The Union executive consists of the President, the Vice-President and the 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 among state inter se as well as parity between the states, as a whole, and the Union, suitable weightage is given to each vote.President must be a citizen of India, not less than 35 years of age and qualified for election as member of the Lok Sabha. His term of office is five years and he is eligible for re-election. He may, by writing under his hand addressed to the Vice-President, resign his office. Supreme command of defence forces of the Union also vests in him. The 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. President 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 sentences in certain cases. During failure of the constitutional machinery in a state, he can assume to himself all or any of the functions of the government of that state.
The 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 re-election. The Vice-President is 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 function of the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
Headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advice the President in exercise of his functions. The Prime Minister is appointed by the
President who also appoints other ministers on the advice of Prime Minister. The Council is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. The Council of Ministers comprises Ministers who are members of Cabinet, Ministers of State (independent
charge), Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers.
The House of the People elects a Speaker, and a Deputy Speaker from among its members. The principal function of the Speaker is to preside over the meetings of the House in addition to other duties in connection with the internal affairs of the House of the People.
Speaker’s Powers: The Speaker of India’s Lok Sabha derives his authority from the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure of the House. Briefly stated, his powers and functions are:
(i) He presides over the sittings of the Lok Sabha and regulates the conduct of the proceedings. He can also suspend or adjourn its sittings.
(ii ) He pronounces on the admissibility of all motions, resolutions and questions sought to be tabled by the Members.
(iii) He can discipline, warn, censure or suspend members for unparliamentary speech or unruly conduct. He can order that an unruly member be physically removed from the House.
(iv) He decides points of order and his ruling cannot be challenged either in the House or in a court of law.
(v) He announces the verdict of the House whenever a vote is taken or a division is called. Before a bill can be sent to the President for his assent or to the Upper House for consideration, it must be authenticated by the Speaker’s signatures.
(vi) He is the channel of communication between the two Houses, as also between the Lok Sabha and the President.
(vii) All orders of the House are executed through him and all petitions and appeals to the Lok Sabha are addressed to him.
(viii) He is the supreme head of all Parliamentary Committees set up by him or by the House.
(ix) He holds administrative charge of the Lok Sabha Secretariat and the Parliament building. He regulates entry into the visitors’ and press galleries and also the lobby.
The Constitution provides that the Rajya Sabha shall consist of 250 members, of which 12 members shall be nominated 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 the single transferable vote, and those representing union territories are chosen in such manner as Parliament may by law prescribe.
The Rajya Sabha is not subject to dissolution; one-third of its members retire on expiry of every second year. The Rajya Sabha, at present, has 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 members 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 the number of seats allotted to each State and population of the State is, as far as practicable, the same for all States.The Lok Sabha at present consists of 545 members. Of these, 530 members are directly elected from 25 States and 13 from seven Union territories while two are nominated by the President to represent the Anglo-Indian community. The allocation of seats in the present Lok Sabha is based on the 1971 census and under the 42nd Amendment of the Constitution (1976) will continue to be so based until figures of the first census taken after 2000 AD become available.
The term of the Lok Sabha, unless dissolved, is five years from the date appointed 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 not exceeding one year at a time and not extending in any case, beyond a period of six months after the proclamation has ceased to operate. Fourteen Lok Sabhas have been constituted so far.
ALL INDIA SERVICES
Prior to Independence, the Indian Civil Service (ICS) was the seniormost amongst the Services of the Crown in India. A provision was made in Article 312 of the Constitution for creation of one or more All India Services common to the Union and State. Indian Administrative Service and Indian Police Service are deemed to be constituted by the Parliament in terms of Article 312 of the Constitution. After the promulgation of the Constitution, a new All India Service, namely, Indian Forest Service, was created in 1966. Of the three All India Services, namely, the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), the Indian Police Service (IPS) and the Indian Forest Service (IFS), the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions is the cadre controlling authority for the IAS. The recruitment to all the three services is made by the UPSC through the Civil Services Examination conducted every year. These officers are recruited and trained by the Central Government and then allotted to different State cadres. There are now 21 State cadres including three Joint cadres, namely,
(i) Assam and Meghalaya,
(ii) Manipur and Tripura and
(iii) Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram and the Union Territories (AGMU).
UNION PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION
The Constitution provides for an independent body known as Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for recruitment to Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ civil posts under Central Government and for advice in various service matters.
LANGUAGE OF THE UNION
Hindi, according to Article 343(1) of the Constitution, is the Official Language of the Union. But provision was also made in Article 343(2) for continuing the use of English in official work for a period of 15 years (i.e. upto 25 January 1965) from the date of commencement of the Constitution. Article 343(3) empowered Parliament to provide by law for continued use of English for official purposes even after 25 January 1965. Accordingly, the Official Languages Act, 1963 (amended in 1967) was passed for continuing the use of English in official work even after 25 January 1965. The Act also lays down that both Hindi and English shall compulsorily be used for certain specified purposes, such as resolutions, general orders, rules, notifications, press communiqués, administrative and other reports, licences, permits, contracts, agreements, etc.