how a country is going to be governed. It tells us the fundamental nature of a country. A country is usually made up of different communities of people who have their own beliefs, value systems and needs. While all of them may share certain beliefs, there are also several issues that they cannot agree upon. A constitution serves as a set of rules that all citizens of a country can agree upon as the basis of the way in which they want the country to be governed.

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In a democracy people choose their leaders. The constitution ensures that the chosen leaders do not misuse their authority.

It also prevents the domination of a minority community by the majority.

The constitution guarantees fundamental rights to protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the state.

2. Refer textbook page 16

What is the difference in who exercise ‘Executive Power’ in the above two Constitutions of Nepal?

According to the 1990 constitution of Nepal, the executive power of the kingdom was vested in the King and his council of ministers. This constitution or the government did not reflect the ideals People of Nepal wanted to uphold. Consequently, they fought for a democracy and in 2007 an interim constitution was drafted which vested the executive powers in the hand of the council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister.

3. What would happen if there were no restrictions on the power of elected representatives?

If there were no restrictions on the power of elected representatives, there is a possibility that they will misuse it. This misuse of power can lead to gross injustice and mismanagement.


In each of the following situations, identify the minority. Write one reason why you think it is important to respect the views of the minority in each of these situations.
(a) In a school with 30 teachers, 20 of them are male.
(b) In a city, 5 percent of the population are Buddhists.
(c) In a factory mess for all employees, 80 percent are vegetarians.
(d) In a class of 50 students, 40 belong to more well-off families.

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Answers

(a) Female teachers are in minority. If the views of female teachers are not heard, it can lead to their domination by male teachers.

(b) Buddhists are in minority. If their views are not heard, they may be dominated by majority religions and this can hurt their religious feelings.

(c) Non-vegetarians are in minority. If their views are not heard, they will have to be content with eating vegetarian food. This violates their right to eat the food of their choice.

(d) Poor students are in minority. Their views should be heard as it is essential for them to receive governmental assistance to complete their education. For example, poor students need scholarships, free books, uniforms and stationery.

5. Listed below are the key features of the Indian Constitution. Write two sentences, in your own words, on why you think this feature is an important key feature of

Federalism

Separation of Powers

Fundamental Rights

Parliamentary Form of Government

Solution:

Federalism:

Federalism refers to the existence of more than one level of government in the country. India, for example, has a three tier government. This is essential because India is a country of very diverse communities, languages and ethnicities. It is not possible for a government at the centre to make decisions that ensure the wellbeing of all people.

Separation of Powers

Power is separated or divided to prevent misuse. Indian government has three organs – legislature, executive and judiciary. Each of these organs exercise different powers and act as a check on the other organs of government.

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Fundamental Rights:

These are the set of written rules that would safeguard citizens against the misuse of state power in independent India. Thus, fundamental rights protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the state.

Parliamentary Form of Government:

In a parliamentary form of government, the government at all levels consists of representatives elected by the people. The constitution of India guarantees universal adult franchise for all citizens. That means every Indian citizen regardless of their gender, caste, financial or educational status has an opportunity to select the people who will represent them in the government.

True or false

1. Every country that has a constitution is democratic.

False

2. Democratic countries are likely to have a constitution.

True

3. The state is the same as the government

False

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