The executive

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India has a parliamentary system. The President is the head of the Union of India; the Prime Minister is the head of government. Along with his or her cabinet, the Prime Minister is responsible to the Lower House of Parliament. States have similar arrangements. They are formally headed by Governors. But chief ministers and their cabinets lead the governments. Executive power, ordinarily, is exercised by the Prime Minister, chief ministers and their respective councils of ministers. However, in keeping with India’s Westminster inheritance, such power often vests in the formal heads, and is exercised in their names. This chapter offers an overview of the principal offices that make up the executive in India, their appointments, powers and functions, and importantly, the relationship between the formal and real heads of the executive. It has five sections. Section I introduces the office of the President and the Governor. Section II offers an overview of the council of ministers, the role of the Prime Minister and the chief ministers and the terms that govern their offices. Ministerial responsibilities and interactions with the President are discussed in Section III. Section IV briefly introduces the powers and functions of the executive in India. Lastly, Section V examines the range of discretionary powers vested in the President and Governors, and their effect, if any, on India’s parliamentary credentials.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook of Indian Constitutional Law
EditorsSujit Chaudhury, Madhav Khosla, Pratap Bhanu Mehta
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages45
ISBN (Print)978-0198704898
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2016

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks


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