Practice Legal Questions Based on Passages for CLAT

Practice Legal Questions Based on Passages for CLAT


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

Passage I

If men, including judges and journalists, were angels, there would be no problems of contempt of court. Angelic judges would be undisturbed by extraneous influences and angelic journalists would not seek to influence them”,​​ said Justice Frankfurter of the US Supreme Court in Pennekamp versus Florida (1946). Seventy-four years on, the prophetic words are more relevant in India, where judges often invoke the power of contempt to deal with those ‘scandalising’ the judiciary. The Supreme Court’s decision to initiate contempt proceedings against an activist-lawyer only highlights the problem.

The rationale behind the power of contempt is to safeguard the interests of the common man, who would be adversely affected if the court’s authority is undermined and public confidence in the judiciary is eroded. It is nobody’s case that the power of contempt vested in the Supreme Court and High​​ Courts under the Constitution, respectively, and the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, should be done away with. Those interfering with the due course of judicial proceedings or obstructing the administration of justice must be taken to task. The real problem is about Section 2(c)(i) of the Act: publication of anything — in any manner whatsoever — which ‘scandalises or tends to scandalise or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court’. It is this provision which has been challenged by noted journalists N Ram and Arun Shourie, and Bhushan before the Supreme Court for being vague, manifestly arbitrary and violative of the right to free speech.

The power of contempt is not meant to protect judges or the judiciary from criticism in a democracy, where every individual and institution vested with public function can be subjected to public scrutiny. To quote Justice Frankfurter again, ‘The power to punish for contempt is a safeguard not for judges as persons, but for the function which they exercise.’ Unless the act in question is such that it erodes public faith in the judiciary, it shouldn’t be categorised as criminal contempt. It’s time to have a relook at the definition of ‘criminal contempt’ to make it compatible with democratic norms.

Extracted with edits from​​​​  by​​ The​​ Tribune,​​ August 2020​​ ​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ For a tweet referring to the current Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, the Supreme Court​​ recently​​ initiated​​ contempt​​ proceedings against an “activist lawyer” referred in the given passage who is-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ M.C. Mehta​​ 

(b)​​ Prashant Bhushan​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ Rajeev Dhawan​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 


2.​​ The power to punish for contempt is vested under in the Supreme Court and High Courts under-​​ 

(a)​​ Articles 215 and 129 of the Constitution respectively​​ ​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ Articles 129 and 215 of the Constitution respectively  ​​​​ 

(c)​​ Articles​​ 128 and 215 of the Constitution respectively​​ 

(d)​​ Articles​​ 129 and 214 of the Constitution respectively​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


3.​​ The​​ right to free speech is provided under-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution​​ 

(b)​​ Article 19(1)(b) of the Constitution​​ 

(c)​​ Article 19(1)(c) of the Constitution​​ ​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ Article 19(1)(d) of the Constitution​​ 


4.​​ Mr. X, a practicing lawyer, writes a blog on a website criticizing a judgment passed by the Allahabad High Court for failing to​​ follow the correct position of law settled by the Supreme Court​​ in an earlier decision. Whether the Allahabad High Court can punish Mr. X for committing criminal contempt? ​​ 

(a)​​ Yes

(b)​​ No​​  ​​​​ 

(c)​​ Can’t say

(d)​​ None of the above​​ ​​ ​​ 


5. During prevalence of Corona virus pandemic, the Allahabad High Court passed an order, in a Public Interest Litigation, stating that no eviction or demolition can be done by any person/authority during this period. Mr. X was shown a copy of this order by residents of a gated residential society when he went there to demolish the society gate. Mr. X tore down the copy of the order handed over to him stating that “High Court judges have got no work to do except passing whimsical orders while sitting in air conditioned rooms” and demolished the gate of the society. Whether Mr. X is liable to be punished for criminal contempt?  ​​​​ 

(a) Yes ​​ 

(b) No ​​ 

(c) Can’t say  ​​​​ 

(d) None of the above ​​ 


Passage II​​ 

The judgements pronounced in India or anywhere across the globe​​ are​​ an absolutely refined piece of literary work and should be lucid and easily apprehensible, but a common notion that lies with the honourable judges in our courts is that a judgement shall be reflective of their legal and intellect cognitive capacity. The result is often puzzling and beyond the cognitive incapacity of the masses to understand the reasoning through the​​ language of the judgement.    ​​ 

However, the learned counsel…cannot derive the fullest succour from the aforesaid acqueisence given its sinew suffering partial dissipation from an imminent display occurring in the impunged pronouncement here at where within unravelments are held qua the rendition recorded by the learned Rent Controller”. This excerpt from a judgement of Himachal Pradesh High Court in 2016 is not relevant to this article except to invite the attention of readers towards the language used. Thankfully, this was set aside by Hon’ble Apex court on ground of convoluted English used. A judgment is the statement given by the Judge, on the grounds of a decree or order. It is the end product of the proceedings in the Court.

Landmark judgements such as R v. Prince and R v. McNaughten in the U.S.A and U.K have contributed significantly to the Indian law but it remains an errand persuasive segment of law.​​ While some judgements are forced to stretch beyond the debacle length of 100 pages due to their content and a mandatory urge to incorporate the entire matter spanning over years within a few white sheets, however, most of the judgements comprise of avoidable quotations and citations to shorten the length of entire judgement.​​ 

Use of maxims do not appeal to the common people since they are completely unaware of the same, such barriers serve only to alienate judges and lawyers from the community they serve. The usage of Latin as an illustration of classical learning is unnecessary. A judge shall always stick to the notion that his judgement would not only be read by a person from the legal background but also by a person not so conversant with law.​​ 

It is the duty of the justice servants of our country to make available easy to read and comprehensive texts for the people of the country. Simple words are far more attractive than complex terms. There may be instances where a person is unwilling to go through the endless ocean of a dictionary to apprehend the pronouncements of the judgement and using meticulous terms is the sole reason of such deprivation.   

Using extra terms with identical connotations adds length to the judgement which is rather unnecessary and could had been avoided at a negligible cost of satisfying the grammarian within. The practice of using double or triple negatives within the same sentence goes on without any hindrance and it happens to be one of the most useless practices of all time.

Extracted with edits from:​​​​  by​​ Legal Rioters,​​ July​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ The​​ given passage highlights the need to-​​ 

(a)​​ use simpler language while writing judgments​​ 

(b)​​ employ​​ brevity while writing judgments​​ 

(c)​​ neither (a) nor (b)​​ 

(d)​​ both (a) and (b)​​ ​​ 


2.​​ A judge adjourns a case while recording a statement that “Learned counsels for the parties not present. List this case on 31/08/2020”. This statement is-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ a judgment​​ 

(b)​​ an order​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ a decree​​ ​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


3.​​ The​​ given passage suggests that foreign judgments are not binding on Indian courts.​​ This inference is-​​ 

(a)​​ Correct​​ 

(b)​​ Incorrect​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ Partly correct​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ 


4.​​ While passing an order, a judge writes in the order that “I cannot say that I do not disagree with you”.​​ In a simpler form, the said sentence could have also been​​ written as-

(a)​​ I cannot say that I disagree with you​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ I cannot say that I agree with you​​ 

(c) I can say that I agree with you​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 


5.​​ The given passage suggests that passing judgments which are difficult to understand can lead to multiplicity of litigation. This inference is-​​ 

(a)​​ Correct​​ 

(b)​​ Incorrect​​ 

(c)​​ Can’t say​​ ​​ ​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ ​​ 


Answer key with explanations

Passage I

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The lawyer in question is Prashant Bhushan who had recently tweeted against the Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde.​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ power to punish for contempt is vested in the Supreme Court and High Courts under Articles 129 and 215 of the Constitution respectively.​​  ​​​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ right to free speech is guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ A fair criticism of the judiciary which does not lower the image of the judiciary in the eyes of the public does not constitute criminal contempt hence option (b) is correct.​​  ​​​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation –​​ The​​ actions of Mr. X have obstructed the administration of justice​​ by the Allahabad High Court​​ hence Mr. X is liable to be​​ punished for criminal contempt.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


Passage II

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

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


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

Explanation​​ ​​ A judgment contains the reasons for​​ passing an order and passing of a decree brings the case to an end therefore the statement in question is neither a decree nor judgment but an order.​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ line “it remains an errand persuasive segment of law” indicates that foreign judgments are not binding on Indian courts.​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation –​​ In the given statement, the words “do not” can be removed followed by substituting “disagree” with “agree” to write that “I cannot say that I agree with you”​​ whose connotation is the same as that of the given statement.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ passage contains an example where a judgment of High Court had to be set aside only because of complex language used therein which implies that​​ complex judgments may require parties to approach higher courts for setting them aside on account of inability to understand them.​​ ​​ 

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