Chapter 4. Executive

• organ of government that primarily looks after function of implementation and administration is known as executive.
• An executive is branch of government responsible for implementation of laws and policies adopted by legislature.
• executive is often involved in framing of policy.
• executive branch is not just about presidents, prime ministers and ministers. It extends to administrative machinery [civil servants].
• heads of government and their ministers have overall responsibility for government policy, and they are called political executive. Those responsible for day-to-day administration are known as permanent executive

Types of Executives
• In a Presidential System, President is Head of state as well as head of government. In this system, office of president is very powerful. Countries with such a system include United States, Brazil, & most nations in Latin America.
• In a Parliamentary System, Prime Minister is head of government. Most Parliamentary systems have a President or a Monarch who is nominal Head of state. In such a system, role of President or Monarch is ceremonial, and Prime Minister along with cabinet wields effective power. Countries with such a system include Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom as well as Portugal.
• A Semi-Presidential System has both a President and a Prime Minister, but unlike Parliamentary system, President may possess significant day-today powers. In this system, sometimes President and Prime Minister may belong to same party and at times they may belong to two different parties and thus, would be opposed to each other. Countries with such a system include France, Russia, Sri Lanka.

Parliamentary Executive in India
• In Parliamentary form, many mechanisms ensure that executive will be answerable to and controlled by legislature or people’s representatives. So, Constitution adopted Parliamentary System of executive for governments both at national and state levels.
• There is a President who is formal Head of State of India and Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, which run government at national level. At State level, executive comprises Governor and Chief Minister, and Council of Ministers.

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
• Council of Ministers is headed by Prime Minister. Therefore, as head of Council of Ministers, Prime Minister becomes most important functionary of government in our country.
• In parliamentary form of executive, Prime Minister must have support of majority in Lok Sabha.
• This support by majority makes Prime Minister very powerful. moment this support of majority is lost; Prime Minister loses office.
• A leader who has support of majority is appointed by President as Prime Minister.
• Prime Minister decides who will be ministers in Council of Ministers.
• Prime Minister allocates ranks and portfolios to ministers. Depending upon their seniority and political importance, ministers are given ranks of a Cabinet Minister, Minister of State, or Deputy Minister.
• After 91st Amendment Act [2003], an amendment was made that size of Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15% of total number of members of House of People [or Assembly, in case of States].
• Prime Minister and all ministers have to be members of Parliament. If someone becomes a minister or Prime Minister without being an MP, such a person has to get elected to Parliament within six months.
• Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Lok Sabha. This provision means that a Ministry which loses confidence of Lok Sabha is obliged to resign.
• principle indicates that ministry is an executive committee of Parliament, and it collectively governs on behalf of Parliament.
• Collective Responsibility is based on principle of solidarity of cabinet. It implies that a vote of no confidence even against a single minister leads to resignation of entire Council of Ministers. It indicates that if a minister does not agree with a policy or decision of cabinet, he or she must either accept decision or resign. This is binding on all ministers to pursue or agree to a policy for which there is a collective responsibility.
• In India, Prime Minister enjoys a pre-eminent place in government.
• Council of Ministers cannot exist without Prime Minister. Council comes into existence only after Prime Minister has taken oath of office.
• death or resignation of Prime Minister automatically brings about dissolution of Council of Ministers, but demise, dismissal, or resignation of a minister only creates a ministerial vacancy.
• Prime Minister acts as a link between Council of Ministers and President as well as Parliament. This is Constitutional obligation of Prime Minister to communicate to President all decisions of Council of Ministers relating to administration of affairs of Union and proposals for legislation.
• Prime Minister is involved in all crucial decisions of government and decides on policies of government.
• At State level, a similar parliamentary executive exists. Governor of State is appointed by President [on advice of Central Government].

• Constitution of India vests executive power of Union formally in President.
• In reality, President exercises these powers through Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister [Article 74 [1]].
• President is elected for five years. But there is no direct election by people for office of President.
• President is elected indirectly.
• This means that President is elected not by ordinary citizens but by elected MLAs and MPs.
• This election takes place through principle of proportional representation with a single transferable vote.
• President can be removed from office only by Parliament by following procedure for impeachment. This procedure requires a special majority. only ground for impeachment is a violation of Constitution.
• President has wide-ranging executive, legislative, judicial & emergency powers.
• In a Parliamentary system, these powers are in reality used by President only on advice of Council of Ministers.
• Prime Minister and Council of Ministers have support of majority in Lok Sabha, and they are real executive.

Discretionary Powers of President
• President can send back advice given by Council of Ministers and ask Council to reconsider decision. In doing this, President acts at his/ her own discretion, and if Council still sends back same advice, then President is bound to follow that advice.
• President has veto power by which he can withhold or refuse to give assent to Bills [other than Money Bill] passed by Parliament.
• Every bill passed by Parliament goes to President for his assent before it becomes a law.
• President can send bill back to Parliament asking it to reconsider bill.
• The ‘veto’ power is limited because, if Parliament passes same bill again and sends it back to President, then, President has to give assent to that bill.
• There is no mention in Constitution about time limit within which President must send bill back for reconsideration. This means that President can just keep bill pending with him without any time limit.
• This gives President informal power to use veto in a very effective manner. It is sometimes referred to as ‘pocket veto’.
• President uses his discretion in appointing Prime Minister when no party has a clear majority in Lok Sabha.

• Vice President is elected for five years. His election method is similar to that of President, only difference is that members of State legislatures are not part of electoral college.
• Vice President may be removed from his office by a resolution of Rajya Sabha passed by a majority and agreed by Lok Sabha.
• Vice President acts as Ex-Officio Chairman of Rajya Sabha and takes over office of President when there is a vacancy by reasons of death, resignation, removal by impeachment, or otherwise.
• Vice President acts as President only until a new President is elected.
• B. D. Jatti acted as President after death of Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed until a new President was elected.

Permanent Executive – Bureaucracy
• executive organ of government includes Prime Minister, ministers, and a large organisation known as bureaucracy or administrative machinery.
• In Parliamentary system, legislature exercises control over administration. administrative officers cannot act in violation of policies adopted by legislature.
• India has established professional administrative machinery. At same time, this machinery is made politically accountable.
• bureaucracy is expected to be politically neutral. This means that bureaucracy will not take any political position on policy matters.
• Indian bureaucracy is an enormously complex system. It consists of All-India services, State services, employees of local governments, and technical and managerial staff running public sector undertakings.
• Union Public Service Commission has been entrusted with task of conducting process of recruitment of civil servants for government of India.
• Similar public service commissions are provided for States also.
• Members of Public Service Commissions are appointed for a fixed term. Their removal or suspension is subject to a thorough enquiry made by a judge of Supreme Court.
• Constitution has provided for reservation of jobs for SCs, STs, women & OBCs to ensure that all sections of society can be a part of bureaucracy.
• bureaucracy is an instrument through which welfare policies of government reach people.
• There is an expectation that measures like Right to Information may make bureaucracy a little more responsive and accountable.

Note – President, Gyani Zail Singh, for first time used pocket veto against Indian Post Office [Amendment] Bill in 1986. This bill was widely criticised by many for it sought to curtail freedom of press.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *