Structure of Government

The “Structure of Government” refers to the organization and division of powers within a governing system. It defines the various branches of government, their roles, and the mechanisms through which they interact and function. Understanding the structure of government is essential for comprehending the functioning of a political system and the distribution of powers among different institutions. In the context of the Indian polity, the structure of government encompasses the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary, each with distinct roles and responsibilities.

Separation of Powers: Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary

The concept of “Separation of Powers” is a fundamental principle in democratic systems that aims to prevent the concentration of power in a single authority and ensure checks and balances within a government. In the context of the Indian polity, the separation of powers involves three key branches of government: the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary.

Legislature: The legislature is responsible for making laws and representing the interests of the people. In India, the legislature consists of two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The Rajya Sabha represents the states and is the upper house, while the Lok Sabha represents the people and is the lower house. The legislature plays a crucial role in policy-making, passing laws, and providing a platform for debate and discussion on various issues.

Executive: The executive branch is responsible for implementing and executing laws and policies. In India, the executive power is vested in the President, who is the head of state, and the Prime Minister, who is the head of government. The President is the constitutional head and exercises his/her powers on the advice of the Council of Ministers, headed by the Prime Minister. The executive branch is responsible for the day-to-day administration of the country, implementation of laws, and decision-making on various matters.

Judiciary: The judiciary is the guardian of the constitution and ensures the rule of law. It interprets laws, resolves disputes, and safeguards the rights and liberties of citizens. The Indian judiciary consists of the Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial authority, and the subordinate courts at the state and district levels. The judiciary plays a vital role in upholding the principles of justice, protecting fundamental rights, and ensuring the accountability of the other branches of government.

The separation of powers ensures a system of checks and balances, where each branch operates independently, with distinct functions and powers. This separation helps prevent the abuse of power, promotes accountability, and safeguards the rights and interests of citizens. It is a crucial aspect of democratic governance, ensuring that no single authority becomes too powerful or dominant.

Parliament: Composition, Functions, and Procedures

Parliament is the supreme legislative body in India and plays a crucial role in the functioning of the democratic system. It consists of two houses: the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). Let’s delve into the composition, functions, and procedures of the Indian Parliament:


  • Rajya Sabha: The Rajya Sabha is the upper house of Parliament and represents the states and union territories. It consists of members who are elected by the members of the State Legislative Assemblies and Union Territory Legislative Assemblies.
  • Lok Sabha: The Lok Sabha is the lower house of Parliament and represents the people. Its members, known as Members of Parliament (MPs), are elected through general elections held across the country.


  • Legislative Functions: The primary function of Parliament is to enact laws. Bills can be introduced in either house, and they undergo a series of readings, discussions, and debates before being passed. Both houses need to pass a bill for it to become law.
  • Financial Functions: Parliament exercises control over public finances. It discusses and approves the budget presented by the government, authorizes the expenditure of funds, and reviews the financial policies of the government.
  • Oversight Functions: Parliament plays a crucial role in overseeing the functioning of the executive branch. It exercises control over the government by questioning ministers, holding discussions, and initiating debates on various issues.
  • Representation: Parliament serves as a forum for representing the diverse interests and concerns of the people. Members of Parliament represent their respective constituencies and raise issues related to their constituents.


  • Sessions: Parliament meets in sessions, which are convened by the President. The sessions are typically held in two parts: the Budget Session (February to May) and the Monsoon Session (July to September).
  • Question Hour: One of the significant features of Parliament is the Question Hour. During this time, Members of Parliament can ask questions from ministers, seeking information on various issues.
  • Debates and Discussions: Parliament provides a platform for Members of Parliament to participate in debates and discussions on various matters of public importance.
  • Committees: Parliament has several committees that scrutinize bills, examine the working of government departments, and study specific issues in detail. These committees play a crucial role in the legislative process.

Parliament is the cornerstone of the Indian democratic system, and its functioning ensures representation, legislation, and oversight of the government. It is a forum where diverse voices are heard, laws are made, and policies are debated, ultimately shaping the course of the nation’s governance.

President: Powers, Functions, and Election

The President of India is the head of state and the constitutional head of the executive branch of the Indian government. Let’s explore the powers, functions, and election process of the President:

Powers of the President:

  • Executive Powers: The President is the formal head of the executive branch of the government. They appoint the Prime Minister, who is the head of government, and other members of the Council of Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • Legislative Powers: The President has the power to summon and prorogue sessions of Parliament, address both houses of Parliament, and give assent to bills passed by Parliament. They can also issue ordinances when Parliament is not in session.
  • Diplomatic Powers: The President represents India in its international relations. They receive foreign ambassadors and high commissioners, and they also appoint ambassadors and high commissioners to represent India in other countries.
  • Judicial Powers: The President has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment for certain offenses. They can also suspend, remit, or commute sentences in certain cases.

Functions of the President:

  • Appointment of the Prime Minister: After a general election, the President appoints the leader of the majority party or coalition as the Prime Minister.
  • Dissolution of Parliament: The President has the power to dissolve the Lok Sabha (House of the People) on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  • Summoning and Prorogation of Sessions: The President summons and prorogues sessions of Parliament and addresses both houses at the beginning of each session.
  • Assent to Bills: The President gives assent to bills passed by Parliament, which are then enacted into laws.
  • Appointment of Judges: The President appoints judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts on the advice of the Chief Justice of India and the Governor of the respective state.

Election of the President:

  • Electoral College: The President is elected by an Electoral College consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of the states.
  • Indirect Election: The President is elected by means of a proportional representation system by the members of the Electoral College.
  • Eligibility: To be eligible for the presidency, a person must be a citizen of India, be at least 35 years of age, and fulfill other qualifications as specified by the law.

The President of India holds a position of great constitutional significance and plays a crucial role in the functioning of the Indian government. Their powers and functions ensure the smooth operation of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government, ultimately contributing to the stability and governance of the nation.

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers play a pivotal role in the governance and administration of India. Let’s delve into the responsibilities and functions of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers:

Prime Minister:

  • Head of Government: The Prime Minister is the head of the government and exercises executive authority. They are appointed by the President of India and are usually the leader of the political party or coalition that has the majority in the Lok Sabha (House of the People).
  • Cabinet Formation: The Prime Minister selects ministers to be a part of the Council of Ministers and allocates portfolios to them based on their expertise and experience. The Prime Minister presides over the meetings of the Cabinet, which is the highest decision-making body of the government.
  • Policy Formulation and Implementation: The Prime Minister plays a crucial role in formulating policies and implementing the government’s agenda. They provide leadership in decision-making, guide the functioning of the government, and coordinate the work of various ministries and departments.
  • Legislative Role: The Prime Minister represents the government in the Parliament and is responsible for defending government policies, answering questions, and participating in debates on important issues. They also introduce significant bills in the Parliament and guide them through the legislative process.
  • International Representation: The Prime Minister represents India in international forums, diplomatic engagements, and bilateral and multilateral meetings with other nations. They play a vital role in shaping India’s foreign policy and strengthening international relations.

Council of Ministers:

  • Functions: The Council of Ministers assists the Prime Minister in the administration and governance of the country. Each minister is responsible for a specific ministry or department and is accountable for its functioning and performance.
  • Portfolio Allocation: The Prime Minister allocates portfolios to the ministers based on their expertise and interests. Each minister is responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies related to their respective ministries.
  • Collective Responsibility: The Council of Ministers operates on the principle of collective responsibility. They collectively make decisions and are collectively responsible to the Parliament for the actions of the government.
  • Inter-Ministerial Coordination: Ministers work together to ensure coordination and cooperation between different ministries and departments. They collaborate on various issues, policies, and projects to achieve the government’s objectives.
  • Decision-Making: The Council of Ministers participates in the decision-making process on important matters of governance, policy formulation, and legislation. They contribute to discussions, provide insights, and share expertise in their respective domains.

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers together form the central executive authority of the Indian government. They play a crucial role in policy formulation, governance, and administration, ensuring the smooth functioning of the government and the implementation of various developmental and welfare programs. Their collective efforts are essential in steering the nation towards progress and addressing the needs and aspirations of its citizens.

Supreme Court: Composition, Jurisdiction, and Judicial Review

The Supreme Court of India is the highest judicial authority in the country and plays a vital role in upholding the rule of law, protecting fundamental rights, and ensuring justice. Let’s explore the composition, jurisdiction, and the power of judicial review vested in the Supreme Court:
  • Chief Justice and Judges: The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and a maximum of 34 judges. The President of India appoints judges in consultation with the CJI and other senior judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
  • Collegium System: The appointment and transfer of judges in the Supreme Court are based on the collegium system, which involves consultation among the CJI and a group of senior judges. This system ensures transparency and the independence of the judiciary.
  • Original Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in matters of disputes between the Government of India and one or more states, or between states themselves. It also has the power to hear cases related to the violation of fundamental rights.
  • Appellate Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal. It hears appeals against judgments and orders of the High Courts, as well as certain specialized tribunals.
  • Advisory Jurisdiction: The President of India can seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on legal matters of public importance or questions of law.
Judicial Review:
  • Guardian of the Constitution: The Supreme Court acts as the guardian of the Indian Constitution. It has the power of judicial review, which allows it to examine the constitutionality of laws, executive orders, and government actions.
  • Upholding Fundamental Rights: The Supreme Court ensures the protection of fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution. It can strike down laws and government actions that violate these rights.
  • Interpreting the Constitution: The Supreme Court interprets the provisions of the Constitution and resolves constitutional disputes. It provides authoritative interpretations on various legal issues, guiding the functioning of the executive and legislative branches.
Role in Judicial Activism:
  • Public Interest Litigation (PIL): The Supreme Court has played a significant role in expanding access to justice through PIL. It allows individuals and organizations to file cases on behalf of the disadvantaged, marginalized, and underprivileged sections of society.
  • Social and Public Reforms: The Supreme Court has actively intervened in matters of public interest, such as environmental protection, women’s rights, corruption, and administrative reforms. It has passed landmark judgments and issued directives to address societal issues.
The Supreme Court’s composition, jurisdiction, and power of judicial review contribute to the effective functioning of the Indian judicial system. It ensures the protection of fundamental rights, upholds the rule of law, and acts as the final interpreter of the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s decisions have far-reaching implications, shaping the legal landscape and influencing social and political developments in the country.
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