Article 74(1) provides: “There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice”.
Appointment of the Prime Minister [Article 75 (1)]
The Prime Minister is the head of the Union Council of Ministers. He is appointed by the President. This power of the President must be read in the light of the requirement contained in Clause (3) of Article 75 which provides The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the people.
It has two meanings:
- The first meaning which can legitimately be ascribed to it is that all members of a Govt. are unanimous in support of its policies and would exhibit that unanimity on public occasions although while formulating the policies, they might have expressed a different view in the meeting of the Cabinet.
- The other meaning is that Ministers, who had an opportunity to speak for or against the policies in the Cabinet are thereby personally and morally responsible for its success
The doctrine of collective responsibility has practical advantages.
- First, it counteracts departmental separation for each minister has to be concerned with policies of other departments.
- Second, it prevents the policy of one department being determined unilaterally. Since it is the Cabinet as a whole which decides, ministers are less likely to be over-influenced by their civil servants.
- Third, it ensures that Cabinet decisions are based on principles and not on personalities. Collective responsibility does not apply to a minister’s responsibility for his permanent officials or for his personal mistakes and failure.
The Constitution, thus, incorporates the principle of “Responsible government” according to which, the executive is made answerable, for every act it does in relation to the administration of the affairs of the country, to the popular House of the Legislature. In this regard, the framers of the constitution of India have adopted the British Cabinet System. Therefore, the conventions operating under the English Constitution, in regard to the relationship between the Crown and the Ministers, are relevant in the interpretation of the Indian Constitution as well.
Relation between PM and President
The following provisions of the Constitution deal with the relationship between the President and the Prime Minister:
- Article 74: It states that there shall be a council of ministers with the Prime Minister 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 council of ministers to reconsider such advice and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.
- Article 75: It states that:
- The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other ministers shall be appointed by the president on the advice of the Prime Minister.
- The ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the president.
- The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.
- Article 78: It states that it shall be the duty of the Prime Minister:
- to communicate to the President all decisions of the council of ministers 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 council.
- He/she also advises the president about the appointment of important officials like the attorney general of India, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, chairman and members of the UPSC, election commissioners, chairman and members of the finance commission, and so on.