Friday, 5 April 2019

Parliamentary system Vs. Presidential system of Government Essay

Parliamentary system Vs. Presidential system of Government Essay

Of late there has been a debate whether we should stick the present parliamentary system with the Prime Minister at the helm of affairs, or we should shift over to the presidential system as prevalent in the United States of America where the President is at the helm of affairs. Before a decision to that effect can be taken, it would be prudent to see which of the two systems is better and if the present system prevalent in India has any shortcomings.

There are three pillars of our Constitution – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The Constitution of India deftly defines the rights, duties and limitations of the three institutions so that the fundamental rights of the citizens can be protected and the country can be run smoothly. However, there have been many instance when their limitations and boundaries were blurred due to some confusion despite clear demarcation in the Constitution.

The legislature is entrusted with the job of making laws while it is the duty of the executive to implement those laws. The Constitution envisions that the exclusivity of the two institutions would be safeguarded in the interest of the country. Unfortunately there has been a growing nexus between the legislators, who want to impose themselves upon the citizens as the most important and whose interests are solely based on vote bank politics, and the bureaucrats whose sole interest is two safeguard their service even at the cost of efficiency and good governance. It is but natural that when two pillars of democracy and it convenient to go hand in glove with each other, adjusting and accommodating each other’s interest, the national interests are bound to get affected adversely.

It is a matter of satisfaction that the judiciary has, by and large, maintained its independence and voice. Several attempts have been made to curb its authority directly and indirectly. Back in 1970 when the senior most judge was superseded for appointment to the post of the Chief Justice, dirty politics came into play in this pious institution also. Sometimes the judiciary too has fallen in line with the whims of the legislature, and when it has not, attempts have been made to undo the harm it has done to the legislators’ interests indirectly by enacting laws which the judiciary is bound to follow. This has gone as far as to amend the Constitution itself. One of the examples can be cited as the case of reservation. The judiciary has interpreted the upper limit of reservation up to 49.99 percent, but the legislature has sought to upturn this decision by seeking amendment of the supreme law of the land. There are many such instances to quote. It is the only reason that our Constitution has been amended umpteen times in the last fifty years. It this allegation is not true, can anyone tell why the Constitution remained almost unchanged under the prime-ministership of Jawaharlal Nehru.

Every time a wrong move was checked by the judiciary, the political masters resorted to amendment in the Constitution so that it can be made subservient to its whims. It also meant that the legislature enjoys a more important position in the Indian political system because the other two pillars have no way out but to follow the law as enacted by it.

Now the question is, can the presidential system eradicate the malaise of the present system? For this, let us first understand the difference between the two systems. In the parliamentary system, the head of the government is elected by the party or group of parties that form the government having majority in the house. On the other hand, in the presidential system, the President is chosen directly by the electorate. In other words, the President is not amenable to the legislature for what he might wish to do. Seeing the responsibility of a person holding such a high office, it needs an exceptionally prudent, wise, levelheaded, patriotic President who would not succumb to the pressures of the politics and be able to take decision without favour or fervour. This is a very high requirement from a person.

India is a vast country with many diversities. Our people observe different religions. They speak different languages. They have different castes. There is a wide gap between urban and rural people. Any one person taking any decision is unlikely to keep all these different segments happy, however hard he may try. In such a situation, there would keep coming voice which are in contravention to the spirit behind the order, however noble and patriotic. There will always be persons who will have reasons to speak against the decision.

Secondly, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When a person has power, he tends to long for more power. We have seen it happen during the emergency days. The presidential system can mean a dawn of such a time once again.

The question naturally comes to mind if there is no hope for the India democracy. There is no reason to feel bad. Our present system is one of the best systems in the world. Our Constitution makers considered every aspect of good governance and they adopted the best from the constitutions of the world.

The problem is not the system we have adopted, but the legislators who we send to the Parliament. When we vote, we vote in terms of religion, case, region and other selfish interest. It is our folly that we do not elect able people who have to take decisions on our behalf. It is not the machine that is efficient. It is the person who runs it and makes it work efficiently. Let us send able people with noble thoughts to this noble institution. For attaining this ideal, all citizens, men or women, young or old, will have to do their sacred duty of casting vote in every election on the basis of ability and not on any other basis of the candidates.

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