King Charles in Parliament Promises to Follow Queen’s Example
- September 13, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
King Charles in Parliament Promises to Follow Queen’s Example
Subject – Polity
British Constitution Salient Features
- British constitution is unwritten.
- The British constitution is a specimen of evolutionary
- The British constitution is a classic example of a flexible constitution. It can be passed, amended and repealed by a Simple Majority (50% of the members present and voting) of the Parliament, since no distinction is made between a constitutional law and an ordinary law.
- The British constitution has a unitary character. All powers of the government are vested in the British Parliament, which is a sovereign body. Executive organs of the state are subordinate to the Parliament, exercise delegated powers and are answerable to it.
- Britain has a Parliamentary form of government. The King, who is sovereign, has been deprived of all his powers and authority. The real functionaries are Ministers, who belong to the majority party in the Parliament and remain in office as long as they retain its confidence. The Prime Minister and his Ministers are responsible to the legislature for their acts and policies. In this system, the executive and legislature are not separated, as in the Presidential form of government
- Britain has a constitutional monarchy and a constitutional monarchy is not incompatible with democracy.
British Political System
- The Executive in Britain is called as Crown. Earlier, the Crown symbolized King. Now, the King is part of the Crown.
- The Crown, as an institution, consists of the following:
- Prime Minister
- Council of Ministers (CoM)
- Permanent Executive, the Civil Servants
- Privy Council
- In Britain, the Parliament can be said to be the only institution, which exercises sovereign powers and on which there are no limits because there is no written constitution.
- The British Parliament is bicameral, that is there are two houses or chambers – The House of Lords (strength not fixed) and The House of Commons (strength fixed at 650 members). The House of Lords has hereditary members. Moreover, it has the largest number of Life Peers, Church/Religious peers (Ecclesiastical Peers) and Law Lords.
The House of Lords
- The House of Lords is the second chamber, or upper house, of the United Kingdom’s bi-cameral (two chamber) Together with the House of Commons and the Crown, the House of Lords form the UK Parliament. There are four types of members of the house: Life peers (majority of the membership), Law lords, Bishops, elected Hereditary peers
- The House of Lords can propose and make changes, known as amendments. However, its powers are limited; if it doesn’t approve of a piece of legislation, it can only delay its passage into law for up to a year. After that, there are rules to ensure that the wishes of the House of Commons and the Government of the day prevail.
The House of Commons
- This is the lower chamber, but the one with most authority. It is chaired by the Speaker.
- The Speaker post is non-political and indeed, by convention, the political parties do not contest the Parliamentary constituency held by the Speaker.
- In modern practice, the Prime Minister is the head of the Government and is always a member of the majority party or coalition in the House of Commons.
- The Cabinet comprises primarily leading House of Commons Members of the majority, although Members of the House of Lords have served as Cabinet ministers.
- The Prime Minister, although head of the Government and an MP, is now not usually the Leader of the House of Commons.
- The Leader of the House of Commons, a member of the Government, is the chief spokesman for the majority party on matters of the internal operation of the House of Commons.
- The Office of the Leader issues announcements of the impending House of Commons schedule, and a routine inquiry from the Opposition’s counterpart serves as an occasion for the Leader to announce the business for the next two weeks of session.
- In the House of Commons, party organizations (akin to the Republican Conference or Democratic Caucus) meet regularly to discuss policy, and to provide an opportunity for backbench party members to voice their views to ministers or shadow cabinet members in a private forum.
- The position of the Speaker is a position of great prestige and dignity. In UK, there is a convention that once a Speaker, always a Speaker. It means that a Speaker’s constituency is unchallenged.
- Once a person is appointed as a Speaker he gives formal resignation from his political He has a casting vote and ultimate disciplinary powers with respect to the conduct of the House and MPs.
Under the doctrine of Parliamentary sovereignty, the judiciary lacks the intrinsic power to strike down an Act of Parliament. However, the subordination of common law to statute law does not mean the subordination of the Judiciary to the executive. Courts in Britain retain certain powers:
- Of interpreting the precise meaning of a statute.
- Of reviewing the actions of ministers and other public officials by applying the doctrine of ultra vires (beyond powers).
- Of applying the concept of natural justice to the actions of ministers and others.
Because Parliament is sovereign, the government can seek to overturn the decisions of the courts by passing amendment legislation. The power of judicial review provides the judiciary with a potentially significant role in the policy process.
Comparison of Indian and British Political system
A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic governance of a state (or subordinate entity) where the executive derives its democratic legitimacy from its ability to command the confidence of the legislature, typically a parliament, and is also held accountable to that parliament.
First of all, In Britain, Parliament is supreme but In India, Parliament is not supreme and has limited sovereignty. Parliament can make, amend, substitute and repeal any laws. It can even amend the Constitution in same way as normal laws. Thus, there is no judicia review in the UK’s parliamentary system as the judiciary can’t hold the law unconstitutional
- In Britain, the head of the state is either King or Queen of the royal family, while in India, we elect head of the state or president after every 5 years.
- In Britain, PM should be member of lower house while in India, PM can be member of Lower house (Lok Sabha) or upper house (Rajya Sabha).
- In Britain, ministers should be member of Parliament (MP) while In India, it is not necessary for minister to be a MP but only for period of 6 months.
- In Britain, Opposition forms ‘shadow cabinet’ in contrast to the ruling party’s cabinet and prepare their minister for future ministerial office. In India there is no such concept.
- In Britain, ministers are legally bound to their responsibility while in India there is no such legal limitation for ministers.