The Indian constitution provides for a Parliamentary form of government and this system has been adopted both at the centre and in the states. The President of the Indian Union and the Governors of the states are constitutional rulers with nominal powers. They act on the advice of their respective Cabinets which wield the real authority in the Union and in the states. To make it more clear the Prime-Minister at the centre and the Chief Minister in the state alone have the mandate of the people and they alone are responsible to the people. This is the long and short story of Parliamentary Government.
It is true that Indian Parliament prefers to resolve political issues on the floor. The issues are thrashed out in face to face confrontation between the government and opposition party leaders. The Question Hour often helps to pin point crucial issues. But unfortunately most of the MPs are not sensitive to the variable winds of public opinion. Besides India lacks both a strong opposition and an alternative government which are essential for the successful working of the Parliamentary constitution. The institutional period to Parliament is real.
A plea was made in favor of presidential form of government in the Constituent Assembly. There was a subtle move in its favor during India’s regime. A spate of literature appeared with frustrating conclusion that Parliamentary democracy in particular of the West Minister variety could not work successfully in the country. Accusing fingers were raised against unscrupulous politicians, the unwieldy party system and unhealthy administration. Even now some politicians try with the idea of a presidential government in a modified form. The idea may look attractive to some at the first sight. But it is not easy to transplant the political system of one country to another. For political systems grow out of experience, practice and genius of the people.
The British model had been before the Indians for one hundred years. They had been operating it in a qualified form in the provinces and then in its completeness at the centre. After such a long experience in the Parliamentary system of democracy there was ho idea of going back and trying a noble experience. Besides the Indian leadership found it capable of adjusting itself to the new way of life. It was also in keeping with India’s old traditions. To cap all in the world’s most complex plural society as we have in India parliamentary government offices greater scope for giving representation to various interests and regions. In view of these limitations and considerations, the choice of parliamentary form of government was both judicious and desirable.
While providing for an -Indian style of parliamentary system, the founding fathers did not borrow slavishly from Britain. There has been a significant departure in the Indian system from its British model. For instance a minister in the Indian Parliament can go to either House and take part in its deliberations. No British minister belonging to the House of Lords is free to go to the House of Commons for a similar purpose. Again the Attorney General in India is essentially a law officer appointed by the President of the Union. He is charged with the responsibility of rendering legal advice to the government and is untrammeled either by personal and party considerations in the performance of his duties. In contrast his counterpart in Britain is a member of the Cabinet and however a high minded and independent he may be cannot entirely divest himself of the feeling that he has to the line of the party in power to, which he owes his position. To give one more example, the Election Commission in India is an independent body and not a creature either of Parliament or of the Executive. Such a dispensation helps in ensuring fair, free and impartial elections. In Britain the responsibility for holding the election rests with the Parliament.