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Parliamentary Form of Government, Meaning, History, Merits & Demerits

Parliamentary Form of Government

A democratic government known as a parliamentary one is one in which the political party winning the most seats in the federal election’s legislative or Parliament becomes the ruling party. India’s parliamentary system of government is comparable to that of the UK.

A parliamentary form of government is one in which the executive and legislative branches have divided authority and are essentially inaccessible to one another. The Parliament is a better idea as a result. This article explains the Parliamentary government, its characteristics, merit and demerit are important for UPSC Syllabus. The UPSC Mock Test can help candidates prepare for the exam with more precision.

Parliamentary Form of Government History

Since the beginning of time, when civilizations were tribal, there have existed councils or a headman whose decisions were evaluated by village elders. Over time, these councils evolved into the modern parliamentary system. Alfonso IX, King of Leon (Spain), gathered the three states in the Cortes of León in 1188, establishing the first parliaments in Europe.

An early version of parliamentary government emerged in the present-day Netherlands and Belgium during the Dutch Revolt (1581) when the States-General of the Netherlands seized the royal, legislative, and executive powers from the monarch, King Philip II of Spain.

The modern idea of parliamentary government emerged in the United Kingdom between 1707 and 1800, and the Swedish Parliamentary System did so between 1721 and 1772. Following World War I, democracy and parliamentary gained more and more traction in Europe.

Also Read: Uniform Civil Code

Parliamentary Form of Government Features

There are some significant features of a Parliamentary Form of Government. They have been listed down below:

Real and Nominal Executives

The President serves as the formal executive, while the Prime Minister is the actual executive (de facto executive). As a result, the President is the President of the State, and the Prime Minister is the Prime Minister of the Government.

Dual Membership

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers represent the executive, while the Parliament serves as the legislative body. The executive is developed from the legislative since members of parliament elect the prime minister and other cabinet officials.

Collective Responsibility

The legislative branch holds the executive jointly responsible. There is a concept of collective accountability, meaning that the Council as a whole is accountable for the duties of each minister.

Secret Procedure

This type of management mandates that cabinet discussions be held in private and not made public.

Leadership under the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is in charge of this kind of government.

Majority Party Rule

The prime minister is normally chosen by the leader of the party that gains a majority in the lower chamber.

 Bicameral Legislature

The majority of parliamentary democracies have bicameral legislatures.

Political Homogeneity

The members of the ministers’ council have similar political ideologies because they often belong to the same political party. The ministers of a coalition government are required by the agreement.

No Fixed Term

The length of the government’s term is determined by the lower house’s majority vote. The ministers are required to resign if a motion of no confidence in the government is unsuccessful. There will be elections, and a new government will be installed.

Parliamentary Form of Government Constitutional Provision

The Indian Constitution contains four clauses that support a parliamentary system of governance.

Article 74

It focuses on the advice and helps the President receives from the Cabinet of Ministers as he performs his duties. The amended advice must be adopted if the President asks the Cabinet of Ministers to reconsider.  The President’s suggestions from the Council of Ministers are not up for judicial review.

Article 75

According to this system, the President selects the Prime Minister and, depending on the Prime Minister’s suggestions, the President selects the other ministries. Ministers are chosen by the President to serve during his or her term in office. The Lok Sabha is ultimately responsible for the actions of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Article 163

It focuses on how the Cabinet of Ministers supports and advises the Governor as he discharges his duties. If the Governor is acting at their own discretion, they are not compelled to seek the advice and aid of the Ministerial Council. The Governor’s proposals from the Council of Ministers are not susceptible to judicial review.

Article 164

The following is covered, including the fact that the Governor appoints the Chief Minister and names other ministries on the Chief Minister’s advice. Ministers are chosen by the governor for the duration of their tenure in office. The Ministers are jointly accountable, according to the state’s Legislative Assembly.

Parliamentary Form of Government Merit

Parliamentary Form of Government has many merits few of which are mentioned below:

Cooperation Between the Legislative and Executive Branches

The main benefit of the parliamentary system is that it guarantees friendly communication and cooperation between the legislative and executive branches of government.

Responsible Government

The parliamentary system creates an accountable government by design. The Parliament must be informed of all ministers’ conduct and omissions. Parliament uses a variety of tools to exert oversight over ministers, including question periods, debates, adjournment motions, no-confidence motions, and others.

Prevents Despotism

In this system, a council of ministers, rather than a single individual, is given executive power. This decentralization of authority checks the authoritarian tendencies of the executive. Additionally, the administration is answerable to Parliament and subject to no-confidence votes.

Wide Representation

A group of people make up the executive in a parliamentary system. (i.e., ministers who are representatives of the people). As a result, the government may represent all ethnicities and geographical regions of the nation. The prime minister can take this into consideration when selecting ministers.

Parliamentary Form of Government Demerit

Parliamentary Form of Government has certain demerits, a few of which have been explained below:

No Separation of Powers

It is impossible for the legislature to consistently hold the executive accountable when there is a lack of a complete separation of powers. This is especially true if the government has a strong majority in the House. Anti-defection rules also prevent parliamentarians from exercising their free will and voting in accordance with their convictions and understanding. They have to follow the party line.

Unqualified Lawmakers

The system only generates legislators who are interested in moving up to the executive branch. They lack the qualifications needed to enact laws.


Since governments can only continue for as long as they can demonstrate a majority in the parliament, there is uncertainty if there is no obvious winner following the elections. Coalition governments are frequently short-lived and very unstable. The administration must therefore focus on staying in office rather than worrying about the welfare or general state of the public.


The executive should include members of the ruling party. Therefore, engaging subject-matter experts is not recommended.

Failure to Make a Quick Decision

Because it lacks a clear tenure, the Ministerial Council routinely postpones making significant, long-term policy decisions.

Party Politics

Party politics are more pronounced in the parliamentary system because partisan interests rather than national concerns drive parliamentarians.

Bureaucratic Control

Civil officials are incredibly powerful. They offer guidance to the ministers on a range of subjects, although they are not accountable to the legislature.

Parliamentary Form of Government and Presidential Form of Government

In the table below we will see the difference between both forms of government:

Basis Parliamentary Form of Government Presidential Form of Government
Executive Dual Single
Accountability Executive accountable to the legislature Executive not accountable to the legislature
Ministers Only MPs People outside the legislature can be appointed
Dissolution of lower house PM can dissolve before the expiry of the term President cannot dissolve
Tenure Not fixed Fixed

Parliamentary Form of Government UPSC

India likewise chose a parliamentary form of government because the English system had a significant impact on the country’s constitution-makers, who decided to do so. The founding fathers also understood that the parliamentary system could only serve the many different and various populations that make up our nation. India is presently the largest democracy with a parliamentarian form of government in the world. Students can read all the details related to UPSC by visiting the official website of StudyIQ UPSC Online Coaching.

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Parliamentary Form of Government FAQs

What is meant by parliamentary form of govt?

Parliamentary system is a democratic form of government.

Why India is called parliamentary form of government?

Created after 1947, the Indian Parliament is an expression of the faith that the people of India have in principles of democracy.

What is a parliamentary form of government?

Parliamentary system, the head of the state may be a monarch or a president, but both of these positions are ceremonial.

The parliamentary system of government serves what purpose?

Because of India's variety and their knowledge of the British system, our founding fathers believed that the parliamentary system was the most appropriate for the country.

Which type of government—presidential or parliamentary—is the best?

Both methods have advantages and disadvantages. The country and system that are most appropriate for it will vary.

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