System of Government

System of Government

  1. Parliamentary System
  2. Federal System
  3. Centre-State Relations
  4. Inter-State Relations
  5. Emergency Provisions

Parliamentary System

The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary form of government, both at the Centre and in the States. Article 74 and 75 deal with the parliamentary system at the Centre and Article 163 and 164 in the States.

Features of Parliamentary Government

Nominal and Real Executives: The President is the nominal executives while the Prime Minister is the real executive. Thus President is the head of the State, while the Prime Minister is head of the State. Article 74 provides for a council of ministers headed by the Prime Ministers to aid and advice the President in the exercise of his functions. The advice so tendered is binding on the President.

Majority Party Rule: The political party which secures majority seats in the Lok Sabha forms the government. The leader of that party is appointed as the Prime Minister by the President; other ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. However, when no single party gets the majority, a coalition of parties may be invited by the President to form the government.

Collective Responsibility: This is the bedrock principles of the parliamentary government. The ministers are collectively responsible to the parliament in general and to the Lok Sabha in particular (Article 75).

Federal System

Federal features of the Constitution

  1. Dual Polity
  2. Written Constitution
  3. Division of Powers
  4. Supremacy of the Constitution
  5. Rigid Constitution
  6. Independent Judiciary
  7. Bicameralism

Unitary features of the Constitution

  1. Strong Centre
  2. States not Indestructible
  3. Single Constitution
  4. Flexibility of the Constitution
  5. No equality of State representation
  6. Emergency Provisions
  7. Single Citizenship
  8. Integrated Judiciary
  9. All India Services
  10. Integrated Audit Machine
  11. Parliament’s Authority over State List
  12. Appointment of Governor
  13. Integrated Election Machinery
  14. Veto over State bills

Centre-State Relations

The Centre-State relations can be studied under three heads:

  • Legislative Relations
  • Administrative Relations
  • Financial Relations

Centre-State Legislative Relations (Article 245-255)

Article Subject
245 Extent of Laws made by Parliament and by the legislatures of states
246 Subject matter of laws made by Parliament and by the legislatures of state
247 Power of Parliament to provide for the establishment of certain additional courts
248 Residuary powers of legislation
249 Powers of Parliament to legislate with respect to any matter in the state list in the national interest
250 Powers of Parliament to legislate with respect to any matter in the state list if a proclamation of Emergency is in operation
251 Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament under Articles 249 and 250 and laws made by the legislatures of states
252 Power of Parliament to legislate for two or more states by consent and adoption of such legislation by any other state
253 Legislation by giving effect to international agreement
254 Inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the legislature of states
255 Requirements as to recommendations and previous sanctions to be regarded as matters of procedure only

Centre-State Administrative Relations (Article 256-263)

Centre-State Financial Relation (Article 268-293)

Inter-State Relations

  1. Adjudication of inter-state water disputes
  2. Coordination through inter-state councils
  3. Mutual recognition of public acts, records and judicial proceedings
  4. Freedom of inter-state trade, commerce and intercourse.

 (a) Article 262 of the Constitution provided for the adjudication of inter-state water disputes.
Water Dispute Tribunals

Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal- Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh-1969

Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal- Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, MP and Orissa-1969

Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal- Rajasthan, Gujarat, MP and Maharashtra- 1969

Ravi and Beas Water Dispute Tribunal- Punjab and Haryana- 1986

Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal- Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry-1990

Second Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal- Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh-2004

Vansadhara Water Dispute Tribunal- Orissa and Andhra Pradesh- 2010

Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal- Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra- 2010

(b) Article 263 contemplates the establishment of an Inter-State Councils to effect coordination between the states and between Centre and States. The Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State Relations(1983-87) made a strong case for the establishment of a permanent Inter –State Councils.

(c) Inter-State Trade and Commerce- Article 301-307 in Part XIII of the Constitution deal with the trade, commerce and intercourse within the territory of India.

Emergency Provisions

The Constitution stipulates three types of emergencies:

  1. An emergency due to war, external aggression or armed rebellion (Article 352). This is popularly known as National Emergency.
  2. An emergency due to the failure of the constitutional machinery in the states (Article 356). This is known as President’s Rule.
  3. Financial Emergency due to a threat to the financial stability or credit of India (Article 360).


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