(Sample Material) UPSC IAS Mains GS Online Coaching : Paper 2 - "Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive"

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 people
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 President

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.

Executive Powers

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.

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