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Political Executive – Definition, Functions, Characteristics, Examples

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Different levels of government have functionaries who look after day-to-day decisions but do not exercise supreme power on behalf of the people. These functionaries collectively are known as the executive. The term “executive” is used as they are in charge of the execution of policies of the government.

The Executive is one of the most crucial branches of government, and it is impossible for a government to function without it. It is responsible for putting into effect all of the laws and policies enacted by Parliament or the Legislative Assemblies. It also carries out the government’s different programs and projects. Prime Minister and President, Chief Minister, and Governor, IAS, IPS, and IFS, to name a few. 

Branches of Government

Political Executive

Executives are those who make day-to-day choices on behalf of the people but do not have ultimate authority. They are known as executives because they are in charge of carrying out the government’s policies. 

Features of Political Executive

  • They are the people’s elected representatives.
  • They are both the nominal and actual leaders of the country.
  • They are elected by the population of the country and obtain their authority from them.
  • They are only elected for a set amount of time, usually five years.
  • They’ll have to contest elections again in five years.
  • They must answer the public.
  • Any choice made by Political Executives may be criticized by the general public.
  • They are thought to be quite powerful.
  • They carry out the policies or legislation passed by the nation’s Parliament.
  • The Executive also maintains an eye on the legislatures. 

Importance of Executive in Government

  1. The formation of laws and policies is not worth it; if the executive doesn’t implement them.
  2. They work on all three levels: National, District, and Local levels.
  3. Both the problems as well as the solutions are sought out by them.
  4. They keep a check on the legislatures.

Example of Political Executive

Following are a few examples of Political Executives:

  • The Head of the country, for some, is the monarch or supreme leader or president, In the case of India, the Head of the country is the President.
  • The Head of the government, mostly the Prime Minister of the country is the actual head.
  • Other Ministers include Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State, Ministers of States, etc.

Political and Permanent Executive

The executive in a democratic democracy is divided into two divisions: Political and Permanent Executive. They are:

  1. Political Executive: They are chosen by the people for a set period of time. They make significant decisions. This group includes political leaders. They wield greater authority than the permanent executive. This is because the political administration is chosen by the people, and the people’s will is ultimate in a democracy. They must account to the people for all of the implications of their decisions. They can seek input from the permanent executive and then decide on the policy’s overarching framework and objectives. 
  2. Permanent Executive: They are assigned to a specific task for a specific amount of time. Civil servants are those who work in the government as permanent executives. Even if the ruling party changes, they remain in power. They work under the direction of the political executive and assist them with day-to-day administration. They are better educated and knowledgeable about the field of ministry. For example, the finance ministry’s advisors are more knowledgeable in economics than the finance minister. However, the finance minister’s choice will be final. 

Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

  1. Prime Minister: The Prime Minister is the head of government and is in charge of all government functions. Prime Minister, the President picks the leader of the majority party or coalition of parties with a majority in the Lok Sabha. If no single party receives a majority, the President picks the person who is most likely to receive a majority vote. The term of the Prime Minister is not set; as long as he is the head of the majority or coalition party, he remains in power. 
  2. Council of Ministers: It is the official term for the group of ministers that comprises all of them, known as the Council of Ministers. It normally consists of 60 to 80 ministers of various positions.  The Ministerial Council is formed up of:
  • Cabinet Ministers are top-ranking members of the ruling party or parties in control of the major ministries. The Council of Ministers’ inner ring is termed as Cabinet. It is made up of roughly 25 ministers. 
  • Minister of State in charge of a minor ministry with an independent charge. They only attend Cabinet meetings if they have been invited directly.
  • Ministers of State who are linked to Cabinet Ministers are expected to help them. 

Powers of Prime Minister

  1. The Prime Minister can appoint ministers as long as they are members of Parliament. 
  2. In Cabinet sessions, he chairs and makes the majority of the decisions.
  3. In the event of a conflict between departments, he organizes the work of various departments, and his decisions are final.
  4. He has overall responsibility for many ministries, and all ministers report to him.
  5. To the ministers, he allocates and redistributes work.
  6. He also has the power to dismiss ministers from their positions. The entire cabinet resigns when the Prime Minister resigns. 

If the Cabinet is the most powerful institution in India, within the cabinet the Prime Minister is the most powerful. The powers of the Prime Minister have increased considerably, and parliamentary democracies are sometimes referred to as the Prime Ministerial form of government. As political parties have come to play important role in politics, Prime Minister controls Cabinet and Parliament through the party.

The personality of the Prime Minister also holds power. For example, Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India exercised huge authority because held great sway over the population in general. However, the rise of coalition governments has imposed certain restrictions on the power of the Prime Minister. Accommodation of different groups and factions of his party, as well as alliance partners, also heeds the views and position of coalition partners and other parties, on whose support the survival of the government depends.

The President

The President, also known as the nominal or de jure head of the Indian State, is regarded to be the country’s leader. The Presidency is the highest office in the country, and the President is known as the country’s first citizen. The President is addressed in Articles 52 through 62 of the Indian Constitution. The Union’s Executive Committee is the President’s member. The people do not elect by the President directly. A candidate for President must earn a majority of votes from Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of the Legislative Assemblies in order to win the election (MLAs). 

Powers of The President

  1. All the important appointments of the country are mostly done by him.
  2. He is regarded as the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.
  3. He has the authority to summon the parliament and also can dissolve the Lok Sabha.
  4. 12 members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the President.
  5. He lays down various reports in front of Parliament and also has emergency powers.

President’s Powers are Restricted

The President can only execute all of his powers on the advice of the Council of Ministers. The President has the authority to request that the Council of Ministers reconsider its recommendation. If the same advice is given again, he or she is obligated to follow it. Only once the President approves; a bill enacted by Parliament does it become law. If the President so desires, he or she might postpone the vote and send the bill back to Parliament for reconsideration.  He/she must, however, sign the bill if Parliament adopts it again.


In all democracies, an assembly of elected representatives wields Supreme Political Authority on behalf of the people. Parliament is the name given to such a national assembly of elected members in India. It is known as the Legislature or Legislative Assembly at the state level. In other terms, Parliament is a body of people elected by the people of a country on a regular basis, either directly (via direct elections) or indirectly (through indirect elections) (through indirect elections). All of the government’s decisions are debated in Parliament before they are implemented. Only after the approval of the Parliament can decisions be enacted. 

 Two Houses of Parliament

In modern democracies, the Parliament performs a crucial function. The role and powers of Parliament in large countries have been separated into two components. They’re referred to as Chambers or Houses.

  • Lok Sabha (People’s House) and Lower Chamber are the two houses or chambers. It is typically directly chosen by the people and wields actual power on their behalf. The Lok Sabha, or Lower House, is made up of people’s elected representatives. A majority of Lok Sabha members must vote in favor of the Prime Minister.
  • The Upper Chamber is known as the Rajya Sabha (Council of States).It is indirectly elected and serves a variety of purposes, such as representing the interests of various states, regions, or federal entities. The Rajya Sabha, or Upper House, represents the states and union territories’ interests. Despite not being a member of either house, the President of India is a member of Parliament. As a result, all laws passed by the houses become effective only when the President has given his assent. 


The judiciary is the arm of government in charge of interpreting the law, settling disputes, and ensuring that all citizens are treated fairly. The Constitution has a number of clauses that ensure the judiciary’s independence is preserved and protected. The Supreme Court is followed by high courts, which are followed by district and subordinate courts. The lesser courts work directly under the supervision of the higher courts.

According to the Indian constitution, the supreme court is the final court of appeal. As a result, India’s chief justice, along with 30 other justices, has advisory jurisdiction. Each state should have its own high court, according to India’s constitution. The Mumbai High Court is India’s oldest high court.  The population distribution of the district and state determines the establishment of district courts. It is responsible for the district’s civil and criminal proceedings.

Role of Judiciary

  • Dispute Resolution: The court system provides a means for resolving issues between citizens, citizens and the government, state governments, and the federal government.
  • Judicial Review: As the last interpreter of the Constitution, the judiciary has the right to overturn specific legislation passed by Parliament if it considers they violate the Constitution’s fundamental framework. This is referred to as judicial review. Maintaining the Rule of Law and Enforcing Fundamental Rights: Any Indian citizen can file a complaint with the Supreme Court or a High Court if they believe their Fundamental Rights have been infringed.

FAQs on Political Executives

Question 1: What is Political Executive?


Political executives are the government officials who participate in the determination and direction of the government policies.

Question 2: What is the difference between a political executive and a permanent executive?


Political executives differ from permanent executives in this way-

                                      Political Executives                   Permanent Executives
1- They are elected by the people (voters) for a particular length of time.1-It is appointed for a long period of time.
2-Political executives are political leaders.2-Permanent executives are civil servants.
3-Political leaders must answer to the people.3- Permanent government-accountable executives 

Question 3: Why political executive is more powerful?


In a democracy, the will of the people is the most supreme. The ministers are elected by the people and thus are empowered to exercise the will of people on their behalf. This is the reason why ministers take the final decisions and decides the overall framework and objectives in which decisions on policy should be made on.

Question 4: Name three of the presidents of India’s legislative powers.


The President of India has three legislative powers: 

  • The President is not a member of either house of Parliament. He or she is, nonetheless, an important component of the legislative process. She or he has a significant impact on the creation of laws.
  • The President has the authority to call a special session of the Lok Sabha. She/he has the power to call a joint session of both chambers of Parliament.
  • The President has the authority to transmit communications to either chamber of Parliament, whether it is about a pending law or something else.

Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2023
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