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The Prime Minister Notes | Study Indian Polity for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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Introduction

  • In our Parliamentary system, The President is the nominal, de cure executive: the head of the state
  • The Prime Minister is the real, de facto executive: the head of the government

Appointment of The Pm
(i) There is not specific Constitutional provision for the appointment and selection of the PM
(ii) Article 75: PM to be appointed by the President
(iii) Conventions:

  • Leader of the majority party in the LS
  • When no party has a clear majority, the President may exercise personal discretion

(iv) Usually appoints the leader of the Largest party, or the largest coalition, and asks him to seek a vote of confidence in the House within a month.
(v) Discretion first exercised in 1979: N Sanjeeva Reddy (the President) appointed Charan Singh (the coalition leader) as PM after the Janata government fell.
(vi) When the PM in office dies suddenly, and there is no obvious successor, then the President can exercise discretion in appointing the PM.

  • Happened when Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984
  • President Zail Singh appointed Rajiv Gandhi as the PM
  • There was a precedent of appointing the senior most ministers as a caretaker PM (followed after the death of Nehru and Shastri, when Gulzari Lai Nanda was appointed). Zail Singh ignored this.

(vii) A person does not have to prove his majority before he is appointed as PM. He can first be appointed then asked to prove his majority.
(viii) If someone is not a member of either House of Parliament, he can be appointed as PM for 6 month

  • After this, he needs to become an MP or he ceases to be PM.

(ix) PM can be a member of either House. Indira Gandhi was a member of the RS
(x) Britain: PM has to be a member of the Lower House.

Oath
(i) Administered by the President
(ii) The PM swears to:

  • Bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India
  • Uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India
  • Faithfully and conscientiously discharge the duties of his office
  • Do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill will

(iii) Oath of secrecy: PM will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person(s) any matter that is brought under his consideration or becomes known to him as a Union Minister except as may be required tor the due discharge of his duties as such minster.

Term

  • Not fixed
  • Holds office during the pleasure of the President
  • Cannot be dismissed as long as he enjoys majority support of the LS
  • If he loses support of the LS, he must resign or can be dismissed by the President.

Salary & Allowances

  • Salary: of an MP
  • Rest, determined by Parliament

Role Description

  • First among equals
  • Position of exceptional and peculiar authority
  • Master of the Government
  • Key-Stone of the Constitution e
  • The role of the Prime Minister is so significant that the Parliamentary form of government is often called the 'Prime Ministerial' form of government.

Powers and Functions of The Pm
(a) In relation to the Council of Ministers

  • PM recommends who can be appointed as a minister by the President
  • Allocates and shuffles portfolios
  • Can ask a minister to resign, or can advise the President to dismiss a minister
  • Presides over the Council of Minister meetings
  • Guides, directs, controls and coordinates activities of all ministers
  • If he resigns or dies, then the entire council collapses

(b) In Relation to the Parliament

  • Leader of the LS
  • Advises the President about summoning and proroguing the sessions of the Parliament
  • Can recommend dissolution of the LS to the President at any time
  • Announces government policies in the House

(c) Other Powers & Functions

  • Chairperson of important institutions like the NITI Aayog
  • Important in shaping the foreign policy of India
  • Chief spokesperson of the Union government
  • The political crisis manager-in-chief during emergencies
  • Leader of the nation, leader of the party in power, political head of the services

Relationship Between the Pm and The President

(i) Article 74: Council of minis with the PM to aid and advice the President, which is bound by such advice.

  • President can ask the council to reconsider advice, after which he has to act on the reconsidered advice (whether it is changed or unchanged).

(ii) Article 75: President appoints the council of ministers on the advice of the PM. The PM is the main communication link between the President and the council of ministers.
(iii) Article 78: PM has to communicate all decisions of the council about the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation to the President.

  • PM has to provide information that the President calls for

(iv) If the President demands, then the PM has to submit for the consideration of the council of ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the council.
(v) The PM also advises the President about important appointments like AGI, CAG etc.

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