The parliamentary system in India
The beginning of the parliamentary system started in Britain.
- India has a parliamentary system that works on a parliamentary form of government present at both center and state.
- In Indian Constitution, Article 74 and Article 75 deals with the Parliamentary system at the center. Whereas, Article 163 and Article 164 deals with the States.
- Article 79 of the Indian Constitution deals with the Constitution of Parliament.
- Parliament comprises two houses
- Lower house or Lok Sabha (also known as Popular house)
- Upper house or Rajya Sabha.
Two types of system
They classified most democratic governments into two types.
- Parliamentary system.
- Presidential system.
- These are classified based on relations between the different organs of the government (executives, legislatures, etc.)
In this article, we are going to cover only about Parliamentary system.
- The Parliamentary system or Parliamentary form of government is the one in which the executive is responsible to the legislature for its policies and acts.
Countries with a Parliamentary system
It is prevalent in countries like
Features of Indian Parliamentary System
- In this system, the President is the Nominal head of the state, having few actual executive powers. Under Article 74, the president acts on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
- Under this system, the Prime minister is the true and real executive in practice. He also heads the Council of ministers.
Majority Party Rule in a parliamentary system
- The parliamentary form of government has majority party rule, so if a political party secures majority seats in the Lok Sabha (also known as the popular house) forms the government.
President appoints Prime minister as the leader of the party. Then the President appoints other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Exception – During the absence of a single party, President invites a coalition of parties to form a government.
Can the Prime minister be a member of the Rajya Sabha?
- Yes. For Example, three Prime Ministers, Indira Gandhi (1966), Deve Gowda (1996), and Manmohan Singh (2004), were members of the Rajya Sabha.
Council of Ministers – Parliamentary system.
- In a parliamentary form of government, members of the council of ministers belong to the same political party. The Prime minister is the head of this council and plays the lead role in the parliamentary form of government.
- The Prime minister is the true executive in practice or real.
The ministers are a member of both the legislature and executive.
Executive as a legislature
- In a parliamentary system, the Executive (Council of ministers) is a part of the legislature only.
- In the parliamentary form of government, ministers are chosen from parliament alone.
- A person cannot be a minister without being a member of the parliament. The constitution mentions that a minister who is not a member of the parliament can either become a member within 6 months, else ceases to be a minister.
- In the parliamentary form of government, the Council of Ministers is accountable to the popular house, which is Lok Sabha.
- It is not accountable to Rajya Sabha.
Can Rajya Sabha remove the Council of ministers?
- No, they cannot remove the Council of ministers. States nominate members of Rajya Sabha and they can’t take any part in the removal of the Council of ministers.
Dissolving Lower House – Parliamentary system
- Executives, which are the council of ministers, enjoy the right to get the legislature dissolved in the Parliamentary form of government. The president can dissolve the lower house on the recommendations of the Prime minister.
Advantages of Parliamentary form of Government
- The government handles such a system. This also makes the government and its ministers responsible to the parliament. Parliament exercises control over them in several ways, such as No-confidence motion, Question hour.
- There are fewer disputes between the Executives and the legislatures because executives (council of ministers) are part of the legislature only.
- Executives comprise a group of individuals who are representatives of people. Hence, it is possible to provide representation to all sections and regions in the government.
Disadvantages of Parliamentary form of government
- The parliamentary system provides a stable government. A No-confidence motion, political defection, or multi-party system based on coalition can make government unstable.
- There is uncertainty in the government’s tenure in the parliamentary form of government. This affects the continuation of the policies. The newly formed government changes the policies of the previous government.
- The absolute majority gives nearly unlimited powers to the cabinet. This was witnessed during the era of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
- The Separation of powers is not clear in the Indian parliamentary system.
- The ministers are not experts in their fields since there is no qualification.
Reason for adopting a parliamentary form of government
- In America, the stability of government is more but less responsibility. This is because of the presidential system that America follows, which gives nearly unlimited power to the president. Also, the separation of powers is more clear in America.
- Diversity is huge in India. We cannot ensure stability and responsibility equally. We need a more responsible government rather than a powerful one that no one can question.
More familiarity with the Parliamentary system
- The parliamentary system had been in operation in India during British rule. We are more familiar with this system.
Stability between legislature and executive.
- The conflict between the legislature and executive is more in the presidential system compared to the parliamentary system. Our newly independent country can’t afford to take such a risk. So we preferred a parliamentary form of government.
Diverse Indian Society.
- The makers of the Constitution adopted the parliamentary form of government because it offers greater scope for giving representation to the various sections of society. This promotes a national spirit among the people.
Some Key Facts
What is Cabinet System?
The Cabinet system is another name for the Parliamentary system given by Ivor Jennings. This name was given because the Cabinet is the nucleus of power in a parliamentary system. The cabinet plays a major role in the parliamentary form of government.
What is an example of the parliamentary system?
- Canada, Italy, Japan, Germany, United Kingdom, Portugal,New -Zealand, The Netherlands, etc. However, their parliamentary system may vary from that of India.
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