The Office Of Chief Minister And Council Of Ministers
Introduction | The Office Of Chief Minister And Council Of Ministers
- As a real executive authority, the Chief Minister is called the head of the government. He is assisted by his council of ministers who are a part of state executive along with Governor and Advocate-General of State.
- Similar to Prime Minister who is the head of the government at the centre, the Chief Minister is the head of the government at the state level.
Appointment of Chief Minister
- Our constitution does not specifically mention about the qualification to be appointed as Chief Minister (CM).
- Article 164 of the Constitution envisages that the Chief Minister shall be appointed by the governor.
- However, this does not imply that the governor is free to appoint anyone as the Chief Minister of the state or UT.
Powers of the CM | The Office Of Chief Minister And Council Of Ministers
- As head of the council of ministers he recommends people to be appointed as ministers to the governor. He allocates and reshuffles portfolios amongst them. He can ask the minister to resign or tell the governor to dismiss him. He supervises activities of all ministers. His resignation or death leads to dissolution of the council of ministers.
- He communicates to the governor all matters related to administration of the state and proposed legislations. He furnishes information required by the governor relating to administration of the union or proposed legislations. He submits to the consideration of the council of ministers any matter on which decision has been taken by an individual minister but the CoM hasn’t considered it.
- He can advice governor to summon or prorogue the house sessions. He can advice dissolution of legislative assembly to the governor anytime. He announces government policies on the floor of the house.
- He is advisor of governor regarding appointments to various regulators and constitutional bodies of the union.
- He is the leader of the house and holding this position, he performs the following functions:
- Before a governor prorogues and summons the sessions of the state legislature, the Chief Minister’s advice is a must
- Legislative Assembly can be dissolved at any time on his recommendation to the governor
- All government policies are announced by him on the floor of the house.
State Council of Ministers
- State Council of Ministers are similar to Central Council of Ministers. The state council is headed by the Chief Minister.
- The council comprises ministers appointed by the governor on the recommendation of the CM.
Appointment of the Council of Ministers in a state
- They are appointed by the governor on the advice of the CM. Governor also appoints a tribal affairs minister for the following states:
- Madhya Pradesh
- Bihar was also one of the states to have tribal affairs minister, however, 94th Amendment Act 2006 freed Bihar from this obligation.
Composition of Council of Ministers
- The size of the council is not mentioned in the Indian Constitution. Chief Minister decides the size and the rank of the ministers as per the requirement in the State Legislature.
- There are three categories of Council of Ministers:
- Cabinet: They attend cabinet meetings and play important role in state government.
- Minister of state: They can be independent in charge of department that aren’t attached to cabinet ministries or in charge of specific department part of a ministry /specific work in a ministry which is headed by a cabinet minister.
- Deputy Minister: They are attached to cabinet ministers or ministers of state and assist them in their work.
- The provision of collective responsibility is dealt with by Article 164. The Article mentions that the council of ministers are collectively responsible to the state legislature.
- This means that all the ministers own joint responsibility to the legislative assembly for all their acts of omission and commission.
- Article 164 also contains the principle of individual responsibility. It states that the ministers hold office during the pleasure of the governor. This means that the governor can remove a minister at a time when the council of ministers enjoys the confidence of the legislative assembly.
- But, the governor can remove a minister only on the advice of the chief minister.
- In case of difference of opinion or dissatisfaction with the performance of a minister, the chief minister can ask him to resign or advice the governor to dismiss him.
- By exercising this power, the chief minister can ensure the realisation of the rule of collective responsibility.
No Legal Responsibility
- As at the Centre, there is no provision in the Constitution for the system of legal responsibility of the minister in the states.
- It is not required that an order of the governor for a public act should be countersigned by a minister.
- Moreover, the courts are barred from enquiring into the nature of advice rendered by the ministers to the governor.