Chapter 1. Power-Sharing

Why Power-Sharing?
• Power-sharing is good because it helps to reduce possibility of conflict between social groups.
• Power-sharing is spirit of democracy. A democratic rule involves sharing power with those affected by its exercise, and those who have to live with its effects. People have right to be consulted on how they are to be governed.

Forms of Power-Sharing
• There are various forms of Power-Sharing. Let us understand them one by one.

Between Different Organs
• Power is shared among different organs of government, such as legislature, executive, and judiciary. We call this horizontal distribution of power because it allows different organs of government placed at same level to exercise different powers.
• Such separation ensures that none of organs can exercise unlimited power. Each organ checks others. This results in a balance of power among various institutions.
• Ministers and government officials exercise power, they are responsible to Parliament or State Assemblies. Although judges are appointed by executive, they can check functioning of executive or laws made by legislatures. This arrangement is known as a system of checks and balances.

Among Different Social Groups
• Power may be shared among different social groups such as religious and linguistic groups.
• In some countries, there are constitutional and legal arrangements whereby socially weaker sections and women are represented in legislatures and administration.
• system of ‘reserved constituencies’ for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in assemblies and Parliament of our country is an example of powersharing among different social groups in India.

Between Different Levels
• Power can be shared among governments at different levels.
• A general government for entire country and governments at provincial or regional level.
• A general government for entire country is usually known as federal government. In India, we refer to it as Central or Union Government.
• governments at provincial or regional level are known as by different names in different countries. In India, we call them State Governments.
• In countries where there are different levels of government, Constitution lays down powers of different levels of government. It is known as federal division of power.

Among Different Political Parties and Pressure Groups
• Power-sharing arrangements can be seen in way political parties, pressure groups, and movements control or influence those in power.
• In a democracy, citizens must have freedom to choose among various contenders for power.
• competition among political parties ensures that power does not remain in one hand.

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