Q. 1. Define the term ‘Executive’ and discuss its various forms.
Ans. Executive is that organ of the government which enforces the will of the state expressed in the form of law. In this sense, the executive includes all those officials from the head of the State down to the common policemen and clerks who are concerned with the administration of public affairs. It is the second branch of the Government’s machine and exercises wide powers over the people in the country. In the widest sense of the term, the executive refers to all government officials concerned with the execution of State policies and programmes. In the narrowest sense, the term executive refers only to that small body which exercises supreme authority in the government.
Definitions of Executive :
(i) According to Gilchrist, “The executive is that branch of government which carries out or executes the will of the people as formulated in law.”
(ii) According to Garner, “In a broad and collective sense, the executive organs embrace the aggregate or totality of all the functionaries which are concerned with the execution of the will of the state as that will has been formulated and expressed in terms of law.”
(iii) According to Gettell, “In the broadest sense, the executive department consists of all government officials except those acting in legislative or judicial capacity. It includes all agencies of government that are concerned with the execution of state’s will as expressed in terms of law.” The executive has to give effect to laws passed by the legislature and is required to take quick action and prompt decisions. It must work efficiently and hence, it is essential that such executive control should be concentrated in the hands of a small body of persons, processing unit with adequate power.
Different kinds of Executive. There are various kinds of executive.
(i) Real and Nominal Executive. In the case of real executive, the executive powers are actually controlled and exercised by the real executive, as the President of the U.S.A or the Cabinet in England. The President of the U.S.A. is the real effective executive head of the State. The British Cabinet enjoys supreme authority in the country and the Queen simply resigns and does not rule. In the case of nominal executive, the executive powers are vested in the head of the state but in practice those powers are exercised by the Prime Minister and the cabinet. In India, President is a nominal executive. The administration is carried on in his name but not by him. The government officers carry on the administration in the name of the head of the executive.
(ii) Single and Plural Executive. The executive is single when the final authority is concentrated in the hands of a single person. In the U.S.A. and India, the executive is single because the U.S.A. President and the Indian Prime Minister have a position of ascendancy among their colleagues. The control in plural executive is not with one person but with a council of several persons, for example, in Switzerland, the real executive powers are shared equally by all the members of the Federal Council. The President of the Council is only one among the equals and not first among the equals.
(iii) Parliamentary and Presidential Executive. In a parliamentary type of executive, the head of the State is a nominal one and the real authority is vested with the Council of Ministers. The members of the real executive are the members of the legislature and for their ill actions and policies, they are responsible to the legislature. In case the legislature loses confidence over the real executive, the real executive has to resign.
In a Presidential-type of government, the President is the real effective head of the State. The executive is independent of the control of the legislature. In the U.S.A., the President is elected for a fixed term. Neither the President nor his secretaries are the members of the U.S. Congress.
(iv) Hereditary and Elective Executive. The executive of a state may either be hereditary or elective. In England the monarch, who is legally speaking, the chief executive, is a hereditary chief. The value of a hereditary executive is that it is the keeper of national tradition. But hereditary executive is considered to be the legacy of the past and unrelated to a democratic policy. Where executive is elective, the election may take different forms ranging from direct election by the people to indirect election by the legislature. The principle of direct election by the people is followed in some States of South America and also in the election of State Governors in the United States. In India, the President is elected by an electoral college consisting of elected members of the Parliament and elected members of State Legislature Assemblies. In the U.S.A., the President is elected by an Electoral College but in practice, election has become almost direct.
(v) Dictatorial and Constitutional Executive. If the source of the powers of the executive is the Constitution, the executive is called constitutional. In almost all the democratic countries, there exists a constitutional executive. If the source of the powers of the executive is the physical force and there is no limit to the authority of the executive, this type of executive is called dictatorial.
(vi) Appointive or Nominative Executive. There can be appointive or nominative executive also. The governors in India and the Governor-Generals in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc., are the examples of this type of executive.
(vii) Political and Permanent Executive. These are two parts of the same executive. The part of the executive which holds office on the basis of its belonging to the majority party in the legislature is called the political executive. The part of the executive which holds office on the basis of its education or qualifications is called the Permanent executive.
Q. 2. Discuss judicial and legislative functions of the Executive.
Discuss the main functions of the Executive.
Ans. The main function of the executive is to enforce laws and to run the administration of the state. The modern executive is to perform so many functions besides the execution of laws. Following are the main functions of the executive :
(i) Administrative Functions. The main function of the executive is to direct and supervise the execution of law. To achieve this end, the executive performs various functions such as appointment, transfer and dismissal of heads of the departments and of the subordinate officials. It maintains law and order in the State. One or more than one department are controlled by a minister and he is responsible for the efficient administration of the department. Each department enforces the laws which concerns its working. The executive is to see that all the laws are properly obeyed and respected and those who break the laws are punished. The object of the punishment is to reform the criminals. The executive also issues decrees, proclamations and white papers. It controls the various departments—industrial, educational, agricultural, financial—which deal with the various aspects of government policies.
(ii) Policy Formation. The executive formulates the general policies of the state. Internal as well as external policies are formulated by the executive. In Parliamentary government, policies are formulated by the executive but they are approved by the legislature. But in Presidential Government, policies are formulated by the Executive and no approval is needed by the legislature.
(iii) Appointments. All major appointments are made by the Executive. In India, the Executive appoints Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts of the various states, Ambassadors, Chairman and members of the Union Public Service Commission, Attorney- General, Chiefs of Army, Air Force and Navy, Governors, etc. In the U.S.A., all major appointments are made by the President with the approval of the Senate. The executive also enjoys the power of removal.
(iv) Military Functions. Military functions consist in exercising supreme command over the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Indian President is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces. The executive appoints officers to the armed forces and in some countries, it has the right to declare war. To secure obedience to the laws of the State, to maintain peace and to defend the country against the foreign attack is the responsibility of the executive. Executive is responsible for the preservation of peace and security in the country. It has to keep internal peace, by putting down all those factors which disturb the peace of the country. In some countries, the executive has the authority to declare war. The executive is also empowered to declare martial law during emergencies.
Q. 3. What do you know of the composition, powers and functions of the Union Council of Ministers?
Ans. The Constitution of India provides for parliamentary Government in the country. At the Centre as well as the States there is parliamentary Government. The President is only the nominal head of the State. He exercises his powers on the advice of the Council of Ministers. It is written in the Constitution that there will be a Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President. In fact all the powers of the President are actually exercised by the ministers. The Council of Ministers takes decisions and the President can give them a piece of advice. The ministers run the administration according to their will which is why the parliamentary system of Government is called the Cabinet Government.
Formation of the Council of Ministers. The only provision made in the Constitution for formation of the Council of Ministers is that the President appoints the Prime Minister and other ministers are appointed by him with consultation of the latter. But the fact is that the President does not appoint the Prime Minister of his own sweet will. Normally, the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha is made the Prime Minister and all other ministers are appointed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The President cannot make any changes in the list of ministers. It is again the Prime Minister who distributes portfolios among the
ministers. The ministers are taken out of the members of the legislature. If any outsider is appointed as a minister, he must become the member of the legislature within 6 months. In the Constitution, 91st Amendment Act provides that the total number of minister including the Prime Minister, shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Lok Sabha.
In September 2017 there were 75 members in the Council of Ministers. It included besides the Prime Minister, 27 Cabinet ministers, 37 ministers of State and 11 ministers of State with Independent charge.
Terms of Office. It is written in the Constitution that the ministers will remain in the office during the pleasure of the President. It means that the President can remove the ministers from office whenever he likes. But it is not so. If the majority of the members of the Lok Sabha supports a Council of Ministers, it will continue to remain in office and the President cannot remove it. The ministers remain in office so far as they enjoy the confidence of the members of the Lok Sabha.
Salary. The Constitution of India lays down that the salaries, allowances, etc., of the ministers decided by the Parliament. The ministers are entitled to a salary, daily allowances and constituency allowances at the same rate as members of the Parliament.
Powers and Functions of the Cabinet. The Cabinet is the real ruler of the country. All the executive authority of the President is exercised by the Cabinet. Following are the powers and functions of the Cabinet :
1. Determination of National Policy. The policy of the nation is formulated by the Cabinet. After taking office the Cabinet is to formulate its internal and external policy according to which it runs the administration of the State. It is the Government which is responsible for internal peace and order, and freedom from external aggression and better living of the people of the country. It has, therefore, to formulate policies in a way that they are helpful for the people of the country at large.
2. Control over Administration. The administration of the country is to be run by the ministers. Every member of the Council of Ministers has one or more departments under his charge and he has to look after its working and administration.
No doubt, it is the civil servants who carry on the administration but this administration has to be within the framework of the policies laid down by the Council of Ministers. Departmental administration is run by the civil servants but it is the minister who is responsible for the smooth running of the administration.
3. Foreign Relations. It is the function of the Cabinet to maintain relations with other countries. These relations are established according to the policies laid down by the Cabinet. The ambassadors to foreign countries are appointed on the advice of the Cabinet.
The correspondence with other countries is done of course in the name of the President but actually it is the Cabinet who performs this function. It is the Cabinet which enters into treaties with other countries.
4. Legislative Powers. In the Parliamentary Government, there is a close relationship between the Cabinet and the legislature. It enjoys many legislative powers.
(a) The ministers are taken from among the members of the Parliament and they have a big share in law-making.
(b) The President convenes the meetings of the Parliament on the advice of the Council of Ministers.
(c) The Cabinet prepares the programme of the session.
(d) The ministers introduce the bills in the House and see them through. Most of the bills in a Parliamentary Government are introduced in the Parliament by the ministers. They explain the policy and the purpose of the bills to the Parliament.
(e) Laws in the Parliament are framed in accordance with the wishes of the Cabinet. As the ministers belong to the majority party so they are sure of the support of the members of their bills.
(f) The President issues ordinances on the advice of the ministers.
5. Financial Powers. The Cabinet enjoys many financial powers :
(a) The budget is prepared by the Finance Minister in consultation with other ministers.
(b) It is the ministers who suggest an increase, decrease or abolition in the taxes. Money bills can only be introduced by the ministers.
6. Appointments. Important appointments are made only on the advice of the ministers. For example, the appointment of Governors, Ambassadors and members of the Union Public Service Commission are made on the recommendations of the ministers.
7. Administrative Justice. The ministers also exercise judicial powers. They are to decide many administrative matters. They are to give a decision in administrative matters and decisions of the ministers are final. While deciding cases, the ministers have the right to adopt judicial methods like all other courts.
8. Proclamation of Emergency. The President’s powers of making proclamations under Articles 352, 356 and 360 are in fact powers of the Cabinet. Without receiving the written decision of the Cabinet, the President cannot promulgate the Proclamation of Emergency under Art. 352. It is the Cabinet which finally decides that the constitutional machinery has broken down in a State, and hence, President’s rule should be imposed in that State. Similarly, the question of Proclamation of the Financial Emergency is decided by the Cabinet.
9. Co-ordinating Agency. The Cabinet coordinates the activities of different departments, which sometimes may tend to work at cross purposes. Differences between various departments are unavoidable. The Cabinet is the agency where interdepartmental disputes are resolved and differences sorted out by the superior intervention of the Prime Minister.
Conclusion. The above mentioned powers and functions of the Cabinet clearly explain that the administration of the State is run according to the wishes of the Cabinet. It can run the administration in a way it likes. It is rightly said that the ‘Cabinet is the steering wheel of the ship of the State’. It is said that the British Cabinet has become a virtual dictator, the State and the Parliament have become subservient to it.
Q. 4. How is the Prime Minister appointed? Discuss his powers and functions.
Discuss the position of the Prime Minister.
Ans. The Prime Minister is the most important and powerful functionary of the State. He can be called the ruler of the State. The Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers and all the powers of the President are actually exercised by the Prime Minister. He can rule the country in a way which he thinks is the best. He is the architect of the fate of the State. The Government can do nothing against his will.
Appointment. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President but while doing so, the President is not having a free hand. Only that person can be appointed to the office of Prime Minister who is the leader of majority party in the Lok Sabha. After the general election, the President invites the leader of the party which has gained majority in the Lok Sabha to form the Government. If no political party gets an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, even then the President is not free to appoint anybody as the Prime Minister. Under such circumstances, only that person will be invited to form the Government who can seek the cooperation of the majority of members in Lok Sabha.
After the 15th Lok Sabha elections in May 2009, no single party secured majority in the Lok Sabha. Hence the President appointed Dr. Manmohan Singh, leader of the United Progressive Alliance as the Prime Minister. In the 16th Lok Sabha elections held in 2014, the Bhartiya Janata Party turned out victorious securing majority in the elections. Mr. Narendra Modi was appointed as the Prime Minister.
Term of Office. The tenure of the Prime Minister is 5 years. He may remain in the office so long as he enjoys the support of the majority party. If the majority of members of the Lok Sabha loses confidence in the Prime Minister, he is to resign from the office. On 11th April, 1997 Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda resigned because his resolution of vote of confidence was rejected by the majority members of the Lok Sabha.
Salary and Allowances. The Prime Minister gets the same salary and allowances which are paid to members of the Parliament. He also receives a Constituency allowance like other M.Ps. In addition, he gets a sumptuary allowance. He is also entitled to free official resident, free travels, medical facilities, etc.
Powers and Functions of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister enjoys vast powers which have made his office very important and powerful. His powers and functions are given as follows :
(1) Prime Minister and the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the maker of the Cabinet. The Cabinet has no existence without the Prime Minister. He can make or unmake a Cabinet. The Cabinet performs all its functions under the control and guidance of the Prime Minister, therefore, he is called the “the Keystone of the Cabinet Arch” or “Shining Moon among the Stars.” He enjoys the following powers in connection with the Cabinet:
(i) Formation of the Council of Ministers. His first duty after assuming the office is the formation of the Council of Ministers. He prepares a list of ministers according to his sweet will. He has a free hand in the selection of ministers. Nobody can be appointed as a minister against the wishes of the Prime Minister. In the Constitution, 91st Amendment Act provides that the total number of ministers including the Prime Minister, shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Lok Sabha. In September 2017 there were 75 members in the Council of Ministers.
(ii) Distribution of Portfolios. The Prime Minister distributes work among the ministers. He decides what department is to be allotted to a particular minister.
(iii) Removal of the Minister. The ministers remain in office during the pleasure of the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister is not satisfied with the working of a minister or the minister does not run the department in accordance with wishes of the Prime Minister, he can ask him to quit the office and can appoint someone else in his place. The Prime Minister can make changes in the Cabinet whenever he likes. With the resignation of the Prime Minister, the entire ministry falls.
(iv) Leadership of the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the leader of the Cabinet. The Cabinet functions under the control of the Prime Minister. He can call the meetings of Cabinet whenever he likes. The Prime Minister prepares the agenda of the meeting as well as controls it. He presides over the Cabinet meetings. All the decisions in Cabinet meetings are taken according to the wishes of the Council of Ministers.
(v) Prime Minister as a Coordinator. The Prime Minister directs the implementation of policies and coordinates the working of various departments. Inter-departmental disputes are referred to him for settlement.
(2) Link between the President and the Cabinet. The Prime Minister is the link between the President and the Cabinet. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to convey the decisions of the Cabinet to the President. No minister can discuss a particular problem with the President without the permission of the Prime Minister. The President can demand information from the Prime Minister regarding the working of administration. The Cabinet can discuss any issue with the President only through the Prime Minister.
(3) Leadership of the Cabinet of the Parliament. The Prime Minister leads the Cabinet in the Parliament. The ministers answer the questions put to them by the members of the Parliament. Whenever a minister is in difficulty, the Prime Minister helps him out. The Prime Minister explains the policy and decisions of the Cabinet to the Parliament. All important statements on behalf of the Cabinet are made by the Prime Minister in the Parliament.
(4) Principal adviser of the President. The Prime Minister is the chief adviser of the President. The President seeks the advice of the Prime Minister in all matters of the State. The Prime Minister informs the President regarding all the decisions taken by the Cabinet. If the President requires any information regarding the administration of any department, he would demand such an information from the Prime Minister.
(5) Appointments. All the important appointments in the State are made by the Prime Minister. The President makes appointments of the State Governors, Ambassadors and members of the Union Public Service Commission only on the advice of the Prime Minister. The President cannot make any such appointment of his own accord.
(6) Leader of the Parliament. The Prime Minister is also the leader of the House. Out of the two Houses, the position of Lok Sabha is of great importance and the Prime Minister is the leader of the Lok Sabha. The Parliament always depends upon the policy and guidance of the Prime Minister for facing any problem. All the important decisions in the Parliament are taken according to the wishes of the Prime Minister. He can get any law passed by the Parliament because he is the leader of the majority party. He can get the Lok Sabha dissolved.
(7) Leader of Nation. The Prime Minister is also the leader of the nation. The President is the head of the State and the Prime Minister is the head of the Government. General election means the election of the Prime Minister. Each political party has its leader already and the people vote for the party whose leader they want to see as the Prime Minister of the country. During emergency the people always have high hopes on the Prime Minister and he always acts upon the Cabinet’s advice. His office has become more important for his being the leader of the nation. He is always supported by public and with the help of the public he can do things which he likes.
(8) Represents India at International Conferences. Prime Minister represents India at International Conferences.
Q. 5. Is the Prime Minister ‘Primus Inter Pares’?Give reasons in support of your answer.
Ans. The Prime Minister is the real ruler of the country. An analysis of the powers of the Prime Minister proves that “he is the pivot of the whole system of Government.” He occupies a position of exceptional authority. K.T. Shah observed in the Constituent Assembly, “This Constitution concentrates so much power and influence in the hands of the Prime Minister that there is every danger to apprehend that the Prime Minister may become a dictator if he chooses to do so.”
N.V. Gadgil, former Governor of Punjab said, “The Prime Minister is vested with formidable power and influence unless he be a genuine democrat by nature, he is very likely to become a dictator.” In the words of Nehru, “The Prime Minister is the linchpin of the Government.“ While the President is the nominal head, the Prime Minister is the real head. The powers of the President are in reality exercised by the Council of Ministers. But the Prime Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers. Without him, the ministers have no entity. To quote Laski, “The Prime Minister is central to the formation of the Council of Ministers, central to its death.”
For his appointment, he is not dependent upon the favour of the President. It is his right to form of Council the Ministers because he commands the confidence of the Lok Sabha. In the words of A.C. Dash, “The Indian Prime Minister like the German Chancellor is superior to the entire Cabinet, for under the Constitution he is declared to be the head of Council of Ministers and all other Ministers are appointed and probably will be dismissed on his advice.” The Prime Minister forms the Cabinet and he is its life and breath. He is the leader of the Parliament and the nation and the principal adviser of the President. The decisions of the Cabinet are virtually the decisions of the Prime Minister. There is hardly any elected functionary in the world comparable to the Prime Minister of India. Backed by a stable and substantial majority in the Lok Sabha, he is more powerful than even the President of the United States of America.
However, the Prime Minister’s supremacy is not due entirely to the powers which belong to his office. Much depends upon his personality. If he is a man of dynamic personality, he will be able to dominate the political scene. A fickle minded person will never be able to impress. Ideally, the Prime Minister should have a personality which earns him not only the loyalty of his own party but also a measure of bringing respect from the opposition. Pt. Nehru who held the office of the Prime Minister for nearly eighteen years, possessed an unparalleled personality.
He was an institution. In the words of Norman D. Palmer, “Important and able men have held ministerial posts but with the exception of Vallabhbhai Patel, who served as Deputy Prime Minister until his death in 1950, no one has really shared Nehru’s authority.” Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri gave his country brilliant leadership in time of war and peace and gave up his life in quest for peace. He served his country with his life. He did not possess the external symbols of greatness yet he rose to great heights. Though short in stature, there was more iron in his soul than appeared on the face. The manner in which Morarji Desai was relieved of the Finance Department by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, highlights the fact that not even the ‘tallest’ among the Prime Minister’s colleagues can measure upto the stature of the Prime Minister.
After the elections of 1971 and 1980, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was considered the source of all the power. According to Ashok Mehta, “Our Cabinet form of Government has come to near Presidential regime.” According to Frank Morris, “Mrs. Gandhi was not only the undisputed leader of the Congress party, but it was her party and she could dominate it in a way which none else had done. She was free to choose her colleagues who were her agents or assistants and in her presence tremble and obey.” In the words of Greme C. Moodie, “For many the Prime Minister is the part, is the Government and at times, may become the personification of the political nation.” Mr. Rajiv Gandhi was very powerful because like Mrs. Indira Gandhi he was also a president of the Congress (I).
The position of the Prime Minister also depends upon the support of his party. Without his party, he is nothing. He must maintain close contact with party opinion. His aloofness, reserve and indifference militates against sound leadership. He must rely on cooperation, not coercion. He is to lead the party and not drive it. The manner in which Pt. Nehru had to bow before the party demand on the removal of Mr. Krishna Menon in 1962 proves that there are limits beyond which the Prime Minister cannot carry the party. To conclude, powerful as he may be, no particular Prime Minister is indispensable, irremovable, or omnipotent. “He is not Caesar, he is not an unchangeable oracle; his views are not dooms; he is always on sufferance and its germs are whether he can render indubitably useful services. At any time a rival may supplant him.” The essence of the powers of the Prime Minister lies in a united Cabinet, a united Parliament and united people.