Friday, 3 June 2022

Council of Ministers

 Council of Ministers

There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice. 

The Council of Ministers is formed as soon as Prime Minister is sworn in.

Only prime minister alone can constitute Council of Ministers. After the 91st Amendment Act 2003, Article 75 (1A) states that strength of Union of Council of Ministers shall not increase 15% of the total strength of the Lok Sabha. 

The Council of Ministers consists of three categories of ministers, namely, Cabinet Minister, Minister of State, and Deputy Ministers. The difference lies in the respective ranks, emoluments, and political importance. Sometimes Deputy Prime Ministers are also included in the Council of Ministers.

Individual Responsibility

Every individual minister is in charge of specific ministry or ministries (or specific other portfolio). He is responsible for any act of failure in all the policies relating to his department. In in case of any lapse, he himself is individually responsible to the Parliament. 

If a vote of no-confidence is passed against the individual minister, he has to resign. Individual responsibility can amount to collective responsibility. Therefore, the Prime Minister, in order to save his government, can ask for the resignation of such a

minister and the people have a say.

Collective Responsibility

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are jointly accountable to the Lok Sabha. If there is a policy failure or lapse on the part of government, all the members of the council are jointly responsible. If a vote of no-confidence is passed against the government, then all the ministers headed by the Prime Minister have to resign. 

Main Features of the Cabinet (or Parliamentary) Form of Government

  1. Cabinet or Council of Ministers forms the Real Executive

The Cabinet or the Parliamentary form of Government is that form in which the Cabinet or the Council of Ministers forms the real executive, consisting of the Prime Minister and his cabinet. 

The system evolved in England where the nominal executive is the king and the real executive is the Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister. In India, the President is the nominal executive and the Union Cabinet is the real executive. 

This, though we have a President, we do not have a Presidential form of Government. We have a Cabinet or Parliamentary form of Government.

  1. Formation of the Union Cabinet 

Immediately after the result of the elections to the Lok Sabha are declared, the President sends for the leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha or a person who is in a position to win the confidence of the majority in that House and appoints him Prime Minister.

 The other Minister are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Usually all the ministers belong to the same political party. 

The whole body of Ministers forms the Cabinet. It remains in in power as long as it enjoys the confidence of the Parliament.

 Ministers may be chosen from among members of either House. There is no bar to the appointment of a person from outside the legislature as a Minister but he must secure a seat in either House within 6 months, otherwise he cannot continue as a Minister.

  1. Composition of the Council of Ministers 

The number of members of the Council of Ministers is not specified in the constitution but there are three categories of Ministers.

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