Order of Precedence in India – Importance of Table of Precedence in India UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

The order of precedence in India is a structure of instructions and regulations that regulate the conduct of business in the nation. The system of order of precedence in India is made up of several different rules and regulations, but the most important ones are the rules governing contracts and the rules governing land tenure. The order of precedence in India follows the table of hierarchy as President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Governor of each state of India, Chief Justice of India etc. The aspirants can download the order of precedence UPSC notes and keep them saved on their devices for future perusal.

The most important rule in accordance with the order of precedence in India for land tenure contracts is that they must include a description of the property being bought or sold, including its location, size, shape, and value, to ensure that all parties are aware of what they are buying or selling and all contracts must be signed in English because English is the language of business transactions in India. The aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam must be well-versed with complete details and cognizance of the topic ‘order of precedence in India’ to comprehensively prepare for the upcoming exam.

Order of Precedence in India

The order of precedence in India includes the laws pertaining to the structure and hierarchy of the nation. It is important for the effective administration of the country. It follows a hierarchy and the authority and rules are also classified accordingly. The list of hierarchy followed is as listed here-

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Prime Minister
  • Governor of each State
  • Former President
  • Chief Justice of India
  • Union Cabinet Ministers

The Hierarchical Table of Precedence in India

The order of precedence forms an integral and essential topic for the UPSC exam. The hierarchical order of precedence in India is listed herewith. The ranks designated by the order of precedence in India might not reflect on the power beheld but provides inference about the ceremonial rank of people.


As the nation’s first citizen, the President also holds the title of the excellent commander of the IAFs and executive branch leader. “Droupadi Murmu” is newly elected as the 15th President who assumed control on 25 July 2022.


They are the formal representative of Indian Presidents, who exist to serve as the leader of the nation. The vice presidency is the highest constitutional post in accordance with the order of precedence in India, following the presidency, coming in second place in the line of precedence and foremost in the line of succession. The vice president serves as the ex officio head of the Rajya Sabha and is a member of the Indian Parliament. We are privileged with Jagdeep Dhankar as our Vice-president.

Prime Minister

Executive authority is delegated to the Prime Minister and the Board of other Ministers. Despite being the constitutional, nominal, and ceremonial head of state, India’s President. The Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament and the main legislative body of the Republic of India, is where the prime minister is frequently the leader of the party or coalition that holds a majority.

Governor of Each State of India

At present, currently, India is grouped into 28 states and 8 UTs. Each state has a governor who serves as the central Government’s chief executive officer and spokesperson.

Former Presidents

Before being elected, seven presidents had political party memberships. Six of them were active Indian National Congress party members. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, who subsequently rose to the position of President, was a member of the Janata Party. Zakir Husain and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, two presidents, passed away while in office.

  • Until a new president was chosen, their vice presidents served in an acting capacity. Two acting presidents filled Zakir Husain’s position till the time Varahagiri Venkata Giri was appointed as the new President. M. Hidayatullah took over as President after Giri quit to run in the presidential elections.
  • Pratibha Devisingh Patil was chosen as the 12th President in 2007 and was the first woman to hold the position.
  • 5A Deputy Prime Minister: The second-ranking official in India’s Government is known as the Deputy Prime Minister. It holds the second-highest position in the Union Council of Ministers. Typically, a Deputy Prime Minister also serves for the home, defence, or finance ministry of India.
  • This position in the Indian presidency is supposed to lead to political steadiness and potency within an alliance government or during a national emergency when an appropriate and dependable chain of expertise and instruction is required.
  • Any Indian Prime Minister is considered “first among equals,”; which means equal to all the cabinet members according to the order of precedence in India. Out of the 73 years since its founding, the office has been occupied for over 11 years.

Chief Justice of India/Lok Sabha Speaker

Lok Sabha Speaker is the apparent authority and the leader or head of the Indian Parliament’s subordinate house, “Lok Sabha.”The speaker is generally chosen in the first Lok Sabha session after the general elections. After that, the Lok Sabha’s current members vote to elect the speaker to serve a five-year term.

Union Cabinet Ministers

India’s Cabinet ministers are the representative of the states in the Government of India according to the system of precedence of order in India. Indian President appoints the cabinet ministers for a five years duration. It consists of the Deputy Chairman of NITI Aayog, Past Prime Ministers, and Heads of opposition political parties in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.

The Cabinet Ministers of India are responsible for the day-to-day affairs of the Government, and their portfolios include but are not limited to, finance, defence, home affairs, commerce and industry, and justice.

The Cabinet Ministers of India have the power to issue orders to the Government, including approval for any project or decision made by the Government, grant pardons, and grants to individuals who have committed offenses under Indian law.

7 A Bharat Ratna holders: India’s uppermost civilian honor only awarded for the most incredible levels of national service is the Bharat Ratna. In 1954, the Bharat Ratna Award was established. Some of the Bharat Ratna winners were:

  • Atal Bihari Vajpayee (25 December 1924 – 16 August 2018);
  • Pranab Mukherjee (11 December 1935);
  • Bhupen Hazarika (8 September 1926 – 5 November 2011);
  • Nanaji Deshmukh (11 October 1916 – 27 February 2010), etc.

Eighth Order of Precedence

Commonwealth countries’ High Commissioners and Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassadors accredited to Indian leaders of each state. Indian states’ Chief Ministers outdoors their corresponding Territories.

Judges of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is commanded by its Chief Justice and is presided over and managed by the chief justice. The senior justice chaired all of the Supreme Court’s courts. The chief justice analyzes laws and norms, overseeing federal agencies and other governmental entities in addition to hearing cases. 9A Chairperson, Chief Election Commissioner, India’s Comptroller and Auditor General of India, and UPSC.

Tenth level

It includes positions like Rajya Sabha’s Deputy Chairman, Lok Sabha’s Deputy Speaker, Indian states’ CMs, Planning Commission Members, National Security Advisor, and Ministers of State of the Union, including ministers from the Defence Ministry of India for defense subjects.

Eleventh level

It is also referred to as the Attorney General of India and includes positions such as Lieutenant Governors inside their corresponding UTs, and Cabinet Secretaries.

Twelfths level

Chiefs of Staff possess the title of full General or alike ranks. It includes positions such as the Indian Army’s General, Indian Navy’s Admiral, and Indian Air Force’s Air Chief Marshal.

Thirteenth level

It includes positions like Representatives Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary accredited to India.

Fourteenth level

It includes positions like the Chief Magistrates of High Courts and State Legislatures’ Speakers and Chairmen within the states.

Fifteenth level

It includes positions such as States Cabinet Ministers inside their corresponding states, Unions’ Deputy Ministers, Chief Ministers of UTs within respective UTs, and Delhi – Chief Executive Councillor.

Sixteenth level

It includes positions such as Officiating Chiefs of Staff possessing the title of Lieutenant General or other similar ranks.

Seventeenth level

It includes positions like Central Administrative Tribunal Chairman, NCSC and NCST chairpersons, Minorities Commission Chairman, High Courts’ Chief Magistrates outdoors their respective authorities, and High Courts’ Puisne Judiciaries within the respective jurisdictions.

Eighteenth Level

It comprises positions such as States Cabinet Ministers, State Legislatures’ Chairmen, and Speakers (all outdoors their respective States). Also, State Legislatures’ Deputy Speakers & Deputy Chairmen, and Ministers of State (all inside their respective States). UTs’ Ministers and Legislative Assemblies’ Speakers within the respective Union Territories. Delhi’s Executive Councilors and Delhi Metropolitan Council’s Chairman within the Union Territories.

Nineteenth level

This level of Indian precedence includes positions of States’ Deputy Ministers within the respective states. Also, it has Indian UTs’ (without Councils of Ministers), Chief Commissioners, Legislative Assemblies’ Deputy Speakers in UTs, and Delhi Metropolitan Council’s Deputy Chairman (all within their respective UT).

Twentieth level

It involves positions such as State Legislatures’ Deputy Speakers Deputy Chairmen, and Ministers of State (all outdoors the respective States). Additionally, High Courts’ Puisne Magistrates outdoors the respective jurisdictions are counted at this level.

Level Twenty-one

This level only includes all the Members of Parliament as stated by the order of precedence in India.

Level Twenty-two

It only has States’ Deputy Ministers outside the respective States as prescribed by the Indian order of precedence.

Level Twenty-three

There are many positions in it, including Army Commanders/Vice-Chief of the Army Staff, or similar positions in other services, Chief Secretaries to State Governments within their respective States, Commissioner for Linguistic Minorities, Commissioner for SC and ST, Members, Minorities Commission, Members, National Commission for SC, Members, National Commission for ST, Officers of the rank of full General or equivalent rank, Secretaries to the Government of India (including ex-officers).

Additionally, Secretary, Minorities Commission, Secretary, SC and ST Commission, Secretary to the President, Prime Minister’s Secretary, Secretary, Rajya Sabha/Lok Sabha, Solicitor General, and Vice-Chairman, CAT are also counted.

Level Twenty-four

Lieutenant Generals or equivalents are the only officers at this level.

Level Twenty-five

It includes a long list of positions according to the order of precedence in India:

  • Indian Government Additional Secretaries.
  • Additional Solicitor General
  • Advocate Generals of States.
  • Chairman, Tariff Commission
  • Charge d’ Affairs and Acting High Commissioners a pied and ad interim.
  • A Chief Executive Councillor of Delhi and a Chief Minister of a Union Territory outside their respective Union Territories.
  • Those who represent their state governments outside their own states as chief secretaries.
  • Deputy Comptroller and Auditor General
  • Deputy Speakers of Union Territories’ Legislative Assemblies and the Deputy Chairman of Delhi Metropolitan Council from outside their respective Territories.
  • The director of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
  • Border Security Force General Director.
  • General Director of the Central Reserve Police.
  • Director, Intelligence Bureau.
  • Those who serve outside their respective Union Territories as Lieutenant Governors.
  • Members, Central Administrative Tribunal.
  • Members, Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission.
  • Members, Union Public Service Commission.
  • Members of the Union Territory and Delhi Executive Council who reside outside their respective Union Territories.
  • Armed Forces officers with the rank of Major General or equivalent.
  • Those who are the Speakers of the Legislative Assembly in their Union Territories,
  • The Chairman of the Delhi Metropolitan Council outside their Union Territories.

Level Twenty-six

This level, in order of precedence, only includes the Indian Government’s Joint Secretaries and Major-General ranked officers. It also includes officers having the equivalent rank of these positions.

Importance of Order of Indian Precedence

There are several reasons why the order of precedence in India is so essential. Walk through the points below illustrating the significance of the Indian order of precedence and how it contributes to the effective conduction of businesses.

  • First, it is an important cultural marker for the people who live in the area. They are the first to use a particular word or phrase, and they are the first to use that word or phrase formally.
  • Second, it is an important indicator of social rank. It shows how much respect people have for one another and how much respect they have for authority figures such as elders and judges.
  • Third, it shows how closely related groups are to one another. For example, if two groups are very close to one another but far apart on social status, that could indicate that one group has more power than the other group.
  • Fourth, it shows that people from different tribes are related by blood and not just by language or culture. This means that if you see someone from a tribe with a name like “Indians” who speak English fluently, you can assume that they belong to that tribe as well.

Order of Precedence in India UPSC

Indian order of precedence is a vital portion of the UPSC Syllabus under the Indian Polity & Governance topic. Therefore, UPSC aspirants need to master the details of this topic & should be updated well with the Current Affairs related to the same for excellent preparation for both UPSC Prelims and UPSC Mains.

The Indian order of precedence elucidates the hierarchy of ceremonial ranks held by the people in different positions, but it might not reflect on the powers possessed by the authorities. The candidates must be possessing an in-depth knowledge of this topic to be able to attain good grades in the exam.

Order of Precedence in India UPSC Sample Question

The sample questions have been curated by the experts on the basis of the questions asked in the UPSC prelims and mains exam. You can practice the questions that have been facilitated here to assist the candidates in their path to achieving excellence and good grades in the upcoming exam. You can practice the UPSC previous year question paper to develop complete ideation of the foundations and fundamentals of the topic and be able to solve all the questions in the stipulated time frame.

Question. According to the Indian Government’s order of precedence, which falls above India’s Chief Justice? [A] Speaker of Lok Sabha, [B] India’s Attorney General, [C] Former Presidents, [D] Chief of Staff

Answer: (Option C) Former Presidents

Question: In accordance with the Indian Protocol, who ranks highest in the table of precedence? [A] Former President, [B] Deputy Prime Minister, [C] Speaker of Lok Sabha, [D] Governor of a State within his State.

Answer: (Option D) Governor of a State within his State

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