Chapter 22: PRIME MINISTER AND COUNCIL
He is the head of government or the real
executive in the Indian system. President appoints
the prime minister however no system of appointment is
given in the constitution. However by convention of a
parliamentary democracy the leader of the largest party of
parliament becomes the PM.
The president can exercise discretion when no
party has clear majority. He appoints a person and asks
him to prove his majority in the house. If the PM dies and
no successor is in sight then again the president can
appoint a suitable person at his discretion as caretaker
for continuity. However if the winning party has a
candidate then the president has no choice.
To be a PM a person need not be an MP but he
has to become one within 6 months of being appointed or
else his appointment become void.
Though the PM occupies his post during the
pleasure of the president he can’t be removed till he
commands the majority in the house.
As per the Govt of India (Allocation of business) Rules created by the president, different departments were created to handle governments
business. Ministers and subject distribution was done
to each ministry by the president on advice of the
Powers of the PM:
- As head of the council of ministers he
recommends people to be appointed as ministers to the
- He allocates and reshuffles portfolios
amongst them. He can ask the minister to resign or tell
the president to dismiss him.
- He supervises activities of all ministers.
His resignation or death leads to dissolution of the
council of ministers.
- He communicates to the president all
matters related to administration of the union and
- He furnishes information required by the
president relating to administration of the union or
- He submits to the consideration of the
council of ministers any matter on which decision has
been taken by an individual minister but the Council of
Ministers hasn’t considered it.
- He is the leader of the lower house. He can
advice president to summon or prorogue the house
sessions. He can advice dissolution of Lok Sabha to the
president anytime. He announces government policies on
the floor of the house.
- He is advisor of president regarding
appointments to various regulators and constitutional
bodies of the union.
- He heads the national development council,
national integration council, interstate council, Niti
Aayog, national water resource council.
Council of Ministers
The PM + Council of ministers are the real
executives of the union.
They aid and advice the president in the
exercise of his functions but such advice is binding on
No court shall inquire into the advice given
by the Council of ministers to the
President which means they are liable for official acts of
the president done on their advice. Constitution however
doesn’t grant any immunity either for personal or official
acts hence ministers can be treated like ordinary
The total strength of the PM + Council of ministers shall not
exceed 15% of the strength of the Lok Sabha [91st
amendment]. The person who has been disqualified on
grounds of defection shall also be disqualified to be
appointed as the PM [91st amendment].
Council of ministers is collectively
responsible to the Lok Sabha. A minister who isn’t a
MP for six consecutive months shall cease to be the
minister. A minister can take part in proceeding of both
houses as he is member of the government but can vote only
in the house of which he’s a member.
Collective responsibility: This means that
entire Council of ministers is a team
that sinks or swims together. So if the Lok Sabha passes
a no confidence motion against the Council of ministers then all have
to resign. Only the Lok Sabha can pass the motion of no
confidence; it can’t be against a single minister but
the entire Council of ministers only.
This is due to the provision in the
"Council of ministers is collectively
responsible to the Lok
There are three categories of ministers in
Cabinet: They attend cabinet meetings and
play important role in central government.
Minister of state: They can be independent in
charge of department that aren’t attached to cabinet
ministries or in charge of specific department part of a
ministry /specific work in a
ministry which is headed by a cabinet minister.
Deputy Minister: They are attached to cabinet
ministers or ministers of state and assist them in their
The last two categories don’t form part of
cabinet meetings. Cabinet isn’t mentioned in the original
text of the constitution but only in 44th
amendment it was inserted in article 352.
Cabinet ministers are also part of cabinet
committees which are created to sort out issue or make
policy recommendations to the cabinet.
Q. Consider the following statements :
1. The Executive Power of the union of India is vested in the Prime Minister.
2. The Prime Minister is the ex officio Chairman of the Civil Services Board.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?(UPSC CSAT 2015)
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2
Ans . D
Executive power of the Union of India is vested in the President of India.
Cabinet Secretary is the ex-officio head of the Civil Services Board, the Cabinet Secretariat, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and head of all civil services under the rules of business of the Government of India.
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