CLATalogue Legal Reasoning Test Series Paper 6

CLATalogue Legal Reasoning Test Series Paper 6

Passage 1

It would be wrong to assume that there is an element of judicial arrogance in the act of the Courts in striking down an enactment. The Constitution has assigned to the Courts the function of determining as to whether the laws made by the Legislature are in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution. In adjudicating the constitutional validity of statutes, the Courts discharge an obligation which has been imposed upon them by the Constitution. The Courts would be shirking their responsibility if they hesitate to declare the provisions of a statute to be unconstitutional, even though those provisions are found to be violative of the Articles of the Constitution. Articles 32 and 226 are an integral part of the Constitution and provide remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights and other rights conferred by the Constitution. Hesitation or refusal on the part of the Courts to declare the provisions of an enactment to be unconstitutional, even though they are found to infringe the Constitution because of any notion of judicial humility would in a large number of cases have the effect of taking away or in any case eroding the remedy provided to the aggrieved parties by the Constitution. Abnegation in matters affecting one’s own interest may sometimes be commendable but abnegation in a matter where power is conferred to protect the interest of others against measures which are violative of the Constitution is fraught with serious consequences. It is as much the duty of the Courts to declare a provision of an enactment to be unconstitutional if it contravenes any Article of the Constitution as it is theirs to uphold its validity in case it is found to suffer from no such infirmity. Therefore, the principle is that normally the Courts should raise a presumption in favour of the impugned law; however, if the law under challenge violates the fundamental rights of the citizens, the law is arbitrary, or is discriminatory, the Courts can either hold the law to be totally unconstitutional and strike down the law or the Court may read down the law in such a manner that the law when read down does not violate the Constitution. While the Courts must show restraint while dealing with such issues, the Court cannot shut its eyes to the violations of the fundamental rights of the citizens. Therefore, if the legislature enacts a law which is violative of the fundamental rights of the citizens, is arbitrary and discriminatory, then the Court would be failing in its duty if it does not either strike down the law or read down the law in such a manner that it falls within the four corners of the Constitution.​​ It is not the job of the Court to decide whether a law is good or bad. Policy matters fall within the realm of legislature and not of the Courts. The Court, however, is empowered and has the jurisdiction to decide whether a law is unconstitutional or not.

Questions

  • Which articles of the Constitution provides for the remedy to enforce fundamental rights?

  • 32 and 216

  • 21and 226

  • 32 and 226

  • 226 and 227

Ans. c

Rationale: Articles 32 and 226 are an integral part of the Constitution and provide remedies for enforcement of fundamental rights and other rights conferred by the Constitution

  • What do you understand by the term ‘impugned law’?

  • Law which is precise and clear

  • The law validity of which is doubtful

  • The law which do not exist​​ 

  • Law which is arbitrary

Ans. b

Rationale: impugn means to throw doubt or question the truth or validity or something or someone's character or opinion. Thus impugned law means the law validity of which is doubtful.

  • Who has the power to decide whether a law is good or bad for the society?

  • Supreme Court

  • High Court

  • President

  • Legislature

Ans. d

Rationale: It is not the job of the Court to decide whether a law is good or bad. Policy matters fall within the realm of legislature and not of the Courts.

  • If a law enacted by legislature is found to be arbitrary and violative of fundamental rights, the court has which of the following powers?

  • Strike it down

  • Interpret it in consonance of the Constitution

  • Refer to the legislature

  • Both and b

Ans. b

Rationale: if the legislature enacts a law which is violative of the fundamental rights of the citizens, is arbitrary and discriminatory, then the Court would be failing in its duty if it does not either strike down the law or read down the law in such a manner that it falls within the four corners of the Constitution.

  • What is the function assigned onto the courts by the Constitution?

  • To determine constitutional validity of the law made by legislature

  • To decide whether the law made by legislature is good or bad

  • To determine the societal interest

  • Both b and c

Ans. a

Rationale: The Constitution has assigned to the Courts the function of determining as to whether the laws made by the Legislature are in conformity with the provisions of the Constitution.

Passage 2

From a positivistic point of view, equality is antithetic to arbitrariness. In fact equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies; one belongs to the rule of law in a republic while the other, to the whim and caprice of an absolute monarch. Where an act is arbitrary, it is implicit in it that it is unequal both according to political logic and constitutional law and is therefore violative of Article 14, and if it affects any matter relating to public employment, it is also violative of Article 16. Articles 14 and 16 strike at arbitrariness in State action and ensure fairness and equality of treatment. They require that State action must be based on valid relevant principles applicable alike to all similarly situate and it must not be guided by any extraneous or irrelevant considerations because that would be denial of equality. Where the operative reason for State action, as distinguished from motive inducing from the antechamber of the mind, is not legitimate and relevant but is extraneous and outside the area of permissible considerations, it would amount to mala fide exercise of power and that is hit by Articles 14 and 16. Mala fide exercise of power and arbitrariness are different lethal radiations emanating from the same vice: in fact the latter comprehends the former. Both are inhibited by Articles 14 and 16.​​ The principle of reasonableness, which legally as well as philosophically, is an essential element of equality or non-arbitrariness, pervades Article 14 like a brooding omnipresence and the procedure contemplated by Article 21 must answer the test of reasonableness in order to be in conformity with Article 14. It must be “right and just and fair” and not arbitrary, fanciful or oppressive; otherwise, it would be no procedure at all and the requirement of Article 21 would not be satisfied.​​ Wherever therefore there is arbitrariness in State action whether it be of the legislature or of the executive or of an ‘authority’ under Article 12, Article 14 immediately springs into action and strikes down such State action. In fact, the concept of reasonableness and non-arbitrariness pervades the entire constitutional scheme and is a golden thread which runs through the whole of the fabric of the Constitution.​​ The test of manifest arbitrariness, therefore, as laid down in the aforesaid judgments would apply to invalidate legislation as well as subordinate legislation under Article 14. Manifest arbitrariness, therefore, must be something done by the legislature capriciously, irrationally and/or without adequate determining principle. Also, when something is done which is excessive and disproportionate, such legislation would be manifestly arbitrary. Right to life means a right to live with human dignity. Life should be meaningful and worth living. Life has many shades. Good health is the raison d’etre of a good life. Without good health there cannot be a good life. The State is entitled and empowered to fix the age of consent. The State can make reasonable classification but while making any classification it must show that the classification has been made with the object of achieving a certain end. The classification must have a reasonable nexus with the object sought to be achieved.

Questions​​ 

  • Which of the following Article defines State and authority in the Constitution?

  • 14

  • 16

  • 21

  • 12

Ans. d

Rationale: Wherever therefore there is arbitrariness in State action whether it be of the legislature or of the executive or of an ‘authority’ under Article 12, Article 14 immediately springs into action and strikes down such State action. Thus Article 12 defines State and authority in the Constitution.

  • What do you understand by the phrase ‘raison d’etre’?

  • Effect of a thing

  • Reason for a thing

  • Consequence of a thing

  • Ignorance of a thing

Ans. b

Rationale: the phrase ‘raison d’etre’ means the most important reason or purpose for someone or something's existence.

  • Which of the following principles are protected under rule of law?

  • Arbitrariness

  • capriciousness

  • Equality

  • All the above

Ans. c

Rationale: ‘equality and arbitrariness are sworn enemies; one belongs to the rule of law in a republic while the other, to the whim and caprice of an absolute monarch’. Thus principles of equality are protected under rule of law.

  • Can the State make reasonable classification in favour of a particular minority group?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Not sure

  • None of the above

Ans. a

Rationale: The State can make reasonable classification but while making any classification it must show that the classification has been made with the object of achieving a certain end. The classification must have a reasonable nexus with the object sought to be achieved.

  • The rule of arbitrariness is violative of which of the following articles of the constitution?

  • 14 and 15

  • 15 and 16

  • 14,16 and 21

  • 14,15 and 21

Ans. c

Rationale: Articles 14 and 16 strike at arbitrariness in State action.​​ It must be “right and just and fair” and not arbitrary, fanciful or oppressive; otherwise, it would be no procedure at all and the requirement of Article 21 would not be satisfied.

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