Passage Based Legal Questions for Practice

Passage Based Legal Questions for Practice

 

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

Passage I

Almost three years after the Supreme Court dismissed petitions seeking to decriminalise defamation, there are fresh attempts to sanitise the law often used against political adversaries, journalists and activists to silence legitimate criticism.

In its manifesto released on April 2, the Congress promised to decriminalise defamation to render it a mere civil wrong.

Rejecting the constitutional challenge launched by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against Sections 499 and 500 of Indian Penal Code (criminal defamation), the top court had in May 2016 said: “Right to free speech cannot mean that a citizen can defame the other. Protection of reputation is a fundamental right. It is also a human right. Cumulatively it serves the social interest.”

A Bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, had said: “One cannot be unmindful that right to freedom of speech and expression is a highly valued and cherished right but the Constitution conceives of reasonable restriction. In that context, criminal defamation, which is in existence in the form of Sections 499 and 500 of IPC, is not a restriction on free speech that can be characterised as disproportionate.”

Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution guarantees right to freedom of speech and expression. But defamation is one of the eight grounds listed as reasonable restrictions on right to free speech under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

In simple language, defamation means harming someone’s reputation by making a false and derogatory statement against that person without any lawful justification. It can be by publication of spoken or written words or by visual representation and a single statement can result in both civil and criminal defamation. But to constitute criminal defamation, intention to harm reputation is a must. What is important is that even truth is not a complete defence in criminal defamation as it’s qualified by public good.

Section 500 of IPC prescribes a maximum two-year jail term and fine for criminal defamation.

Extracted with edits from​​ https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/archive/nation/towards-decriminalising-defamation-754955​​ ​​  by​​ The​​ Tribune,​​ April​​ 2019​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ In the context of the given passage, the phrase “sanitize the law” means-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ repealing the law​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ amending the law​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ amending the law to rectify its shortcomings​​ ​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 

 

2.​​ A “constitutional challenge” to the law to defamation means-​​ 

(a)​​ challenging the law to be in violation of provisions of the Constitution​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ challenging the law​​ by approaching the court under provisions contained in the Constitution​​ 

(c)​​ both (a) and (b)​​ 

(d) either (a) or (b)​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

 

3.​​ The​​ given passage suggests that fundamental rights provided under the Indian Constitution are not absolute. This inference is-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Correct​​ 

(b)​​ Incorrect​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ Partly correct​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

 

4.​​ Utterance of such words by a person which tend to lower the reputation of another in the eyes of the public amounts to defamation.​​ Mr. X complains about his son Mr. Y to Mrs. Z, the wife of Mr. X,​​ that “Mr. Y does not take his job seriously”. Mr. Y files a case of defamation against Mr. X. Whether Mr. Y will succeed?​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Yes

(b)​​ No​​  ​​​​ 

(c)​​ Can’t say

(d)​​ None of the above​​ ​​ ​​ 

 

5.​​ In the context of the given passage, ‘IPC’ stands for-​​ 

(a)​​ India’s Penal Code​​ 

(b)​​ Indian Penal Code​​ 

(c)​​ Indo Penal Code​​ 

(d)​​ Intra Penal Code​​  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​  ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

 

Passage II​​ 

Last week, the Supreme Court decided a case that started in 1955 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, over a will that went on for 65 years at various levels of the hierarchy of courts. Another telling example of the snail-paced Indian judicial system, an aberration that has got institutionalised, is the verdict delivered by a Mathura court. Eleven former​​ Rajasthan policemen have been convicted and given life sentence for gunning down Raja Man Singh of Bharatpur and two colleagues in Deeg area in 1985. The case was first heard in a Rajasthan court but got shifted to Uttar Pradesh on instructions from the Supreme Court. It took more than 1,700 hearings and 35 years for a judgment to be pronounced. Shiv Charan Mathur, the Congress Chief Minister, incidentally had to resign within days of the killings.​​ 

A staggering 60,000-plus cases are pending in the apex court itself, 44 lakh in high courts. When cases take two to three decades to be settled, public confidence in the efficacy of the judicial system, routinely described as broken, is bound to be low. Ironically, despite the long-winding and stressful process, the hope that justice will one day be delivered has not ebbed. Much could have been done to build on this faith. There is still ample opportunity for courts to set the house in order. If fast-track courts are possible, so is a serious relook at suggestions such as tweaking working hours, coming down hard on frivolous petitions, discouraging government litigation, encouraging settlement and term-bound handling of election-related complaints. Particular attention is needed to put a cap on appeals and adjournments.

Vikas Dubey getting bail despite several cases registered against him was termed a failure of the institution by the apex court, which while hearing a petition on the gangster’s encounter told the UP Government to uphold the law. The rule of law is the only acceptable way, but so is the law taking its own course without delay.

Extracted with edits from:​​ https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/editorials/judgment-after-35-yrs-116613​​  by​​ The​​ Tribune,​​ July​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ The key issue highlighted in the given passage is-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ pendency of huge number of cases​​ 

(b)​​ time taken by Indian courts to dispose of cases

(c)​​ neither (a) nor (b)​​ 

(d)​​ both (a) and (b)​​ ​​ 

 

2.​​ The​​ word “aberration” means-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ deviation​​ 

(b)​​ abnormality​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ irregularity​​ ​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ all of the above​​ ​​ ​​ 

 

3.​​ The​​ phrase “has not ebbed” means-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ has remained unaltered​​ 

(b)​​ has not decreased​​ 

(c)​​ has not increased​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 

 

4.​​ Based on the given passage, it can be inferred that transfer of a case from one Indian State to another State can be directed by-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ the High Court having jurisdiction over the State from which the case is to be transferred​​ 

(b)​​ the High Court having jurisdiction over the State to which the case is to be transferred​​ 

(c)​​ the Supreme Court​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 

 

5.​​ In the line “Vikas Dubey getting bail despite several cases registered against him was termed a failure of the institution”, the word “institution” refers to-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ the​​ judiciary​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ the​​ executive​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ the​​ legislature​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ ​​ 

 

Answer key with explanations

Passage I

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

Explanation​​ ​​ Use of the word “sanitize” in the context of the given passage means amending the law of defamation to rectify its shortcomings hence option (c) is correct.​​ 

 

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The validity of a law is challenged by alleging it to be in violation of provisions of the Constitution while approaching the High Court or Supreme Court under Articles 226 or 32 of the Constitution respectively therefore option (c) is correct. ​​ ​​ 

 

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The passage states that right to freedom of speech, which is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution, is subject to reasonable restrictions hence option (a) is correct.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

 

Question 4 – Option (b) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ In this case, the alleged statement was made​​ only​​ to Mrs. Z,​​ the wife of Mr. X,​​ who does not constitute the public at large but only one person hence option (b) is correct. ​​ ​​ 

 

Question 5​​ ​​ Option (b) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation –​​ The full form of IPC is Indian Penal Code.​​ ​​ ​​ 

 

Passage II

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

Explanation​​ ​​ A reading of the given passage indicates that option (b) is correct.​​ 

 

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The word ‘aberration’ means an abnormality, irregularity or deviation hence option (d) is correct.​​ 

 

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ meaning of the word ‘ebb’ is to decrease hence option (b) is correct.​​ 

 

Question 4 – Option (c) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation –​​ The given passage states that the Supreme Court had transferred a case from Rajasthan to Uttar Pradesh hence option (c) is correct.​​ 

 

Question 5​​ ​​ Option (a) is the correct answer.​​ 

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ grant of bail is a function performed by the judiciary hence option (a) is correct.​​ ​​ 

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