|Demand of the question |
Introduction. What is parliamentary sovereignty?
Body. Various check by constitution on parliament.
Parliamentary sovereignty means supremacy of the legislative body i.e parliament over all other government institutions including executive and judicial bodies. Sovereign legislature may change or repeal any previous legislation and is not bound by any written law like constitution. In India there is no parliament sovereignty rather there is constitutional sovereignty.
Check to parliamentary sovereignty by various provisions of constitution: Various check on parliament are:
- Written Constitution: In India Constitution is written which put limitations on all organs of the state. Although parliament can amend constitution but it cannot supersede the written document. In UK, as there is no written constitution, the Parliament possesses legislative sovereignty. So any law passed by it cannot be questioned before any court on such grounds.
- Independent judiciary and Judicial review: Judiciary is independent and the guardian of the Constitution. It can declare any law or ordinance passed by the legislature void, if any of its provisions violate one or more of the constitutional provisions.
- Federal structure: Although constitution says India as a union of states, India is a federal polity. Various federal provisions especially some special powers for schedule area limit parliament powers where many parliamentary laws are applicable only on presidential and governor consent.
- Limited amendment power: Parliament can amend most of the part of constitution but it cannot amend the ‘basic features of the constitution’. Further some amendments need special majority and states’ legislature resolution.
- Division of powers: Schedule 7 divide law making power between centre and state. Parliament cannot make laws on state list. Any law in state subject would require state’s consent through majority.
- Limit by Presidential vetoes: A bill cannot become law without presidential assent. President can practice various veto powers like pocket veto that act as limitation on parliament sovereignty.
- Limited Doctrine of ‘Separation of Powers’: In India there is no strict application of doctrine of separation of powers. So if the legislature encroaches into the functions of the other organs, judiciary can prevent it to do so.
- Bar on discussion of conduct of judges: Article 121 and 211 of Indian Constitution states that no discussion shall take place in the Legislature of a state or in the Parliament with respect to the conduct of any judge of the Supreme Court or of the High court in the discharge of his duties. Thus legislature have no power to discuss judges conduct.
Thus Constitution being sovereign has balanced powers of parliament through sufficient checks and balance, needed to ensure democracy. It is successful in striving a balance between legislative, executive and judicial body.