The term ‘Executive’ has been defined both in its broad and narrow forms. In its broad form, it is taken to mean all the functionaries, political power-holders (Political Executive) and permanent civil servants who undertake the execution of laws and policies and run the administration of state.
In its narrow form, it is taken to mean only the executive heads (ministers i.e. the political Executive), who head the government departments, formulate the policies and supervise the implementation of the laws and policies of the government. In the narrow form, the civil service and its administrative functions are not included in the realm of the Executive.
Traditionally, only the narrow meaning used to be accepted by the political scientists. However, in modern times, the executive is defined in its broader form and it covers both the Political Executive as well as the Civil Service.
Executive: Definition:(1) “In a broad and collective sense, the executive organ embraces the aggregate or totality of all the functionaries and agencies which are concerned with the execution of the will of the state as that will has been formulated and expressed in terms of law.” Garner (2) “In its broadest sense, the executive department consists of all government officials except those acting in legislative or judicial capacity. It includes all the agencies of government that are concerned with the execution of states will as expressed in terms of law.” Gettell
These two definitions make it clear that executive includes the political executive (Ministers and Head of State) and the non-political permanent executive (Civil Service or Bureaucracy). The political executive performs the function of making policies and ensuring that all the laws are properly enforced by all the departments of the government.
The permanent executive i.e. bureaucracy/civil service runs the day-to- day administration and works in government departments. It works under the supervision and control of the political executive.
Two Parts of Executive: Political Executive & Permanent Executive: Distinction:
(i) The Political Executive (Ministers):
It consists of the executive head of the state and other heads of the executive departments is ministers. Ministers are political leaders. They are mostly elected representative of the people and responsible for all their decisions and policies before the public. Political Executive work for a fixed tenure of about 5 years.
It acts as a temporary executive in the sense that it changes after every election. After completing one tenure, ministers have to again contest elections. They can again become ministers only when the party to which they belong returns to power as the majority party.
The ministers are amateurs, non-experts and non-professionals. Their function is to formulate policies and get these policies and laws approved from the Legislature. Thereafter these policies and laws of the State are implemented by the civil servants, who work under the control of Political Executive. The political executive heads the government. Each minister is head of a department or some of the government.
(ii) The Non-political Permanent Executive (Civil Servants): It consists of the civil servants (Bureaucracy) from the lowest to the highest levels. It carries out the day to day administration by working in the government departments. The civil servants are politically neutral. They do not owe allegiance to any political party.
Their job is to carry out the laws and policies of the government without any political consideration. They are specially educated and trained persons. They are experts and professionals. They give expert advice and opinion as well as collect, classify and present data to the political executive on the basis of which the latter takes all decisions.
Once appointed, the civil servants remain in office till the attainment of the retirement age, usually up to the age of 55 or 60 years. They get regular and fixed salaries and are hierarchically organised into higher and lower relationships.