Why Leaders of India chose Parliamentary System over Presidential System?
When the Constitution of India was written, India already had some experience of running the parliamentary system under the Acts of 1919 and 1935. This experience had shown that in the parliamentary system, the executive can be effectively controlled by the representatives of the people. The makers of the Indian Constitution wanted to ensure that the government would be sensitive to public expectations and would be responsible and accountable. The other alternative to the parliamentary executive was the presidential form of government. But the presidential executive puts much emphasis on the president as the chief executive and as source of all executive power. There is always the danger of personality cult in presidential executive. The makers of the Indian Constitution wanted a government that would have a strong executive branch, but at the same time, enough safeguards should be there to check against the personality cult. In the parliamentary form there are many mechanisms that ensure that the executive will be answerable to and controlled by the legislature or people’s representatives. So the Constitution adopted the parliamentary system of executive for the governments both at the national and State levels.
The Constitution of India vests the executive power of the Union formally in the President. In reality, the President exercises these powers through the Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister. The President is elected for a period of five years. But there is no direct election by the people for the office of President. The President is elected indirectly. This means that the president is elected not by the ordinary citizens but by the elected MLAs and MPs. This election takes place in accordance with the principle of proportional representation with single transferable vote.
The President can be removed from office only by Parliament by following the procedure for impeachment. This procedure requires a special majority. The only ground for impeachment is violation of the Constitution.
Constitution Amendment Procedure
It is not uncommon for nations to rewrite their constitutions in response to changed circumstances or change of ideas within the society or even due to political upheavals. The Soviet Union had four constitutions in its life of 74 years. Recently there was discussion on drafting 3rd constitution for Sri Lanka, and developments in Nepal with regard to constitution are not hidden. Rather even present constitution of Nepal doesn’t enjoy legitimacy in eyes of all Nepalese. It is astonishing that same constitution continues to function in India even when it is about to complete its 70 years in 2020.
While US constitution is said to be rigid one in contrast to British constitution which is completely flexible Indian constitution is said to be perfect blend of rigidity and flexibility. The basic framework of the Constitution is very much suited to our country. It is also true that the Constitution makers were very farsighted and provided for many solutions for future situations. Along with amendments, there has been enough flexibility of interpretations. Both political practice and judicial rulings have shown maturity and flexibility in implementing the Constitution. These factors have made our Constitution a living document rather than a closed and static rulebook.
…Parliament may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this Constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.
Some articles of Constitution can be amended by simple majority. Some amendments need special majority of both the houses, while some other subjects needs special majority of Parliament and consent of half of the state legislatures. This is how in some aspects constitution is flexible while in some other aspects it is rigid.
“If those who are dissatisfied with the Constitution have only to obtain a 2/3 majority and if they cannot obtain even (that)…, their dissatisfaction with the Constitution cannot be deemed to be shared by the general public.”Dr. B R Ambedkar.