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  • A number of countries have prescribed a Code of Conduct/Ethics for Ministers. In Canada, the ‘Guide for Ministers (2006)’ sets out core principles regarding the role and responsibilities of Ministers.
  • This includes the central tenet of ministerial responsibility, both individual and collective, as well as Ministers’ relations with the Prime Minister and Cabinet, their portfolios, and Parliament.
  • It outlines standards of conduct expected of Ministers as well as addressing a range of administrative, procedural and institutional matters.


In UK, the Ministerial Code provides guidance to Ministers on how they should act and arrange their affairs in order to uphold these standards. It lists the principles which may apply in particular situations drawing on past precedent.

  • It also stipulates that: Ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in the light of the Code and for justifying their actions and conduct in Parliament.
  • The Code is not a rulebook, and it is not the role of the Secretary of the Cabinet or other officials to enforce it or to investigate Ministers although they may provide Ministers with private advice on matters which it covers. Ministers only remain in office for so long as they retain the confidence of the Prime Minister.
  • He is the ultimate judge of the standards of behaviour expected of a Minister and the appropriate consequences of a breach of those standards, although he will not expect to comment on every allegation that is brought to his attention.                                        ETHICAL FRAMEWORK FOR MINISTERS

The Code of Ethics should reflect the seven principles of public life. A Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct for Ministers should include the following:

  • Ministers must uphold the highest ethical standards;
  • Ministers must uphold the principle of collective responsibility;
  • Ministers have a duty to Parliament to account, and be held to account, for the policies., decisions and actions of their departments and agencies;
  • Ministers must ensure that no conflict arises, or appears to arise, between their public duties and their private interests;
  • Ministers in the Lok Sabha must keep separate their roles as Minister and constituency member;
  • Ministers must not use government resources for party or political purposes; they must accept responsibility for decisions taken by them and not merely blame it on wrong advice.
  • Ministers must uphold the political impartiality of the Civil Service and not ask civil servants to act in any way, which would conflict with the duties and responsibilities of civil servants;
  • Ministers must comply with the requirements which the two Houses of Parliament lay down from time to time;
  • Ministers must recognize that misuse of official position or information is violation of the trust reposed in them as public functionaries;                                      ETHICAL FRAMEWORK FOR MINISTERS
  • Ministers must ensure that public moneys are used with utmost economy and care;
  • Ministers must function in such a manner as to serve as instruments of good governance and to provide services for the betterment of the public at large and foster socio-economic development; and
  • Ministers must act objectively, impartially, honestly, equitably, diligently and in a fair and just manner. The authority for ensuring the observance of the present Code of Conduct is the Prime Minister in the case of Union Ministers, the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister in the case of Chief Ministers, and the Chief Minister concerned in the case of Ministers of the State Government.                                  ETHICAL FRAMEWORK FOR MINISTERS