The historical antecedents of the Parliament can be found in the Government of India Acts of 1909, 1919 and 1935, and their feebler predecessors in the post-1857 period during the British Raj.

The Nehru Report (1928) and Sapru Report (1945) produced by leaders of the nationalist movement abortively advocated parliamentary federalism with certain degree of proportional representation. The Constituent Assembly retained this basic framework sans proportional representation in the 1950 Constitution.

The historical importance of the first Parliament elected in 1952 is that its popular chamber, the Lok Sabha, was the first legislative body in India elected on universal adult franchise and endowed will complete legislative autonomy unencumbered by any undue prerogatives to interfere with the legislative process.

Parliamentary sovereignty in India is modified in a number of circumstances and factors specific to India.


First, the combination of parliamentary system with federal system in the Indian Constitution entails the resultant division of powers between the Union Parliament and State Legislatures.

Second, the Constitution incorporates the guarantees of Fundamental Rights of Citizens and Directive Principles of State Policy that amount to constitutional limitations on the powers of the Parliament.

Third, the principle of Judicial Review of the Acts of the Parliament, Legislatures and Executive is an integral part of the Indian constitutional system.

The Indian constitutional system is a mixed one: while the parliamentary component of the government directs attention to the supremacy of the Parliament in the system, the federal component, coupled with constitutionally entrenched Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles of State Policy and traditions of regionalism in the country, compromise parliamentary supremacy by complementing it with constitutional supremacy featuring judicial review.


India is a Republic and the head is the President in whom all the executive power vests and in whose names it is to be exercised. He is also the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. However, unlike the U.S. President, Indian President is only a nominal or constitutional head of the executive; the powers and functions of the President are discussed in the next chapter.

The President acts on the aid and advice of the real political executive, which is the Council of Ministers. Under the Parliamentary system of governance, the Ministers are from Parliament and remain part of it and responsible to its House of the People, in case of India, the Lok Sabha.

The Parliamentary system lays greater stress on the concept of the responsibility of the executive while the presidential system promotes more the stability of the executive. But India has not adopted the British Parliamentary system in toto.

According to Dicey, one of the distinctive features of Parliamentary Government is the sovereignty of Parliament. It can make, amend or repeal any law, there being no legal restriction on its power of legislation; and secondly, no court of law has the right or the power to declare unconstitutional or ultra vires any law made by the parliament.


But in case of India though Parliament is supreme, Judiciary has the power to review the laws made by the Parliament and if they are against the basic features of the Constitution, it can repeal them.

Differences between British and Indian Parliamentary Systems:

1. U.K. Constitution is unitary, whereas Indian Constitution is federal.

2. British is a constitutional monarchy with a hereditary king while India is a sovereign republic with an elected President.


3. India has a written Constitution, where as the British follow conventions.

4. In U.K., the Parliament is supreme, but in India with written Constitution, the Parliament is not sovereign, and legislation passed by it is subject to judicial review.

5. Indian Constitution includes a charter on Fundamental Rights, which are enforceable by a Court of Law not only against the Executive but also against the Legislature unlike the position in the United Kingdom.