Pre-University (CIE) Comparative Government: Specimen Questions with Answers 8 - 9 of 53

Question number: 8

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Short Answer Question▾

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In reference to UK, differentiate between conventions of the constitutions and the laws of the constitution.

Explanation

  • The laws of the constitutions are the historic documents and parliament statutes such as the Magna Carta, The Petition of Rights, and the Bill of Rights (1689), The Habeas Corpus Act, The Act of Settlement (1701), The Septennials Act and The Reforms Act.

  • The conventions of the constitutions on the other hand are the principles and the rules which have never been enacted by parliament but have grown up entirely on the basis of usage and practice. These principles and rules do not appear in the statute books because they are not laws.

  • The conventions are the fundamental rules of British Constitution and it is difficult to see how these can be violated even though they are not part of the statute laws. Moreover many of the fundamental rules of the British Constitution have been now recognized by the acts of parliament.

Question number: 9

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Essay Question▾

Describe in Detail

Explain separation of powers.

Explanation

  • The principle of ‘Separation of Powers’ is one of the most important features of American Constitution. The Constitution clearly states that all legislative, executive and judicial powers are vested in the Congress, the President and the Supreme Court respectively. There is no other Constitution in which the demarcation of the three wings of the administration is so clear. In India, for example, the entire legislative power of the Union is vested in the Parliament, but the Parliament consists of the President and two Houses.

  • This shows that the executive has been associated with the legislature in a very active manner. Similarly, in England, parliament is sovereign in every respect and executive is subordinate to it. However, in the United States, each of the three wings is separate and distinct without being dependent upon the other. It said that fathers of the American Constitution were deeply impressed by the theory of ‘Separation of Powers’ as proposed by Montesquieu. In their attempt to make the three wings as separate as possible, they have made each one of them independent of each other.

  • The President, for example, has fixed tenure and is not responsible to the Congress. The Congress is independent of the President since it cannot be prorogued or dissolved by him. Similarly, the federal judiciary is also independent of both the executive and legislature. No judge of the Supreme Court can be removed except by a difficult procedure of impeachment.

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