India Table of Contents
The union government, as India's central government is known, is divided into three distinct but interrelated branches: legislative, executive, and judicial (see fig. 14). As in the British parliamentary model, the leadership of the executive is drawn from and responsible to the legislative body. Although Article 50 stipulates the separation of the judiciary from the executive, the executive controls judicial appointments and many of the conditions of work. In addition, one of the more dramatic institutional battles in the Indian polity has been the struggle between elements wanting to assert legislative power to amend the constitution and those favoring the judiciary's efforts to preserve the constitution's basic structure.
Parliament consists of a bicameral legislature, the Lok Sabha (House of the People--the lower house) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States--the upper house). Parliament's principal function is to pass laws on those matters that the constitution specifies to be within its jurisdiction. Among its constitutional powers are approval and removal of members of the Council of Ministers, amendment of the constitution, approval of central government finances, and delimitation of state and union territory boundaries (see State Governments and Union Territories, this ch.).
The president has a specific authority with respect to the function of the legislative branch (see The Executive, this ch.). The president is authorized to convene Parliament and must give his assent to all parliamentary bills before they become law. The president is empowered to summon Parliament to meet, to address either house or both houses together, and to require attendance of all of its members. The president also may send messages to either house with respect to a pending bill or any other matter. The president addresses the first session of Parliament each year and must give assent to all provisions in bills passed.
Data as of September 1995