Working Of Institutions

06 Working Of Institutions


In a democracy the rulers have to follow some rules and procedures. They have to work with and within institutions. In a democratic country, representatives are chosen through elections at various levels.

How is a major policy decision taken?

A Government order

  • An important Office Memorandum No. 36012/31/90-Est (SCT) was issued by the Government of India on August 13, 1990.
  • Such a big decision could not have been taken by the person who signed the document. The instructions were given by the Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, of which the Department was a part.

The Decision Makers

  • The highest formal authority in the country and head of state is the President.
  • Prime Minister is the head of the government and actually exercises all governmental powers. He takes most of the decisions in the Cabinet meetings.

Need for Political Institutions

  • In order to settle any disputes, modern democracies have arrangements called institutions whose powers and functions are decided by the Constitution.
  • Some institutions are: The Prime Minister and Cabinet, Civil Servants, and Supreme Court.


  • The Parliamentary discussions influence and shape the decision of the government

Why do we need a Parliament?

  • The functions of a Parliament are:
    • Parliaments make, change laws and implement new laws and is the final authority of law making in the country.
    • Parliament can seek any information and is also the highest forum of discussion and debate on public issues and national policy.

Two Houses of Parliament

  • In India, the two Houses are the Council of states or Rajya Sabha or Upper Chamber and House of the People or Lok Sabha or Lower Chamber.
  • The Rajya Sabha has special powers over states but Lok Sabha exercises supreme power.

Political Executive

  • All functionaries who take day-to-day decisions but do not exercise supreme power on behalf of the people are collectively known as executive or the government.

Political and Permanent Executive

  • Executives are divided into two categories – Political executive and Permanent executive or civil services.
  • Political executive are the political leaders who make big decisions.
  • Permanent executive are people appointed on a long term basis.

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

  • The Prime Minister, appointed by the President, is the most important political institution in the country.
  • The body of 60 to 80 Ministers of different ranks is called Council of Ministers which includes Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State with independent charge and Ministries of State.

Powers of the Prime Minister

  • He is the chairperson of Cabinet meetings and coordinates work of various departments.
  • In case of conflicts within departments, his decisions are final.

The President

  • The President is the head of the state and exercises nominal ceremonial powers.
  • Government activities, laws, major policy decisions and appointments of the government, international treaties and agreements are issued in the name of the President.
  • Some appointments include Chief Justice of India, Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts  in consultation with Chief Justice, Governor of States, Election Commissioners and ambassadors to other countries.
  • The President is the supreme commander of the defence forces of India.

The Presidential System

  • In many countries of the world, the President is both the head of the state and the head of the government.

The Judiciary

  • The Supreme Court, High Courts and District and local level courts form the judiciary.
  • Judicial review: The Supreme Court and High Court can determine Constitutional validity of any legislation or action of the executive in the country, when it is challenged before them.
  • Public Interest litigation: As per directives and judgements, the public interest and human right need to be protected by the Courts. Any violation to public interest by the government actions can be taken to the court.

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