1. Nominal or Titular Head
2. Collective Responsibility and Individual Responsibility
3. Political Homogeneity
4. Harmony between Executive and Legislature
5. Rigidity of Party Discipline
6. Leadership of the Prime Minister
Synthesis of Parliamentary Sovereignty and Judicial Supremacy
The doctrine of sovereignty of Parliament is associated with the British Parliament while the principle of judicial supremacy with that of the American Supreme Court. Just as the Indian parliamentary system differs from the British system, the scope of judicial review power of the Supreme Court in India is narrower than that of what exists in US. This is because the American Constitution provides for 'due process of law' against that of 'procedure established by law' contained in the Indian Constitution (Article 21).
Therefore, the framers of the Indian Constitution have preferred a proper synthesis between the British principle of parliamentary sovereignty and the American principle of judicial supremacy. The Supreme Court, on the one hand, can declare the parliamentary laws as unconstitutional through its power of judicial review. The Parliament, on the other hand, can amend the major portion of the Constitution through its constituent power.
The Constitution of India guarantees fundamental rights to every citizen of the country. In fact, every individual has the right to approach courts in case of the violation of rights. Even if the government passes a law that violates any of the rights, the court can nullify it. Fundamental rights are mentioned in Part III of the Constitution. On a broader level, the Constitution enlists six fundamental rights.
I. Right to Equality
The Right to Equality prohibits any form of discrimination of the residents of the country. The ‘Equality before law’ clause ensures that the citizens are treated equally before law irrespective of their religion, race, caste and sex. Equal employment opportunity is also covered under the Right to Equality.
II. Right to Freedom.
The Right to Freedom not only ensures the freedom of speech, but also gives people the freedom to protect life and personal liberty. Protection against detention also comes under its ambit.
III. Right against Exploitation.
The Right against Exploitation prohibits human trafficking, and child labour.
IV. Right to Freedom of Religion.
The freedom to practise and promote any religion is guaranteed by the Right to Freedom of Religion
V. Cultural and Educational Rights.
The Constitution also guarantees cultural and educational rights, which help minorities to protect their interests and establish & administer educational institutions.
VI. Right to Constitutional Remedies.
Article 32 which was referred to “as the very soul of the constitution” by Dr. Ambedkar, provides for constitutional remedies. Clause 2 of Article 32 provides that, “The Supreme Court shall have the power to issue directions or order or writs including the writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, Quo warranto and criterion, whichever may be appropriate for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by” fundamental rights.
Initially, there were seven Fundamental Rights including the Right to Property. It was removed during the 44th constitutional amendment in 1978. It is said that the Right was creating an obstacle in attaining the goal of “socialism and equitable distribution of wealth.”
Directive principles of state policy:
The Directive Principles of State Policy are listed in Part Four of the Constitution. The framers of our constitution took the idea of having such principles from the Irish Constitution. These principles are instructions given by the Constitution to government.
All the governments-Central, State and Local-are expected to frame their policies in accordance with these principles. The aim of these principles is to establish a welfare state in India. They, however, are not binding on the government-they are mere guidelines.
The Constitution not only empowers citizens with fundamental rights, but also defines a set of duties that every citizen is expected to perform. Respecting the Constitution and abiding by its principles is the foremost duty. Besides upholding and protecting “the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India,” every citizen is expected to promote “harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood” among the people coming from diverse regional and social backgrounds.
One of the important duties enlisted in the Constitution is to defend the country and “render national service” whenever needed. In a very holistic manner, the Constitution has included the duties such as preserving the rich heritage and protecting the natural environment. Safeguarding public property, abjuring violence and developing the “scientific temper” are some of the other duties that people of India should perform. The Constitution also calls for striving towards “excellence in all spheres of individual.”
After the enactment of Right to Education Act in 2009, a new duty was added, which makes it obligatory for parents to provide academic opportunities to their children between the age of six and fourteen years. It’s to be noted that these duties are not justifiable and therefore they don’t carry any legal sanction. A demand has been made on several occasions to make these duties justifiable.
Universal adult franchise:
The constitution provides for Universal Adult Franchise. It means that every citizen who is 18 years of age or more is entitled to cast his/her vote irrespective of his caste, creed, sex, religion or place of birth.
Though the Indian Constitution is federal and envisages a dual polity (Centre and states), it provides for only a single citizenship, that is, the Indian citizenship. The citizens in India owe allegiance only to the Union. There is no separate state citizenship. The other federal states like USA and Switzerland, on the other hand, adopted the system of double citizenship. In USA, each person is not only a citizen of USA but also of the particular state to which he belongs. Thus, he owes allegiance to both and enjoys dual sets of rights—one set conferred by the national government and another by the state government. This system creates the problem of discrimination, that is, a state may discriminate in favour of its citizens in matters like right to vote, right to hold public offices, right to practice professions and so on. This problem is avoided in the system of single citizenship prevalent in India. In India, all citizens irrespective of the state in which they are born or reside enjoy the same political and civil rights of citizenship all over the country and no discrimination is made between them.
Proclamation of Emergency
There had been times in the past when the governance of the country or its states was taken over by “an altered constitutional setup”, which was proclaimed by the President of India. Such proclamations are made on occasions when the President perceives threats to the country from internal and external agents. Part XVIII of the Constitution of India grants President the power to declare national, state, and financial emergencies. He also has the authority to ‘overrule’ several provisions of the Constitution, which guarantee fundamental rights to the citizens.
According to Article 352 of the India Constitution, the President can declare national emergency following a written request by the Cabinet Ministers. Such emergencies were declared during Indo-China war in 1962 and Indo-Pakistan war in 1971. Although national emergencies are imposed for six months, they can be extended following the parliamentary approval. The article 352 also includes the power of the President to “issue different Proclamations on different grounds,” be it war or armed rebellion. Under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution, the President can impose state emergency, during which he takes over the executive and the Governor administers the state. The President can also impose financial emergency if there is a prospect of economic instability. As per the Article 360, such an emergency must be approved by Parliament.