Questions for Practice on Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020

Questions for Practice on Legal Reasoning for CLAT 2020


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

Passage I

It is disquieting, to say the least, to observe the happenings in the Supreme Court in the ongoing saga of the suo moto contempt petition initiated by it against Prashant Bhushan. The facts are too well known to be laboured. An entirely factual and innocuous tweet by Bhushan on June 29, 2020 (corroborated by an accompanying photograph), regarding the conduct of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde in his personal capacity as a private citizen, became the subject matter of an incomprehensible, garbled and non-maintainable contempt petition. 


This thoroughly misconceived criminal contempt petition, filed by one Mahek Maheshwari, violated the legal requirement of obtaining the prior sanction/permission of the attorney general. Despite this the petition appears to have been promptly placed on the administrative side before Justice Arun Mishra, who assigned this matter to a bench headed by himself.​​ 


The circumstances and haste in which this departure from the ordinary procedure occurred (where the chief justice would assign the matter to a bench, as the master of the roster) and the manner in which the matter was placed before Justice Mishra on the administrative side are shrouded in mystery. And so, a misconceived petition filed by one Mahek Maheshwari magically morphed into a suo moto contempt petition by the Supreme Court, titled In Re Prashant Bhushan and Anr.​​ 

It is in this context that we must analyse Bhushan’s grievance about the animus and bias of Justice Mishra towards him, in a letter addressed to the chief justice on July 25. The letter states: “It is mysterious and deeply disturbing, how a petition of such nature is placed directly before Hon’ble Justice Arun Mishra on the administrative side, of which, he then takes suo moto cognizance and further, appropriating the powers of master of roster, he lists the case before a bench headed by himself?

The touchstone on which these grievances have to be judged is the test of a real likelihood of bias, a test repeatedly adopted by the Supreme Court. So judged, I believe that there can be little doubt that the test is met in the case of the suo moto contempt being heard by a bench headed by Justice Mishra; and that Bhushan has cause to have a reasonable apprehension that justice will not be seen to be done.​​ 

It is obvious to me that the present contempt proceedings, not to mention the revival of the 2009 proceedings, are nothing but an attempt to threaten Bhushan – a fierce critic of the court and its judges – into silence. These contempt proceedings are also intended to have a chilling effect on the freedom of speech; and stand as a warning to others not to speak out against the judges of the Supreme Court.

And what of the puzzling fact that when urgent and important constitutional matters (including habeas corpus petitions) are languishing for months if not years; when the court did not consider that even the plight of millions of migrants was of sufficient urgency to immediately take up those matters; when the court is only functioning in an extremely restricted manner by video conferencing, for urgent matters that can brook no delay, the bench hearing Bhushan’s suo moto contempt matter seems to think that this matter, above all others, deserves the highest priority.

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

1.​​ The​​ word “disquieting” means-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ inducing worry​​ 

(b)​​ inducing happiness​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ inducing curiosity​​ 

(d) None of the above​​ 


2.​​ If a petition filed before a court of law is said to be​​ “non-maintainable”, it means that-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ the petition lacks merit​​ 

(b)​​ the petition cannot be moved before the concerned court​​ under law​​ 

(c)​​ the petition can be moved before the concerned court only with the court’s permission​​ 

(d) Can’t say​​ ​​ ​​ 


3.​​ The​​ phrase “where the chief justice would assign the matter to a bench.....” refers to-​​ 

(a)​​ Chief Justice of India​​ 

(b)​​ Chief Justice of High Court​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ Senior most judge of the Supreme Court​​ 

(d)​​ Junior most judge of the Supreme Court​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 


4.​​ The​​ given passage refers to Freedom of Speech which is a fundamental right under the Indian Constitution. This statement is-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ True​​ 

(b)​​ False, as the passage does not refer to Freedom of Speech ​​ 

(c)​​ False, as Freedom of Speech is not a fundamental right​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ 


5.​​ The Latin term​​ ‘Habeas Corpus’ means- ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Have the body​​ 

(b)​​ We command​​ 

(c)​​ By what warrant​​ 

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


Passage II​​ 

The Delhi high court on Wednesday asked a magisterial court to take a decision on CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat’s petition seeking registration of FIRs against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma and others for their alleged hate speeches in relation to the anti-Citizenship Amendment (Act) protests. Karat’s petition claims that these speeches played a role in instigating the violence in Northeast Delhi in late February this year.


Disposing of Karat’s application, a bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked the Rouse Avenue court hearing the plea to decide on the matter in accordance with law. It issued the directions after Karat’s counsel, Tara Narula, asked for permission to pursue the case before the local court which where the magistrate had reserved the order on her plea on February 26. She said the magistrate did not pronounce the order as the high court was seized of similar issues. In view of the situation, the high court urged the magistrate to decide the application “in accordance with law, rules, regulations and government policy applicable to the case, and as expeditiously as possible and practicable”. The bench also adjourned the hearing on several other petitions pertaining to the Northeast Delhi riots to August 24. Most of these had sought action against political leaders.​​ 


In its submission before the bench, the Delhi Police had through its affidavit on a batch of pleas, stated that the police acted promptly and without showing any fear or favour. This, it said, was the reason why the violence was contained within a matter of days and remained confined to a limited area. The Delhi Police stated that in the investigation “no actionable evidence has surfaced” against political leaders for “instigating or participating in the riots”. ​​ 

Further, it clarified that “speeches of political leaders including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, Anurag Thakur, Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Verma, Waris Pathan, and others are being examined by the Delhi Police and necessary action in this regard will be taken in due course of time if it is found on the evidence that their speech had any nexus with the riots.” As for the petitions which raised questions around the investigation, the Delhi police claimed through the affidavit that these only amounted to blatant and brazen misuse of the public interest litigation.​​ 

Extracted with edits from:​​​​  by​​ The​​ Wire,​​ August​​ 2020​​ ​​ ​​  ​​​​  ​​​​ 

1.​​ In a legal context, ‘FIR’ stands for-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Full Information Report​​ 

(b)​​ Fresh Information Report

(c)​​ False Information Report

(d)​​ First Information Report​​ 


2.​​ The case filed by Brinda Karat was heard by-​​ ​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ Single judge bench of Delhi High Court​​ ​​ 

(b)​​ Division bench of Delhi High Court​​ 

(c)​​ Constitutional bench of Delhi High Court​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ Full bench of Delhi High Court​​ ​​ 


3.​​ The passage indicates that several petitions, other than that of Brinda Karat, had been filed before Delhi High Court seeking registration of FIRs against political leaders. This inference is-​​ 

(a)​​ Correct​​ 

(b)​​ Incorrect​​ ​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ Partly correct​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 


4.​​ The phrase ‘adjourned the hearing’ means-​​ ​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ posted a matter for hearing on the following day​​ 

(b)​​ posted a matter for hearing in the following week​​ ​​ 

(c)​​ posted a matter for hearing on any future date decided by the court​​ ​​ 

(d)​​ None of the above​​ 


5.​​ The given passage indicates that-​​ ​​ 

(a)​​ the Delhi police supported the plea of Brinda Karat​​ 

(b)​​ the Delhi police opposed the plea of Brinda Karat​​ 

(c)​​ the Delhi police took no stand on the plea of Brinda Karat​​ 

(d)​​ Can’t say​​ ​​ 


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

Passage I

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

Explanation​​ ​​ The literal meaning of the word “disquieting” is inducing worry which is also the context in which the word has been used in the passage.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ In the given context, the​​ word “maintainable” means that the petition can be moved before a concerned court hence option (b) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ Supreme Court is headed by the Chief Justice of India hence option (a) is correct.​​ ​​ ​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ Freedom of Speech is a fundamental right as per Article 19 of the Indian Constitution hence option (a) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation –​​ ‘Habeas Corpus’ is Latin for ‘have the body’ hence option (a) is correct.​​ ​​ 


Passage II

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

Explanation​​ ​​ ‘FIR’ marks the first instance of reporting an alleged offence to the police and therefore stands for ‘First Information Report’.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ A High Court bench having 2 judges is called a Division bench hence option (b) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The line “high court was seized of similar issues...” indicates that option (a) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation –​​ Adjourning a matter means posting it for hearing on any day which may be decided by the court hence option (c) is correct.​​ 


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

Explanation​​ ​​ The​​ Delhi police had argued that no evidence had been found against the political leaders instigating or participating in riots which implies that it opposed the petition filed by Brinda Karat.​​ 

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