An Evaluation of the Working of the Cabinet System of India – Essay



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Now-a-days the powers of the parliament have been usurped by the Cabinet. In theory the Cabinet depends upon the parliament, but in practice it has become the master of the parliament. Because of rigidity in party principles, the Cabinet almost enjoys the majority support of the members of its party.

The Parliament is only to criticise it and bring it to the proper path in case it goes astray. A strong executive controlled by constant, vigilant and responsible criticisms, is an ideal at which parliamentary institutions aim- Further, although the Cabinet is all powerful it is the bureaucracy which exercises power on behalf of it.

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A modern State is so vast and its functions are so numerous that Government without bureaucracy is unthinkable. In England the Government is in fact carried on not by the Cabinet, nor even by the individual Minister but by the civil service or bureaucracy. As Ramsay Muir observes, ‘”Bureaucracy (in England) thrives under the cloak of ministerial responsibilities”.

He, however, brands it as “Cabinet Dictatorship” which is a marked feature in a parliamentary system of Government. Lord Hewart, Ex-Chief Justice of England, describes the omnipotent power of the Cabinet as “new despotism”. The Cabinet in India is equally powerful like that of its British counterpart.

Its “aid and advice” is normally binding on the President of India but constitutional Pundits in India do not portray the Indian President a mere nominal head of the State. India is a Federal State. While the President is the guardian of the whole federal system, the Central Cabinet is empowered to manage the central affairs only.

As India has a multi-party system, there is possibility of the President exercising his discretion in forming the Council of Ministers when no party gets absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. However, it is expected that in normal times the Central Cabinet is all powerful and its advice is binding on the President. Recent amendments have made it clear that the Cabinet and not the President is the real executive head of the State.

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