Governmental sources of power

Governmental sources of power

The executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government receive their power from the constitution and are bound by it. With the aid of its constitution, India is governed by a parliamentary system of government with the executive directly accountable to the legislature.

  • Under Articles 52 and 53: the president of India is head of the executive branch
  • Under Article 60: the duty of preserving, protecting, and defending the constitution and the law.
  • Under Article 74: the prime minister is the head of the Council of Ministers, which aids and advises the president in the performance of their constitutional duties.
  • Under Article 75(3): the Council of Ministers is answerable to the lower house.

The constitution is considered federal in nature, and unitary in spirit. It has features of a federation, including a codified, supreme constitution; a three-tier governmental structure (central, state and local); division of powers; bicameralism; and an independent judiciary. It also possesses unitary features such as a single constitution, single citizenship, an integrated judiciary, a flexible constitution, a strong central government, appointment of state governors by the central government, All India Services (the IAS, IFS and IPS), and emergency provisions. This unique combination makes it quasi-federal in form.

Each state and union territory has its own government. Analogous to the president and prime minister, each has a governor or (in union territories) a lieutenant governor and a chief minister. Article 356 permits the president to dismiss a state government and assume direct authority if a situation arises in which state government cannot be conducted in accordance with the constitution. This power, known as president's rule, was abused as state governments came to be dismissed on flimsy grounds for political reasons. After the S. R. Bommai v. Union of India decision, such a course of action is more difficult since the courts have asserted their right to review.

The 73rd and 74th Amendment Acts introduced the system of Panchayati raj in rural areas and Nagar Palikas in urban areas. Article 370 gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. (Note :-  On 5 August 2019, the Government of India issued a Presidential Order superseding the 1954 order, and making all the provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. The order was based on the resolution passed in both houses of India's parliament with two-thirds majority)