PRIME MINISTER

PRIME MINISTER

To prepare for INDIAN POLITY for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know about the  Prime Minister of India. It gives an idea of all the important topics for IAS Exam and the polity syllabus (GS-II.). This is an essential portion of the polity.  As IAS aspirants, you should be thorough with the Prime Minister of India. In this article, you can read all about the Prime Minister for the polity and governance segments of the UPSC syllabus. Prime Minister is the head of the Government. He is appointed by the President. He can be a member of either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. President should appoint the leader of the majority party or coalition parties as to the Prime Minister. He acts like a chain between the President and the Council of Ministers. He is the Political head of Civil Servants.

“If any functionary under our constitution is to be compared with the US President, he is the Prime Minister and not the President of the Union” B.R. Ambedkar.

CONSTITUTIONAL BASIS
  • 74- Council of Ministers to aid and advice VICE – PRESIDENT.
  • PM is the real executive authority (de facto executive) in parliamentary form of government.(President –Nominal; de jure executive)
  • PM is the head of the government. (President is the head of the State)
The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the PM. It is by and large, governed by Parliamentary Conventions.

 

Appointment of the PM
  • 75 –Says only that the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President.
  • However, the President is not free to appoint any one as the Prime Minister.
  • As per the conventions of parliamentary system – The President has to appoint the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister.

 

PERSONAL DISCRETION OF THE PRESIDENT
  • When no party has a clear majorityin the Lok Sabha, then the President may exercise his personal discretion in the selection and appointment of the PM.
  • In such scenario, the President usually appoints the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Lok Sabha as the PM and asks him to seek a vote of confidence in the House within a month.
  • Discretion was exercised first time in 1979, when the Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (then President) appointed Charan Singh (Coalition leader) as the PM after fall of Morarji Desai’s Janta Party Government.
  • The president may have to exercise his individual judgment in the selection and appointment of the PM, when PM in office dies suddenly and there is no obvious successor.
  • However, if the ruling party elects a new leader after the death of an incumbent PM, then the President has no choice but to appoint him as PM.
  • Delhi High Court (1980)à The Constitution does not require that a person must prove his majority in the Lok Sabha before he is appointed as the PM.
  • The President may first appoint him the PM and then ask him to prove his majority in the Lok Sabha within a reasonable period.
  • Supreme Court (1997)à a person who is not a member of either House of Parliament (i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha) can be appointed as PM for six months, within which, he should become a member of either House of Parliament; otherwise, he ceases to be the PM.
  • Constitutionally, the PM may be a member of any of the two Houses of parliament. For e.g. Indira Gandhi (1966), Deve Gowda (1996) and Manmohan Singh (2004), were members of the Rajya Sabha.
In Britain, the Prime Minister should definitely be a member of the Lower House (House of Commons).

 

OATH, TERM AND SALARY
  • The President administers to him the oaths of office and secrecy.
  • In his oath of office the PM swear
  • to bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution of India.
  • to uphold sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • to faithfully and conscientiously discharge duties of his office and
  • to do right to all people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear, favor or ill will.
  • In his oath to secrecy, the PM swear not to reveal any matter that is brought under his consideration as a Union Minister except required for due discharge of duties.
  • The term of the PM is not fixed and he holds office during the pleasure of the President. However, as long as the PM enjoys the majority support in the Lok Sabha, he cannot be dismissed by the President.
  • In case of loss of confidence (majority) of the Lok Sabha, the PM must resign or the President can dismiss him.
  • The salary and allowances of the PM are determined by the Parliament from time to time. PM gets the salary and allowances that are payable to a member of Parliament.
“Oath of Secrecy” should be replace by “Oath of Transparency”Second ARC

 

SCHOOLS OF THOUGHTS
  • PM as ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals) à PM is more like a coordinating function. For e.g. Coalition PM are close to this school of thought.
  • PM as ‘inter stellas luna minores’ (a moon among lesser stars)à We have “Prime Ministerial” government instead of “Cabinet Government”. For e.g. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Narendra Modi Government.
  • However, B. Vajpayee was notable exception to both school of thoughts and held as blend of both schools.

 

FACTORS THAT STRENGTHEN THE POSITION OF THE PM IN INDIA
  • PM is the chairperson of Cabinet, CoM, important cabinet committees.
  • The resignation or death of an incumbent PM automatically dissolves the CoM and thereby generates a vacuum.
  • The resignation or death of any other minister, on the other hand, merely creates a vacancy, which the PM may or may not like to fill.
  • He is the chairperson of high-powered bodies – NITI Aayog, National Integration Council (NIC), Inter-State Councils (ISC), National Water Resource Council etc.
  • He is the chief spokesman of the Union government.
  • He is leader of the party in power. PM is generally equated with his party. (“PM is party and Party is PM”).
  • He is political head of the services.
  • Support of high-powered bodies – PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE and Cabinet Secretariat.
  • PM becomes leader of house of which he is member.

 

ROLE OF THE PRIME MINISTER
  1. Role of PM w.r.t. the President
  • PM is the principal channel of communication (Art. 78) between the President and the CoM.
  • It is the duty of the PM
    • to communicate to the President all decisions (Art. 78) of the CoM,
    • to furnish information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposal for legislations as the President may call for and
    • if the President so requires, to submit for the consideration of the CoM any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the council.
  • PM advises the President with regard to the appointment of important officials like Attorney General of India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Chairperson and members of UPSC and so on.

 

  1. Role of the PM w.r.t. the CoM
    • PM recommends persons who can be appointed as ministers by the President.
    • The President can appoint only those persons as ministers who are recommended by the PM.
    • He allocates and reshuffles various portfolios among the ministers.
    • He can ask a minister to resign or advise the President to dismiss him in case of difference of opinion.
    • He presides over the meeting of CoM and influences its decisions.
    • He guides, directs, controls and coordinates the activities of all the ministers.
    • His death or resignation from office can bring the collapse of the CoM.

 

  1. Role of PM w.r.t. the Parliament
    • The PM is the leader of the Lower House (Lok Sabha).
    • He advises the President with regard to summoning and proroguing of the sessions of the Parliament.
    • He can recommend dissolution of the Lok Sabha to President at any time.
    • He announces government policies on the floor of the House.
  1. Role of the PM w.r.t. the Cabinet
    • PM constitute cabinet and allocates portfolios.
    • He summons cabinet meeting and also decides agenda of meeting.
    • It is the PM’s privilege to consult any person on any matter he deems fit and it is his discretion to act occasionally without any consultation.

 

  1. Role of PM w.r.t. the External affairs
    • This domain has been personally directed by PM.
    • If PM respected by international communities, it can help him acquire greater respect domestically as well.
    • He plays a significant role in shaping the foreign policy of the country.

 

  1. Role of PM w.r.t. the Planning
    • He is the crisis manager-in-chief at the political level during emergencies.
    • He is Chairperson of National Disaster Management Authority.

 

  1. Role of PM w.r.t. the CABINET COMMITTEEs
    • The PM setups Cabinet Committees and are headed by him when he is member.
      • Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (Known as “Super-Cabinet”) – PM
      • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs – PM
      • Cabinet Committee on Appointments – PM

 

RELATIONSHIP OF PM WITH PRESIDENT
  • 74– There shall be a CoM with the PM at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. However, the President may require the CoM to reconsider such advice and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration (Added by 44th amendment act 1978).
  • 75 – The PM shall be appointed by the President and the other ministers shall be appointed by the president on the advice of the PM.
    • The ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the president.
    • The CoM shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People (Lok Sabha).
  • 78– It shall be the duty of the PM:
    • to communicate to the President all decisions of the CoM relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation.
    • to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for.
    • if the President so requires, 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 CoM.

 

ARGUMENTS IN FAVOUR OF PRIME MINISTER FROM LOWER HOUSE (LOK SABHA)
  • Leader of CoM should be member of Lower house (Lok Sabha) to which CoM is collectively responsible.
  • Purpose of the Rajya Sabha is not to produce government but to ensure representation to state and protect their interests.
  • Convention in other parliamentary democracies endorses the same. For e.g.
    • In Britain, PM comes from House of Commons (Lower House).
    • In Germany, federal chancellor comes from lower house (Bundestag).
    • Japanese PM comes from lower house, called as Diet.
  • Nehru endorse and supported same.
  • V Kamath introduced Constitutional Amendment Bill (in 1966) to codify the same provision. Congress broadly agreed with the same but held that it should evolve as convention rather than statute.

 

LIST OF CM WHO BECAME PM
  • Morarji Desai- CM of the erstwhile Bombay State, the first non-Congress PM.
  • Charan Singh-Was CM of the undivided Uttar Pradesh
  • P. Singh- Was CM of the Uttar Pradesh
  • V. Narasimha Rao- first PM from South India, who was CM of Andhra Pradesh
  • D. Deve Gowda- Was CM of Karnataka.
  • Narendra Modi-  Was four-time CM of Gujarat

 

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