What form of government has the Constitution of India adopted?

The article aims to study the form of Government that India has adopted and the constitutional provisions which reflect the features of parliamentary form of government in federal structure in India.

“WE THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVERIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC”…………… Preamble of the Indian Constitution


The Constitution of India is longest written Constitution of any sovereign nation in the world. The original text of the Indian Constitution comprises of 448 Articles in 25 parts and 12 schedules. It came into force on 26th January 1950 which is celebrated as Republic day every year. The Constitution of India is said to be the bag of borrowing as various features of the Constitution are being influenced by other countries Constitution. The fact that Indian constitution was drafted in the mid-twentieth century gave an advantage to its maker in so far as they could take cognizance of the various constitutional processes operating in different countries of the world and thus draw upon a rich fund of human experience, wisdom, heritage and traditions in the area of governmental process in order to fashion a system suited to the political, social and economical condition in India. In the end result, the Indian constitution has turned out to be very interesting and unique document.[1]

The constitution of India has adopted the Parliamentary form of government which is federal in structure with certain unitary features.

The Indian federalism is influenced by the American, Canadian and Australian Federalism. The influence of the British Constitutional law, theories and practices on the Indian Constitution is quit pervasive. As for example, the parliamentary form of government in India closely follows the British Model in substance. The Indian Constitution makes several provisions which are original in conception as nothing parallel to these has been found in any other federal Constitution and to this extent, it makes a distinct contribution to the development of the theories and practice of federalism in general.

The article aims to study the constitutional provisions which reflect the features of parliamentary form of government in federal structure.

Parliamentary form of Government  

 A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy system is an arrangement of vote based democracy of a state where the executives gets its popularity based democratic legitimacy from its capacity to order the confidence of legislature, ordinarily a parliament, and is additionally considered responsible to that parliament. In a parliamentary framework, the head of state is typically a person distinct from the head of government

According to Article 79 of the Constitution of India, the council of the Parliament of the Union comprises of the President and two Houses known as the Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the House of the People (Lok Sabha). Article 74(1) of the Constitution gives that there will be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to help and advice the President, who will practice his/her capacities in agreement to the guidance. The genuine executive power is subsequently vested in the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head. All these three organs are essential to the process of legislation by Parliament.[2]

Features of Parliamentary form of Government

  1. Close Relationship between the Legislature and the Executive- In India, there is a close connection between the executive, for example the Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head and the lawmaking body, for example the Parliament. Just the leaders of the dominant part parties or alliance of parties can be selected as the Prime Minister. All the members from the Council of Ministers must be Members of Parliament. It is just on the exhortation of the Council of Ministers that the President can summon and prorogue the meetings of the both Houses of Parliament and even break down the Lok Sabha. All the chosen Members of the Parliament take an interest in the appointment of the President and he/she can be removed from office just when a impeachment motion against him/her is passed by both the Houses of Parliament.
  2. Responsibility of the Executive to the Legislature- The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. It implies that the duty of each Minister is the obligation of the whole Council of Ministers. It is likewise answerable for Rajya Sabha. Indeed, both the Houses have forces to control the Council of Ministers. They do it by posing inquiries and advantageous inquiries on the policies, programs, and working of the government. The discussion on the proposition of the legislature and furthermore subject its working to intensive criticism. They can move adjournment motion and calling consideration takes note. No bill postponed by the Council of Ministers can become law except if it is approved by the Parliament. The yearly financial plan likewise is to be passed by the Parliament. In genuine terms, the tenure of the Council of Ministers relies upon the Lok Sabha. The Council of Ministers needs to leave on the off chance that it loses the certainty of Lok Sabha, which implies the help of the greater part in that House. The Council of Ministers can likewise be expelled from office by the Lok Sabha through a vote of no-confidence.
  3. Nominal and Real Executive- There are two parts of the executive in India, nominal executives, and real executive. The President who is the Head of the State is the nominal and formal executive. theoretically, all the executive forces are vested by the Constitution in the President of India. Be that as it may, in practice, these are not practiced by him/her. These are really utilized by the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head is the genuine official. The President cannot act without the advice of the Council of Ministers.[3]
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Federal Structure

The Indian Constitution is of the federal type. It establishes a dual polity, a two tier government system, with the central government at one level and the state government at the other. The constitution marks off the sphere of actions of each level of government by devising an elaborate scheme of distribution of legislative, administrative, and financial power between the Center and the States. A government is entitled to act within the assigned filed and cannot go out of it, or encroach on the field assigned to other government.  

The federal framework in the Indian Constitution provides for a good deal of centralization. The central government has large sphere of actions and thus plays a more dominant role than the states. India’s federalism is thus a flexible mechanism. The Constitution devices several structural techniques to promote inter-governmental co-operation and thus India furnish a notable example of co-operative federalism.

Essential features of Federalism

  1. Dual GovernmentWhile in a unitary State, there is just a single Government, in particular the national Government, in a federal State, there are two Governments, the national or central Government and the Government of each segment State. In spite of the fact that a unitary State may make nearby sub-divisions, such local authorities appreciate self-governance of their own yet practice just such controls as are every once in a while appointed to them by the national government and it is skilled for the national Government to deny the designated powers or any of them at its will. A federal State, then again, is the combination of a few States, into a solitary State as to issues influencing regular interests, while every part State appreciates self-sufficiency as to different issues. The part States are not negligible representatives or operators of the government yet both the Federal and State Governments draw their authority from a similar source, viz., the Constitution of the land. On the other hand, a part State has no option to withdraw from the league at its will. This recognizes an alliance from a confederation.
  2. Distribution of Power- It follows that the very object for which a government State is shaped includes a division of power between the Federal Government and the States, however the technique for distribution may not be indistinguishable in the federal Constitutions.
  3. Supremacy of the Constitution- A federal State gets its existence from the Constitution, similarly as a corporation gets its existence from the award of a rule by which it is made. Every power—executive, legislative, or judicial of whether it has a place with the organization or to the components States, is subordinate to and controlled by the Constitution.
  4. Authority of Courts- In a federal State the legal supremacy of the Constitution is fundamental to the presence of the federal framework. It is basic to keep up the division of forces not just between the facilitate parts of the government, yet in addition between the Federal Government and the States themselves. This made sure about by vesting in the Courts a last capacity to decipher the Constitution and invalidate any activity with respect to the Administrative and State Governments or their various organs which disregards the provision of the Constitution.
  5. Written Constitution- A federal constitution should fundamentally be a written constitution. The written constitution gives the sovereign forces of the both governments (for instance, Center and State). On the off chance that questions and issues emerge between these two institutions, it tends to be settled with the arrangements of the constitution.
  6. Rigidity of the Constitution- A characteristic culmination of a written constitution is rigid in nature. A constitution of which is the supreme law that everyone must follow should likewise be rigid. The principle of supremacy of the Constitution and the rigidity nature of the Constitution goes connected. Federal constitution must be rigid and constitutional law must be set the above normal law. In a rigid constitution, the strategy of revision is extremely entangled and troublesome. Be that as it may, it doesn’t imply that the constitution ought to be lawfully unalterable. it basically implies that the intensity of revising the Constitution ought not remain solely with either the central or state Governments.[4]
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The constitutional system of India is essentially federal, in any case, of course, with striking unitary features. Be that as it may, however our Constitution gives fundamental features of a federation; it varies from the typical federal frameworks of the world in certain key regards:

A Constitution which epitomizes a feature has regularly the following five qualities: (1) Distribution of intensity, (2) Supremacy of the Constitution,(3) Written Constitution, (4) Rigidity and the Authority of the Courts. These have been depicted above. So we may arrive at the conclusion that the basic qualities of a federal Constitution are available in the Indian Constitution. But it is accused that the Constitution does not typify the federal rule, in light of the fact that the Center can in certain possibilities infringe upon the field saved for the States. The power of intervention given to the Center, it is contended, is conflicting with the federal framework, for it puts the States in a subordinate position. In the accompanying issues, the Constitution contains an alteration of the strict use of the federal rule. Article 3, 31(3), 155,163 249, 256,257, 288(2) 352, 353, 354, 356,357,358,360, 365,386 (3), 359 of the Indian Constitution contains an alteration of the exacting use of the federal standard.

Based on these Articles it is attested that the principal propose of federal nation that the Central and State Governments working under it are facilitate authorities every free inside its own circle is so incredibly adjusted in the connection between the Union and the States that the Indian Constitution isn’t qualified for be known as a federal Constitution Where holds that the Constitution set up an arrangement of Government which is most extreme quasy-federal, nearly devolutionary in character; a unitary State with auxiliary federal includes as opposed to a federal State with auxiliary unitary features.[5]


The constitution of India has adopted the mid way of being federal and parliamentary form of government by exclusively distributing all the authorities powers and specifying all the functions that the authorities are supposed to perform, thus the written constitution plays a key role in this form of government in order to maintain harmony in the smooth functioning of the government mechanism.

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A parliamentary system of government means that the executive branch of government has the immediate or circuitous help of the parliament. This help is normally appeared by a demonstration of positive support. The connection between the executive and the legislative in a parliamentary system is called responsible government.

The separation of powers between the executive and law making branches isn’t as evident all things considered in a presidential framework. There are various methods of adjusting power between the three branches which oversee the nation (the executive (or ministers), the law makers and the judges).

Also read Impact of Judicial Activism on Government

[1] Vol. 1, M.P. Jain, Indian Constitutional Law, 405(6th Ed. 2013)

[2] Constitution of India, india.gov.in, (July 20, 2020, 05:35PM), https://www.india.gov.in/my-government/constitution-india#:~:text=The%20Constitution%20provides%20for%20a,the%20Union%20is%20the%20President.&text=The%20real%20executive%20power%20is,Prime%20Minister%20as%20its%20head.

[3] Parliamentary form of government in India, JVS,(July, 20, 2020, 05:38 PM), https://www.jatinverma.org/parliamentary-form-of-government-in-india

[4] Essential features of Federalism, SRD Law Notes, (July 20, 2020, 08:03PM)  https://www.srdlawnotes.com/2018/05/essential-features-of-federalism.html.

[5] Fedralism and Indian Federation Fedralism, Shodhganga, ( July 20, 2020, 09:56 PM) https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/58893/13/13_chapter%206.pdf;CHAPTER