The preamble of the constitution of India, Declares India a sovereign, socialist secular democratic republic.
India has an elected President as head of the state with a fixed tenure of office.
The President is the supreme head of all the constitutional wings of the state, that is the legislature, Executive, Judiciary, and armed forces.
The President supervises their functions and ensures adherence to constitutional provisions by these bodies.
The President represents the entire nation and upholds the constitution.
But Unlike the US president, where the President of the republic wields de-facto (Real, Functional) executive powers.
The Indian President is not vested with direct executive responsibilities; such direct and real executive responsibilities are assigned to the Prime Minister and the council of the minister by the constitution.
But both collectively and individually responsible and accountable to the Union legislature.
union executive of India consists of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Council of Ministers, Union Cabinet, and cabinet secretary.
The President is the head of India.
The President is the first citizen of India and acts as the symbol of Unity, Integrity, and Solidarity of the Nation.
Qualification of President
- According to Article 58:
- No person shall be eligible for election as President unless:
- A citizen of India, Has completed the age of 35 years, Is qualified for election as a member of the Lok Sabha.
- A person shall not be eligible for election as President if he holds any office of profit under the government of India, the government of any state, or under any local or other authority subject to the control of any of the said governments.
Election of President
As Per Article 52:
- The nomination of a candidate for election to the office of president must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and seconded by another 50 electors of the electoral college.
- Every candidate has to make a security deposit of 15,000 INR, in the Reserve Bank of India. This amount will be forfeited if the candidate does not secure 1/6 of the votes polled.
- The President is not directly elected by the people but by the members of the Electoral College consisting of:
- The elected members of both the Houses of Parliament. The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the states.
- The elected members of the legislative assemblies of the union territories of Delhi and Pondicherry.
- The President’s election is held as per the system of proportional representation by means of a single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot.
- This system ensures that the successful candidate is returned by the absolute majority of votes.
- Electoral Quota = (Total Number of Valid Votes Polled in the Election /Number of electors to be elected ) + 1
- Each member of the electoral college is given only one ballot paper. The voter, while casting his vote, is required to indicate his preferences by marking 1,2,3,4, etc against the names of the candidates.
- This means the voter can indicate as many preferences as there are candidates in the fray. In the first phase, the first preference votes are counted.
- In case a candidate secures the required quota in this phase, he is declared elected. Otherwise, the process of transfer of votes is carried out.
- The ballots of the candidate securing the least number of first preference votes are canceled and his second preference votes are transferred to the first preference votes of other candidates.
This process continues till a candidate secures the required quota.
Oath by the President
- Before entering the office the President has to make and subscribe to an oath or affirmation.
- In his oath, the President swears:
- To faithfully execute the office;
- To preserve, protect and defend the constitution and the law.
- To devote himself to the services and well-being of the people of India.
- The oath of office to the President is administered by the Chief Justice of India and in his absence in the Presence of the senior-most judge of the supreme court.
Entitlement of the President
- President is entitled without payment of rent to the use of his official residence (Rashtrapati Bhavan).
- The President is entitled to such emoluments, allowances, and privileges that may be determined by the Parliament.
- The President enjoys personal immunity from legal liability for his official acts. During his term of office, he is immune from any criminal proceedings.
The term, Impeachment, and Succession of President
Term of President
- Article 56 says that the President shall hold office for a term of 5 years. But he can resign from his office at any time by addressing the resignation letter to the Vice President.
- Further, he can also be removed from office before the completion of his term by the process of impeachment.
- The President can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge. The President is also eligible for re-election to that office.
Impeachment of President
- The Procedure of impeachment of the President is mentioned detailed in Article 61.
- First, the charge of impeachment is to be made in either house of Parliament by a resolution signed by at least one-fourth of the total number of members of the house and moved by giving at least 14 days advance notice.
- Such a resolution must be passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total number of members of the House when a charge is so presented by one house, the other house should investigate it.
- After the investigation, if a resolution is passed by the other house by a majority of two-thirds of its total number of members, the President stands removed by impeachment from his office from the date of passing of the resolution.
Succession of President
A vacancy in the President’s office can occur in any of the following ways:
- Five-year tenure expiration, By resignation, Removal by impeachment, Death.
- Disqualified to hold office or when the election of the president is declared void.
- If there occurs a vacancy due to resignation, removal, or death then an election to fill the vacancy should be held within six months and the vice president acts as President until the new President is elected.
- And also when the President is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness, or any other cause, the Vice President discharges his functions until the President resumes his office.
- In case the office of the Vice president is vacant, the Chief Justice of India or if his office is also vacant, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court acts as the President or discharges the functions of the President.
Functions and Powers of the President
The functions and powers of the President are vast.
- The President convenes the Parliament, and addresses and prorogues the same.
- Nominates 12 members of eminence in different fields to the Rajya Sabha and two Anglo-Indian members to the Lok Sabha.
- President enjoys veto power over non-money bills of the parliament and can send back non-money bills for reconsideration by the parliament,
- President can convene joint sessions of the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha;
- The President can promulgate ordinances for a period not exceeding six months.
- The President also has veto power over certain state legislation.
- The President prompts and facilitates the institution of the council of ministers headed by the Prime Ministers, and ensures that the council of Ministers enjoys the support of the majority in the Lok Sabha.
- The President alone installs the ministers and distributes portfolios to them, he can also dismiss the ministry, if he feels that the ministry does not enjoy the majority support in the Lok Sabha.
- Nominates members to various constitutional bodies, including the Judiciary, armed forces, and diplomatic corps.
- The President enjoys enormous powers during periods of emergencies,
- Can suspend any law, can dissolve ministries and legislature for specified periods.
- President commutes capital punishments.
- When any person such as the Vice President, Chief Justice of India or senior-most judge is acting as President, he enjoys all the powers and immunities of the President as is entitled to such emoluments, allowances, and privileges as determined by the Parliament.
- The official residence of the president of India is “The Rashtrapati Bhavan” situated in Delhi.
- The emergency powers of the President of India are mentioned in part XVIII of the Indian Constitution.
Based on the pattern of the US constitution, the Indian constitution provides for the office of the Vice-President of India (Article 63).
- The vice president occupies the second-highest office in the country.
Election of Vice President of India
The Vice President of India is elected by the elected members of both Houses of Parliament by secret ballot on the basis of a proportional representation system, by means of the single transferable vote.
Qualification of Vice President
- The candidate must be a citizen of India, Must have completed 35 years of,
- Must be eligible for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha,
- Must be eligible for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha,
- Must not hold any office of profit and Provisions similar to those relating to the President apply.
Terms of Office
- Elected for the term of 5 years.
- Can voluntarily resign before completion of his term by writing to the President.
- The Vice President can also be removed from his office if a resolution is passed by the Rajya Sabha by an absolute majority of its members and agreed to by the Lok Sabha.
- However, fourteen days have to be given to move, such a resolution.
Functions and Duties
- The Vice President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha by Article 64.
- He presides over the meeting of the Rajya Sabha.
- As a presiding officer of the Rajya Sabha, the Vice President’s functions and powers are similar to those of the speaker of Lok Sabha.
- He draws his salary as the chairman of the Rajya sabha because the Vice President’s office itself carries no salary.
- In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President by reason of his death, resignation, or removal, or otherwise, the vice president shall act as President until a new President is elected.
- This period shall not exceed six months.
- While acting as President the vice-president gets a salary, allowance, emoluments, etc., fixed by Parliament by law and during that time he does not perform the duties of the chairman of Rajya Sabha.
Articles 63 to 70 of the Indian Constitution deal with the Vice President.
Executive head of Central government of India: The Prime Minister
Executive: The Constitution provides for a collegiate executive i.e Council of ministers under the chair members of the Prime Minister.
Meaning: A body of persons having authority to initiate major policies, make decisions and implement them on basis of the Constitution and laws of the country.
There are two important organs of the Union or Central Government of India
- The Union Legislature (or) the Union Parliament
2. The Union Executive
- Articles 52 to 78 in Part V of the Indian Constitution deal with the “Union Executive”.
- India has adopted the British Parliamentary executive mode with the Prime Minister as the Head of the Government.
- The Prime Minister is the most important political institution.
But in the council of Ministers (Cabinet), the Prime Minister is primus inter pares (first among equals).
- The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the Prime Minister.
- There is no direct election to the post of Prime Minister.
- Article 75 says the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President.
- The appointment is not by the choice of the President.
- The President appoints the leader of the majority party or the coalition of the parties that commands a majority in the Lok Sabha, as the Prime Minister.
- In case no single party gets a majority, the President appoints the person most likely to secure majority support.
- The Prime Minister does not have a fixed tenure.
- He/she continues in power so long as he/she remains the leader of the majority party or coalition.
Functions and Position
- The first and foremost function of the Prime Minister is to prepare a list of his ministers.
- He meets the President with this list and then the Council of Ministers is formed.
- Very important ministers are designated as Ministers of the Cabinet rank, others are called Ministers of State, while ministers belonging to the third rank are known as Deputy Ministers.
- It is one of the discretionary powers of the Prime Minister to designate a minister as Deputy Prime minister.
- The President allocates portfolios among the ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- The Prime Minister may keep any department or departments under his control;
- he may also advise the President to reshuffle the portfolios of his ministers from time to time;
- he may bifurcate or trifurcate a department or have different departments amalgamated into one department.
The Prime Minister`s pre-eminent position is evident from these points:
- S(he)is the leader of the party that enjoys a majority in the popular House of Parliament (Lok Sabha).
- Has the power of selecting other ministers and also advises the President to dismiss any of them individually or require any of them to resign.
- The allocation of business amongst the Ministers is a function of the Prime Minister.
- He can transfer a minister from one Department to another.
- Is the Chairman of the cabinet, summons its meetings, and presides over them.
- The Prime Minister is also the Chairman of many bodies like the Inter-State Council, the Nuclear Command Authority, and many more.
- Is in charge of co-coordinating the policy of the government and has accordingly a right of supervision over all the Departments.
- While the resignation of a Minister merely creates a vacancy, the resignation, the death of the Prime Minister means the end of the Council of Ministers.
- The Prime Minister is the sole channel of communication between the President and the Ministers and between the Parliament and his Ministers.
- He/ she is the chief spokesperson of the government in foreign affairs.
Prime Minister’s Office
- Being the head of the government and the real executive authority, the Prime Minister plays a very vital role in the politico-administrative realm of our country.
- In order to fulfill his responsibilities, the Prime Minister is assisted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
- The Prime Minister’s Office is an agency meant for providing secretarial assistance and advice to the Prime Minister.
- It is an extra-constitutional body that offers an important role in the top-level decision-making process of the Government of India.
- The Prime Minister’s Office has the status of a department of the Government of India.
- The Prime Minister’s Office came into existence in 1947.
- Till 1977 it was called the Prime Ministers Secretariat (PMS).
- The Prime Minister’s Office is headed politically by the Prime Minister and administratively by the Principal Secretary.
The Prime Minister’s Office performs Several Functions
- Assists the prime minister in his overall responsibilities as head of the government, in maintaining communication with the central ministries/departments and the state governments.
- Helps the prime minister in his responsibilities as chairman of the Niti Aayog and the National Development Council.
- Look after the public relations of the prime minister like contact with the press and general public.
- Deals with all references, which under the Rules of Business have to come to the Prime Minister.
- Provides assistance to the Prime Minister in the examination of cases submitted to him for orders under prescribed rules.
- Maintains harmonious relationships with the President, Governors, and foreign representatives in the country.
- Acts as the think-tank of the Prime Minister. It deals with all such subjects that are not allotted to any department/ministry.
- It is not concerned with the responsibility of the Prime Minister as the chairman of the union cabinet. The cabinet cases are directly dealt with by the cabinet secretariat, which also functions under the direction of the prime minister.
Central Council of Ministers
- Article 74th of the Constitution lays down that there shall be a council of ministers with the Prime Minister as the head to aid and advise the President, who shall in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with the advice of the council of ministers.
- That means, there shall always be a council of ministers.
- The President accepts the advice of the Council of Ministers.
- The Council of Ministers consists of three categories of ministers, namely, cabinet ministers, ministers of state, and deputy ministers.
- While the Cabinet ministers are involved in policy decision-making, the other two categories have mere administrative responsibilities.
- The difference between them lies in their respective ranks, emoluments, and political importance.
- At the top stands the Prime Minister, the supreme governing authority of the country.
Appointment of the Council of Ministers
- As per Article 75 of the Constitution, the Prime Minister is appointed by the President, and the other ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- The minister holds office at the pleasure of the President.
- While the ministers are also appointed by the President and are said to hold office at the pleasure of the President as per the Constitution.
- In actual practice, the ministers are selected by the Prime Minister and the President cannot appoint anyone not recommended by the Prime Minister.
Shadow CabinetIn England, the opposition party in parliament constitutes a group of its members to examine portfolio wise issues though they are real executive and this keeps the opposition well informed and makes the government always on alert.
Council of Ministers: Responsibilities
- The Constitution of India provides that the Ministers are collectively and individually responsible to the Lok Sabha.
- The collective responsibility of the Council of Ministers means that the entire council of ministers is jointly responsible to the Lok Sabha for all the acts of the government.
- It also means that the ministers must not speak in public with different voices.
- All the ministers of the government are expected to be unanimous in support of policies on all public occasions and issues.
- A kitchen Cabinet is a smaller body or a cabinet within a cabinet.
- The kitchen Cabinet is an informal body and the real Centre of power.
- Every Prime Minister in India had a Kitchen Cabinet or Inner Cabinet.
- A circle within a circle.
- The Kitchen cabinet helps the Prime Minister in maintaining secrecy in making decisions on important political issues.
The Union Cabinet
- A cabinet is a council consisting of ministers of Cabinet rank.
- The cabinet is the inner body of the council of ministers.
- The cabinet is the extra-constitutional authority created out of the Council of Ministers.
- The whole council of ministers does not meet to discuss business, it is the cabinet that takes policy decisions and advises the President.
- The cabinet is the highest decision-making executive body that looks after the administrative affairs of the Government of India.
- It is the nucleus of the council of ministers.
Role and Functions of the Cabinet
- The Cabinet is the highest decision-making and policymaking authority in our politico-administrative system.
- The Cabinet deals with all major legislative, financial, and foreign policy matters.
- It deals with all major legislative, financial, and foreign policy matters.
- It exercises control over the higher appointment like constitutional authorities and senior secretariat administrators.
- It recommends ordinances when the parliament is not in session and supervises the implementation of policies.
- It appoints inquiry commissions and resolves interdepartmental disputes.
- It is entitled to recommend the presidential declaration of emergencies, dissolution of Lok Sabha, proroguing, and adjourning the parliament sessions.
- Every Cabinet minister is assisted by a cabinet secretary.
- Among them, the cabinet chief secretary is given a top place among the civil servants on the official ladder.
- The Cabinet secretary is the chairman senior selection board that selects officers for the post of joint secretary in the central secretariat.
- The cabinet secretary presides over the conference of chief secretaries which is held annually.
- The Cabinet secretary acts as the chief advisor to the Prime Minister on all aspects of administration and policy.
- The cabinet secretary acts as the link between the Prime Minister’s Office and various administrative agencies and also between civil service and the political system.