Exercise : Solutions of Questions on Page Number : 51
Q1 : Write in your own words what you understand by the term the ‘rule of law’. In your response include a fictitious or real example of a violation of the rule of law.
The “rule of law” implies that everyone, regardless of any discrimination, is equal before the law. In an independent and democratic India, all citizens from a rickshaw puller to the Prime Minister are to be judged equally before the law if they violate it by committing a crime. Every violation of a law or commitment of a criminal offence has a specific process to establish guilt and cite its punishment. The “rule of law” ensures that equality is maintained by passing the same judgment on a criminal regardless of his/her status or background.
Violations of the “rule of law” are, sadly enough, aplenty in India. In our country, if one has power or “contacts” with influential people, then it is easy to get away with even gross violations of laws and rules. For example, most politicians today own property and wealth worth crores but they do not even file tax returns on the same. The assets they declare are probably not even half of what they originally own. However, an ordinary income tax official cannot dare to question them for fear of losing his job, because the former have “power” that this official does not possess.
Q2 : State two reasons why historians refute the claim that the British introduced the rule of law in India.
Historians refute the claim that the British introduced the rule of law in India on account of two main reasons. Firstly, colonial law was not devoid of arbitrariness. The Sedition Act of 1870 bears testimony to this. This Act allowed the police to arrest any person protesting against the British government, without due trial.
Secondly, Indian nationalists played a pivotal role in the framing of the Indian Constitution that upholds equality of all to law.
Hence, historians vehemently refute the claim that the British introduced the rule of law to India, because Indians were constantly discriminated against in various spheres of the social, political and administrative life of the country.
Q3 : Re-read the storyboard on how a new law on domestic violence got passed. Describe in your own words the different ways in which women’s groups worked to make this happen.
Women’s groups worked hard and untiringly towards the passing of the new law on domestic violence in India. They used different forums like public protests, hearings, meetings with other organizations, press conferences and petitions to the government to introduce a new reformed bill on domestic violence to include demands like monetary relief and protection against being evicted from the shared household. While earlier, domestic violence only entailed “injury or harm or threat of injury or harm” by an adult male against a woman. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 extended to include physical, economic, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse.
Q4 : Write in your own words what you understand by the following sentence on page 44-45: They also began fighting for greater equality and wanted to change the idea of law from a set of rules that they were forced to obey, to law as including ideas of justice.
This line refers to the protests of Indian nationalists against the violation of the rule of law by British authorities. Indians were discriminated against in their own country by the British colonists and the Sedition Act of 1870 was the most prolific example of the breach of the rule of law. This Act was remonstrated against by Indian freedom fighters in favour of a more just set of rules based on ideals of equality.
Many Indians began to practice the legal profession and used it to demand and gain equal rights for all. Thus, Indians played a major role in the evolution of the rule of law during times of colonial rule.