Powers & Functions of the Prime Minister
- In Relation to the Council of Ministers
(a) The Prime Minister recommends persons who can be appointed as ministers by the President.
(b) He allocates and also can change the portfolios among the ministers according to his will.
(c) If a difference in opinion arises between the Prime Minister and any of his ministers, he can ask the minister to resign or can advice President to dismiss him.
(d) Prime Minister presides over the meeting of the Council of Ministers and he also influences the decision of the meeting.
(e) He guides, directs, controls and coordinates the activities of all the ministers.
(f) By resigning from office, the Prime Minister can bring about the collapse of the council of Ministers.
- In Relation to the President
(a) Prime Minister is the principal channel of communication between the President and the Council of Ministers. He communicates with the President regarding all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals
(b) He furnishes such information relating to administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for and if the President so requires, Prime Minister submits 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.
(c) Regarding 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, etc. the Prime Minister advises the President.
- In Relation to Parliament
(a) The Prime Minister is the leader of the lower House i.e. the Lok Sabha. He advises the President with regard to summoning and proroguing of the sessions of the Parliament.
(b) He can recommend dissolution of the Lok Sabha to President at any time.
(c) He announces government policies on the floor of the house.
- Position of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister is described as primus inter pares (first among equals). Also called interstellar minories (little moon among stars). He is the ‘Keystone of The Cabinet Arch”. Prime Minister is generally a Member of Parliament and elected according to the same procedure similar to all MPs. He is PM only because he is the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha.
However, in actual practice, he is more than his colleagues. Under Article 74, Council of Minister, is headed by PM. When PM resigns or dies, entire CoM goes out of office. But when an individual minister resigns or dies there is only vacancy in CoM. Besides PM alone can constitute CoM but without PM, CoM can’t exist and function. Thus he is central to the survival & death of CoM.
It is the PM who selects members of CoM and distribute portfolio among them. He can reshuffle CoM the way he likes. It is PM who coordinates the functions of various ministries. He alone enjoys right to call for files or information from any ministry to other ministry.
PM convenes the cabinet meeting and decides on the agenda of such meetings. He also gives general direction for the administration of the country. He is the chief spokesman of CoM both in & outside the Parliament. It is his prerogative to announce important policy decisions.
He is also the link between President and CoM. Ministers individually can also call upon the President but not as a matter of right. It is the PM who periodically calls upon the President and apprises him about administration of the country. PM is also the chief link between CoM and the Parliament. He can participate in any issue relating to any ministry during discussion held in Parliament. A minister normally participates on issues relating to his own ministry.