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Demerits of the Parliamentary System

In this article we will discuss Demerits of the Parliamentary System

In this article, we will discuss Demerits of the Parliamentary System. So, let’s get started.

Demerits of the Parliamentary System

In spite of all the merits, the parliamentary system suffers from the following demerits:

Unstable Government
The parliamentary system does not provide a stable government. There is no guarantee that a government can survive its tenure. The ministers depend on the mercy of the majority legislators for their continuity and survival in office. A no-confidence motion or political defection or evils of multiparty coalition can make the government unstable. The Government
headed by Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, V.P. Singh, Chandra Sekhar, Deva Gowda and I.K. Gujral are some such examples,

No Continuity of Policies
The parliamentary system is not conductive for the formulation and implementation of long term policies. This is due to the uncertainty of the tenure of the government. A change  in the ruling party is usually followed by changes in the policies of the government. For example, the Janata Government headed by Morarji Desai in 1977 reversed a large
number of policies of the previous Congress Government. The same was repeated by the congress government after it came back to power in 1980.

Dictatorship of the Cabinet
When the ruling party enjoys absolute majority in the Parliament, the cabinet becomes autocratic  and exercises nearly unlimited powers. H.J. Laski says that the parliamentary system gives the executive an opportunity for tyranny. Ramsay Muir, the former British Prime Minister, also complained of the ‘dictatorship of the cabinet’. This phenomena was witnessed during the era of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.

Against Separation of Powers
In the parliamentary system, the legislature and the executive are together and inseparable.
The cabinet acts as the leader of legislature as well as the executive. As Bagehot points out, ‘the cabinet is a hyphen that joins the buckle that binds the executive and legislative departments together: Hence, the whole system of government goes against the letter and spirit of the theory of separation of powers. In fact, there is a fusion of powers.

Government by Amareurs
The parliamentary system is not conducive to administrative efficiency as the ministers are not experts in their fields. The Prime Minister has a limited choice in the selection of ministers; his choice is restricted to the members of Parliament alone and does not extend to external talent. Moreover, the ministers devote most of their time to parliamentary work, cabinet meetings and party activities. Now, let us compare the parliamentary and presidential systems in terms of their features merits and demerits.

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