India is a parliamentary republic with a democratic republican government. The central government is the ‘Union Government’, whereas state governments are known as ‘State Government’.
The Union Government comprises three branches, namely the executive, the legislature, and the judiciary. The Union Executive under the Indian Constitution incorporates the President, the Vice-President, the Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister as the head to aid, assist, and advise the President.
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Parliamentary form of Government
Before we discuss the Parliament and the Union Executive, we first examine the structure and nature of the Indian government. The flow chart depicts the structure of the Indian government:
India’s government is based on a parliamentary system, and it is a type of governance in which the executive is accountable to the legislative branch. Because of the concentration of executive powers in the Cabinet, it is referred to as the Cabinet Government. The legislative branch includes the executive branch.
Leaders favoured this system of government because:
- Leaders knew such a type of government.
- This government was seen to be more responsible since the executive is accountable to the legislature and the people.
- This style of administration avoids authoritarianism.
- This form aids in obtaining representation from a diverse group of individuals.
- The availability of alternate administration remains a feature of this style of government.
- In this government type, the head of state is only a ceremonial figurehead serving as the nominal executive.
- The Prime Minister is the chief executive and is the true head of state.
- In this type of governance, the majority party rules.
- A Parliamentary Opposition always checks the actions of the prevailing government.
- Civil servants are independent in this form of government.
- This system of governance is widely used in nations such as Japan, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Britain tremendously influenced India’s political system.
The Presidential form of governance is the polar opposite of such a government. In this administration, the President is held accountable to the people rather than the legislature.
The President (Article 52)
According to the Indian Constitution, the President is the first and most important member of the Union Executive. According to Article 52, India has a President who is regarded as the country’s executive head. The country’s executive business is conducted in the name of the President.
Because the President is the executive head and all activities are performed in his name, and the President has several responsibilities.
The government requested writers to submit textbooks for approval in the case of Ram Jawaya Kapoor v. The State of Punjab. When textbooks were authorised, writers were required to sign a contract. The Government owns the copyright to these works. On the sale of the textbooks, the writers only received a 5% royalty. The government acquired control of all book publishing, printing, and distribution rights.
According to the Court, these clauses were ultra-vires to the constitutional power. Without particular law, the government, as an executory entity, lacked the authority to engage in that activity or commerce.
The Indian Constitution contains no limitations on executive power. The Supreme Court ruled that the executive branch cannot be limited to just enforcing laws. Although there is a clear division of authorities, there is no clear separation of functions.
Procedure for impeachment of the President: Article 61
Article 61 of the Constitution allows the impeachment of the President of India for violating the Constitution based on allegations brought by either House of Parliament.
- At least one-fourth of the total members of the house must sign a resolution proposing to prefer such charges. A two-thirds majority must approve the resolution of the House of Representatives.
- When one of the Houses passes the resolution, the other House must investigate the accusations. In such inquiries, the President has been accorded the privilege to be present or represented.
- When the House examines the allegations and passes a resolution declaring the charges to be true with a two-thirds majority, the President is impeached when the resolution is approved.
Privileges of the President: Article 361
Article 361 protects the President (a member of union execution) from being held liable in any court for:
- For the exercise and performance of his office’s powers and duties; for doing or claiming to have done any act in the exercise of those powers and duties;
- The President’s conduct can only be reviewed if either house of parliament designates or appoints any court tribunal or other body to investigate charges under Article 61.
However, it does not prevent anybody from launching a viable legal action against the Governor or the Indian government.
During the term of his office, the President is exempt from all forms of criminal prosecutions. During the President’s tenure of office, no court can issue an order directing the arrest and detention of the president.
Powers of the President
As per the Indian Constitution’s Article 53, all executive functions of the Union are vested in the President of India. Under the Constitution, the President may exercise his executive responsibilities through officers reporting directly or indirectly.
The President has the following powers under this article:
- The right to be informed about all national matters is guaranteed;
- Appointment of constitutional court justices (Supreme Court and High Courts);
- Appointment of state governors, attorney general, comptroller and auditor general, chief commissioner, and members of the Election Commission of India;
- Removal of the Council of Ministers, state governors, and the Attorney General;
- Administration of Union territory and appointment of Chief Commissioners and Lieutenant Governors of the Centrally Administered Areas
Article 53 stipulates that the President is the Supreme Commander of the Union of India’s Armed Forces. It further specifies that no specific regulations can limit the application of this fundamental concept.
The President, as Supreme Commander of the Union’s Armed Forces, has the following powers:
- The appointment of all officials, including the chiefs of the armed forces
- Wars are fought in the name of the President
- Peace is declared in the name of the President
- The President is the face of Indian diplomacy, assisting the country in maintaining friendly ties with governments worldwide.
- His representatives are all ambassadors and high commissioners in other countries.
- He accepts the credentials of other countries’ diplomatic representatives;
- The President negotiates treaties and agreements with foreign countries before approval by Parliament.
The President has certain legislative authorities, including:
- The President is the first to address the Parliament during the budget session;
- The President has the authority to call a joint session to break a deadlock in the legislative process between the two Houses of Parliament;
- President sanction is essential in cases of provisions relating to:
- creating a new state;
- changing the boundaries of existing states;
- changing the name of a state.
- President’s consent is essential for legislative provisions relating to citizens’ fundamental rights;
- President’s consent is essential in cases of money bills originating in Lok Sabha;
- President’s consent is essential for all bills passed by the Parliament to become law;
- The President is empowered to promulgate ordinances when the Parliament is not in session; the President also nominates members of both Houses.
Vice President (Article 63)
The Vice President of India, also known as the Vice President of the Republic of India, is India’s deputy to the republic’s president and is also an essential part of the Union Executive under the Indian Constitution. After the president, the vice president is the second-highest constitutional post, and he also chairs the Council of State.
Functions of the Vice-President
The Vice-President of India has various crucial tasks and responsibilities. The Indian constitution’s Articles 64 and 65 discuss the following functions:
- The Vice-President serves as the ex-officio Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (States Council).
- If there is a tie in the Rajya Sabha, the Vice President casts the deciding vote.
- On ceremonial occasions, the Vice President speaks for the Council of States.
- He safeguards Rajya Sabha’s rights and privileges.
- He travels to various nations on goodwill trips;
- If the President is unable to execute his or her duties due to absence, illness, or other reasons, the Vice-President assumes those responsibilities until the President resumes his or her duties;
- If a vacancy in the position of President arises as a result of his resignation, dismissal, or death, the Vice-President shall function as President until a new president is elected.
- The time between the Vice President’s functioning as President and the new president’s election can be prolonged up to 6 months.
The Council of Ministers
According to Article 74 of the Indian Constitution:
- A Council of Ministers should be established to assist and advise the president.
- A Prime Minister must lead the Council of Ministers, assisting and advising the President.
- The President should perform his duties and follow the advice of the Council of Ministers.
- The Council of Ministers should reconsider the President’s suggestion;
- After review, the President must act in conformity with the Council’s advice.
Appointment of Prime Minister
The President of India appoints the Prime Minister of India under Article 75 of the Constitution and is a vital member of The Union Executive Under the Indian Constitution. The Prime Minister is the head of the Lok Sabha’s majority party or coalition of parties. When a party gains a majority, the President appoints the head of that party as Prime Minister of the country. He is regarded as the supreme leader of the country.
Constitutional Duties of Prime Minister
The Prime Minister is given various powers and responsibilities under the constitution. The Prime Minister’s responsibilities are as follows:
- The Prime Minister recommends to the President the names of individuals for appointment as Ministers of the cabinet.
- The prime minister can reorganise the Cabinet and decide on the distribution of ministry responsibilities.
- He presides over Cabinet sessions and has the power to overturn decisions made by the Cabinet.
- He advises India’s President on whether any minister should resign or be removed from the Cabinet;
- He also oversees and coordinates the work of the Cabinet’s Ministers.
- The Prime Minister can resign and request that the President of India dissolve the Cabinet.
- He can recommend to the President that the whole Lok Sabha be dissolved and new elections held.
- The Cabinet becomes unusable. If the Prime Minister resigns from his position, then the government dissolves spontaneously following his death.
The Union Executive under the Indian Constitution is one of the most crucial instruments of Indian democracy. It is the heart and spirit of our Indian administrative system. The Union Executive serves as a strong shot for all administrative and executive entities.
The framers of the Constitution gathered all of the provisions required to create a strong and accountable executive government for our country. Citizens must collaborate with the administration for our Indian democratic system to work properly.
Which part of the Constitution deals with the Union executive?
The extent to which the union has executive power is addressed in Article 73 of our Indian constitution. According to the executive power, it extends to subjects over which parliament has the authority to create laws, and the government of India has the authority to exercise such powers.
What is the Dissolution of Parliament?
The Lok Sabha in our nation has a five-year term. However, the Lok Sabha can be dissolved early. Article 83(2) of the Indian Constitution stipulates that the Lok Sabha can be dissolved after 5 years from the start date of Lok Sabha sessions. In such instances, a general election is called to elect the new members of parliament.
What is the Size of Ministries?
The 91st Amendment Act of 2003 established a cap restriction on the size of ministries. The amendment stipulated that the Council of Ministers' strength may not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the state's Lok Sabha or appropriate Legislative Assembly.
What are the financial roles of the President?
- The President receives and acts on the Finance Commission's reports.
- The President of India has access to the country's contingency funds.
- He also arranges for audits to be presented before the Parliament.