Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers

The executive powers of the President are exercised by the Council of Ministers. The Constitution provides that “there shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President in the excercise of his functions”. Here the word “shall” indicates that the President cannot function without the Council of Ministers. The President is the constitutional head of State, but the real Head of the government is the Prime Minister.

The Constitution of India provides for a parliamentary system of government and, therefore, divides the executive into two parts: the nominal and real executive. The President of India is the nominal executive and the Council of Ministers is the real executive which works under the leadership of Prime Minister. Article 74, 75, and 78 of the constitution provide for provisions relating to the council of Ministers and the Prime Minister.

The  Prime  Minister  shall  be  appointed  by  the  President  and  other  Ministers  shall  be appointed by the President upon the advice of the Prime Minister. The Ministers hold office during the  pleasure  of  the  President.  The  council  of  Ministers  shall  be  collectively  responsible  to  the  Lok  Sabha.   A minister  who  for  any  period  of  six  consecutive  months  is  not  a  member  of  the Parliament shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.

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