Indian Polity - How the Constitution works
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles according to which a state is constituted or governed.
The Constitution specifies the basic allocation of power in a State and decides who gets to decide what the laws will be.
The Constitution first defines how a Parliament will be organized and empowers the Parliament to decide the laws and policies.
The Constitution sets some limitations on the Government as to what extent a Government can impose rules and policies on its citizen. These limits are fundamental in the sense that the Government may never trespass them.
The Constitution enables the Government to fulfil the aspirations of a society and create conditions for a just society.
Distribution of Power
The Indian Constitution horizontally distributes power across the three following institutions, as depicted in the following illustration −
All the elected representatives collectively form a body called as Parliament.
The Parliament consists of two houses namely Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and Lok Sabha (Lower House).
The majority group (elected through the election) in the Parliament is called upon to make the government.
The government is responsible for making policies and other national decisions, which are generally taken up after intensive debate and meaningful discussions in the parliament.
The Prime Minister is the head of the government. The prime minister presided over the meetings of the cabinet in which the big decisions are taken.
The President of India is the head of the State; however, he/she exercises only nominal powers.
The President’s functions are mainly ceremonial in nature (similar to the Queen of Britain).
The following diagram illustrates the hierarchy of the Indian Government −
The judicial system in India contains a hierarchy of courts, where the Supreme Court is the apex court of India.
Besides, some constitutional and other independent statutory bodies, for example, the Election Commission has also been given independent power.
The distribution of power among different bodies in such a way ensures that even if one institution wants to subvert the Constitution, others can check its transgressions and maintain harmony.