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Laxmikanth Summary: Parliamentary System - Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

The parliamentary system of government is characterized by executives who hold power through the majority support of the legislature. In India, the administration follows a parliamentary system that is based on the British Westminster model. The term "parliamentary government" signifies that the Parliament holds complete authority. This system is also referred to as the cabinet system, responsible government, or the prime minister model.

Parliamentary System Of Government - Concept

  • Parliamentary system is a type of democratic state governance.
  • In this system the political party with the most seats in the House or Parliament during the federal election becomes the governing administration.
  • The Supreme Court says that; Constitution is modelled on the British Parliamentary system where the executive is deemed to have the primary responsibility for the formation of government policy and its transmission into law by retaining the confidence of the Lok Sabha.
  • Article 74 and 75 provides the parliamentary system for the centre.
  • Article 163 and 164 provides the parliamentary system for the states.
  • Unlike the Presidential system, in this system the executives sit in the legislature because they are part of the legislature.
  • Executives can exercise power and stay in the office as long as they have the support of the lower house of the legislature.

Indian Parliamentary System - Main Features

Laxmikanth Summary: Parliamentary System | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE

Nominal And Real Executives

  • The president is the nominal executive officer, while the prime minister is the actual executive officer (de facto executive officer).
  • Therefore, the president is the head of state and the prime minister is the head of government.
  • Article 74 provides for the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to assist the President in performing his duties and to advise him. The proposal made in this way is binding on the President.

The close relationship between legislative power and executive power

  • Here, the prime minister and the Council of Ministers form the executive body, and the parliament is the legislative body.
  • The prime minister and ministers are elected from members of the parliament, which means that the executive power comes from the legislature.

Collective Responsibility

  • This is the basic principle of parliamentary government.
  • The ministers are collectively responsible to the entire parliament, especially to the People's Chamber (Article 75). They swim and sink together as a team.

Political Homogeneity

  • Generally speaking, members of the Council of Ministers belong to the same political party and therefore have the same political ideology.
  • In the case of a coalition government, the ministers are bound by consensus.

Dual Membership

  • Ministers are members of the legislature and the executive.
  • This means that a person cannot be a minister if he is not a member of Parliament.
  • The constitution stipulates that ministers will no longer serve as ministers if they do not serve as members of Parliament for six consecutive months.

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The Prime Minister's Leadership

  • The Prime Minister plays a leading role in this system of government. He is the leader of the Council of Ministers, the leader of the parliament, and the leader of the ruling party.
  • Among these capabilities, it plays an important and very critical role in the operation of the government.

Dissolution Of The Lok Sabha

Forty Years Ago, August 23, 1979: Lok Sabha DissolvedForty Years Ago, August 23, 1979: Lok Sabha Dissolved

  • The President can dissolve the House of Commons (Lok Sabha) on the proposal of the Prime Minister.
  • In other words, the Prime Minister can recommend that the President dissolve the People's Chamber and hold a new election before the expiry of his term.
  • This means that the executive branch has the right to dissolve the legislature into a parliamentary system.


  • Ministers operate under the principle of confidentiality of procedures and cannot disclose information about their procedures, policies and decisions.
  • They swore confidentiality before entering your office. The oath of secrecy to the ministers is presided over by the president.

Indian Parliamentary System - Advantages

  • Better coordination between the administration and the legislation: Since the administration is part of the legislation, and most legislatures generally support the government, it is easier to pass laws and implement them.
  • Prevent authoritarianism: since the executive branch is accountable to the legislature and can vote against it with motions of no confidence, there is no authoritarianism. Also, unlike a presidential system, power will not be concentrated in one hand.
  • Responsible government ministers are accountable to Parliament for their actions. Tools: time for questions, debates, motions for adjournment, motions of no confidence.
  • Be prepared to replace the government if you lose majority support. "The leader of the opposition party is the deputy prime minister" Jennings.
  • Representation of different groups: In this system, the parliament provides representation for different groups in the country. This is especially important for countries like India.
  • Flexibility: The system is flexible because the PM can be easily changed as needed.

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Indian Parliamentary System - Disadvantages

  • The Cabinet dictatorship: The Parliamentary form of government is called the Prime Minister's Government, Whole cabinet works under his direction, which may lead to the problem of cabinet dictatorship.
  • The minister may not be an expert in the domain: it affects efficiency. The Prime Minister has limited options in the selection of ministers.
  • Bureaucratic control: Public officials wield many powers. They advise the minister on various matters and are not accountable to the legislature.
  • Parliamentary government is vulnerable to influences outside the constitution, such as joint parliamentary committees and national advisory committees.
  • There is no continuous change in government policy. Often followed by changes in government policies.
  • No decentralisation: There is no real decentralisation, the legislature cannot always hold the executive branch accountable.
  • This is especially true if the government has a majority in the House of Representatives.
  • Instability: Since the government can only survive if it can demonstrate that it has a majority in the House of Representatives, if there is no larger party after the elections, there will be instability.
  • Unqualified Legislators: Legislators created by the system only seek to enter the executive branch. Basically, some of them may not be qualified for legislative business.
  • Failure to make quick decisions: Since the Council of Ministers does not have a fixed mandate, they are often reluctant to make bold and long-term political decisions.
Reason for adoption

Why Did The Makers Of Our Constitution Decide To Adopt The Parliamentary System For India?

The makers of the constitution wisely chose the parliamentary model. The reasons for it lie in India's colonial political legacy as well as India’s socio-political structure. The reasons for this were as follow:

  • By the time of constitution framing, India already had some experience of the parliamentary system under the Government of India Act 1919 and 1935. So Indian people were familiar with it.
  • This experience also showed that the executives can be effectively controlled by the representatives of the people.
  • The makers of the constitution wanted to make the government responsible to people’s demands and should be accountable to them.
  • The makers were reluctant to go for the presidential system as it gives excessive powers to the president who works independently with the legislature.
  • The presidential system is also prone to the personality cult of the president.
  • The makers of the constitution wanted to have a strong executive branch but with strong safeguards to avert the risk of a personality cult.
  • In the parliamentary system, there are several mechanisms to make the executive more answerable to and controlled by the people’s representatives.
  • So, the constitution adopted a parliamentary system for India.


As the representative body that checks the government's activities, Parliament plays a crucial role in our democracy. It is critical for Parliament to function properly in order to fulfill its constitutional purpose. Furthermore, a thorough examination of bills is a necessary component of good legislation. By passing legislative committees while passing legislation, the democratic spirit is undermined.

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The document Laxmikanth Summary: Parliamentary System | Indian Polity for UPSC CSE is a part of the UPSC Course Indian Polity for UPSC CSE.
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