Question: “Indian constitution-makers chose political accountability over political stability while making India a parliamentary democracy”. Elaborate.
Answer: India is a parliamentary democracy that follows the Westminster model of governance. Indian political system is widely influenced by British system. The constitution-makers had options to choose presidential system but went against it due to variety of factors.
Features of parliamentary democracy
- Nominal and real head
In parliamentary democracy, the head of state and head of government are different. They are the same in presidential system.
- Majority party rule
The party that wins more seats in the lower house of parliament forms the government. The president is bound by duty to recognize the government.
- Collective responsibility
The government is responsible for the lower house of parliament. If they lose confidence, the government cannot continue.
Reasons for parliamentary system
The parliamentary system has more accountability for their actions. The ministers are responsible for the lower house of parliament as well as people.
- Wider representation
The parliamentary system allows more diverse group to rule the country through representation in government. In presidential system this looks unlikely.
Indian constitution-makers were familiar with British system as they had been part of it before independence. It was simpler way of electing compared to presidential one.
Issues in parliamentary system
Presidential system gives stability for a fixed duration without change in government. The parliamentary government survives only if it has full majority.
- Long chain of commands
Decision-making process in parliamentary system has to follow procedure and parliament is the ultimate authority. In presidential system, president has powers to overrule legislature.
Thus, parliamentary system has served India well due to its multicultural nature of society. This has ensured that our constitution-makers made a right choice.