In this article, we will discuss the parliamentary system in a simple and easy way, and try to understand its various important aspects, So to understand well, definitely read this article till the end and also read other articles related to this topic.
In our country the Prime Minister is the most powerful like Britain, not the President like America! And what is the reason for this? parliamentary system; Let’s explore….
How many forms of government are there?
Government, an institution that has fundamental authority to govern society; Both theoretically and practically. There are many types of government such as,
(1) Monarchy – that is, where a king or dictator rules.
(2) Oligarchy – that is, where a handful of elites or elites rule.
(3) Theocracy – that is, where the rule is run by religious groups or religious leaders in the name of God.
(4) Authoritarianism – that is, the monopoly of a single person or a few people over the entire political power.
(5) Democracy – that is, the rule of the people.
All these types of governance are being put into practice somewhere, but in today’s time, democracy is the most popular and reliable out of all this, this is because somewhere the person has the most civil rights and freedom is found in this system.
There are two types of democracy. Direct democracy and indirect democracy.
Direct democracy ; That is, such a democracy where people directly take part in the governance system. Switzerland is a living example of this.
Indirect democracy ; It means a system where the government is run by the representatives elected by the people. Each representative represents a group of people from a particular region. This is the system in India.
There is a place in the country where these elected representatives sit. The same place is called Parliament in India. From here the fate of the whole country is written. (Different countries have different names like Congress in America, Majlis in Iran, National Assembly in Brazil etc… .)
Some of the elected representatives will become the executive (the executive will be those who will be in the majority) and then the rest will be the legislature.
On the basis of this executive and legislature relationship, modern democratic systems are of two types. Parliamentary System and Presidential System .
Since our country India is based on the Parliamentary system, we will focus on this, but also throw light on the presidential system to understand it better .
What is parliamentary system?
Parliamentary system, that is, a system whose center is Parliament. In other words, in this system the executive is responsible to the legislature for its policies and actions.
The basis of this system is the people. The people choose the Parliament (especially the Lok Sabha directly) – The majority party there chooses its leader – The President appoints him to the post of Prime Minister – Prime Minister constitutes a Council of Ministers – Council of Ministers play the role of the executive (this is called the government) – And the executive constitutes the judiciary. Overall, this is its basic structure.
| Britain is considered the father of parliamentary government. That is why parliamentary government is also called ‘ Westminster form of government; It is so called, because the Palace of Westminster is the Parliament of Britain. This form of government is prevalent in Britain, Japan, Canada, India etc.
On the other hand, presidential government is also called non-responsive or non-parliamentary or fixed executive system and it is prevalent in America, Brazil, Russia, Sri Lanka etc.
Salient Features of Parliamentary System
Collective responsibility – In a parliamentary system, the executive is responsible to the legislature. This is what makes this parliamentary system special; Because if we talk about the presidential system, there is nothing like this there. There the executive is independent of the legislature. America’s parliamentary system is a good example of this.
Interdependent relationship – Parliament can create and remove the executive. how that? It is such that Parliamentarian (Saansad/MP) bring a no-confidence motion. The no-confidence motion is to know whether the confidence of the legislature is still on the executive or not. That is, whether the government is still in majority or not.
| Similarly, the executive can also create and dissolve the Parliament if it wants. how that? It is such that the Prime Minister has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha whenever he wants. Dissolution of Lok Sabha means dissolution of Parliament.
This is called the interdependent relationship between the executive and the legislature. This arrangement does not happen in the presidential system.
| This interdependent relationship eliminates the conflict between the executive and the legislature and both work together. There is also a reason behind the adoption of parliamentary system in India, because if the presidential system was adopted, it would have been known that instead of making laws for the country, the members of parliament would have spent half their time fighting each other and for a new country this is not a good thing at all.
Nominal and real executive – In parliamentary system, the head of state is separate and the head of government is separate. That is, if we talk about India, here the head of the state is the President, while the head of the government is the Prime Minister.
| The President has nominal power. One of their main jobs is simply to protect the Constitution. After all, all the other real powers are with the Prime Minister, hence this system is also called Prime Minister’s system. Since the Prime Minister runs the government with the help of his cabinet, hence it is also called cabinet system .
| On the other hand, if we talk about the presidential system, the head of the state and the head of the government are the same person and that is the president. That is why it is also called the Presidential System . This is also one of the reasons why the US President is so powerful. Significantly, in America, the cabinet is not elected by the people, but it is the prerogative of the President that he can give a place in the cabinet to whomever he wants. That is why these people are responsible to the President.
Q. Why is there a need for a separate person for the head of state and a separate person for the head of government in the parliamentary system?
Actually the parliamentary system is based on the principle of liability, whereas the presidential system is based on the principle of stability. what does this mean?
This means that once a person becomes the President in the presidential system, he remains the President for his entire term, it is very difficult to remove him in the middle of the term;
You can guess how difficult this is from the fact that till date not a single President has been removed in America in the middle of his term. Provided that he did not die while in office.
Now in India, since the principle of parliamentary accountability or liability works, there is no guarantee that the government will complete its term. But as long as he remains in his post, he will definitely be responsible to the people.
| In such a situation, if the government falls, then there should be someone who can keep the country running, give representation to the country and maintain constitutional dominance in the country till the new government is formed. In this situation the role of the head of state becomes important. That is, the role of the President becomes important.
Since we are living in a federal system country, there is a state legislature which acts like a parliament for the state. Like the Prime Minister at the Centre, there is a Chief Minister.
The tenure of the Chief Minister is also unstable, that is why the arrangement of the Governor has been made there. So that even in the absence of government, there is no impact on the general administration. In this way, the President and the Governor play a very important role in the parliamentary system.
| In India, since the head of the state is elected, that is why it is called a republic , whereas in the case of Britain, there is a parliamentary system like India, but there is no election of the head of state, that is, it is hereditary. That’s why Britain, despite being a democracy, is not a republic.
| The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of government both at the Center and in the States. Articles 74 and 75 provide for parliamentary system at the center and articles 163 and 164 in the states.
merits of parliamentary system
The following are the characteristics of a parliamentary system of government.
harmony between the legislature and the executive
As we have discussed above that both the legislature and the executive are interdependent on each other. However, the work area of both is different. Yet the executive is a part of the legislature itself.
| It can be understood in this way that an MP is a part of the legislature. But at the same time they can also be part of the executive. Because in the legislature they all have 545 (for Lok Sabha) members. But some member of the same becomes the executive or in other words, becomes a minister.
| For example the current Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi is an MP because he has won an election from a parliamentary constituency. Since he is an MP, he is also a part of the legislature. Then he is also the leader of the majority party, that is why he is the prime minister, he is the prime minister, that is why he is also the executive.
Overall, it means that a person, if he is a minister, he is a member of both the legislature and the executive. This is called dual membership.
| In this system the executive is always responsible to the legislature. That is, it is responsible to the Parliament. To be accountable to Parliament means to be accountable to the people; Because after all they are the representatives of the people.
| Article 75 states that the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. (Read from here – Prime Minister, Chief Minister )
The same thing does not happen in a presidential system of government, the president and the secretary or call it executive; Not answerable to its Parliament.
Alternative government system
If the current government loses its majority, the President can invite the opposition party to form the government. This is called the system of alternative government. That is to say, this option is always there that if the current government falls, the opposition party gets a chance to form the government without holding another election.
Majority party rule and political uniformity
In this system, the government is the one who has the majority. That is why that majority party has similar ideology. Keeping this ideology at the center, they also fight elections.
However, in the case of a coalition government, the ministers are bound by consensus and in such a situation many ideologies can come together.
flaw in parliamentary system
Unstable government – We have also discussed above that in this system it is not certain whether the government will complete its term or not. Especially if there is a coalition government then it is even more difficult to say.
Lack of certainty of policies – Now that there is uncertainty of tenure, there is frequent change of government so there is no uniformity in policies. The previous government starts a scheme and the new government does not like that scheme, then they end it. Due to this, the total loss is of the public only. China is a vivid example of how quickly a country can progress with certainty in policies.
Cabinet autocracy – Sometimes the opposite is also true, a party gets an absolute majority and forms the government in many states. If it comes in majority in Rajya Sabha also, then that government becomes so powerful that it does not listen to anyone and starts on the path of autocracy.
Government run by unskilled people – Now in our country, since it is not necessary for the leader to be educated, that is why many times such people are selected and sent who are unskilled in running the government. And the public has to bear the brunt of it.
difference between parliamentary and presidential system
|Parliamentary System||Presidential System|
|1. Dual executive|
2. majority party rule
3. Collective responsibility
4. political uniformity
5. Dual membership
6. prime minister’s Rule
7. harmony between the legislature and the executive
9. Unstable Government
10. Government run by unskilled persons
|1. single executive|
2. seperate election of president and legislature
3. Lack of accountability
4. Lack of political unity
5. Single membership
6. President’s Rule
7. conflict between the legislature and the executive
8. Non-Responsible government
9. Stable Government
10. Government run by skilled persons
Overall, this is the parliamentary system, hopefully it will be understood. Below is a link to other important articles, please read it too.
Parliamentary System Practice Quiz – upsc