Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Inner-party democracy

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Comparision between the constitution of India and other countries


Source: The Hindu


The ousting of Boris Johnson as leader of the British Conservative Party by the party’s MPs to get rid of a leader who has become an electoral or political liability highlighted the issue of Inner Party democracy in India.

Unlike their counterparts in the U.K., MPs in India have no autonomy to question and challenge their party leadership.

Differences between the Parliamentary system of government in India and the UK

The Head of the State in India (that is, the President) is elected- RepublicThe Head of the State in Britain (that is, the King or Queen) enjoys a hereditary position- Monarchy
Parliament is not supreme in India and enjoys limited and restricted powers due to a written Constitution, the federal system, judicial review and fundamental rights.The doctrine of the sovereignty of Parliament.
In India, the prime minister may be a member of any of the two Houses of Parliament.In Britain, the prime minister should be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons) of the Parliament.
India has no such systemBritain has the system of legal responsibility of the minister
There is no such institution in India.


‘Shadow cabinet’ is a unique institution of the British cabinet system. It is formed by the opposition party to balance the ruling cabinet and to prepare its members for future ministerial office.
In India, anyone can hold the position of Minister at the pleasure of the president, with due qualification as per law, even if he is not a member of both the houses. But he has to get elected within six months to either of the houses.Ministers of Britain are invariably selected among the members of the parliament
In India President can ask the Prime Minister to place a subject before the council of ministers if it is not discussed and decided by the Cabinet.In the United, Kingdom cabinet serves as a unit before the Parliament and Sovereign. Its views are placed by the cabinet as a single whole before the Parliament and Sovereign as if they are views of one man.
Federalism: Quasi-federal and works on competitive federalism   Distribution of powers between centre and statesUnitary in character – All powers of the government are vested in the British Parliament, which is a sovereign body


Reforms needed:

Empowering elected representatives: It will ensure accountability for party leadership.

  • MPs in the U.K. are able to act boldly because they do not owe their nomination to the party leader, but are selected by the local constituency party.
  • In India, however, it is the party leadership that decides candidates, with an informal consultation with the local party.

Changes in the anti-defection law: Neither do MPs in the U.K. stand a risk of disqualification if they speak out against the leader, a threat perpetuated in India through the anti-defection law.

Inner-party democracy: Despite provisions and internal constitution, most parties don’t follow the inner-party rules.

Insta Links



Practice Questions

Q. Discuss the need for reforms in the electoral politics of India. (10M)