Parliamentary Government in India
Constitution of India provides for a Parliamentary form of government. In doing so it follows the British model of government. Infect, the system of government that operated in India before 1947 was quite similar to the British model of parliamentary government. The members of the Constituent Assembly therefore decided to adopt this form of government for Independent of India. The Constitution of India provides for the organization of parliamentary government both at the central and state levels. All the features of a parliamentary government: Close relationship between the legislature and executive, responsibility of the executive before the legislature, head of the state as the nominal executive, and Prime Minister and the Council of Minister as the real executive, have been adopted in India. More Info
Responsible Government or Cabinet Government
Parliamentary Government is also known as Cabinet Government or Responsible Government. It is also sometimes called Parliamentary Democracy. The President of India is the Head of State. He is the nominal executive. Theoretically all the executive powers are in his hand. But these are not actually exercised by him. These are really used by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. It is the real executive. The resident always acts upon the advice of the Council of Ministers. Prime Minister is the head of government. He is the chief adviser to the President. The office of the Prime Minister is the most powerful office in India. For all its policies and decisions, the Council of Ministers and Prime Minister is responsible before the Parliament. The Parliament exercises continuous control over the working of the Council of Ministers. The leader of majority party in Parliament (Lok Sabha) is always appointed as always appointed as the Prime Minister and all ministers are essentially members of the Parliament. Ministers act both as legislators as well as heads of government departments. There is a close relationship between Council of Ministers and the Parliament and the former is responsible before the latter. Parliamentary form of government has been working successfully in India since 1950. More Info..
The Nominal executive: The president of India.
India is a democratic republic. President of India is the Head of State. He is an elected head of state. He is the Nominal Executive and is elected for a term of five years. All the elected members of the Parliament elect president of India (i.e. Elected members of the Legislatives Assemblies (Vidhan Sabhas) of all the 28 states of India. (i.e. all the elected MLAs of all the states). More Info..
Term of Office
The election of the President is held after every five years. Each elected President holds his office for a term of 5 years. However, there is no bar on the re-election of the same person as President. Dr. Rajendra Prasad got the honor of being the first President of India. Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has been holding this office since July 2002. The next election of the President will be held in July 2007.
Powers and Functions of President
The office of the President of the India is the highest office. He is the head of state as well as the chief executive of India. He represents the sovereignty of India. The Constitution gives to him all the executive powers of India. He is the supreme commander of India armed forces – Army, Airforce and Navy.
President as Chief Executive and Head of State
The President of India is the head of state as well as the Chief Executive. However, in reality all his powers are really used by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The President always acts upon the advice given by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. All appointments, treaties and other decisions are made in the name of the President by the council of Ministers. More Info..
The President of India is the nominal executive in whose name all the executive powers are exercised by the real executive i.e. by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The bills passed by the Parliament become laws when signed by the President. The President, however, has no power to reject these. In case he has certain doubts in respect of any such bill, he can ask the Parliament of reconsider the same. When the Parliament reposes that bill, the President has to sign it, and it becomes a law. As head of the state, the President of India performs several ceremonial functions. He speaks for the nation. He represents India and the sovereignty of India. He sends India’s ambassadors to other countries and receives the ambassadors of other countries in India.
President of India as the Sovereign
When the President addresses the Nation or attends any function, our Natural Anthem is played before and after his address. This symbolizes the sovereign status of the President.
The prime Ministers and The council of Ministers
In India, the real executive is the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head. The powers of the President of India are really used by it. The most powerful person is the Prime Minister of India. He is the head of government and uses vast executive powers. He is the real maker of the Council of Ministers. He selects his term of ministers. He decides as to which department will be headed by which ministers. He can change the departments of the ministers at any time. He can get any minister removed by the President of India. When Prime Minister resigns, it means the resignation of the whole Council of Ministers. All decisions of the government are taken which the consent of the Prime minister. He plays most important role in making the policies of the government. He holds a very strong position. More Info..
Real Executive in India
In India Parliamentary Government, the Council of Ministers with Prime Minister its head is the real executive. The President acts on its advice. The Prime minister is his chief advisor. The Prime Minister of India is the real center of power. There is close relationship between the council of Ministers by passing a vote of no confidence against it or against the Prime Minister. The Parliament maintains a continuous control over the working of the Council of Ministers.
Main features of Parliamentary government
President as Head of state and the Nominal Executive
President of India is the head of State. He is chief executive of India. However, he is only a nominal executive. All the powers are exercised in his name. A nominal executive is one in whose name powers are exercised. He himself dons not exercise these. President of India is the Nominal Executive. Theoretically, the Prime Minister and all other ministers are advisors to the President. But in reality the Prime Minister and his council of Ministers The President always acts in accordance with its advice. Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers constitute the real executive. It used all the powers of the President.
Prime Minister as the Head of Government and real center of power
Prime Minister is the real center of the power in India. He is the leader of majority in the Lok Sabha. The President formally appoints him. Prime Minister is the real maker of the Council of Ministers. The President upon the advice of the Prime Minister appoints all members.
Prime Minister as the Captain of the council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers works under the leadership, direction and control of the Prime Minister. No one can become or remain a minister without the consent of the Prime Minister. Any minister who disagrees with the Prime Minister has to resign and quit the ministry. The Prime Minister can ask any minister to resign. When the Prime Minister resigns, it is taken to be the resignation of entire Council of Ministers.
Cabinet as the powerful policy-making body
Cabinet is the most important part of the Council of Ministers. It consists of around 20 cabinet ministers the senior most ministers who are in charge of major departments of government. The Cabinet makes all the policies and decisions of the Government. The Prime Minister directs and controls its working. He is the captain of the Cabinet.
Close Relationship between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers
Each minister is essentially a member of the either house of Union Parliament. If any non-member becomes a minister, he has to become a Member of Parliament (MP) within six months. In case of the failure to do so, he has to quit his minister ship. The Council of Ministers and the Parliament always work together. Ministers as members of the Parliament actively participate in its working. They take full part in law making.
A very distinctive and important feature of our parliamentary government is the principle of ministerial responsibility. The Council of Ministers is responsible before the Parliament for all its activities and decisions. Ministerial Responsibility has three main aspects. Indian Council of Ministers is fully responsible before the Union Parliament.
Ministers responsibility for all the acts of the President
The Council of Ministers is responsible for all the decisions and actions of the President. The President always acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. Prime minister is the chief advisor of the President. Every decision of the President is really the decision of the Council of Ministers. It is therefore responsible for all the decisions and actions of the President.
Individual Responsibility of each Minister
Each Minister is the head of the one or few departments. The concerned minister is responsible for the working of his department. In case anything wrong happens in his department, the minister is accountable before the Parliament. The Parliament has the power to pass a vote of no confidence or a censure motion against him. In this event the concerned minister has to tender his resignation. In case he refuses to do so the Prime Minister can get him removed by the President of India.
Collective Responsibility of the Council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible before the Parliament, in fact before the Lok Sabha. In case the Lok Sabha rejects any law or policy or decision or budget proposal made by the ministry, it is taken to be a vote of confidence against the entire Council of Ministers. In this event the Council of Ministers resigns and goes out of office. Likewise, when the Lok Sabha passes a direct vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister, it also means a lack of confidence in it. This also leads to the resignation of the entire Council of Ministers. This system is called Collective Responsibility of the Ministry before the Parliament.
Continuous Control of Parliament over the Council of Ministers.
The Parliament has the means to continuously supervise and control the working of the Council of Ministers. The members of the Parliament can put questions to the ministers, which have to be essentially answered by them. MPs can seek any information or report from the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers depends upon the Parliament for getting passed all necessary laws. The finances of the country are under the control of the Parliament. The Council of Ministers cannot spend any money or levy or collect any tax without the approval of the Parliament.