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:
In Relation to the President
The Prime Minister enjoys the following powers in relation to the President:
The Prime Minister is the leader of the Lower House. In this capacity, he enjoys the following powers:
In addition to the above-mentioned three major roles, the Prime Minister has various other roles. These are:
The various comments made by the eminent political scientists and constitutional experts on the role of Prime Minister in Britain holds good in the Indian context also. These are mentioned below:
Lord Morely He described Prime Minister as ‘primus inter pares’ (first among equals) and ‘key stone of the cabinet arch’. He said, “The head of the cabinet is ‘primus inter pares’, and occupied a position which so long as it lasts, is one of exceptional and peculiar authority”.
Herbert Marrison “As the head of the Government, he (prime minister) is ‘primus inter pares’. But, it is today for too modest an appreciation of the Prime Minister’s position”.
Sir William Vernor Harcourt He described Prime Minister as ‘inter stellas luna minores’ (a moon among lesser stars).
Jennings “He is, rather, a sun around which planets revolve. He is the keystone of the constitution. All roads in the constitution lead to the Prime Minister.”
H.J. Laski On the relationship between the Prime Minister and the cabinet, he said that the Prime Minister “is central to its formation, central to its life, and central to its death”. He described him as “the pivot around which the entire governmental machinery revolves.”
H.R.G. Greaves “The Government is the master of the country and he (Prime Minister) is the master of the Government.”
Munro He called Prime Minister as “the captain of the ship of the state”.
Ramsay Muir He described Prime Minister as “the steersman of steering wheel of the ship of the state.”
The role of the Prime Minister in the British parliamentary government is so significant and crucial that observers like to call it a ‘Prime Ministerial government.’ Thus, R H Crossman says, ‘The post-war epoch has been the final transformation of cabinet government into Prime Ministerial government.’ Similarly, Humphrey Berkely points out, ‘Parliament is not, in practice, sovereign. The parliamentary democracy has now collapsed at Westminster. The basic defect in the British system of governing is the superministerial powers of the Prime Minister.’ The same description holds good to the Indian context too.