The Parliament: Functions - The Parliamentary System of Governance

India is a Republic. The President is the head and he has all the executive powers. But he is only a nominal or constitutional head of the executive. The Constitution of our country provides for a Parliamentary system of government both at the Central and State levels. The system in our country is very different from the Presidential form of government in countries like the US where the government is not responsible to the legislature. Let us learn more about the parliament and parliamentary system.

The president or other members of his Cabinet are also not members of the Legislature. In a Parliamentary system, the government is answerable to the Legislature. The government at the Centre is responsible to the Parliament. At the State level, the State governments are answerable to the State Legislatures. The prime minister or other ministers have to be members of the Legislature. If the government loses the support of the legislature, it has to resign.

The Indian Parliament consists of the President and the two Houses of the Parliament- the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. People elect their representatives to the Parliament. The Parliament, therefore, represents the will of the people. Democracy is the rule of the people, by the people, and for the people. Every law must have the sanction of the Parliament.

An organ of Information

One of the most important functions of the Parliament is as an organ of information. Members of Parliament can call for any information except those which may affect the security of the country. The information provided in the Parliament is truthful and precise. The information is collected and spread not only through the debates but through the specific medium of ‘Questions’ to Ministers.

We can thus see that Parliament today is not just a lawmaking body. It has become a multifunctional institution. It controls the finances of the government and keeps a check on the ministers and their work. It can amend the provisions of the Constitution.

Parliamentary debates and discussions influence the lawmakers and the government of the day. They know about public sentiments and views and do whatever is necessary for the welfare of the people. While the Legislative bodies perform the task of making laws, it is the Executive arm of the government that enforces them.

Financial Control

Parliament exercises control over the government’s income acquired through taxes and its expenditure for public services. It provides the ways and means to raise the revenue required and also ensures that the money that was granted has been spent for authorized purposes. The government puts its annual financial statement or the budget before the Parliament every year. This shows the income of the government in detail and how it will be spent. The Parliament has to pass it. If it does not the government resigns.

Control over Executive

The Parliament keeps a check on the ministers and their work. Members of the Parliament have the right to question the ministers about the working of their ministers. This is usually done during the Question Hour. During the Zero Hour which starts immediately after the Question Hour, members can raise issues the public interests. If it is not satisfied with the functioning of the ministers, the Lok Sabha can pass a vote of no-confidence. This is passed to remove the government from power.

Judicial Functions

Apart from this, the Parliament also has the power to remove the President and the Vice-President of India from their offices, as well as judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. This is done through a process called impeachment.

Constituent Function

The Parliament can amend or repeal any provision of the Constitution without violating what is known as the basic features of our Constitution. It can make amendments to our Constitution with a simple majority. For certain changes, however, a two-thirds majority is required. International treaties, trade agreements, and declarations of war also need the approval of the Parliament.

Read More: Vice President Of India: Term and Functions - Class 8 Notes

Leave your comment

Open chat