Parliamentary System in India 2.0

He appoints the Governor of the State who holds office during his pleasure (Article155 and 156(1)). He assents or withholds his assent to the state bill submitted for his consideration (Article 201).”The President of India makes all major appointments relating to the Union Territories (Articles 239 and240). He has the authority to entrust any state official, functions relating to the Union executive (Article 258).” The President establishes inter-state council if it serves the public interest (Article 263). “The Contingency Fund of India is placed at the disposal of the President (Article 267(1)) and he appoints the chairman and four members of the Finance Commission every five year (Article 280(1)). “The prior recommendation of the President is required with regard to the bills effecting taxation in which States are interested (Article 274(1)).

“The President appoints the chairmen and other members of the Union/Joint Public Service Commission’s (Article315). He has the responsibility of appointing all the members of the commissions of the constitutional/statutory/extra constitutional bodies and lays down their reports on the floor of the Parliament. He does possess powers related to the proclamation of different types of emergencies (Article 352, 356 and 360). He performs certain functions with regard to special provisions related to Jammu and Kashmir (Article370), Maharashtra and Gujarat (Article 371), Nagaland(Article 371A), Assam (Article 371B), Manipur(Article 371C), Andhra Pradesh (Article 371D), Sikkim(Article 371F), Mizoram (Article 371G), Arunachal Pradesh (Article 371H).It is important to note that the President of India, though constitutional head of the state he may be, has significant functions and in fact, performs enormous responsibilities which help add to his stature. One should not overlook the oath he (in the States, the Governor) takes: the President has to help create the institutions of polity and administration, protect the monce they are established, and defend their existence and identities’all such institutions as prescribed in the Constitution.

He cannot, for example, become himself a Prime Minister; he has to see that there is a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. In fact, he has to see that the Constitution and its prescribed institutions exist and work according to the procedure laid down in the Constitution itself. He does not rule himself but he has to see that the administration is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. His indirect election (Articles 54, 55) is not without any reasons, which speaks that he is not merely a nominal head.

And yet, the Indian Presidency functions in the broad framework of a polity that is nothing but is of parliamentary nature:

  • “The office of the Prime Minister as instituted in the Constitution of India is an office of both importance and power;
  • Article 74(1)prescribes a Council of Ministers in which the position of the Prime Minister is that of the head ‘of the Council of Ministers’, i.e he heads the Council Ministers;
  • “This is the article which demands that the President of India must seek aid and advise of the Council of Ministers in the exercise of his functions, i.e., the President does not in fact, cannot act contrary to the advice given, though he may seek the reconsideration of the advice tendered :the advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister is binding on the President which is even not questioned in any court (Article 74(2));)
  • ” The President appoints the Prime Minister and on the advice of the Prime Minister, appoints other ministers(Article 75(1)), i.e. the President cannot appoint the ministers on his own or can not appoint in his discretion, but has to appoint only those who are recommended by the Prime Minister;
  • “The Council Ministers including the Prime Minister are collectively responsible to the House of the People (the Lok Sabha) (Article 75(3): it needs to be noted that though the ministers hold office during the pleasure of the President (Article 75(2), the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister is not collectively responsible to the President’the President too is not collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha: the collective responsibility of the ministers(the Prime Minister is also a minister) is towards the Lok Sabha’this feature assuredly makes our polity a parliamentary polity;
  • A reading of Article 78(a)makes it amply clear that the power of making decisions related to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation lies with the Council of Ministers, which power makes the Council of Ministers as the real executive (a requisitive of any parliamentary system) and the Prime Minister as the head of the government and leader of the Parliament, including that of the Lok Sabha (again, these too reflect the feature related to the Parliamentary system). Indeed, like the British monarch who, in the words of Bagehot has the right ‘to be consulted, to encourage, to warn’, the Indian President also has the power to be heard and heard effectively in so far as he may seek information related to the administration and legislative proposals, and also reconsideration of the decisions taken by a minister, which has not been taken by the Council of Ministers as a whole (Article 78 (b) and (c)). In all these activities, the Prime Minister acts as a channel between44?Indian Polity and Governance the President and the Council of Ministers;
  • An overview of the working of the cabinet system over the years too favours a parliamentary system in the country: all the Presidents, by and large, with the exception of controversy related to Rajendra Prasad’Nehru(Hindu Code Bill) on the one hand, and Zail Singh ‘Rajiv Gandhi on the other, in 1987, have had smooth relations among themselves, the Presidents accepting their constitutional position as the nominal heads in the Indian polity;
  • In matters relating to real administration, it is the Council of Ministers which has always acted as the centre of political activity (policies are evolved at the ministerial level, they are formulated at the cabinet level, their approval by the ministers at the Parliament level, and their execution at the government level) the President oversees and ensures that all this is done in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Admitting the fact of parliamentary polity, in the broad sense of the term, it is important to note the significant position which the President of India possesses in our polity. Like the British monarch, he is not merely a ‘golden’ zero’an ornamental head, nor is he like the US President as the real ruler. “The office of the President of India is not merely an office of honour; it is also not the office, surely, of authority, but his office is an office with responsibilities, a President with a task, a responsible President.

“There is a sense when the framers of the Constitution went in favour of his election, though indirect: he, therefore, is one who represents the whole of India; he is one who protects the federal structure (no alteration in the areas, boundaries, names of the states done without reference being made by him; he is the one who prescribes special provisions in respect of certain states; he is the one who has, at his heart, the welfare of the weaker sections of society); he is the one who has to preserve, protect and defend the institutions as instituted under the provisions of the Constitution. In fact, the real functioning of our polity depends on the office of the President. All other officers work according to the Constitution, he (Governors in the States as well) oversees that the Constitution works, and works properly.

Indian Polity and Governance