Executive: Definition and Meaning

The executive is becoming more important as the government's leader. The executive branch of government has inevitably grown to be the most significant because of the scope of its operations. Although the legislative may hold the title of supreme power in theory, in reality the executive is the most significant branch of the government. Along with the bureaucracy and the legislature, ministries and departments contribute to the smooth operation of the government.

What is Executive?

The term "executive" has been defined in both broad and narrow aspects. In its broadest sense, it refers to all the officials, political authority holders (Political Executive), and permanent public workers who carry out laws and policies and manage the state administration.

In its narrowest sense, it refers to merely the executive heads (ministers, i.e. the political Executive) who lead the government departments, establish policies, and monitor the execution of the government's laws and programmes. The civil service and its administrative tasks are not included in the Executive's purview.

Union Executive (Article 52-78)

The Union executive is comprised of the President, the Vice-President, and the Council of Ministers, which is led by the Prime Minister and assists and advises the President.

The President of India wields executive authority in the Indian government, serving as both the ceremonial head of state and a symbol of the nation. However, the Indian Constitution bestows authority and prestige on the post of President without granting necessary authorities to rule. Instead, the President serves mostly as a ceremonial figure. The Prime Minister wields true executive power. The President is the head of state, but the Prime Minister is the head of government. Only with the Prime Minister's assistance and guidance does the President carry out the real tasks of the government.

The union executive in Indian politics is a part of the political executive, which includes three important positions:

  • President (Article 52-62)

  • Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (Article 74-75 & Article 78)

  • Attorney-General of India (Article 76)

State Executive (Article 153-167)

The state executive is comprised of the Governor and the Council of Ministers, which is led by the Chief Minister. The Governor of a state is selected by the President for a five-year term and serves at the discretion of the President. Only Indian nationals above the age of 35 are eligible for appointment to this position.

The Indian Polity state executive is also a part of the political executive, which consists of three important positions:

  • Governor (Article 153-161)

  • Chief Minister and Council of ministers (Article 164-167)

  • Attorney General of State (Article 165 and 177)

Functions of the Executive

  • Enforcement of Laws − The executive's major role is to enforce laws and maintain law and order in the state. When a violation of the law occurs, it is the executive's obligation to plug the hole and bring the violators to justice. Each government agency is responsible for enforcing the rules and procedures that govern its operations. The executive organises and maintains the police force in order to maintain law and order in the state.

  • Appointment Making Functions − The chief executive makes all significant appointments. The President of India, for example, appoints the Chief Justice and other Supreme Court and High Court Judges. Ambassadors, the Advocate General of India, members of the Union Public Service Commission, state governors, and so on.

  • Treaty Making Functions − It is the executive's obligation to pick which treaties to sign with which other countries. The executive negotiates treaties in conformity with the method specified by international law as well as the laws of the state constitution. A member of the executive signs each pact. The majority of treaties also require approval by the state legislature. It is once again the executive's obligation to get congressional approval for the treaties it signs.

  • Defence, War and Peace Functions − The defence of the nation's unity and integrity and its protection in the event of an external assault or war are two of the state's most important duties. It is the executive's obligation to do this task. The executive's tasks include organising the military for the defence of the state, preparing for and fighting wars if required, and negotiating and signing peace treaties after each conflict. The administration is the last arbiter of the nature of the danger to the country's security. It bears the primary duty for taking all necessary efforts to ensure the state's security and integrity. The state's chief executive is also the supreme commander of the state's armed forces.

  • Functions relating to Law making − The legislature's primary role is to make laws. However, the executive is also involved in the legislative process. The executive's function is expanding rapidly in this field as well. In a parliamentary system, ministers are also members of the legislature and play a key role in legislation. They introduce and pilot the majority of measures for legislation in the legislature. The legislature spends the majority of its time approving governmental bills. Bills enacted by the legislature become law only if they are signed by the Head of State.

  • Law making under the system of Delegated Legislation − The system of delegated legislation has significantly expanded the executive's legislative power. The legislature delegated part of its legislative responsibilities to the executive under this arrangement. On the basis of these abilities, the executive then creates rules. The quantity of delegated legislation created by the executive considerably outnumbers the amount of legislation enacted by the legislative.


The Union Executive is one of the most significant instruments of Indian democracy. It is the heart and spirit of our Indian administrative system. The Union Executive serves as a strong shoot for all administrative and executive entities. The framers of the Constitution gathered all of the provisions required to create a strong and accountable executive structure for our country. As a result, it is critical for citizens to collaborate with the administration in order for our Indian democratic system to work properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Where in the Constitution is the executive?

Ans. According to Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for carrying out and enforcing the laws enacted by Congress. The federal government is administered on a daily basis by fifteen executive departments, each chaired by an appointed member of the President's Cabinet.

Q2. What is executive in Indian government?

Ans. The Prime Minister of India, as defined by the Indian Constitution, is the top executive of the government and the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha. The executive of the Government of India is led by the Prime Minister.

Q3. What is the role of executive?

Ans. The executive is the branch of government in charge of putting laws and policies passed by the legislative into action. The executive is frequently active in policy formulation. The formal titles of the executive differ from country to country. There are presidents in certain countries and chancellors in others.

Updated on: 16-Feb-2023


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