Introduction to the Parliamentary System Class 8 Civics Notes Maharashtra State Board
In this chapter, we will learn the machinery or the system of government as given in the Indian Constitution. These questions would lead us to conclude that every country has a different form of government. Before we go ahead to understand different types of Government systems, let us get information about the main branches of government.
The function of the Legislature is to make laws. The Executive implements the law and the Judiciary provides justice. The functions of these organs, their jurisdiction and limitations on their power, and the interrelationship between these organs are decided by the Constitution. It is the nature of their interrelationship that determines the system of government adopted in a particular country. Two main types of government systems are followed.
- Parliamentary System
- Presidential System
Parliamentary System of Government
The Parliamentary System of government developed primarily in England. The English Constitution is unwritten. The governance is carried out by traditions customs and conventions. The ‘British Parliament’ is an institution that has evolved over some time. The Parliamentary system of Government having its roots in ‘Parliament’ is considered as a contribution of England. India has adopted this Parliamentary System. We can see some broad similarities between the Parliamentary system of England and the Parliamentary system of India. However, when looked at an institutional level, the Indian Parliamentary system is different in its content. Let us understand the characteristics of the Indian Parliamentary system of government in India.
- The Parliamentary system is a system of governance. The legislature of the Central government is known as the Parliament. The Indian Parliament is composed of the President, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
- Members of the Lok Sabha are directly elected by the people. The number of members in the House is fixed.
- Elections to the Lok Sabha are held at regular intervals. All political parties contest these elections. The party which gets more than half of the seats is considered as the majority party. The majority party forms the government.
- Sometimes, when no party gets a clear majority, some parties come together to form a majority and they can establish the government. This kind of government is known as a coalition government.
- In this way, candidates directly elected by people become members of the legislature and the party in the majority gets a chance to form the government.
- The leader of the majority party becomes the Prime Minister. He/She selects candidates for ministerial positions from among his/her colleagues.
- The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers chosen by the Prime Minister together form the ‘Executive’ in the Parliamentary system of government.
In the Parliamentary system, the Executive has a dual responsibility:
- As an Executive, they have to implement laws.
- As they are the members of the legislature, they also have to fulfill the responsibilities of the Legislature.
The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to the legislature for all their actions and policies. It means that the Council of Ministers has to work with the legislature. It is for this reason that the parliamentary system is known as a ‘responsible system of government’. Another distinct characteristic of the parliamentary system of government is collective responsibility. Decision taken by any ministry/department is considered the decision of the government. The entire council of ministers is responsible for the decision. In the next two chapters, we will see with examples, how the principle of collective responsibility is brought into practice.
In the Parliamentary System, the Executive is dependent upon the confidence of the legislature in them. This means that the Council of Ministers remains in power till it enjoys the support or confidence of the legislature. If the legislature feels that the Executive does not work according to its wishes, it removes the executive from power by passing a no-confidence motion against the executive. No-confidence motion is an effective tool for keeping a check on the executive.
In the Parliamentary form of government, the legislature is a supreme institution. Elected representatives of the people express the demands and aspirations of common people in the Parliament. The ‘Parliament’ decides upon issues of public welfare. Since it is the House of Representatives of the people and expresses the sovereign authority of the people, it is considered as the supreme body.
Why did India adopt a Parliamentary System of Government?
India adopted the parliamentary system of government for several reasons. The development of parliamentary institutions started during British rule. The British rulers governed by this system. The parliamentary system of government in India is also in a way a product of the freedom movement. Indians were familiar with this system of government. Many discussions took place in the Constituent Assembly over the system of government. The framers of the Constitution made a few changes in the parliamentary system to suit the Indian situation.
Discussions and deliberations are an integral part of the parliamentary form of government. Questions related to public welfare are discussed in the legislature. Members from the opposition party also take part in these discussions. Opposition parties may support the government wherever appropriate, point out shortcomings in policies and laws, put up studied arguments and questions, etc. This helps the legislature to make proper laws.
Presidential System of Government
The presidential system of government can be said to be another important system of government. This type of system exists in countries such as the United States of America. This system is different from the parliamentary form. In this system, the President is the Executive and is independent of the legislature, and the Head of the State (the President) is directly elected by the people. Such a system is known as the Presidential system of government. Though the three organs are independent from each other, there are enough connections between them to work in harmony/coordination. The United States of America has adopted the presidential system of government. These are some features of this system of government.
- In a presidential form of government, the legislature and the executive are not directly dependent on each other. The Houses of the Legislature and the President are directly elected by the people. The President is the executive head and has a lot of powers including the power to implement laws.
- Despite such a structure, the legislature and the executive keep a check on each other. This mutual control over each other can lead to a responsible government.
Apart from the parliamentary and presidential systems of government, other forms of government systems are followed in France, Switzerland, Germany, etc. Several countries owing to their unique circumstances have evolved different systems of government.
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