Before we start looking at corruption in the country, it is important to understand the political system.
India is a federal, socialist republic. The Constitution of India is the supreme law of India. It lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, establishes the structure, procedures, powers, and duties of government institutions, and sets out fundamental rights, directive principles, and the duties of citizens.
Three subject lists, the Union list, the State list, and the Concurrent list, define the legislative powers of each level of government. The Union government reserves the right to make laws in areas specified on the Union list, the state governments allowed to make laws in areas specified on the State list, and laws in areas listed on the concurrent list may be made at either a state or federal level.
The areas of public order, dealings with local governments, and certain types of taxes are examples of topics which are on the state lists, where Parliament is forbidden to intervene barring exceptional circumstances. Issues such as education, transportation, and criminal law are on the concurrent list, where both state legislatures and Parliament are able to make laws. All residuary powers are vested in the Union.
The President of India is elected by the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies, and not directly by the people. The President is the head of state, and all the business of the Executive and Laws of the Parliament are in his/her name. However, these powers are only nominal, and the President must act only according to the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers.
The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers exercise their offices only as long as they enjoy a majority support in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament, which consists of members directly elected by the people. The ministers are answerable to both the houses of the Parliament. Also, the Ministers must themselves be elected members of either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament. Thus, the Parliament exercises control over the Executive.
The Judiciary of India is free of control from either the executive or the Parliament. The judiciary acts as an interpreter of the constitution, and as an intermediary in case of disputes between two States, or between a State and the Union. An act passed by the Parliament or a Legislative Assembly is subject to judicial review, and can be declared unconstitutional by the judiciary if it feels that the act violates the provisions of the Constitution.