Basic Concepts Of Government And Indian Constitution

Basic Concepts Of Government And Indian Constitution

In order to appreciate various facets of the Indian Political System, it is necessary that we should have an understanding of some of the basic concepts. These basic concepts have been explained as follows:

  • Government
  • Democratic Government
  • Unitary and Federal Governments
  • Parliamentary and Presidential Governments

Check out Polity notes in detail. 


All human societies have instituted a system of control to (a) organize social relations, (b) contain and resolve conflicts and (c) work towards achieving the common purposes of that society. This structure that exercises power and control can be termed as Government.

Government can thus be defined as a set of institutions that, exercises control through legal devices and imposes penalties on those who break the law. In order to ensure social acceptance, it is important that the power of the government to control people is recognized by the people and accepted by them voluntarily. Such governments then are termed as legitimate. As society undertakes new activities and members of this society enter into expanding relationships with each other and with other societies, governments are called upon to undertake new tasks. This means that:

a) The organization of governments becomes complex and their power increases considerably as a result thereof.

b) Division of functions takes place between the organs with each organ performing specific functions.

Governments have primarily three functions. i.e, making of laws, executing laws and adjudicating disputes. The organs of government, which correspond to these three functions, are the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary.


The organs of government are so structured that they can adequately perform the functions required of them. Laws should express the peoples’ will. Therefore, the legislature should comprise of representatives of the people. The executive gives effect to the laws made by the legislature. The executive should be competent and efficient. Finally, the task of interpreting laws and applying them in individual cases is left to the judiciary. It is the judiciary, which guards against any violation of the laws.

Thus, all the governmental functions for bringing the peoples’ wishes into effect without fear or favour are reflected in its organization.

The legislature is the first branch of the government. It consists of members elected directly or indirectly by the people at definite intervals. Besides making laws, the legislature influences the policies and programmes of the executive, approves the annual budget of the government, elects the heads of the executive in some countries, amends, the constitution and ventilates, the grievances of the people.

Legislatures may be bicameral or unicameral. A bicameral legislature has two houses known as the lower chamber (house) and the upper chamber (house). The main advantage of having two houses or chambers is that one acts as a check on the other and hasty legislation is prevented.

Normally, this function is assigned to the upper house, points are assigned to the upper house which, points out the defects in the laws passed by the lower chamber. The need for an upper house is felt mainly in a ledes the interests of the federating units have to be protected. However, it is also criticised as a superfluous and unnecessary organization. On the other hand, unicameralism (single house 7 chamber) saves the finances and time in the law-making process. But it may result in legislative despotism.

The executive is the second important branch in the government. It consists of ministers and administrative personnel. It seniors vast powers and performs many functions. On the basis of the relations between executive and legislature governments are of two types, namely, Parliamentary and Presidential.

Judiciary is the third important branch of government. It consists of judges and some ministerial personnel. It administers justice, interprets the constitution, and protects the rights and freedoms of individuals. It plays a significant role in federal and democratic states.

Check out the notes on democratic government.

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