The union executive consists of the President, Vice President and Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President.
The President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of elected members of both houses of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. To secure uniformity state inter se as well as parity between the states, as a whole, and the Union, suitable weightage is given to each vote. The President must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and qualified as for election as member of the Lok Sabha. His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election. His removal from office if any is to be in accordance with procedure laid down in Article 61 of the constitution. He may, by writing under his hand addressed to Vice President, resign his office.
The executive power of the Union is vested in President and is exercised by him either directly or through officers ,sub-ordinate to him in accordance with the constitution. Supreme command of defence forces of the Union also vests in him. President summons, prorogues, addresses, sends messages to Parliament and dissolves the Lok Sabha; promulgates ordinances at any time, except when both houses of Parliament are in session; makes recommendations for introducing financial and money bills and gives assent to bills; grants pardons, reprieves, respites or remission of punishment or suspends, remits or commutes in certain cases. When there is a failure of constitutional machinery in a state, he can assume to himself all or any of the functions of the government of that state. President can proclaim emergency in the country if he is satisfied that a grave emergency exists whereby the security of India or any part of its territory is threatened whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.
Vice President is elected by members of an electoral college consisting of members of both houses of Parliament in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote. He must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and eligible for election as a member of the Rajya Sabha. His term of office is five years and he is eligible for reelection. His removal from office is to be in accordance with procedure prescribed in Article 67-b. Vice President is the ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha and acts as President when the latter is unable to discharge his functions due to absence, illness, or any other cause or till the election of a new President (to be held within six months) when a vacancy is caused by death, resignation or removal or otherwise of President. While so acting, he ceases to perform the functions of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
Council of Ministers
There is a Council of Ministers headed by Prime Minister to aid and advise the President in exercise of his functions. Prime Minister is appointed by President who also appoints other Ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister. The Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. It is the duty of the Prime Minister to communicate to the President all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration or affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation and information relating to them. The Council of Ministers comprises Ministers who are members of the Union Cabinet. Ministers of State (independent charge), Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.
Legislature of the Union called Parliament, consists of President and two Houses, known as Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and House of the People (Lok Sabha). Each House of Parliament is supposed to meet within six months of its previous sitting. A joint sitting of the two houses can be held in certain cases.
The constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha should consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be appointed by the President from amongst persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art, and social service; and not more than 238 representatives of the states and of the union territories.
Elections to the Rajya Sabha are indirect, members representing states are elected by elected members of legislative assemblies of the states in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of single transferable vote, and those representing union territories are chosen in such a manner as the Parliament may by law prescribe. The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution, one third members retire on expiry of every second year. The Rajya Sabha has at present 245 seats. Of these 233 members represent the states and the union territories and 12 members are nominated by the President.
The Lok Sabha is composed of representatives of people chosen by direct election on the basis of adult suffrage. The maximum strength of the House envisaged by the constitution is now 552 (530 to represent states, 20 to represent union territories and not more than two members of Anglo-Indian community to be nominated by the President, if in his opinion, that community is not adequately represented in the House). The total elective membership of the Lok Sabha is distributed among states in such a way that the ratio between number of seats alloted to each state, and population of the state, as far as practicable, be the same for all states. The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members, of these, 530 members are directly from 26 states 20 from seven union territories while two are nominated by the President to represent Anglo-Indian community. The allocation of the seats in the present Lok Sabha is based on the 1971 census and under the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution (1976) and will continue to be so based until figures of the first census after 2000 AD become available.
The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved earlier, is five years from the date fixed for its first meeting. However, while a proclamation of emergency is in operation, this period may be extended by Parliament by law for a period of one year with time not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Twelve Lok Sabhas have so far been constituted so far.
In order to be chosen a member of Parliament; a person must be ‘not less than 30 years of age in case of the Rajya Sabha, and not less than 25 years of age in the case of the Lok Sabha.’
Additional qualifications may be prescribed by Parliament by law.
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- ▼ April (16)