Distinction Between Indian And British Models
The parliamentary system of government in India is largely based on the British parliamentary system. However, it never became a replica of the British system and differs in the following respects:
India has a republican system in place of British monarchical system. In other words, the Head of the State in India (that is, President) is elected, while the Head of the State in Britain (that is, King or Queen) enjoys a hereditary position.
The British system is based on the doctrine of the sovereignty of Parliament, while the Parliament is not supreme in India and enjoys limited and restricted powers due to a written Constitution, federal system, judicial review and fundamental rights.
Indian Parliament is not sovereign in the sense in which the British Parliament is sovereign and can enact any law it pleases. The point is that in the sense of constitutional sovereignty, their powers are not limited by a constitutional document.
Our constitutional document provides for fundamental rights of the individual, and they are enforceable in courts of law. Any law passed by Parliament that infringes on any of the fundamental rights may be declared unconstitutional by the courts.
In Britain, the prime minister should be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons) of the Parliament. In India, the prime minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of Parliament.
Usually, the members of Parliament alone are appointed as ministers in Britain. In India, a person who is not a Member of Parliament can also be appointed as minister, but for a maximum period of six months.
Britain has the system of legal responsibility of the minister while India has no such system. Unlike in Britain, the ministers in India are not required to countersign the official acts of the Head of the State.
‘Shadow cabinet’ is a unique institution of the British cabinet system. It is formed by the opposition party to balance the ruling cabinet and to prepare its members for future ministerial office. There is no such institution in India.
To conclude, in the Indian system, we have a written constitution, and the powers and authorities of every organ of Government and every functionary are only as defined and delimited by the constitutional document. The power of Parliament, too, is clearly defined and delimited by the constitution.