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POLITY TERMINOLOGIES

Polity Terminologies

A

  • Absolute Veto: It refers to the power of the President to withhold his assent to a bill passed by the Parliament

  • Adjournment: It suspends the work in a sitting of Parliament for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks

  • Adjournment Motion: It is introduced in the Parliament to draw attention of the House to a definite matter of urgent public importance, and needs the support of 50 members to be admitted

  • Adjournment sine die: It means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period

  • All-India services: It comprises Civil Services of India, namely the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Forest Service (IFS) and the Indian Police Service (IPS)

  • Anglo-Indians: A person whose father or any of whose other male progenitors in the male line is or was of European descent but who is a native of India.

  • Appointment by the President by a warrant under his hand and seal”: This means that the appointment letter bears the signature and seal of the President of India. The rest of the appointments doesn't require the signature of the President as he can delegate this function to some other authority.

  • Appropriation Bill: It is a money bill that allows the government to withdraw funds from the Consolidated Fund of India to meet its expenses during the course of a financial year

  • Armed rebellion: An open-armed uprising of certain social groups or classes against existing political power

B

  • Bicameralism: The practice of having two Houses of Parliament

  • British Paramountcy: The British Paramountcy in India connotes that the British had established such a power in India which was exercising supreme authority or jurisdiction over the Indian Native States

  • Budget: It is a statement of the estimated receipts and expenditure of the Government of India in a financial year, which begins on 1 April and ends on 31 March of the following year

  • Bye-law: Any rule or law made by any authority for its proper functioning or its regulation

C

  • Calling Attention Motion: It is introduced in the Parliament by a member to call the attention of a minister to a matter of urgent public importance, and to seek an authoritative statement from him on that matter

  • Censure means: It is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism (generally opposition) against the policies of Government or an individual minister. A censure motion can be moved in lower house of the parliament or in a state assembly in India.

  • Certiorari (To be certified): A writ issued by a superior court for the reexamination of an action of a lower court

  • Closure by Compartments: In this closure motion, the clauses of a bill or a lengthy resolution are grouped into parts before the commencement of the debate

  • Closure Motion: It is a motion moved by a member to cut short the debate on a matter before the House

  • Commonwealth: An organization consisting of the United Kingdom and most of the countries that were previously under its rule
  • Communalism: It’s an ideology that, in order to unify the community, suppresses distinctions within the community and emphasizes the essential unity of the community against other communities

  • Communal representation: When one party work or represent on the basis of religion or caste

  • Commutation: It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form

  • Consequential seniority: When an SC/ST employee is promoted purely on reservation basis despite another person waiting for promotion is actually senior to him/her

  • Consolidated Fund of India: It includes revenues, which are received by the government through taxes and expenses incurred in the form of borrowings and loans

  • Constituencies: A group of voters in a specified area who elect a representative to a legislative body

  • Constituent Assembly: A constituent assembly or constitutional assembly is a body or assembly of popularly elected representatives which is assembled for the purpose of drafting or adopting a constitution or similar document

  • Constitutional remedies: It is a right in India which states that a person can move to Supreme court if he/she wants to get their fundamental rights protected

  • Contempt of court: The offense of being disobedient or disrespectful towards the court, its officers, or the proceedings of a court of law

  • Contingency Fund of India: The Secretary, Finance Ministry holds this fund on behalf of the President of India. This fund is used to meet unexpected or unforeseen expenditure.

  • Co-operative societies: It's an organisation of people who have voluntarily come together for the economic, social or cultural benefit

  • Creamy layer: It is a term used in Indian politics to refer to some members of a backward class who are highly advanced socially as well as economically and educationally

  • Criminal Procedure Code: It is the procedural law providing the machinery for the punishment of offenders under substantive criminal law

  • Cultural homogeneity: It is about culture being the same all over

  • Customary rights: It refers to established, traditional patterns of norms that can be observed within a particular socio-cultural setting

D

  • Defection (in Indian politics): Either voluntarily giving up the membership of his party or disobeying (abstaining or voting against) the directives (political whip) of the party leadership on a vote in the legislature

  • Democracy: It is a form of government in which power ultimately comes from the people, who are governed, either through direct voting or through elected representatives

  • Democratic socialism: Having a socialist economy in which the means of production are socially and collectively owned or controlled, alongside a democratic political system of government

  • Dilatory Motion: It is a motion for the adjournment of the debate on a bill/motion/resolution etc. or a motion to retard or delay the progress of business under consideration of the House
  • Dissolution: It ends the very life of the existing House (Only Lok Sabha), and a new House is constituted after general elections are held

  • Distributive Justice: A combination of social justice and economic justice

  • Doctrine of Colourable Legislation: It is the idea that when a legislature wants to do something that it cannot do within the constraints of its government's constitution, it colours the law with a substitute purpose, allowing it to accomplish its original goal

  • Doctrine of Eclipse: It says that any law inconsistent with Fundamental Rights is not invalid

  • Doctrine of Pith and Substance: Supreme Court takes recourse of principles like Pith & Substance and determines the legislative competence (i.e., who has the power of law making, Centre or State or both)

  • Dominion Legislature: Under this system, the British colonies which were under the Crown rule were given the chance to form their own autonomous government. Though the government thus formed was autonomous it still owed allegiance to the crown

  • Double jeopardy: The prosecution or punishment of a person twice for the same offence

  • Drafting Committee: A group of people who sit together to draft or frame a constitution

  • Dual polity: The Constitution establishes a dual polity consisting of the Union at the Centre and the states at the Periphery

  • Due process of law: It is the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person

E

  • Economy Cut Motion: That the amount of the demand be reduced by a specified amount' representing the economy that can be effected

  • Enemy aliens: That country that is at war with India

  • Equality before law: Every person should be treated equally before the law

  • Equal protection of laws: The equality of treatment under equal circumstances

  • Exceptional Grant: It is granted for a special purpose and forms no part of the current service of any financial year

  • Excess Grant: It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that service in the budget for that year

  • External aggression: It covers unilateral attacks with force by one state against another state without a formal declaration of war

  • Ex-officio: It is used to describe something such as a rank or privilege that someone is entitled to because of the job or position they have

  • Ex-post-facto law: A law intended to apply to crimes or events that took place before its passage

  • Extra-constitutional body: Those bodies which are not defined in the Constitution of India and derives their power either through some statue or from an executive order of the government but not directly from the constitution

F

  • Federal laws: It is the body of law created by the federal government of a country

  • Federation: A group of states with a central government but independence in internal affairs

  • Financial bills: Those bills that deal with fiscal matters, that is, revenue or expenditure

  • Financial emergency: If president is satisfied that the financial stability or credit of India or any part of the state is in danger than he can issue a proclamation declaring financial emergency

  • First-Past-The-Post System: A voting system in which a person is elected because they get more votes than anyone else in the area that they want to represent

  • Flexible constitution: One that can be amended in the same manner as the ordinary laws are made, as for example, the British Constitution

  • Fraternity: A sense of brotherhood

  • Friendly aliens: Those countries that have cordial relations with India

G

  • Geo-political: A study of the influence of such factors as geography, economics, and demography on the politics and especially the foreign policy of a state

  • Government gazette: A periodical publication that has been authorised to publish public or legal notices

  • Government Monopoly: The exclusive control of the market supply of a product or service by the government

  • Grants-in-aid: An amount of money given to local government, an institution, or a particular scholar

  • Guillotine Closure: It is one when the undiscussed clauses of a bill or a resolution are also put to vote along with the discussed ones due to want of time (as the time allotted for the discussion is over)

H

  • Habeas corpus (To have the body of): A writ requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention

  • Hereditary titles of nobility: Titles of nobility, positions or styles that are hereditary and thus tend or are bound to remain in particular families

I

  • Indian Diaspora: The Diaspora encompasses a group of people who can either trace their origins to India or who are Indian citizens living abroad, either temporarily or permanently. It includes Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).

  • Indian Penal Code: It is a comprehensive code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law

J

  • Joint sitting: An extraordinary machinery provided by the Constitution to resolve a deadlock between the two Houses over the passage of a bill

  • Judicial activism: The assertive role played by the judiciary to force the other two organs of the government (legislature and executive) to discharge their constitutional duties

  • Judicial interference: It is the actions of courts or judicial officers in matters that are interpreted by some as beyond their constitutionally established role

  • Judicial restraint: It is a theory of judicial interpretation that encourages judges to limit the exercise of their own power

  • Judicial review: Power of the courts of a country to examine the actions of the legislative, executive, and administrative arms of the government and to determine whether such actions are consistent with the constitution

  • Jurist: Someone who is an expert in details of the legal system

K

  • Kangaroo Closure: Under this Closure Motion, only important clauses are taken up for debate and voting and the intervening clauses are skipped over and taken as passed

L

  • Lame-ducks: Those members of the existing Lok Sabha who could not get re-elected to the new Lok Sabha

  • Lame-duck Session: It refers to the last session of the existing Lok Sabha after a new Lok Sabha has been elected

  • Linguistic Minorities: A community that uses a language different from the one spoken by the national majority

  • Locus standi: The right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court

  • Lokpal: It is the first institution of its kind in independent India, established under the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013 to inquire and investigate into allegations of corruption against public functionaries who fall within the scope and ambit of the above Act

  • Lokayukta: An anti-corruption authority constituted at the state level

M

  • Magna Carta: It was a document that established the rights of English barons and major landowners and limiting the absolute authority of the King of England. Part III of the Constitution containing Fundamental Rights (Article 12 to 35) is described as the Magna Carta of India

  • Maladminister: Manage or administer inefficiently or dishonestly

  • Mandamus (We command): This writ is used by the court to order the public official who has failed to perform his duty or refused to do his duty, to resume his work

  • Manual Scavenging: The removal of human excrement from public streets and dry latrines, cleaning septic tanks, gutters, and sewers

  • Martial law: It is the imposition of direct military control of normal civil functions or suspension of civil law by a government, especially in response to a temporary emergency

  • Monarchy:  A country that is ruled by a monarch (such as a king or queen)

  • Money bill: A money bill is generally concerned with the issues related to taxes, borrowing and expenditure of money, audits and accounting, consolidated and contingency funds, etc

  • Moral turpitude: An act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community

  • Motion of Thanks: It is a motion in Indian Parliament which follows the address of the President of India to the joint sitting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha at the commencement of the first session of a new Lok Sabha and the first session of every year

N

  • Naturalised citizen: A naturalized citizen of a particular country is someone who has legally become a citizen of that country, although they were not born there

  • Net proceeds: The proceeds of a tax or a duty minus the cost of collection

  • No-Confidence Motion: It is a statement or vote about whether a person in a position of responsibility (government, managerial, etc.) is no longer deemed fit to hold that position, perhaps because they are inadequate in some aspect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel detrimental

  • No-Day-Yet-Named Motion: It is a motion that has been admitted by the Speaker but no date has been fixed for its discussion

  • Non-statutory: The body of law based on court decisions, customs and practices rather than on statutes

  • Non-justiciable: It means for the enforcement of the provisions of constitution we cannot go to court

O

  • Objectives Resolution: Direction given to Indian constitutional makers on the basis which it has to be written

  • Office of profit: A position that brings to the person holding it some financial gain, or advantage, or benefit

  • Ombudsman: A state official appointed to provide a check on government activity in the interests of the citizen and to oversee the investigation of complaints of improper government activity against the citizen

  • Overseas Citizen of India (OCI): A person who is technically a citizen of another country, but is granted several rights and freedoms enjoyed by Indians

P

  • Panel of Vice-Chairpersons of Rajya Sabha: The Chairman of Rajya Sabha, from time to time, nominates from amongst the members of the House, a panel of not more than six Vice-Chairmen. In the absence of the Chairman and the Deputy Chairman, one of them presides over the House

  • Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments and disqualifications

  • Parliamentary Conventions: A convention is an unwritten understanding about how something in Parliament should be done which, although not legally enforceable, is almost universally observed

  • Person of Indian Origin (PIO): A foreign citizen (except a national of Pakistan, Afghanistan Bangladesh, China, Iran, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal) who at any time held an Indian passport

  • Petition: A written request signed by a lot of people, asking someone in authority or organized body (such as a court) to do something or change something

  • Pleasure of the president: It means that those appointed, can be removed by the president at any time

  • Plebiscite: It is a type of vote to change the constitution or government of a country

  • Pocket Veto: It is a legislative maneuver that allows a president or another official with veto power to exercise that power over a bill by taking no action Contents

  • Point of Order: A member can raise a point of order when the proceedings of the House do not follow the normal rules of procedure

  • Policy Cut Motion: That the amount of the demand be reduced to Re.1/-' representing disapproval of the policy underlying the demand

  • Political justice:  All citizens should have equal political rights, equal access to all political offices and equal voice in the government

  • Preamble: A preliminary introduction to a statute or constitution

  • Prejudicial: Harmful to someone or something

  • Prerogative writs: A writ (official order) directing the behavior of another arm of government, such as an agency, official, or other courts

  • Private Bill: It is introduced by any member of Parliament other than a minister

  • Preventive detention: The imprisonment of a person with the aim of preventing them from committing further offences or of maintaining public order

  • Privilege Motion: It is concerned with the breach of parliamentary privileges by a minister

  • Privy Council: A body that advises the head of state of a nation

  • Procedure established by law: It means that a law that is duly enacted by the legislature or the concerned body is valid if it has followed the correct procedure

  • Prohibition (To forbid): This writ is often issued by a superior court to the lower court directing it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction

  • Prorogued: Discontinue a session of (a parliament or other legislative assembly) without dissolving it

  • Provisional Parliament:  On 26 January 1950 the constitution took effect (commemorated as Republic Day), and the Constituent Assembly became the Provisional Parliament of India (continuing until after the first elections under the new constitution in 1952)

  • Public Account of India: All other public money (other than those which are credited to the Consolidated Fund of India) received by or on behalf of the Government of India shall be credited to the Public Account of India

  • Public Bill: It is presented in parliament by a minister only

  • Public Interest Litigation (PIL): A legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of public interest or general interest in which the public or class of the community have pecuniary interest or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected

  • Public purse: The funds raised by a government by taxation or other means

  • Punitive detention: To punish a person for an offence committed by him after trial and conviction in a court

Q

  • Quasi-criminal: A lawsuit or equity proceeding that has some, but not all, of the qualities of a criminal prosecution

  • Quasi-federal: It is a form of government which is federal in structure but unitary in spirit. for ex. India and Canada

  • Quasi-judicial: A non-judicial body (An arbitrator or tribunal board) which can interpret law

  • Question Hour: The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is slotted for this

  • Quorum: The minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid

  • Quo warranto (By what authority or warrant): Supreme Court or High Court issue this writ to prevent illegal usurpation of a public office by a person

R

  • Recall (Device of direct democracy): It refers to the condition when a person who has been elected be removed from his office before the end of his term by a direct vote

  • Referendum: A direct and universal vote in which an entire electorate is invited to vote on a particular proposal and can have nationwide or local forms

  • Religious denomination: A subgroup within a religion that operates under a common name, tradition, and identity

  • Remission: It implies reducing the period of the sentence without changing its character

  • Republic: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch

  • Reprieve: It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period

  • Residuary powers: Powers which are neither prohibited nor explicitly given by law to any organ of government

  • Respite: It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender

  • Rigid Constitution: This requires a special procedure for its amendment, as for example, the American Constitution

S

  • Scheduled areas: Areas in India with a preponderance of tribal population subject to a special governance mechanism wherein the central government plays a direct role in safeguarding cultural and economic interests of scheduled tribes in the area

  • Self-incrimination: Being forced or coerced to testify against oneself

  • Short notice question: One that is asked by giving a notice of less than ten days and answered orally

  • Sine qua non: An essential condition; a thing that is absolutely necessary

  • Single transferable vote: A vote on a ballot that can be transferred from a candidate of the first choice who has already obtained the necessary quota of votes for election to a candidate marked by the voter as second or third choice in order that every vote may count toward the election of a candidate

  • Solitary confinement: The isolation of a prisoner in a separate cell as a punishment

  • Socialist: It is a populist economic and political system based on public ownership of the means of production

  • Social justice: It is the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political and social rights and opportunities

  • Suo motu: When a court or a government entity takes an action on its own account and not as a result of a party asking or making a motion to move the court or the entity to act

  • Speaker Pro Tem: Pro-tem is a Latin phrase which means “for the time being”. The Pro tem Speaker is a temporary speaker appointed for a limited period of time.

  • Starred question: A Starred Question is one to which a member desires an oral answer from the Minister in the House

  • Statutory: It means relating to rules or laws which have been formally written down

  • Supplementary Grant: It is granted when the amount authorized by the Parliament through the appropriation act for a particular service for the current financial year is found to be insufficient for that year

  • Suit: Civil proceedings instituted by the presentation of a plaint

  • Sumptuary allowance: Granted to various grades of personnel in the Central Government, to compensate for the expenditure incurred on entertaining visitors

  • Suspensive Veto: The President exercises this veto when he returns a bill for reconsideration of the Parliament

  • System of proportional representation: Electoral system that seeks to create a representative body that reflects the overall distribution of public support for each political party

T

  • Territory of India: The territory of India comprises the territories of the states, the union territories and other territories that may be acquired

  • Think Tank: A body of experts providing advice and ideas on specific political or economic problems

  • Three-tier of Government: The government is divided into three levels each with its own level of jurisdiction on matters of governance

  • Token Cut Motion: That the amount of the demand be reduced by a token cut, say of Rs.100/- in order to ventilate a specific grievance which is within the sphere of the responsibility of the Government of India

  • Token Grant: It is granted when funds to meet the proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by reappropriation

U

  • Undischarged insolvent: A person who is unable to pay his debts as they are due or his liabilities cannot be covered by his assets is the insolvent person

  • Uniform Civil Code: It calls for the formulation of one law for India, which would be applicable to all religious communities in matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption

  • Unsound mind: An adult who from infirmity of mind is incapable of managing himself or his affairs

  • Unstarred question: One to which written answer is desired by the member and is deemed to be laid on the Table of the House by Minister

  • Universal adult franchise: It means that the right to vote should be given to all adult citizens without the discrimination of caste, class, colour, religion or gender

V

  • Vote of Credit: It is granted for meeting an unexpected demand upon the resources of India, when on account of the magnitude or the indefinite character of the service, the demand cannot be stated with the details ordinarily given in a budget. Hence, it is like a blank cheque given to the Executive by the Lok Sabha.

W

  • Whip: It is a written order that political party issue to its members for being present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way

  • Whistle Blowers: Anyone who has and reports insider knowledge of illegal activities occurring in an organization

  • Writ: A form of written command in the name of a court or other legal authority to act, or abstain from acting, in a particular way

  • Written constitution: A “codified” constitution i.e. when all the laws are codified into a single document

z

  • Zero hour: It is an informal device available to the members of the Parliament to raise matters without any prior notice