Central and State Council of Minister, the Indian Constitution delineates the framework for the Council of Ministers, an integral component of the country’s governance, through the explicit provisions outlined in Article 74 and Article 75. These articles provide comprehensive insights into the composition, appointment, tenure, responsibilities, qualifications, oaths, salaries, and allowances of the Council of Ministers at the central level.
Article 74 of the Indian Constitution is instrumental in defining the status of the Council of Ministers. It stipulates that the President of India shall act on the advice of the Council of Ministers in the exercise of their functions. This article underscores the primacy of the Council of Ministers in the decision-making process and ensures that the President acts as per their recommendations.
Article 75, on the other hand, outlines the intricate details regarding the appointment and composition of the Council of Ministers. It elucidates that the Council of Ministers shall consist of the Prime Minister, who is the head of the government, along with other ministers who are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister. The composition and structure of the Council of Ministers play a pivotal role in the functioning of the Indian government.
Additionally, Article 75 also addresses the tenure, responsibilities, qualifications, oaths, salaries, and allowances of ministers. It sets the groundwork for the term of office, qualifications required for ministers, the oath of office, and the provisions for salaries and allowances. These elements are essential in ensuring the smooth operation and accountability of the Council of Ministers.
Apart from Articles 74 and 75, the Indian Constitution also incorporates Article 77 and Article 78, which further bolster the framework of the Council of Ministers. Article 77 outlines the conduct of government business and emphasizes the importance of rules and orders that facilitate efficient decision-making within the Council of Ministers. Meanwhile, Article 78 underscores the obligation of ministers to provide information and advice to the President, promoting transparency and accountability in the functioning of the government.
The the provisions in Articles 74, 75, 77, and 78 collectively form the bedrock of the Central Council of Ministers in India. They define its structure, powers, and responsibilities, ensuring that the executive branch operates in accordance with the principles of democracy and governance laid down by the Indian Constitution.
Article 74 (Advice to President by Council of Ministers):
– Ministerial advice to the President is not subject to judicial review.
-The President can request reconsideration of advice and must act in line with the reexamined advice.
Article 75 (Other Provisions Regarding Ministers):
– President appoints the Prime Minister, while other Ministers are appointed by the President on the Prime Minister’s advice.
– Total number of ministers, including the Prime Minister, cannot exceed 15% of Lok Sabha strength.
– Introduced through the 91st Amendment Act of 2003.
– Ministers not in Parliament for six consecutive months cease to hold office.
Article 77 (Conduct of Government Business):
– President establishes rules for efficient government operations and allocates responsibilities among Ministers.
Article 78 (Duties of Prime Minister):
– Prime Minister conveys Council of Ministers’ decisions and legislative proposals to the President.
Article 88 (Rights of Ministers in Relation to Parliament):
– Every Minister has the right to speak and participate in Parliament, joint sessions, and Parliamentary Committees, but cannot vote.
Responsibility of Ministers:
Article 75 of the Indian Constitution unequivocally establishes the principle of collective responsibility for the Council of Ministers (COM) at both the central and state levels. This fundamental concept mandates that all ministers within the COM jointly share responsibility to the legislative body, i.e., the Lok Sabha at the central level and the State Legislative Assembly in the case of states, for every action or omission they undertake while in office. In essence, this means that the COM as a whole is accountable to the respective legislative bodies for its decisions and conduct.
Article 75 further encompasses the doctrine of individual ministerial responsibility. It stipulates that ministers serve at the pleasure of the President at the central level and the Governor in the case of states. This implies that a minister can be removed from office even when the COM enjoys the confidence of the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly. However, it is essential to note that the President or Governor acts on the advice of the Prime Minister or Chief Minister, respectively, when making such decisions. In this context, individual responsibility underscores that ministers are individually answerable for their actions within the COM, and their continued tenure is contingent upon the pleasure of the constitutional authority.
Council of Ministers in States:
The structure and functioning of the Council of Ministers in Indian states mirror the arrangement at the central level. Article 163 of the Indian Constitution establishes the Council of Ministers’ role in aiding and advising the Governor of a state. This advisory role ensures that the state government operates in accordance with constitutional principles and democratic norms.
Article 164 complements Article 163 by providing additional details and provisions pertaining to state ministers. It outlines matters such as the appointment, qualification, and disqualification of state ministers, reinforcing the framework for the functioning of the Council of Ministers in states.
The principles of collective and individual responsibility shape the functioning of the Council of Ministers at both the central and state levels in India, ensuring transparency, accountability, and adherence to democratic values in the governance of the nation and its constituent states.
Composition of Council of Minister
- Their numbers typically range between 15 to 20.
- Cabinet Ministers hold pivotal portfolios and are central to the decision-making and policy formulation processes.
- They constitute the powerful Cabinet, which is the primary policymaking and decision-making body within the Council of Ministers.
Ministers of State:
- Ministers of State form the second category of ministers and are not members of the Cabinet.
- They either independently oversee smaller departments or work under the guidance of a Cabinet Minister.
- Some significant ministries like Home, External Affairs, Defence, Finance, and Agriculture may have 2 or 3 Ministers of State.
- Other departments, such as Civil Aviation, Information and Broadcasting, Labour Welfare, Surface Transport, and Textiles, are each headed by a Minister of State.
- Deputy Ministers provide support to Cabinet Ministers or Ministers of State.
- They do not independently manage any departments.
- Currently, the Union Council of Ministers does not include Deputy Ministers.
- Parliamentary Secretaries do not hold ministerial status, and they are not assigned administrative responsibilities.
- Their primary role is to assist ministers in parliamentary matters.
- Parliamentary Secretaries do not receive a salary.
Office of Deputy Prime Minister:
- The Indian Constitution does not specifically provide for the position of Deputy Prime Minister.
- Whether or not to appoint a Deputy Prime Minister is solely at the discretion of the Prime Minister, without any constitutional mandate.
The Council of Ministers plays a crucial role in the governance of a country. Their responsibilities encompass:
- The Council of Ministers is tasked with formulating, executing, evaluating, and periodically revising public policies across various sectors. These policies are aligned with the goals and principles of the ruling party, aimed at advancing the nation’s development and welfare.
- One of their key functions is to ensure coordination and coherence among different ministries and government bodies. This helps prevent conflicts, redundancy, wastefulness, and the unnecessary duplication of functions, ensuring efficient governance.
- The Council of Ministers is responsible for setting and monitoring the legislative agenda. They translate government policies into action through statutory enactments, guiding the passage of laws that reflect the administration’s objectives.
- Ministers exercise executive control over the administration. They do so through appointments, rulemaking authority, and managing crises, whether they are natural disasters or political challenges. This enables them to steer the government in times of need.
- The Council of Ministers also plays a critical role in financial management. They exercise fiscal control over government expenditures, ensuring that funds from sources like the Consolidated Fund and Contingency Funds of India are appropriately managed and allocated to meet the nation’s needs.
State Council of Ministers in India closely mirrors the structure of the Central Council of Ministers. As per Article 163 of the Indian Constitution, the Governor of a state receives aid and advice from the State Council of Ministers. The Chief Minister assumes a central role in this structure, heading the State Council of Ministers. Upon the Chief Minister’s recommendations, the Governor appoints ministers to serve on the council.
State Council of Minister – Constitutional Provisions
The Indian Constitution’s framework for the State Council of Ministers is outlined in Part VI, specifically within Articles 152-237. These articles cover a range of state-related provisions, encompassing the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the state governments. For matters related to the Council of Ministers (CoM) in states, Articles 163 to 164 come into play.
Article 163 stipulates that the Governor is supported and guided by the Council of Ministers. The State Council of Ministers closely parallels the Central Ministerial Councils in their structure and functioning. Within the state, the Chief Minister assumes leadership of the council, and it is upon the Chief Minister’s counsel that the Governor appoints ministers to serve on the state council.
Article 163 of the Constitution encompasses the following provisions:
- A Council of Ministers, headed by the Chief Minister, shall aid and advise the Governor in carrying out his duties, except when the Constitution obligates him to exercise discretion in specific matters.
- In cases where there is uncertainty about whether a particular issue falls under the Governor’s discretionary powers as per the Constitution, the Governor’s decision in such matters is final. The validity of any action taken by the Governor cannot be challenged on the grounds that he should or should not have exercised his discretion.
- The question of what advice, if any, was given by the Ministers to the Governor is not subject to inquiry in any court.
Article 164 provides the following provisions:
- The total number of Ministers in a State’s Council of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, must not exceed 15% of the total members of the State Legislative Assembly.
- The State Legislative Assembly holds the Council of Ministers collectively accountable for their actions.
- The Governor administers the oaths of office and secrecy to a Minister before they assume their duties, following the forms outlined in the Third Schedule.
- A Minister who is not a member of the State Legislature for a continuous period of six months or more automatically ceases to hold their ministerial position at the end of that period.
- The remuneration and allowances of Ministers are determined by the State Legislature through legislation, and until such determination, they are governed by the provisions outlined in the Second Schedule.
To serve as a Minister in a State Council, an individual is required to be a member of the State legislature. If they are not already a member at the time of assuming office, they must become one within a maximum period of six months from their appointment.
The qualifications necessary to become a member of the State legislature are as follows:
- The person must be a citizen of India.
- They must pledge true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India.
- In the case of the legislative council, the individual must be at least 30 years of age.
- In the case of the legislative assembly, the individual must be at least 25 years of age.
Role And Functions of State Council Of Ministers
Formulation of Policies
Ministers are responsible for crafting government policies. The Cabinet plays a pivotal role in making decisions on critical matters, ranging from public health and disability benefits to agricultural policies, land tenure, water management, and the distribution of goods. Once a policy is developed, the relevant department is tasked with its implementation.
Administration and Maintenance of Public Order
Executive power must be exercised to ensure compliance with state laws. The Constitution empowers the Governor to establish rules for the efficient conduct of government affairs, with the Council of Ministers providing guidance on such regulations.
The Governor holds the authority to appoint the Advocate-General and members of the State Public Service Commission, as well as Vice-Chancellors of State Universities and various Board and Commission members. However, these appointments are not discretionary; they must be carried out on the advice of the ministers.
Guiding the Legislature
Ministers are instrumental in the legislative process. They introduce, explain, and defend government bills in the legislature, most of which are proposed by ministries. Prior to the commencement of the legislative session, the Cabinet prepares the Governor’s Address, outlining the government’s legislative agenda.
Control over the State Exchequer
The Finance Minister presents the State budget to the legislature, detailing revenue and expenditure estimates for the upcoming year. Only a Minister can introduce a Money Bill, which must be recommended by the Governor. In financial matters, the Executive holds the initiative, and the Legislature cannot initiate Money Bills.
Execution of Central Laws and Union Government Decisions
In specific instances, the Union Government can issue directives to state governments. States are obligated to employ their executive powers to ensure compliance with laws enacted by the Parliament. They must refrain from any actions that may undermine the Union’s executive authority.
Types of Responsibilities
There are two distinct categories of responsibilities in the context of the State Council of Ministers:
- Article 164 explicitly establishes the principle of collective responsibility for the State Council of Ministers.
- This means that all ministers collectively share responsibility for their actions, both in terms of omissions and commissions, before the legislative assembly of the state.
- They function as a cohesive team, and their fate is intertwined.
- If a vote of no-confidence is passed against the Council of Ministers in the legislative assembly, all ministers, including those in the legislative council, are required to resign.
- The concept of collective responsibility signifies that decisions made by the cabinet are binding on all cabinet and other ministers, even if they held differing views during cabinet deliberations.
- It is the duty of all ministers to support cabinet decisions both within and outside the state legislature, and a minister must resign if they fundamentally disagree with a cabinet decision.
- Individual ministerial accountability is also enshrined in Article 164. Ministers serve at the pleasure of the governor, as per the law.
- This implies that the governor can dismiss a minister as long as the Council of Ministers retains the confidence of the legislative assembly.
- However, the governor can only remove a minister based on the advice of the chief minister.
- In instances of disagreement or dissatisfaction with a minister’s performance, the chief minister may request their resignation or advise the governor to dismiss them.
- Regarding appointments to the State Council of Ministers:
- The governor appoints the Chief Minister.
- Other ministers are appointed by the governor upon the advice of the chief minister.
- The governor can only appoint individuals as ministers who are recommended by the chief minister.
- Concerning the removal of ministers
- Members of the State Council of Ministers serve at the pleasure of the governor, but the governor exercises this power solely on the recommendation of the chief minister.
Composition of State Council Of ministers
The State Council of Ministers comprises three categories of members: Cabinet ministers, ministers of state, and deputy ministers, each holding distinct roles based on their ranking and responsibilities.
Cabinet ministers are entrusted with overseeing the crucial and significant government departments.
Ministers of State (MoS)
Ministers of State typically handle departments with independent charge.
Deputy ministers provide support and assistance to cabinet ministers in the execution of their duties.
The State Council of Ministers plays a pivotal role in shaping the state’s legislative agenda and assumes a leadership role in the introduction and passage of government legislation. The effectiveness and progress of the state, as it journeys towards development, are significantly influenced by the strength and competence of the state legislative council. The expansion of the government’s reach in enhancing the lives of the state’s citizens commences with the Council of Ministers. Throughout India’s democratic history, the robustness of legislation and its effective implementation have been instrumental in transforming lives. In this context, the State Council of Ministers can be rightfully regarded as the backbone of the government.
1. What is the Central Council of Ministers in India?
The Central Council of Ministers, also known as the Union Council of Ministers, is the group of ministers who assist the Prime Minister in governing the country at the central level.
2. What is the State Council of Ministers in India?
The State Council of Ministers is the equivalent body at the state level, assisting the Chief Minister in governing the respective state.
3. How are ministers appointed to the Central Council of Ministers?
The Prime Minister is appointed by the President, and other ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
4. How are ministers appointed to the State Council of Ministers?
The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor, and other ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
5. What is the role of the Cabinet in the Central Council of Ministers?
- The Cabinet is the key decision-making body within the Central Council of Ministers, responsible for formulating policies and making important decisions.
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