Legal Reasoning Questions to Practice for CLAT 2020

Legal Reasoning​​ Questions​​ 

for

​​ CLAT 2020

 

Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow-  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ ​​ 

Passage I

How can we measure crime? The simplest answer would be the official crime statistics. But in a country such as India, dependence on these figures is misleading as police have a regrettable tendency to downgrade crimes or discourage complainant to leave police stations without filing a complaint. Underreporting and non-reporting of criminal cases, which have been a huge problem in all Indian states, totally distort the crime scenario. Despite being aware that allowing mandatory or free registration of cases would certainly inflate crime statistics, Rajasthan became the first Indian state almost a year ago, when the Chief Minister, Ashok Gahlot, demonstrated remarkable political courage by removing the obstacles in mandatory registration of cases. By all accounts, it has been a bold initiative signaling seminal contribution to police reforms in the country.

The reports of various police commissions and available literature on police reforms clearly indicate that non-reporting or non-registration of cases is a widespread and serious problem across India. Being the first point of contact with the criminal justice delivery system, a police station, headed by a Station House Officer (SHO), is the most important unit of police functioning. It is engaged with multiple functions such as the registration of crimes through the First Information Report (FIR) and their investigations, handling of various law and order situations, patrolling, and ensuring safety and security in its jurisdiction. However, what gives the power and visibility to a police station and its SHO is the registration or rather the non-registration of cases.

Under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), registration of an FIR is mandatory if the complaint discloses that a cognizable offence has been committed. Although, a preliminary inquiry may be conducted to ensure the nature of an offence, however the scope of such an inquiry is not to confirm the authenticity or otherwise of the complaint but only to ascertain whether it was cognizable complaint of a crime. In theory, the SHO of a police station cannot avoid registration of the FIR and, action has​​ to​​ be taken against those SHOs who​​ do not immediately register the FIR for a cognizable offence. But it is rarely followed in practice.

Police​​ stations across the country are notorious for not registering cases as police personnel are aware that​​ their performance is judged on the basis of this information, and they have developed various informal mechanisms to circumvent this legal imposition. One cannot deny that police professionals are overworked and unappreciated. Since​​ registration of cases​​ increases the burden as well as the crime statistics of a police station, an SHO has a vested interest in discouraging non-registration of cases in his jurisdiction. 

Police​​ legitimacy and public safety are closely related​​ to each other. ​​ If​​ the​​ police​​ department wants to develop trust and project better image in the public, it cannot afford to resist change. And greater transparency and accountability in the police functioning are political attributes of good governance. However, systemic change also carries huge political risk if not managed without adequate preparations. Gahlot is aware of this risk as he has remarked that free registration of cases would result in sudden increase in number of FIRs. Notwithstanding the spurt in crime​​ rates, as informed by the expanding wave of FIRs registered in the state during the last one year, the practice of mandatory registration of cases must be continued.​​ The primary motive behind mandatory registration of FIR is to ensure quick response to all crimes and attempts to collect evidence, two key elements of a credible investigation and trial. Although the intention is laudable, the implementation would need to be watched carefully.

 

Extracted with edits from:​​ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/blogs/et-commentary/free-registration-of-fir-towards-good-governance/​​ by​​ the Economic Times,​​ 30 January 2020​​ ​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ According to the author, India is likely to have lower crime statistics because-

(a) ​​ India is a crime free country

(b)​​ All Indian states have​​ low crime rates​​ ​​  ​​​​ 

(c)​​ Crime is underreported in India

(d) None of the above

 

2.​​ The passage suggests that registration of FIR is necessary in cases of​​ -  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

(a)​​ All offences

(b)​​ Offences which are cognizable as per opinion of the police

(c)​​ Offences which are cognizable as per law

(d)​​ All non-cognizable offences

 

3.​​ The author has used the term "free registration" to mean​​ -  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

(a)​​ registration of cases without​​ payment of money

(b)​​ compulsory registration of cases by police

(c)​​ compulsory registration of cases by​​ the judiciary

(d) None of the above

 

Passage II​​ 

Chief Justice JS Khehar has expressed concern over the media trial of suspects in any case and hinted that the Supreme Court would draw the line on how much policemen can tell the media during the pre-trial, investigation stage as reportage sometimes undermines free and fair trial.

The proposed guidelines, in line with an existing central government advisory, will decide whether policemen can parade the accused before cameras, whether their identities can be revealed, etc.​​ 
A bench, comprising CJI Khehar and Justice NV Ramana, agreed with a suggestion by amicus curiae Gopal Shankarnarayan that there be some norms on police briefings for the media.

“Reputation of a person is very important. People may be arrested… If they are shown on electronic media, their reputation is smeared forever, even though they may be acquitted later,” CJI Khehar observed.​​ The court was dealing with a host of petitions calling for guidelines for the police or investigating agencies briefing the media about any ongoing investigation. The petitions have been pending since 1999.

In another case, a Constitution bench had already ruled that if any accused faces a smear campaign during trial which may prejudice his case, he would be free to approach the trial court to postpone the reporting of an order.​​ Activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan argued that releasing the names of suspects even before the FIR was filed in some cases in press statements results in pre-judging a case. Often the reputation of totally innocent people are smeared beyond repair.​​ “This not only causes serious harm to the reputation of the person but also affects the trial,” he said.​​ 

The CJI directed the central government and all interested parties such as state governments, the Press Council of India, NHRC etc to submit their views through a questionnaire prepared by the amicus curiae which would decide whether an accused can be paraded before the media, whether his identity can be revealed or the evidence against him played out live on TV, etc.

The court will base its orders on the responses of all stakeholders and revise the existing central government advisory to investigative agencies on the dos and don’ts of media briefings by police.

This would decide how much they can reveal to the press without compromising the possibility of upsetting the fundamental premise of our criminal justice system –– that a person is innocent until proven​​ guilty.​​ 

Extracted with edits​​ from:​​ https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/supreme-court-hints-at-end-to-media-trial/articleshow/57028827.cms​​ by​​ the Economic Times,​​ 08 February 2017  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

 

1.​​ The above passage indicates that media trial​​ directly​​ harms-

(a)​​ the life of a person

(b) the reputation of a person

(c) the property of a person

(d) None of the above​​ 

 

2.​​ For framing guidelines regulating media trial, Supreme Court adopted the process of-​​ 

(a) judicial review​​ 

(b)​​ stakeholder consultation​​  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

(c)​​ both (a) and (b)​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 

 

3.​​ The above passage indicates that the role of "amicus curiae" is to-​​ 

(a) assist the court​​ in process of adjudication​​ 

(b) dictate the court as to what orders it must pass​​ 

(c) regulate the functioning of the court

(d) None of the above  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ ​​  ​​​​ ​​ 

​​ ​​ ​​ 


Answer key with explanations  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

 

Passage I

Question 1 - Option (c) is the correct answer.

Explanation - ​​ Paragraph 1 of the passage mentions that underreporting of cases distorts the crime scenario in India. ​​  ​​​​ 

 

Question 2 - Option (c) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation -​​ Paragraph​​ 3 of the passage indicates that​​ registration of FIR is necessary in cases of offences cognizable as per law.​​ 

 

Question 3 - Option (b) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation -​​ A plain reading of the passage indicates that the author has used the term "free registration" to mean compulsory registration of cases by the police. ​​ ​​ 

 

Passage​​ II

Question 1 - Option (b) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation -​​ Paragraph 3 of the passage indicates that media trial​​ directly​​ harms the reputation of a person.  ​​​​ 

 

Question 2 - Option (c) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation - The​​ Supreme Court shall​​ revise the existing government advisory​​ by passing orders in a pending case which is essentially the process of judicial review.​​ Since it has also decided to obtain views of all interested parties before passing orders,​​ it has also adopted process of stakeholder consultation.​​  ​​​​ 

 

Question 3 - Option (a) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation -​​ Paragraph 2 of the passage indicates that role of amicus curiae is to assist the court. ​​ 

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