The General Executive Power of the Union of India and the Commonwealth of Australia: A Comparative Analysis

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-Peter Gerangelos

The substantive content and ambit of the general executive power of “the Union” of India and of “the Commonwealth” of Australia, provided for in Article 53 and section 61 respectively of their constitutions, is a most significant issue confronting constitutional law in both India and Australia. Reference is made to “general” executive power to distinguish it from those specific grants of power constitutionally vested respectively in the President and Governor-General. The relevant jurisprudence of the courts in both jurisdictions will be examined on a comparative basis in order to draw conclusions as to the respective merits of both. It will be seen that this issue touches upon fundamental questions relating to the constitutional regulation and limitation of executive power, the regulation of the relationship between the executive and parliament, and fundamental issues of civil liberty. Such a comparative approach may provide lessons for both jurisdictions, by way of emulation or avoidance, for the future direction of constitutional jurisprudence on this question.

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