Practice Paper on Legal Reasoning Questions

Practice Paper on Legal Reasoning Questions


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

Passage I

The Supreme Court of India with its activism has opened new vistas of jurisprudence and new principles of administrative law have been enunciated. One can say that for the first 25 years from 1950 to 1975, the Courts in India have been looking to the courts from across the frontiers for principles of administrative law. But the post-Maneka era has totally transformed the scenario and the Indian Supreme Court is now looked with awe and admiration for evolving new principles of administrative law. Its contribution in the areas of prison jurisprudence, the emancipation of bonded labour, in spreading human rights culture, in crusading the cause of environmental protection and in providing the right to live with dignity for marginalised has been seminal.

Judicial activism has been necessitated because of executive “non-action”.  Another former Chief Justice J.S. Verma observed that judicial activism is like a sharp-edged tool which has to be used as a scalpel by a skilful surgeon, to cure the malady and not as a Rampuri knife which can kill.​​ The function of the legislature is to make law, the function of the executive is to enforce the law and the function of the judiciary is to apply the law where it is clear and to make the law clear where it is not. In the instant case of the migrant workers, as the executive has initiated the process in the last week of March, the Supreme Court of India with due deference to the elected representatives has been judiciously observing the action of the executive from 31st March to 26th May before taking the suo motu cognizance of the plight of migrant workers. Since the establishment of the Supreme Court of India, it has been working consciously and tirelessly to uphold the rule of law and protect the rights of the citizens. During these hard times of the global pandemic, the most affected section of the society is the migrant labourers. While taking the responsibility on its shoulders, the Supreme Court of India on May 26, 2020, suo moto took cognizance of the problems and miseries faced by the migrant labourers; In Ref Problems and Miseries of Migrant Labourers.

After hearing all concerned, the Court issued an interim direction that no fare either by train or by bus shall be charged from any migrant workers by the States and the Railways​​ while transporting them to their home destination. The migrant workers who are stranded at different places in the country shall be provided food free of cost by the concerned States/Union Territories at different places which shall be publicized and notified to them during the period they are waiting for their turn to board the train or bus.​​ The steps​​ taken by the Apex court of the country seem to be in right direction which deserve appreciation. This is indeed an example of JUDICIOUS ACTIVISM.

Lastly the argument that an immediate lockdown was unconstitutional seems untenable principally because everybody wanted to lockdown without delay to pre-empt the spread of the disease. Today investigations in Britain are going on as to why lockdowns were delayed and the consensus is that delayed lockdown resulted in large scale loss of life. The court and eminent lawyers are not equipped to come to this decision. Some senior members of the bar have disregarded some very essential points during the entire debate. Firstly, there is scientific consensus that lockdowns are crucial in reducing the pandemic.​​ Second, there was clear scientific advice in India to pre-empt large scale deaths, it would be preferable that India went into a lockdown mode. This was discussed in-extenso in the media. In fact, at that point there was a chorus of demands from members of the opposition demanding that India immediately go under lockdown. It is, therefore, a little bit strange that this sort of idea comes in hindsight whereby, they they start protesting that why lockdown has instituted in India in the first place.​​ 

To argue that lockdown took away people’s liberty holds​​ little water as the Government’s primary focus is and has been on protecting lives; liberty comes after that. It would have also been better had the eminent lawyers and activists looked at High Court orders before writing letters to the Supreme Court, knowing fully well that the High Courts are not subordinate. Apparently, some people are more interested in demolition, than giving constructive ideas and preserving the sanctity of institutions. In a democracy, our effort should be towards strengthening the functioning of the institutions by criticising them and not by destroying them. 

Extracted with edits from​​​​  by​​ OpIndia,​​ June​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ The​​ given​​ passage suggests that administrative law of India has developed largely as a result of-​​ 

(a)​​ statutes passed by the Parliament​​ 

(b)​​ decisions passed by Supreme Court and foreign courts​​ 

(c)​​ orders passed by various State governments​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ ​​ 


2.​​ According to the author, Supreme Court of India has substantially contributed towards-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ protection of environment​​ 

(b)​​ protection of human rights​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ abolishment of bonded labour​​ ​​ 

(d) All of the above​​ 


3.​​ The line that judicial activism should not be used​​ as a Rampuri knife which can kill​​ means that-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ judicial activism should be​​ widely practiced by courts​​ 

(b)​​ judicial activism should be regulated by the Parliament​​ 

(c)​​ power of judicial activism should not be abused​​ 

(d) None​​ of the above​​ 


4.​​ The given passage suggests that by taking suo motu cognizance of plight of migrant workers, the Supreme Court​​ abused its power of judicial activism and violated the doctrine of separation of powers. This inference is-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Correct​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ Incorrect​​ 

(c)​​ Partly Correct​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ 


5.​​ In the given passage, the author has discussed the issues of-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ judicial activism​​ 

(b)​​ legality of imposing lockdown during spread of Covid-19 pandemic​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ functioning of various institutions in a democratic country​​ ​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ All​​ of the above


Passage II​​ 

We as a country are undoubtedly excelling in fields such Job growth, economic growth of the poor, International relations, Climate change and many more, but there is one gaping hole in our country’s legislation- Animal cruelty prevention laws. The single greatest testament to this claim is the fact that our country’s most prominent Animal Cruelty prevention law was legislated in 1960, yes, 1960. And since then, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (PCA) has never even been amended. Meaning, the monetary fines imposed for crimes against animals in 1960, still stands to date.

Section 11 of the PCA is the main section which punishes instances of cruelty by listing specific offences. It renders beating, kicking, over-riding, over-driving, over-loading, torturing, which causes unnecessary pain or suffering to any animal, and many other offences punishable. Even though these crimes are deemed “punishable”, let us take a look at that punishment imposed. Subjection of an animal to any of​​ the acts, specified under 11(1)(a) to (o) of the Act, makes the offender (in the case of a first offence) liable to pay a fine that may extend to only fifty rupees. In the case of a second offence or a subsequent offence committed within three years of the previous offence, the offender shall be made to pay a fine of not less than twenty-five rupees, the quantum of which may also extend to one hundred rupees or the offender may be imprisoned for a term which may extend to three months or both.​​ 

PETA says that, “If any society chooses to treat cruelty to animals lightly, they are encouraging violence towards humans too. The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has found that a history of animal abuse is one of the traits that regularly appears in the records of serial rapists and murderers.​​ For instance, the well known criminal Veerappan was a poacher as well as a serial killer.​​ 


In such circumstances, laws that impose a fine of rupees 50 won’t even teach the offender a lesson, let alone prevent others from acting the same way. Such light laws are not only harmful to our society and our animals, it has certain legal implications as well.​​ The proportionality doctrine is not codified explicitly, but rather features in all legislations as a component of administrative law. Proportionality specifically in cases of imposition of punishment needs to satisfy a two-fold purpose, viz. fairness towards the offender and fairness towards the society. ​​ 


An Animal Welfare bill was introduced in the Parliament in 2014, and another Private Member Bill was introduced in 2016, both calling for higher penalties and broadening the scope of offences. Unfortunately, none of these three bills have been passed in parliament and to this date, we are stuck with an Act that is half a century old. With laws this stringent, we as citizens must take up the responsibility of spreading awareness against animal cruelty, educating people of the heinous crimes that are committed on a daily basis, and raising our voices, demanding stricter laws to save those who don’t have one.

Extracted with edits from:​​​​  by​​ The​​ OpIndia,​​ June​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ The​​ phrase “our country’s most prominent Animal Cruelty prevention law was legislated in 1960, yes, 1960” has been used by the author to-​​ 

(a)​​ only highlight the particular year in which the law came into existence​​ ​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ highlight the urgent need for​​ amendment in the animal cruelty prevention law​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ highlight a non-urgent need for amendment in the animal cruelty prevention law  ​​​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 


2.​​ Mr. A was held guilty for killing a dog in the year 2014. Mr. A kills another dog in the year 2016. According to the PCA,​​ for the offence committed in 2016,​​ Mr. A can be punished with-​​ 

(a)​​ a fine extending upto Rs. 50​​ 

(b)​​ a fine extending upto Rs. 100​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ imprisonment upto 3 months​​ 

(d) Both (b) and (c)​​ 


3.​​ The given passage suggests that-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Commission of offences against humans is directly proportional to cruelty against animals​​ 

(b)​​ Commission of offences against humans is inversely proportional to cruelty against animals

(c)​​ Commission of offences against humans is not related to cruelty against animals​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ 


4.​​ According to the author, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ satisfies the test of proportionality​​ 

(b)​​ does not satisfy the test of proportionality​​ ​​  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

(c)​​ partly satisfies the test of proportionality​​  ​​ ​​ ​​​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ ​​ 


5.​​ By using the​​ phrase “with laws this stringent”, the author-​​ 

(a) praises the stringent nature of the animal cruelty law of India​​ 

(b)​​ mocks​​ the animal cruelty law of India for not being stringent​​ 

(c)​​ highlights the stringent nature of the animal cruelty law of India​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ ​​ 



Answer key with explanations

Passage I

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ first paragraph of the passage indicates that Indian administrative law developed from the decisions given by the Supreme Court and foreign courts (courts from across the frontiers).​​ ​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ last line of first paragraph of the given passage indicates that option (d) is correct.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ Justice J.S. Sharma’s statement, when read in its entirety,​​ indicates that option (c) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ line “The steps taken by the Apex court of the country seem to be in right direction which deserve appreciation” indicates that option (b) is correct.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


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

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


Passage II

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

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


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

Explanation​​ ​​ According to the second paragraph of the given passage, punishment for a subsequent offence committed within 3 years of the first offence shall include the punishment mentioned in both options (b) and (c) hence option (d) is correct.​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The example of Veerappan given in the passage indicates that option (a) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation –​​ Since the author​​ has opined​​ that imposition of fine of Rs. 50 is not a harsh enough punishment for the offender,​​ option (b) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The author has stated that the punishment prescribed under PCA is not harsh enough hence option (b) is correct.​​ 


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