On 7th January 1949, the Constituent Assembly took up Article 64 of the Draft Constitution (Article 77 of the Final Constitution). The Draft Article provided for all executive action of the government of India to be taken in the name of the President.
K.T. Shah moved an amendment that proposed all executive action be taken in the name of ‘Government of India’ and not the ‘President’. He felt that Draft Article 64 offended all principles of the Draft Constitution and saw no reason why executive actions of the government of India had to be done in the name of the President. He argued that the Draft Constitution placed the President ‘outside the turmoil of parties’. Since the government of India was going to be a ‘party government’ or ‘coalition government’, Shah argued, orders of the government of India must not be done in the name of the President.
Ananthasaynam Ayyangar opposed Shahs and reminded him that the Assembly had already approved Draft Articles 42 and 66; These Draft Article vested the President with the executive power of the Union and made the President an integral element of the parliament of India respectively. In light of this, Ayyangar continued, to provide for executive actions of the Government of India to be carried out in the name of the President was nothing more than an implementation of Draft Articles 42 and 66.
Ayyangar argued that the Draft Consitution gave the President the power to dissolve parliament and ministries.This, he seemed to suggest, implied that the President enjoyed supremacy in the executive space. In the absence of an elected parliament and ministries, Ayyangar asked the Assembly, under whose executive authority would the business of the government of India be run? In such a situation, argued Ayyangar, ‘…the President has to exercise the powers’. He ended his speech: ‘it is impossible to get him [President] out of the framework. The President is the chief executive authority and he is an important link in Parliament. It naturally flows that executive action should be taken in the name of the President’.
Raj Bahadur made the last intervention in the debate. He too, like Ayyangar, disagreed with Shah and he went on to say that it was clear that the intention of the Constituent Assembly, as expressed through the Draft Constitution, was to vest the entire executive power of the Union in the President, so having all governmental orders issued in the name of the President would not run counter to any known democratic principles
After Bahadur’s speech, Draft Article 66 was taken up for a vote. Shah’s amendment was rejected and the Constituent Assembly adopted the Draft Article.