(This report first appeared in ThePrint on 25 August 2019.)
New Delhi: In 1969, India found itself in a peculiar situation when the offices of the President and Vice-President both got vacant at the same time. So, on whom did the duties of the two offices fall? In keeping with the President (Discharge of Functions) Act, 1969, the then Chief Justice of India, Justice Mohammad Hidayatullah, was tasked with these additional responsibilities.
This was one of the questions faced by students participating in the west regional round of ConQuest 2019, India’s premier national quiz on the Indian Constitution, history and politics, Saturday.
The west round of the 4th edition of ConQuest was held at MM Shankarrao Chavan Law College, Pune.
The quiz is organised by the Centre for Law and Policy Research (CLPR).
Constitution, Constituent Assembly and More
‘The Revolutionary’, a four-page document published in 1925 by the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association, was the subject of one of the questions.
Authored and signed by freedom fighter and revolutionary Ram Prasad Bismil, albeit under an alias, the document talked of universal adult suffrage, nationalisation of major industries, and a right to recall elected representatives. But most importantly, it made one of the earliest demands for a Constitution.
Apart from the Constitution itself, the quiz required participants to know about the members of India’s constituent assembly. For instance, one of the questions centred on Gopaldas Ambaidas Desai, a prominent Gandhian and a constituent assembly member who was the first prince to voluntarily accede to India after Independence.
Forty-five teams from various colleges across western India took part in the preliminary round and, after an intense round of quizzing, teams from BITS Pilani, NMIMS School of Law Mumbai, V.M. Salgaocar College of Law Panaji, ILS Law College Pune, and New Law College Pune, made it to the finals. These teams then battled it out in a nerve-wracking contest, and two teams from BITS Pilani bagged the first prize. They will now compete in the national round, to be held later this year.
The south and east regional rounds of ConQuest 2019 were held earlier this month. Two teams from the National Law School of India University Bengaluru won the south regional round held in Bengaluru, while teams from IIT-Kharagpur and National University of Juridical Sciences (NUJS) Kolkata emerged as winners in the east regional round, held in the West Bengal capital.
ThePrint is a digital partner for ConQuest 2019.