Prime Minister

The Prime Minister does not have a fixed tenure because he remains in office as long as he enjoys the majority support of the Lok Sabha. The President appoints the Prime Minister but he cannot appoint anybody as per his wish. The President appoints a person as the Prime Minister who is most likely to prove majority at the floor of the Lok Sabha. The Prime Minister then makes his Council of Ministers.

The Council of Ministers is usually composed of 60 to 80 Ministers of different ranks. The various ranks of Ministers are as follows:

(a) Cabinet Ministers: Cabinet Ministers are usually made from the top-level leaders of the ruling party. They are in charge of major ministries. There are about 20 ministers of the Cabinet Rank.

(b) Minister of State with Independent Charge: These are usually in charge of smaller ministries. They participate in the Cabinet Meeting only on invitation.

(c) Minister of State: They are attached to a Cabinet Minister. Their role is to assist the Cabinet Minister.

Cabinet Meeting: Important decisions are usually taken in the Cabinet meetings. Due to this, parliamentary democracy is also known as the Cabinet form of government. A minister may have different opinion but the minister needs to own up every decision made by the Cabinet. A minister cannot openly criticize any decision taken by the Cabinet. Every ministry has secretaries who come from the civil services. The Cabinet as a team is given the assistance of a Cabinet Secretariat. The Cabinet Secretariat is composed of senior civil servants who coordinate the functions of various ministries.

Powers of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister chairs the meetings of the Cabinet.

He coordinates the working of different departments. In case of any disagreement between two or more departments, the decision of the Prime Minister is final.

The Prime Minister supervises the functions of various ministries. He can distribute and redistribute work to the ministers. He can also dismiss a minister. In case the Prime Minister resigns, the entire ministry has to quit.

During the days of Congress monopoly in the Union Government, the Prime Minister used to be very powerful. But situation has changed because of prevalence of coalition politics in the country. Now, the Prime Minister needs to accommodate a diverse set of political parties. He needs to pacify different coalition partners because he needs their support for the survival of the government.

The President

The President is the head of the State. Although all decisions of the government are taken in the name of the President, he is just a titular head of the government.

Any bill which is passed by the Parliament needs the signature of the President to become a law. All the major orders of the government need President's assent before they can be enacted. All international treaties are signed in the name of the President.

Appointments: The President appoints the Chief Justice of India, Chief Justices of the High Courts and Judges of the lower courts. He also appoints the governors of the states. All major appointments are made by the President. The President is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.

When no single party or a coalition is in a position to form a government, it is the President who decides on who is going to form the government. In that situation, the President invites the person; who he observes is most likely to secure a majority of the house, to form the government. After that, the newly appointed Prime Minister is given some deadline to prove his majority in the Lok Sabha.

The Judiciary

An independent and powerful judiciary is considered essential for democracies. India has an integrated judiciary which is composed of the Supreme Court, High Courts, District Courts and various local level courts. The Supreme Court is the apex court in the country and hence its decision cannot be challenged. Its decision is binding on all other courts of the country. The Supreme Court can take up any dispute which is as follows:

The independent judiciary's main role is in protecting the Fundamental Rights as enshrined in the Constitution of India. If any law is passed by the Government (at centre or state), which is viewed as overlooking the fundamental tenets of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has the right to revoke the law. There are many cases in which litigations have been filed on behalf of public against laws enacted by the government. The independence of the judiciary ensures that no government can behave in an autocratic way.

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