Government of India

Government of India

The Government of India [GoI] (Hindi: भारत सरकार [ Official Language Resolution, 1968] "Bhārat Sarkār"), officially referred to as the Union Government, and also as Central Government, was established by the Constitution of India, and is the governing authority of a "federal union" of 28 states and 7 union territories, collectively called the Republic of India. It is seated in New Delhi, Delhi.

The basic civil and criminal laws governing the citizens of India are set down in major parliamentary legislation, such as the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code, etc. The federal (union) and individual state governments consist of executive, legislative and judicial branches. The legal system as applicable to the federal and individual state governments is based on the English Common and Statutory Law. India accepts International Court of Justice jurisdiction with several reservations. At the local level, the Panchayati Raj system has several decentralised administrative functions.

Type of government

The Preamble lays down the type of government that India has adopted - Sovereign, Socialist, Secular, Democratic, Republic.


The word socialist was added to the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976. It implies social and economic equality for all its citizens. There will be no discrimination on the basis of caste, colour, creed, sex, religion, language etc. Everybody will be given equal status and opportunities. The government will make efforts to reduce the concentration of wealth in a few hands, and provide a decent standard of living to all.

India has adopted a mixed economic model, and the government has framed many laws to achieve the goal of socialism, such as Abolition of Untouchability and Zamindari Act, Equal Wages Act and Child Labour Prohibition Act.


The word secular was inserted into the Preamble by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976. It implies equality of all religions and religious tolerance. India does not have any official state religion. Every person has the right to preach, practice and propagate any religion of their own choice. The government does not favour or discriminate any religion. It treats all religions with equal respect. All citizens, irrespective of their religious beliefs are equal in the eyes of law. No religious instruction is imparted in government or government - aided schools.


India is a free country; vote from any place, specific seats are given out for Scheduled social group and scheduled tribes (22%) in parliament called (reserved voters), in local body election a proportion of seats are given out for women candidates.There is also a proposal to give out 33% seats in all elections to woman candidates, at this moment there is no agreement how to apply it and which seats should be given out.The Election Commission of India is responsible for performing free and fair elections.


As opposed to a monarchy, in which the head of state is appointed on hereditary basis for a lifetime, or until he abdicates, a republic is a state in which the head of state is elected, directly or indirectly, for a fixed tenure. The President of India is elected by an electoral college for a term of five years.

Parliamentary government

India has a parliamentary system of government based largely on that of the United Kingdom (Westminister system).

The legislature is the Parliament. It is bicameral, consisting of two houses: the directly-elected 545-member Lok Sabha ("House of the People"), the lower house, and the to 250-member indirectly-elected and appointed Rajya Sabha ("Council of States"), the upper house. The parliament enjoys parliamentary supremacy.

The executive is split between a mainly ceremonial head of state (the President of India). The President enjoys all constitutional powers, but exercises them only on the advice of the actual executive, the head of government (Prime Minister of India) and his or her Council of Ministers (the cabinet), which enjoy all real powers and make important policy decisions.

All the members of the Council of Ministers as well as the Prime Minister are members of Parliament. If they are not, they must be elected within a period of six months from the time they assume their respective office. The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are responsible to the Lok Sabh, individually as well as collectively.

Individual responsibility

Every individual minister is in charge of a specific ministry or ministries (or specific other portfolio). He is responsible for any act of failure in all the policies relating to his department. In case of any lapse, he himself is individually responsible to the Parliament. If a vote of no confidence is passed against the individual minister, he has to resign. Individual responsibility can amount to collective responsibility. Therefore, the Prime Minister, in order to save his government, can ask for the resignation of such a minister.

Collective responsibility

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are jointly accountable to the Lok Sabha. If there is a policy failure or lapse on the part of the government, all the members of the council are jointly responsible. If a vote of no confidence is passed against the government, then all the ministers headed by the Prime Minister have to resign.

Judicial branch

India's independent judicial system began under the British, and its concepts and procedures resemble those of Anglo-Saxon countries. The Supreme Court of India consists of a Chief Justice and 25 associate justices, all appointed by the President on the advice of the Chief Justice of India. In the 1960s, India moved away from using juries for most trials, finding them to be corrupt and ineffective, instead almost all trials are conducted by judges.

Unlike its US counterpart, the Indian justice system consists of a unitary system at both state and federal level. The judiciary consists of the Supreme Court of India, High Courts at the state level, and District and Session Courts at the district level.

National judiciary

The Supreme Court of India has original, appellate and advisory jurisdiction. Its exclusive original jurisdiction extends to any dispute between the Government of India and one or more states, or between the Government of India and any state or states on one side and one or more states on the other, or between two or more states, if and insofar as the dispute involves any question (whether of law or of fact) on which the existence or extent of a legal right depends.

In addition, Article 32 of the Indian Constitution gives an extensive original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in regard to enforcement of Fundamental Rights. It is empowered to issue directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of "habeas corpus", "mandamus", "prohibition", "quo warranto" and "certiorari" to enforce them. The Supreme Court has been conferred with power to direct transfer of any civil or criminal case from one State High Court to another State High Court, or from a court subordinate to another State High Court.

Public Interest Litigation(PIL) : Although the proceedings in the Supreme Court arise out of the judgments or orders made by the Subordinate Courts, of late the Supreme Court has started entertaining matters in which interest of the public at large is involved, and the Court may be moved by any individual or group of persons either by filing a "Writ Petition" at the Filing Counter of the Court, or by addressing a letter to "Hon'ble The Chief Justice of India" highlighting the question of public importance for invoking this jurisdiction.

Such a concept is known as Public Interest Litigation, or PIL and several matters of public importance have become landmark cases. This concept is unique to the Supreme Court of India, and perhaps no other Court in the world has been exercising this extraordinary jurisdiction.

State judiciary

The High Court stands at the head of a State's judicial administration. There are 21 High Courts in the country, three having jurisdiction over more than one state. The Union Territories come under the jurisdiction of different State High Courts. Each High Court comprises a Chief Justice and such other Judges as the President may, from time to time, appoint.

Each High Court has powers of jurisprudence over all subordinate courts within its jurisdiction, namely the District and Sessions courts and other lower courts. It can call for returns from such Courts, make and issue general rules and prescribe forms to regulate their practice and proceedings and determine the manner and form in which book entries and accounts shall be kept.

The District and Session Courts comprise the highest level of courts in a District for Civil and Criminal cases respectively, and may be trial courts of original jurisdiction, applying both federal and state laws. States are divided into districts and within each, a District and Sessions Judge is head of the judiciary. A District Judge presides over civil cases, while a Sessions Judge over criminal cases. These judges are appointed by the Governor of the state in consultation with the state's High Court. There is a hierarchy of judicial officials below the district level, many selected through competitive examination by the state's public service commissions.

Civil cases at the sub district level are filed in sub district or "munsif" courts. Lesser criminal cases are entrusted to courts of magistrates functioning under the Sessions Judge. At the village level, disputes are frequently resolved by "Panchayats" or Lok Adalats (Hindi: "People's Courts"), appealable to the District and Sessions Court.

"Note:" The judicial system retains substantial legitimacy in the eyes of many Indians despite its politicization since the 1970s. In fact, as illustrated by the rise of social action litigation in the 1980s and 1990s, many Indians turn to the courts to redress grievances with other social and political institutions. It is frequently observed that Indians are highly litigious, which has contributed to a growing backlog of cases.

Indeed, the Supreme Court was reported to have more than 150,000 cases pending in 1990, the high courts had some 2 million cases pending, and the lower courts had a substantially greater backlog. Research in the early 1990s show that the backlogs at levels below the Supreme Court are the result of delays in the litigation process and the large number of decisions that are appealed, "and" not the result of an increase in the number of new cases filed.

includes dividend and profit from public sector undertakings and RBI, "et al"


External links

* [ Pan Card] - Pan card information offical site.
* [ Directory of official Government websites in India]
* [ Government of India Portal]

Further reading

* Subrata K. Mitra and V.B. Singh. 1999. "Democracy and Social Change in India: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the National Electorate". New Delhi: Sage Publications. ISBN 81-7036-809-X (India HB) ISBN 0-7619-9344-4 (U.S. HB).

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