Polity Previous Year Questions UPSC Mains

by Vajiram & Ravi

Indian Polity Previous Year Questions for UPSC Mains can help you understand the UPSC Mains GS Paper-II. The UPSC Mains examination, specifically the General Studies Paper-II, covers a wide range of topics related to Indian Polity and Governance. Here are some of the key topics that are commonly asked in the Polity section of the UPSC Mains exam:

Constitution of India, Preamble, Fundamental Rights, Directive Principles of State Policy, Fundamental Duties, Amendments to the Constitution, Structure of Government, Federalism, Political System and Parties, Governance and Public Policy, Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections, Constitutional Bodies, International Relations and Treaties, Constitutional Amendments and Landmark Judgments.

Indian Polity is a crucial topic in the UPSC Mains GS 2 paper of the Civil Services Examination. This article provides a list of all Polity questions that have been asked in UPSC Mains from the year 2013 to 2023.

Polity Mains Questions 2023

Polity Mains Questions 2023 covers a wide range of topics, including constitutional principles, legal provisions, governance and urban local bodies, international relations, human resource development, competition law, gender justice, and parliamentary procedures. This reflects the comprehensive syllabus of the UPSC Civil Services Examination.

However, several questions emphasise the importance of a deep understanding of the Indian Constitution and its interpretations.

  1. “Constitutionally guaranteed judicial independence is a prerequisite of democracy.” Comment.
  2. Who are entitled to receive free legal aid? Assess the role of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in rendering free legal aid in India.
  3. “The states in India seem reluctant to empower urban local bodies both functionally as well as financially.” Comment.
  4. Compare and contrast the British and Indian approaches to Parliamentary sovereignty.
  5. Discuss the role of Presiding Officers of state legislatures in maintaining order and impartiality in conducting legislative work and in facilitating best democratic practices.
  6. Discuss the role of the Competition Commission of India in containing the abuse of dominant position by the Multinational Corporations in India. Refer to the recent decisions.
  7. e-governance, as a critical tool of governance, has ushered in effectiveness, transparency and accountability in governments. What inadequacies hamper the enhancement of these features?
  8. “The Constitution of India is a living instrument with capabilities of enormous dynamism. It is a constitution made for a progressive society.” Illustrate with special reference to the expanding horizons of the right to life and personal liberty.
  9. Account for the legal and political factors responsible for the reduced frequency of using Article 356 by the Union Governments since the mid-1990s.
  10. Explain the constitutional perspectives of Gender Justice with the help of relevant Constitutional Provisions and case laws.
  11. Explain the significance of the 101st Constitutional Amendment Act. To what extent does it reflect the accommodative spirit of federalism?
  12. Explain the structure of the Parliamentary Committee system. How far have the financial committees helped in the institutionalisation of the Indian Parliament?

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2022

  1. “The most significant achievement of modern law in India is the constitutionalization of environmental problems by the Supreme Court.” Discuss this statement with the help of relevant case laws.
  2. “Right of movement and residence throughout the territory of India are freely available to the Indian citizens, but these rights are not absolute.” Comment.
  3. To what extent, in your opinion, has the decentralisation of power in India changed the governance landscape at the grassroots?
  4. Discuss the role of the Vice-President of India as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
  5. Discuss the role of the National Commission for Backward Classes in the wake of its transformation from a statutory body to a constitutional body.
  6. Discuss the procedures to decide the disputes arising out of the election of a Member of the Parliament or State Legislature under The Representation of the People Act, 1951. What are the grounds on which the election of any returned candidate may be declared void? What remedy is available to the aggrieved party against the decision? Refer to the case laws.
  7. Discuss the essential conditions for the exercise of the legislative powers by the Governor. Discuss the legality of the re-promulgation of ordinances by the Governor without placing them before the Legislature.
  8. “While the national political parties in India favour centralisation, the regional parties are in favour of State autonomy.” Comment.
  9. Critically examine the procedures through which the Presidents of India and France are elected.
  10. Discuss the role of the Election Commission of India in light of the evolution of the Model Code of Conduct.

Polity Previous Year Questions UPSC Mains 2021

  1. How have the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission of India enabled the States to improve their fiscal position?
  2. “Besides being a moral imperative of a Welfare State, primary health structure is a necessary precondition for sustainable development.”
  3. “Earn while you learn” scheme needs to be strengthened to make vocational education and skill training meaningful”
  4. Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analysing their structural and practical limitations suggests remedial measures.
  5. Has digital literacy, particularly in rural areas, coupled with a lack of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) accessibility, hindered socio-economic development? Examine with justification.

Polity PYQs UPSC Mains 2020

  1. “There is a need for simplification of procedure for disqualification of persons found guilty of corrupt practices under the Representation of peoples Act” Comment
  2. “Recent amendments to the Right to Information Act will have profound impact on the autonomy and independence of the Information Commission”. Discuss
  3. How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of federation in India? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer
  4. “Once a speaker, Always a speaker’! Do you think the practice should be adopted to impart objectivity to the office of the Speaker of Lok Sabha? What could be its implications for the robust functioning of parliamentary business in India.
  5. Rajya Sabha has been transformed from a ‘useless stepney tyre’ to the most useful supporting organ in past few decades. Highlight the factors as well as the areas in which this transformation could be visible.

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2019

Q1. “The Central Administrative Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain.

Q2. From the resolution of contentious issues regarding the distribution of legislative powers by the courts, ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’ have emerged. Explain.

Q3. “Parliament’s power to amend the constitution is limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power”. In light of this statement, explain whether parliament under article 368 of the constitution can destroy the basic structure of the constitution by expanding its amending power? (15 marks)

Q4. “The reservation of seats for women in the institution of local self-government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian political process”. Comment.

Q5. “The Attorney-General is the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India.” Discuss.

Q6. Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2018

Q1. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India?

Q2. Whether the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine.

Q3. Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force? (10)

Q4. Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee. (10)

Q5. “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. (10)

Q6. Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.

Q7. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine.

Q8. How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India.

Q9. How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you know about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss.

Q10. Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects?

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2017

Q1. “The local self-government system in India has not proved to be an effective instrument of governance”. Critically examine the statement and give your views to improve the situation. (150 words)

Q2. Critically examine the Supreme Court’s judgement on ‘National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014’ with reference to the appointment of judges of higher judiciary in India. (150 words)

Q3. Discuss the role of the Public Accounts Committee in establishing accountability of the government to the people. (150 words)

Q4. Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in the light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on Right to Privacy. (250 words)

Q5. To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (250 words)

Q6. Is the National Commission for Women able to strategize and tackle the problems that women face at both public and private spheres? Give reasons in support of your answer. (250 words)

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2016

Q1. “The Indian party system is passing through a phase of transition which looks to be full of contradictions and paradoxes.” Discuss.

Q2. Exercise of CAG’s powers in relation to the accounts of the Union and the States is derived from Article 149 of the Indian Constitution. Discuss whether an audit of the Government’s policy implementation could amount to overstepping its own (CAG) jurisdiction.

Q3. Did the Government of India Act, 1935 lay down a federal constitution? Discuss.

Q4. What is a quasi-judicial body? Explain with the help of concrete examples.

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2015

Q1. Discuss the possible factors that inhibit India from enacting for its citizens a uniform civil code as provided for in the Directive Principles of State Policy.

Q2. The concept of cooperative federalism has been increasingly emphasized in recent years. Highlight the drawbacks in the existing structure and the extent to which cooperative federalism would answer the shortcomings.

Q3. In the absence of a well-educated and organised local-level government system, 'Panchayats’ and ‘Samitis’ have remained mainly political institutions and not effective instruments of governance. Critically discuss.

Q4. Resorting to ordinances has always raised concern on violation of the spirit of the separation of powers doctrine. While noting the rationales justifying the power to promulgate ordinances, analyse whether the decisions of the Supreme Court on the issue have further facilitated resorting to this power. Should the power to promulgate ordinances be repealed?

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2014

Q1. Instances of the President’s delay in commuting death sentences has come under public debate as denial of justice. Should there be a time specified for the President to accept/reject such petitions? Analyse.

Q2. The size of the cabinet should be as big as governmental work justifies and as big as the Prime Minister can manage as a team. How far is the efficacy of a government then inversely related to the size of the cabinet? Discuss.

Polity UPSC Mains Questions 2013

Q1. The role of individual MPs (Members of Parliament) has diminished over the years and as a result healthy constructive debates on policy issues are not usually witnessed. How far can this be attributed to the anti-defection law, which was legislated but with a different intention?

Q2. The Supreme Court of India keeps a check on the arbitrary power of the Parliament in amending the Constitution. Discuss critically.

Q3. Discuss the recommendations of the 13th Finance Commission which have been a departure from the previous commissions for strengthening the local government finances.

Q4. ‘A national Lokpal, however strong it may be, cannot resolve the problems of immorality in public affairs’. Discuss.


Is Laxmikanth enough to prepare polity for Mains?

To prepare the polity subject for UPSC Mains, you should integrate your current affairs notes along with the Laxmikanth book.

How to analyse Polity PYQ for Mains?

You can analyse the Polity PYQ for UPSC Mains by studying them in chronological order. This will help you identify the exam pattern and the changing trends of questions for the polity subject.