India is a parliamentary democracy. This means that in Indian democracy the Parliament has an important place. But parliamentary sovereignty is limited in India primarily by two factors. First, the Parliament being a ‘creature of the constitution’, works within its four walls. The Parliament has power to make laws, but those laws must conform to the Indi constitution.
Secondly, bemuse of party discipline, the Council of Ministers is assured majority support in the Lok Sabha. Whenever there is trial of strength in the Lok Sabha the members of the ruling party are bound to support the government. Thus it is aim impossible for the Parliament to remain united against the government. The Parliament divided on party line and this is to the advantage of the government.
In spite of this handicap, the Parliament performs some valuable functions. It represents the whole country. It is in a position to represent the hopes and aspirations of different parts of India and different segments of the population. Various shades of opinion are expressed on the floor of the Parliament. Being elected by them, the members of Parliament are the best representatives of the people of the country.
The Parliament is an effective check on the excesses of the executive. If the government is arrogant, dictatorial or irresponsible, the Parliament can raise its voice against it. On many occasions, the Parliament has attacked the government’s failures and excesses. It has tried to expose corruption in government circles. It tries to make the government efficient, clean, responsive and accountable.
It is true that at the time of vote, the MPs vote cm the party line. Bui this does not prevent the members of the ruling party from finding out faults with the government. The Joint Parliamentary Committee which probed into the Bank Scam and indicted several Congress Ministers included also Congress MPs as its members.
The Parliament is proud of having many eminent people as the members of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. They have made valuable contributions to the establishment of a rich parliamentary and democratic tradition in the country.
It is a matter of concern that the Lok Sabha, the popular chamber of Indian Parliament, has been a place for many persons with criminal background. Further, many persons with crores of rupees have entered the Lok Sabha. This is not a good sign. Many bad people or people with vested interests have managed to be elected to the Lok Sabha.
This is a blow to the popular character of Indian democracy. It is encouraging that a good number of educated, young people have been elected to Lok Sabha in 2009. But they are largely from corporate or political families. There has taken place significant increase in the number of women MPs in the Lok Sabha. But women’s presence in the Lok Sabha needs to be enhanced.