THE PARLIAMENTARY FORM OF GOVERNMENT

-Neha Yadav

Background:

In a democratic system, the government can be divided into two systems one is parliamentary and other is the presidential system based on the relationship between the executive and the legislature. In the parliamentary system of government, the executive branch of government has direct or indirect support of the parliament.

In a parliamentary system of government, the head of the state may be a monarch or a president, but both of these positions are ceremonial. 

The Parliamentary system usually has a head of government and a head of state. This parliamentary system of government is also known as the Cabinet government due to concentration of executive powers in the cabinet. The parliamentary form of government is led by representatives of the people as adopted in India. Parliamentarianism helps in quicker decision making.

Constitution of India under Articles 74 and 75 deals with the parliamentary system at centre and Article 163 and 164 deals with the Parliamentary system at the states.

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ELEMENTS AND FEATURES OF PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM:

The features of a parliamentary system are as follows:

  1. Nominal and Real Head – The head of the state holds a ceremonial position and is the nominal executive. 
  2. Majority Party Rule – The party which wins majority seats in the elections of the lower house form the government. In India, the president invites the leader of the majority party in Lok Sabha to form the government. The President appoints the leader as the Prime Minister and the other ministers are appointed by the president on the advice of Prime Minister.
  3. Collective Responsibility – The council of ministers are collectively responsible to the parliament. The government survives till the time it enjoys the majority support of members in the Lok Sabha. So, Lok Sabha is empowered to introduce no-confidence motion against the government.
  4. Prime Minister as the Centre of Power – The Prime Minister is the real executive. Being the head of the government, the council of ministers and the ruling government prime minister plays a significant and important role in the working of the government.
  5. A Parliamentary Opposition – As no government in the parliament can get total majority support so there is always an opposition party. The opposition plays an important role in checking the arbitrary use of authority by the political executive.
  6. Independent Civil Services – The civil servants advice and implement decisions of the government. The civil servants hold permanent appointment based on the merit-based selection process and also ensure efficiency in execution of duties and responsibilities.
  7. Secrecy – The members of the executive in this system have to take an oath of secrecy before entering their office and have to follow the principle of secrecy in matters such as proceeding, executive meetings, policymaking etc.

ADVANTAGES OF PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM –

The parliamentary system has the following advantages over the presidential system:

  1. Represents diverse groups – The parliamentary form of government provides opportunities to various diverse groups to give or share their views in the framing of laws and policymaking.
  2. Good relations between Legislature and Executive – The executive is a part of the legislature.
  3. No Authoritarianism – This form of government decreases the tendency of authoritarianism as the power is vested in the council of the minister rather than a single individual. The parliament has the power to remove the government through a no-confidence motion.
  4. Responsible Government – The parliament can check the activities of the executive as the latter is responsible to the former. In the presidential system, the president is not responsible to the legislature.
  5. Checks and balance – Each branch of government in a parliament system is governed by a system of check and balance.
  6. Allows for an election to be called – Election can be called within a parliamentary system by the people or those who were elected. It makes easier for people to call for a change if they feel so.

DISADVANTAGES OF PARLIAMENTARY SYSTEM –

  1. It reduces the voice of minority parties – The large, established political parties have the most influence in a parliamentary system. Except when a coalition is necessary, those with large parties tend to ignore the needs of the smaller parties.
  2. Separation from the executive branch – The executive branch is directly influenced by the legislative branch in this system of government.
  3. It does not change royal influences – The Parliamentary system is often overseen by a monarch or royal figure. They may have zero control or ultimate control over the legislature passed by the government.
  4. . The conflict between the head of the state and state of the government –The dual executive can be a source of conflict in a parliamentary system of government.

5.   May drift into instability – There is a tendency to drift toward instability. This happens when a vote of no-confidence is passed in the government by the legislature and it has to resign.  

This system of parliamentary form government is led by representatives of the people. As it was being followed by England and was also adopted in Indian too. Parliamentarianism helps in quicker decision making.

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