Features of Indian Polity

In India, the political system has not been static. It has been changing with times but to a large extent basic system has remained unchanged. In the ancient past both under the Hindu and the Muslim rulers, there used to be absolute monarchy. The ruler used to be above law of the land. There used to be no written laws. The words of the Raja or Badshah used to be final and no one dared to challenge the commands of the King. He, of course, used to have his Ministers who provided him feedback in order to enable him to take a decision, but it was not obligatory for of the king to accept their advice.

The last of the Mughals surrendered before the de facto authority of the East India Company. The Company governed a large part of India but again basically the system remained the same. It had no feedback from the people. Input system was very weak and character of administration remained autocratic. There was administrative machinery, but more than often that was used as instrument of exploitation of the people, rather than that of their welfare. Since the feedback to the political system established by East India Company in India was poor, therefore, output in the form of final laws was not to the satisfaction of the people. The result was that the structure could not resist the demands of the people and ultimately bowed down when there was outburst in 1857. The administration of India went from the Company to the Crown.

The system had slight change under the Crown. It was felt that that would be made responsive to the people though slowly and gradually but practically that did not happen. From unwritten law, a step forward towards written law was taken when Acts were passed in 1861, 1909, 1919, 1935 and then in 1947. Basic structure and system, however, remained unchanged. Throughout the period in India the system was headed by a Governor- General, who was not responsible to the people of India in any way. Though Councils set up under the Acts were enlarged and it was hoped that these would provide sufficient feedback to law makers yet the whole process was very slow. The right to franchise was given to very few persons who really did not represent the masses. The system came under strains and stresses by Indian political leaders who suggested the people of India to demonstrate, go on strike, boycott British goods, customs and the people as well as their way of life. World public opinion put more strains on the system.

India, i.e. Bharat, as stated in her constitution is a ‘Union of States’ and follows a democratic parliamentary system of governance. Naturally, the features of Indian political system are varied. The well developed and fully evolved form of democracy that we witness today in India has taken a long span of time to be matured. It has seen both ups and downs, but has managed to survive successfully. We know that there are many factors which worked for the success of India’s democracy. But here we put light on merely the most cardinal factors which directly helped India to preserve their democratic government in the last few decades.

The of Indian political system are -

1.     Panchayat System: One of the salient features of Indian political system, the Panchayat system of ancient India helps the people of India to cope with the culture of democracy. The Panchayat is today the lowest and in a sense the most basic- unit of self government in India. Today, there exists a three-tier Panchayat System in India, gram Panchayat at the village level, Panchayat samiti at the block level and zila parishad at the district level.

2.     Federalism: The second feature of Indian political system is federalism. In India, the centre largely depends on the states for implementing many of public policies which encourages decentralization process. The term ‘federation’ has nowhere been used in the Constitution. Instead, Article 1 of the Constitution describes India as a ‘Union of States’. The Constitution establishes a dual polity consisting the Union at the Centre and the states at the periphery. Each is endowed with sovereign powers to be exercised in the field assigned to them respectively by the Constitution.

3.     Electoral Practice: India ensured the voting right of people of India by the Constitution of the India which is supreme law of the country. The framers of the Constitution of India described about election of India in the Part XV, Articles 324 to 329 of the Constitution. Moreover, the Indian government or leaders always arrange the elections after the said tenure. In this approach people always get chance to exercise their power or to choose their favorite candidate.  

4.     Multi-Party System: India is known for its multi party system. It is a crucial feature of Indian political system. There are many parties in India ranging from 6 National Political parties and more than 48 state parties and many registered regional parties. The multiparty system in India make unique in the world.  In Indian political system one can find the rightist, centrist, leftist, regional, even local political parties to deal with the political issues.

5.     Written Constitution: The Constitution is not only a written document but also the lengthiest Constitution of the world. Originally, it contained a Preamble, 395 Articles (divided into 22 Parts) and 8 Schedules. At present (2013), it consists of a Preamble, about 465 Articles (divided into 25 Parts) and 12 Schedules. It specifies the structure, organisation, powers and functions of both the Central and state governments and prescribes the limits within which they must operate.