DMPQ- Point out the factors which limit the sovereignty of India’s parliament.

. The Indian Parliament cannot be regarded as a sovereign body as there are ‘legal’ restrictions on its authority and jurisdiction. The factors that limit the sovereignty of Indian Parliament are:

Written Nature of the Constitution

The Constitution is the fundamental law of the land in our country. It has defined the authority and jurisdiction of all the three organs of the Union government and the nature of interrelationship between them. Hence, the Parliament has to operate within the limits prescribed by the Constitution. There is also a legal distinction between the legislative authority and the constituent authority of the Parliament.

Federal System of Government

India has a federal system of government with a constitutional division of powers between the Union and the states. Both have to operate within the spheres allotted to them. Hence, the law-making authority of the Parliament gets confined to the subjects enumerated in the Union List and Concurrent List and does not extend to the subjects enumerated in the State List (except in five abnormal circumstances and that too for a short period). Britain, on the other hand, has a unitary system of government and hence, all the powers are vested in the Centre.

Fundamental Rights

The authority of the Parliament is also restricted by the incorporation of a code of justiciable fundamental rights under Part III of the Constitution. Article 13 prohibits the State from making a law that either takes away totally or abrogates in part a fundamental right. Hence, a Parliamentary law that contravenes the fundamental rights shall be void. In Britain, on the other hand, there is no codification of justiciable fundamental rights in the Constitution.

System of Judicial Review

The adoption of an independent Judiciary with the power of judicial review also restricts the supremacy of our Parliament. Both the Supreme Court and high courts can declare the laws enacted by the Parliament as void and ultra vires (unconstitutional), if they contravene any provision of the Constitution. On the other hand, there is no system of judicial review in Britain.

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