Caretaker Government

A caretaker government is a temporary government that performs some governmental duties and functions in a country until a regular government is elected or formed. 
    • Caretaker governments may be put in place when a government in a parliamentary system is defeated in a motion of no confidence or in the case when the house to which the government is responsible is dissolved, to be in place for an interim period until an election is held and a new government is formed.
    • In this sense, in some countries which use a Westminster system of government, the caretaker government is simply the incumbent government, which continues to operate in the interim period between the normal dissolution of parliament to hold an election and the formation of a new government after the election results are known.
    • Unlike in ordinary times, the caretaker government’s activities are limited by custom and convention.UPSC Prelims 2024 dynamic test series
    • In systems where coalition governments are frequent a caretaker government may be installed temporarily while negotiations to form a new coalition take place. This usually occurs either immediately after an election in which there is no clear victor or if one coalition government collapses and a new one must be negotiated. Discretionary Powers of the President
    • Though the President has no constitutional discretion, he has some situational discretion like in the appointment of the Prime Minister when no party has a clear majority in the Lok Sabha or when the Prime Minister is in office then suddenly and there is no obvious successor.
    • In such a situation, the President usually appoints the leader of the largest party or coalition in the Lok Sabha as the Prime Minister and asks him to seek a vote of confidence in the House within a month. This discretion was exercised by the President, for the first time in 1979, when Neelam Sanjiva Reddy (the then President) appointed Charan Singh (the coalition leader) as the Prime Minister after the fall of the Janata Party government headed by Morarji Desai.
    • On the death of Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri when the leadership was contested, the President made temporary arrangements by appointing the seniormost minister (Gulzari Lal Nanda) as the Prime Minister, until the formal election of the leader by the party. However when Indira Gandhi was assassinated in 1984, then President Zail Singh appointed Rajiv Gandhi as the Prime Minister by ignoring the precedent of appointing a caretaker Prime Minister.

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