Prime Minister of India: power | eligibility | oath | duties

In the parliamentry system, President is the head of the State while Prime Minister is the head of the government.
APPOINTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER
The Constitution does not contain any specific procedure for the selection and appointment of the Prime Minister. Article 75 says only that the Prime Minister shall be appointed by the president.

However, this does not imply that the president is free to appoint any one as the Prime Minister. In accordance with the conventions of the parliamentary system of government, the President has to appoint the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister. But, when no party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha, then the President may exercise his personal discretion in the selection and appointment of the Prime Minister. In such a situation, the President usually appoints the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister and asks him to seek a
vote of confidence in the House within a month. This discretion was exercised by the President, for the first time in 1979, when Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (the then President) appointed Charan Singh (the coalition leader) as the Prime Minister after the fall of the Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai.

In 1980, the Delhi High Court held that the Constitution does not require that a person must prove his majority in the Lok Sabha before he is appointed as the Prime Minister. The President may first
appoint him the Prime Minister and then ask him to prove his majority in the Lok Sabha within a reasonable period.

In 1997, the Supreme Court held that a person who is not a member of either House of Parliament can be appointed as Prime Minister for six months, within which, he should become a member of either House of Parliament; otherwise, he ceases to be the Prime Minister.

Oath of Prime minister
In his oath of secrecy, the Prime Minister swears that he will not directly or indirectly communicate or reveal to any person(s) any matter that is brought under his consideration or becomes known to him as a Union Minister except as may be required for the due discharge of his duties as such minister.
The term of the Prime Minister is not fixed and he holds office during the pleasure of the president.
However, this does not mean that the president can dismiss the Prime Minister at any time. So long as the Prime Minister enjoys the majority support in the Lok Sabha, he cannot be dismissed by the President. However, if he loses the confidence of the Lok Sabha, he must resign or the President can dismiss him.

RELATIONS WITH THE PRESIDENT
The following provisions of the Constitution deal with the relationship between the President and the Prime Minister:

1. Article 74 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.
2. Article 75
 (a) 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;
 (b) The ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the president; and
  (c) The council of ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.
3. Article 78 It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister:
(a) 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;
(b) to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for; and
(c) 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.

POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE PRIME MINISTER
The powers and functions of Prime Minister can be studied under the following heads:

In Relation to Council of Ministers
The Prime Minister enjoys the following powers as head of the Union council of ministers:
1. He recommends persons who can be appointed as ministers by the president. The President can appoint only those persons as ministers who are recommended by the Prime Minister.
2. He allocates and reshuffles various portfolios among the ministers.
3. He can ask a minister to resign or advise the President to dismiss him in case of difference of opinion.
4. He presides over the meeting of council of ministers and influences its decisions.
5. He guides, directs, controls, and coordinates the activities of all the ministers.
6. He can bring about the collapse of the council of ministers by resigning from office. Since the Prime Minister stands at the head of the council of ministers, the other ministers cannot
function when the Prime Minister resigns or dies. In other words, the resignation or death of an incumbent Prime Minister automatically dissolves the council of ministers and thereby generates a vacuum. The resignation or death of any other minister, on the other hand, merely creates a vacancy
which the Prime Minister may or may not like to fill.
In Relation to the President
The Prime Minister enjoys the following powers in relation to the President:
1. He is the principal channel of communication between the President and the council of ministers.
It is the duty of the prime minister :(a) 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;
(b) to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for; and
(c) 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.
2. He advises the president with regard to the appointment of important officials like 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.
In Relation to Parliament
The Prime Minister is the leader of the Lower House. In this capacity, he enjoys the following powers:
1. He advises the President with regard to summoning and proroguing of the sessions of the Parliament.
2. He can recommend dissolution of the Lok Sabha to President at any time.
3. He announces government policies on the floor of the House.

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