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India’s Polity

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India, a Union of States, is a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic with a parliamentary system of government. The Republic governed in terms of the Constitution. Which adopted by Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949 and came into force on 26th January 1950.

India's Polity

 

The Constitution which envisages the parliamentary form of government is federal in structure with unitary features. The President of India is constitutional head of executive of the Union. Article 74(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as head to aid and advise President who shall in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. Moreover, Real executive power thus vests in Council of Ministers with Prime Minister as the head. Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the House of the People (Lok Sabha). Similarly, in states, Governor is head of an executive, but it is the Council of Ministers with Chief Minister as head in whom real executive power vests. Council of Ministers of a state is collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

The Constitution distributes legislative power between Parliament and state legislatures and provides for vesting of residual powers in Parliament. The Constitution has provided for the independence of the judiciary, Comptroller and AuditorGeneral, Public Service Commissions and Chief Election Commissioner.

The Union and Its Territory [India’s Polity]

India comprises 29 States and seven Union Territories. They are: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and West Bengal.

Union Territories are Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, National Capital Territory of Delhi, Lakshadweep and Pondicherry.

Citizenship

The Constitution of India provides for a single. citizenship for the whole of India. Every person who was at the commencement of the Constitution (26 January 1950) domiciled in the territory of India and:

  • Who was born in India; or
  • Either of whose parents were born in India; or
  • Moreover, Who has been ordinarily resident in India for. not less than five years became a citizen of India.

The Citizenship Act, 1955, deals with matters relating to acquisition, determination, and termination of Indian citizenship after the commencement of the Constitution.

Fundamental Rights

The Constitution offers all citizens, individually and collectively, some basic freedoms. These guaranteed in the Constitution in the form of eight broad categories of Fundamental Rights which are justiciable. These are as follows:

Right to Equality

  • Which includes equality before the law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment, an abolition of untouchability and abolition of titles.

Right to Freedom

  • Which includes speech and expression, assembly, association or union or cooperatives, movement, residence, and right to practice any profession or occupation (some of these rights are subject to security of the State, friendly relations with foreign countries, public order, decency or morality), right to life and liberty, right to education, Protection in respect to conviction in offences and protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.

Right Against Exploitation

  • Which prohibits all forms of forced labour, child labour, and human trafficking.

Right to Freedom of Religion

  • Which includes freedom of conscience and free profession, practice, and propagation of religion, freedom to manage religious affairs, freedom from certain taxes and freedom from religious instructions in certain educational institutes.

Cultural and Educational Rights

  • Preserve the right of any section of citizens to conserve their culture, language or script, and right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.

Right to Constitutional Remedies

  • Which is present for enforcement of Fundamental Rights?

Right to Elementary Education

  • Which implies that any child between the age of 6 to 14 should and can be educated.

Right to Information (RTI)

Fundamental Duties [India’s Polity]

By the 42nd  Amendment of the Constitution, adopted in 1976, Fundamental Duties of the citizens have also been enumerated. These enjoin upon a citizen among other things, to abide by the Constitution, to cherish and follow noble ideals. Which inspired India’s struggle for freedom, to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so and to promote harmony. And a spirit of common brotherhood transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities.

Directive Principles of State Policy

The Constitution lays down certain Directive Principles of State Policy, which though not justiciable, are ‘fundamental in the governance of the country’ and it is the duty of the State to apply these principles in making laws.

They are as follows:

  • The State shall strive to promote the welfare of people by securing and protecting as effectively as it may a social order. In which justice social, economic and political shall form in all institutions of national life.
  • Moreover, The State shall direct its policy in such a manner as to secure the right of all men. And women to an adequate means of livelihood. Equal pay for equal work and within limits of its economic capacity and development, to make effective provision for securing the right to work, education. And to public assistance in the event of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement or other cases of undeserved want.
  • Similarly, The State shall also endeavour to secure to workers a living wage, humane conditions of work. A decent standard of life and full involvement of workers in management of industries.
  • In the economic sphere, the State is to direct its policy in such a manner as to secure distribution of ownership. And control of material resources of the community to subserve the common good and to ensure that. Operation of economic system does not result in a concentration of wealth and means of production to the common detriment.

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  • The State shall promote education and economic interests of scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other weaker sections.
  • The State shall organize the village panchayats.
  • Also, The State shall separate the judiciary from the executive.
  • The State shall promulgate a uniform civil code for the whole country.
  • Moreover, The State shall protect national monuments.
  • The State shall promote justice on a basis of equal opportunity.
  • Additionally, The State shall provide free legal aid.
  • The State shall protect and improve the environment and safeguard forests and wildlife of the country, promote international peace and security, just. And honourable relations between nations, respect international law, treaty obligations and settle the international dispute by arbitration.

 

The Union [India’s Polity]

Executive: The Union executive consists of the President, the Vice-President and the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as the head to aid and advise the President.

President [India’s Polity]

Election: The President elected by members of an electoral college consisting of elected members of both Houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote. To secure uniformity among state interest as well as parity between the states, as a whole, and the Union, the suitable weight given to each vote.

Eligibility: The President must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.

Term: His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election. His removal from office is to be in accordance with a procedure prescribed in Article 61 of the Constitution. He may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President, resign his office.

Powers [India’s Polity]

  • The executive power of the Union is vested in the President and is exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with the Constitution.
  • Supreme command of defense forces of the Union also vests in him.
  • The President summons, prorogues, addresses, sends messages to Parliament and dissolves the Lok Sabha promulgates Ordinances at the arty time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session.
  • Moreover, The President makes recommendations for introducing financial and money bills and gives assent to bills.
  • The President grants pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishment or suspends, remits or commutes sentences in certain cases.
  • Also When there is a failure of the constitutional machinery in a state. The President can assume to himself all or any of the functions of the government of that state.
  • The President can proclaim an emergency in the country if he is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India or any part of its territory is threatened whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.

Vice-President [India’s Polity]

Election: The Vice-President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of members of both Houses of Parliament. In accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote.

Eligibility: He must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and eligible for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha.

Term: Similarly, His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election. His removal from office is to be in accordance with the procedure prescribed in Article 67 b.

Powers: The Vice-President is ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and acts as President. When the latter is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness or any other cause or till the election of a new President. (to be held within six months when a vacancy is caused by death, resignation or removal or otherwise of President). While so acting, he ceases to perform the function of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.

Council of Ministers: [India’s Polity]

There is a Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister, to aid and advise the President in an exercise of his functions. Also, The Prime Minister is appointed by the President who also appoints other ministers on the advice of Prime Minister. Similarly,  The Council is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of Council of Ministers relating to the administration of affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation and information relating to them.

The Council of Ministers comprises Ministers. Who are members of Cabinet, Ministers of State (independent charge), Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.

Legislature: Legislature of the Union which called Parliament consists of President and two Houses. Known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). Each House has to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of two Houses can hold in certain cases.

Rajya Sabha [India’s Polity]

Composition: The Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consist of 12 members to be nominated by the President having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the States and of the Union Territories.

Election: Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect

Members representing States: They elected by elected members of legislative assemblies of the States in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.

Members representing Union Territories: They chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire every second year.

Rajya Sabha, at present, has 245 seats. Of these, 233 members represent the States and the Union Territories and 12 members nominated by the President.

Lok Sabha [India’s Polity]

Composition: The Lok Sabha composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the Constitution is now 552 (530 members to represent the States. 20 members to represent the Union Territories and not more than two members of the Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President. Also if, in his opinion, that community not adequately represented in the House). The total elective membership of the Lok Sabha distributed among the States in such a way that. The ratio between the number of seats allotted to each State and the population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States.

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The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved earlier is five years from the date appointed for its first meeting. However, while a Proclamation of Emergency is in operation, this period may extend by Parliament by law for a period not exceeding one year at a time and not extend in any case, beyond a period of six months after the Proclamation has ceased to operate. Moreover, Fourteen Lok Sabhas have been constituted so far.

The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members. Of these, 530 members directly elected from the States and 13 from Union Territories. While two nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. Following the Constitution 84th Amendment Act, 2001 the total number of existing seats as allocated to various States in the Lok Sabha on the basis of the 1971 census shall remain unaltered till the first census to be taken after the year 2026.

Qualification for Membership of Parliament

The person must be a citizen of India and not less than 30 years of age in the case of Rajya Sabha. Also And not less than 25 years of age in the case of Lok Sabha.

Functions and Powers of Parliament

As in other parliamentary democracies, the Parliament in India has the cardinal functions of legislation which include,

  • Overseeing the administration.
  • Also Passing of the Budget.
  • Ventilation of public grievances and discussing various subjects like development plans, national policies, and international relations.
  • Moreover, The distribution of powers between the Union and the States, followed in the Constitution, emphasizes in many ways the general predominance of Parliament in the legislative field.
  • Apart from a wide-range of subjects, even in normal times, the Parliament can, under certain circumstances.  Assume legislative power with respect to a subject falling within the sphere exclusively reserved for the States.

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  • The Parliament also vested with powers to impeach the President and to remove the Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts. The Chief Election Commissioner and the Comptroller and Auditor General in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Constitution.
  • Also, All legislations require the consent of both the Houses of Parliament. In the case of money bills, however, the will of the Lok Sabha prevails. Delegated legislation is also subject to review and control by Parliament. Besides the power to legislate, the Constitution vests in Parliament the power to initiate amendment of the Constitution.

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