Introduction to Government

The Structure of a State Government is as follows

  • Legislative

Legislature consists of Governor, the Legislative Council and Legislative  Assembly. 

The Governor assents to the bills passed by both houses. In certain cases, he may return a bill to the Legislature, giving his reason; however, if the two houses pass the bill with or without accepting his recommendations, he has to assent to it. He may refer certain bills to the President for consideration and assent. The Governor also has powers to promulgate ordinances, when the houses of the Legislature are not in session. The ordinances are, however, required to be laid before the houses and cease to operate after six weeks from the reassembly unless, before the expiry of that period, a resolution disapproving the ordinance is passed by the Legislative Assembly and agreed to by the Council. 

The Governor summons and prorogues the two houses and dissolves the Vidhan Sabha. He addresses the two houses assembled together at the beginning of every year and at the first session after every general election. In his address, the Governor reviews the activities of his government during the past year, and apprises the two houses of the programs to be carried out in the ensuing year. He also refers to the bills proposed to be submitted for approval. The Governor's Address is prepared by the Council of Ministers and is in fact, a statement of the policies of the government. 

The Legislative Council or Upper House is a perpetual house and not subject to dissolution. The term of office of a member is six years; but one third of its members retire every two years. The Council is a mix of representatives among the cross section of the state and also people with expertise in various specific fields of knowledge, literature and arts.

The Legislative Assembly or Lower House consists of members that are directly elected on the basis of adult franchise. The normal life of the Legislative Assembly is five years. It can, however, be dissolved earlier, and in an emergency, its term can also be extended by a maximum period of one year. (Vide Article 172 of the Constitution). 

The two houses, though constituted on different principles, are nevertheless co-ordinate chambers. The Legislative Assembly as the directly elected house, enjoys exclusive powers in financial matters. Financial bills can originate only in the Legislative Assembly, which has a prevailing voice in the case of money bills. 

Under the Cabinet system of government adopted by this country, the Executive (the Government) is fully responsible and accountable to the Legislature and can hold office only so long as it can command the support of the Lower House. Apart from approving the bills and sanctioning the budget, the Legislature exercises supervision over the work of the Executive by keeping a close watch on its functioning in two ways. One is through legislative devices, such as questions, calling-attention notices, resolutions, short duration discussions, adjournment motions, no-confidence motions, cut-motions on the demands for grants, amendments to the Governor's address, etc. The other is through the committees of the Legislature entrusted with the task of scrutinizing specific fields of governmental activities. These committees have powers to send for any persons, papers or records and can also examine witnesses and make reports and recommendations.

  • Judicial

The Judiciary is one of the three arms of the state. Its independence and effectiveness define the true state of a democracy. However, the Judiciary is also the weakest of the three organs without any executive machinery of its own or with a formal popular base, as in the case of the Legislature. Every democratic constitution, therefore, tries to have in-built safeguards to maintain the independence of the Judiciary. 

The Judiciary cannot be said to be completely independent of the Executive and the Legislature, in view of the following provisions: 

(i) Leave and pension for Acts of Parliament regulates the judges of the High Court. 

(ii) Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, laws of the respective legislatures determine the jurisdiction of the courts. 

(iii) The constitution, jurisdiction and powers of the sub-ordinate courts are regulated by laws of the State Legislature that can exclude specified matters from the jurisdiction of ordinary courts. 

(iv) All appointments of judicial officers are the responsibility of the executive, though provision has been made for consultation with the High Court, although the state government appoints the staff of the High Court. 

Law and Judiciary Department 

The Law and Judiciary department, as the name connotes, functions as legal advisory department to the government and as administrative department for the Judiciary. The functions of the Law and Judiciary department as advisory department are mainly technical. This department tenders legal advice mainly to government departments on the following subjects: -

(1) Legal points arising under the Constitution of India, several civil and criminal Acts, rules and regulations, etc.

(2) Legislation (both principal and sub-ordinate).

(3) Litigation (both civil and criminal),

(4) Conveyance

  • Executive

Since Independence, there has been a tremendous growth in the executive functions of the state, due to:

(i) Growth in the traditional functions of the state like law and order, education, public health, etc.

(ii) New functions, such as promoting economic development and social and economic justice undertaken by the state.

This has consequently led to a large expansion in the executive machinery of the state. In the state level, there are Cabinet Ministers and Ministers of State. At the national level, there Lok Sabha Members and Rajya Sabha Members.

The progress of the state depends on the executive branch. All credit and blame regarding the overall condition of the state depends on the executive branch. India is a country rich in natural resources and has excellent hard working people. There is a danger in many states that the executive branch is merely an extension of the British model of exploitation. Some of the current ills of India (for example Corruption) have their source in this branch. Fortunately, the overall condition of this branch has been changing for the better in the last few years all over India.

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