Q. The parliamentary control over government and administration in India is more theoretical than practical. Discuss.
The Constitution establishes a Parliamentary form of government in which the executive is responsible to the Parliament for its acts and policies.
Members of the cabinet are chosen from legislature itself. The ministers are collectively responsible to the Parliament in general and Lok Sabha in particular. They continue to be in the office as long as they enjoy confidence of the majority of members in the Lok Sabha.
The Parliament exercises control over the executive through the question hour, zero hour, short duration discussion, tools such as calling attention motion, adjournment motion, no-confidence motion, censure motion, etc. It also supervises the activities of the executive through its committees such as Committee on Government Assurance, Committee on Subordinate Legislation, etc.
Any legislation to be enacted requires approval from a majority of members of both houses of the Parliament. Even the rules and regulations coming out of delegated/executive legislation need to be tabled before the Parliament for their examination.
The Parliament also exercises the budgetary control and post budgetary control over the executive in financial matters. No tax can be levied or collected and no expenditure can be incurred by the Executive without the approval of the Parliament. The Parliament also scrutinizes government spending and financial performance with the help of its committees.
However, in reality the parliamentary control over the executive is more theoretical than practical. The following factors are responsible for this:
- The administration has grown in volume and the Parliament has neither the time nor the expertise to control it.
- Parliamentarians are usually laymen who face difficulty in understanding the demands for grants which is technical in nature. The Executive enjoys legislative leadership owing to majority support. Consequently, it plays a significant role in formulating policies and minimises the possibility of effective criticism.
- The public expenditure is examined by the committees after it has been incurred not before it.
- The scope of financial control has also been reduced due to increased recourse to ‘guillotine’.
- The expansion of ‘delegated legislation’ has increased the powers of the bureaucracy and reduced the law making powers of the parliament.
- Lack of strong, steady and principled opposition has also reduced the effectiveness of legislative control over administration.
Since, the parliamentary control is quite sporadic, general and political in nature, thus it can inferred that legislative control over the government and administration in India is more theoretical than practical and the control is not that effective as it ought to be.