Prime Minister
| |

Prime Minister of India – Indian Polity Notes

The Constituent Assembly in its wisdom have chosen parliamentary democracy of Westminster style for India, which requires two heads: real and nominal. The constitution makes the Prime Minister, real executive head of India. Exercise of administrative powers is done by the Prime Minister.

Constitutional Position:

  • Constitution provides that executive power of the union shall be vested in the President. It shall be exercised by him directly or indirectly through officers subordinate to him accordance to the constitution. (Article 53)
  • Article 74 provides for President shall act in accordance with aid and advice given by council of ministers headed by Prime Minister.
  • Though President is executive head of state, constitution makes him nominal head. He cannot be held accountable on day to day basis like Council of Ministers. As Council of Ministers is accountable to the Lok Sabha. 
  • In Parliamentary system of governments, Prime Ministers have peculiar position. He acts a captain of ship.
  • Constitution envisage his position as PM as Primus Inter Pares (PM is first among equals) but in reality the position is PM as Inter Stella Luna Minores (PM is moon among stars).

Appointment of Prime Minister: 

Under Article 75, Prime Minister is appointed by the President and other ministers are appointed on recommendation of Prime Minister.

Qualification:

  • Citizen of India
  • Must be member of either houses of parliament.
  • Should have completed age of 25 years (if is member of Lok Sabha) or 30 years (if is member of Rajya Sabha).
  • Shall not hold office of profit.

Tenure:

  • Prime Minister holds office during pleasure of Prime Minister.
  • In practice it means, if the ruling party hold majority in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister serves till 5 years.
  • If ruling party/coalition loses majority in the Lok Sabha or in case of passing of no confidence motion in Lok Sabha, Prime Minister has to resign. Prime Ministers resignation is considered as resignation of council of ministers.

Relation between Prime Minister and President:

  • The President appoints the Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister & is bound to act in accordance to advice given by them.
  • Under Article 78, the President can seek information about administration of union and legislative proposals. 
  • It is duty of the Prime Minister to keep the President informed with information about administration & legislative proposals as demanded by the President.
  • If the President wants particular decision to be considered by entire council of ministers, it should be done.
  • As per Article 60, the President takes oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution. Defending the constitution means acting according to the constitution.
    • Which ultimately means acting as per aid and advice given by council of ministers led by Prime Minister. 
    • If the President fails to do so(where he doesn’t have discretion under the constitution), it can be held as violative of the constitution and the President can be impeached.
  • Former President of India R Venkataraman described position of President in relation on the Prime Minister as of “Emergency Lamp”. It means main power switch is the Prime Minister and the President comes in power in emergency when main switch is turned off.

Removal:

  • Under Article 75, the council of ministers headed by Prime Minister is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
  • The union council of ministers led by the Prime Minister can be removed under following circumstances:
    • If the ruling party/coalition loses majority in the Lok Sabha.
    • If motion of no confidence is passed in Lok Sabha.
    • If motion of thanks after the address of President is defeated (not passed) in Lok Sabha.
    • If government is unable to get approval for its annual financial statement (budget).
  • In above mentioned circumstances, Prime Minister resigns writing to the President. The President can ask the outgoing Prime Minister to act as caretaker Prime Minister until successor is appointed.
  • The resignation of the Prime Minister is considered as resignation of entire council of ministers.

Powers and Duties:

With reference to the President:

  • It is duty of the Prime Minister to keep the President informed with information about administration & legislative proposals as demanded by the President.
  • Prime Minister gives information about any changes in foreign policy or regarding any emergency situation.
  • Prime Minister also keeps the President informed about key decision taken in council of ministers meeting.
  • The Prime Minister acts a connecting link between the President and the Cabinet.

With respect to the Parliament:

  • The Prime Minister is Leader of House in Lok Sabha(if he is member of Lok Sabha) or Rajya Sabha.
  • Prime minister recommends the President on summoning the sessions of parliament.
  • Prime Minister along with speaker of Lok Sabha decides legislative agenda i.e. bills to be introduced in the session.
  • As Leader of House, the Prime Minister can recommend dissolution of the Lok Sabha to the President.

With reference to the Council of Ministers:

  • Members of council of ministers are appointed on recommendation of the Prime Minister.
  • Prime Minister allocates various portfolios to the ministers.
  • Minister are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha and individually responsible to the Prime Minister.
  • They can be removed by the President on advice of the Prime Minister.
  • Prime Minister chairs meetings of council of ministers & sets agenda for such meetings.
  • Prime Minister guides, directs all activities of the ministers.
  • Prime Minister along with his council formulates policies on various issues such as economic, social, defence etc.
  • Prime Minister along with external affairs minister decides and shapes foreign policy of India.

Other Powers of Prime Minister:

  • Various cabinet committees are chaired by the Prime Minister.
  • Prime Minister is chair of NITI Aayog, Inter State Council, National Integration Council etc.
  • Appointments to key institutions are made by the President on recommendations of committee headed by the Prime Minister.
  • Prime Minister has right to give advice to the President in appointments of various constitutional officials such as CAG, Attorney General, Election Commissioners, Chairman of UPSC, Chairman and members of the Finance Commission etc.

Emoluments:

The Prime Minister gets ~ 2 Lakh per month including all allowances, incentives.

To complete UPSC Polity Notes, Click Here

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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