India’s Parliamentary System

The Constitution of India has, more or less, opted f or a parliamentary democracy in the country. In adopting such a parliamentary system, the framers of the Constitution were influenced by the British pattern for reasons such as (a) India did have the experience of parliamentary form of government and (b) what they found the tradition through the British rule in India. Sardar Patel, while announcing the decision of the Union and Provincial Constitution Committees on June 5, 1947, had said: “Both these met and they come to the conclusion that it would suit the conditions of this country better to adopt the parliamentary system of Constitution, the British type of Constitution with which we are familiar.”

Nehru himself explained in the Lok Sabha as late as March 28, 1957: “We chose the system of parliamentary democracy deliberately, we chose it not only because, to some extent, we had always thought it in keeping with our own old traditions. We chose it—let us give credit where the credit is due—because we approved of its functioning in other countries, more specially in the United Kingdom.” To summarise, our option for parliamentary democracy had our own definite reason:

(i) it was a system with which we had grown familiar;

(ii) it seemed providing effective leadership during times of crises;

(iii) it was supposed to ensure a harmony between the executive and the legislature; and

(iv) it was thought to have ensured us both accountability and responsiveness. As compared to the claims of more stability seen in the presidential system, we chose the claims of more responsibility.

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