Sample Material of Our IAS Mains GS Online Coaching Programme
Subject: General Studies (Paper 2 - Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations)
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the
Executive and the Judiciary, Ministries and Departments of the Government
Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary,
Ministries and Departments of the Government
Independent India adopted a modified version of the Westminster model of
government. The most fundamental modification was, of course, the combination of
the parliamentary system with federalism and Fundamental Rights of citizens and
Directive Principles of State Policy. Another equally important departure is the
replacement of monarchy by a Republication Presidency, alongwith the two are
functionally comparable in their limited and strictly nominal role for all
practical purposes and their pomp and pageantry. A second feature of the
Westminster model adopted by India without any modification is the fusion of
powers between the Executive and the Parliament. Parliament technically means
the President in Parliament, and the Prime Minister and his council of ministers
siring from the Parliament itself. The Prime Minister is the fulcrum of the
cabinet, and individually responsible to the Parliament, specifically to the Lok
Sabha. A third feature is the independence of the judiciary from the legislative
and executive control. A fourth feature of the Union Executive in India is that
the ultimate responsibility of the cabinet goes beyond the Parliament to the
electorate at large. Over and above the Presidential prerogative tempered by
Parliament majority, the final recourse in the last analysis is the will of the
expressed in electoral mandate and public opinion.
Indian Constitution establishes an executive at the federal level that comprises
a constitutional or nominal presidency with an effective Prime Minister and his
cabinet. In a Parliamentary form of Government the executive power rests with
the Prime Minister, the President being the Head of the State. But the Prime
Minister exercises the real power. In Britain, wherein constitutional monarchy
is in operation, the Prime Minister is the Head of the Government, and Queen is
the Head of the State. India is a republic and as such the elected members of
the legislatures elect the Head of the State, the President. The Union Executive
consists of the President, Vice-President the Prime Minister and the Council of
Ministers. Unlike the American President, the Indian President only enjoys
nominal powers. The Government runs in his name but his powers are to be
exercised with only rare exceptions, upon the advice of the Prime Minister and
the Council of Ministers.
The office of the Indian President is one of great prestige and authority. His
office entitles him to all dignities, immunities and protocols. He possesses
executive, legislative and various other powers under the Constitution of India.
But his powers are neither like those of the British Monarch nor of the American
President although the Indian Constitution incorporates the important features
of the constitutions of both the countries. His supremacy lies in securing the
supremacy of the constitution. The President’s oath of office compels him to
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the law’ and ‘to devote
himself to the service and well-being of the people of India’. Qualifications:
The Constitution provides that any person, who is a citizen of India, has
completed the age of 35 years and is eligible for election as a member of Lok
Sabha is entitled to contest the election of President. A person, who holds any
office under the Government of India or any State Government or any local
authority subject to the control of these governments, is not eligible for
election as a President. He is not elected directly by the people, but according
to Article 54, by the members of an electoral college consisting of (i) the
elected members of both the Houses of the Parliament and (ii) the elected
members of the State Legislative Assemblies (but not of the Legislative
Assemblies of Union Territories).
Term of Office: The President’s term of office is five years from the date on
which he enters upon his office (Article 56). He is entitled for re-election.
The first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad served the office for two
terms. The President may resign from his office by writing under his hand to the
Vice-President of India. He can be removed from his office for violation of the
constitution, by the process of impeachment (Article 61). The procedure for
impeachment of the President in India is almost identical to that in the USA.
The charge of impeachment may be preferred by either House of Parliament (In the
USA, the House of Representatives alone has the power to try the impeachment)
subject to at least 14 days’ written notice, signed by not less than two-thirds
of the total membership of the House. These charges are to be investigated by
the House other than the one framing them. If after the investigation, a
majority, sustains the charges against the President of not less than two-thirds
of the total membership of the House, it will have the effect of removing the
President from his office forthwith.
In the event of the occurrence of any vacancy in the office of the President by
reason of his death, resignation or removal or otherwise, the Vice-President
(and if is not available for the purpose, then the Chief Justice of Supreme
Court) shall act as President until the date (no later than six months from the
date of the occurrence of the vacancy) on which a new President elected enters
upon his office.
Power of the President
The President of India is vested with vast powers, namely, Executive,
Legislative, Judicial and Emergency.
He is called the ‘President of India’ but the Constitution makes him only the
executive of the Union, while the Governors are the heads of the States. Article
53 says that “the executive powers of the Union shall be vested in the President
and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to
him in accordance with the Constitution.” At the same time the Constitution
creates a Council of Ministers to aid and advise the President, meaning thereby
that he alone cannot exercise executive powers. However, after the passage of
42nd Act re-inforced by the 44th Amendment Act, the advice of the Council of
Ministers is binding on him.
The entire administration of the Government of India is conducted in his name.
He has powers to appoint and remove the high dignitaries and Commissions, such
as the Prime Ministers and other ministers, judges of the Supreme Court and High
Courts. Governors, Special Officers, for Scheduled Castes and Tribes, the
Attorney- General. Comptroller and Auditor General, Chairman and Members of UPSC,
Finance Commission, an Inter-state Council etc. He also appoints Lt. Governors
and Chief Commissioners for the Union Territories. For removal of judges of the
Supreme Court and High Court, a special procedure has to be followed. President
Shankar Dayal Sharma, upholding the Constitutional propriety, forced the HP
Governor Mrs. Sheila Kaul to resign from her post after CBI’s enquiry
implicating her in the Housing Scam case.
He makes rule of business for the Central Government and allots the portfolios
to the Ministers. He has the right to keep himself informed of all decisions
taken by the Council of Ministers through the Prime Minister. As per Article 78,
the Prime Minister shall communicate to the president all administrative
decisions and proposals for legislation.