Council of Ministers in State Polity
As per the Parliamentary system of government in the state, on Union pattern, the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister is the real executive authority in the state. Article 163 deals with the status of council of ministers and article 164 deals with the appointment, tenure, responsibility, qualification, oath, salaries and allowances of the ministers.
Appointment of Council of Ministers:
- The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
Term of Council of Ministers:
- The council of the Ministers holds the office during the pleasure of the Governor, but actually holds the office as long as it enjoys majority in state legislative assembly.
- A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State, at the expiration of that period ceases to be a Minister.
- Disqualification under 10th Schedule: A person who is disqualified for being a member of Legislature under Tenth Schedule shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a Minister; he will have to seek a fresh election in order to become a minister again
Strength of Council of ministers:
- The total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Minister in a State shall not exceed 15% per cent of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State.
- It also says that the number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister in a State shall not be less than 12.
- Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.
Salaries and allowances:
- The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be determined by the Legislature of the State.
Responsibility of Ministers:
- Collective responsibility:Article 164 states that Council of ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly of the state.
- Individual responsibility: Article 164 also contains the principle of individual responsibility. The ministers hold office during the pleasure of the Governor. The chief minister can ask him/her to resign or advice governor to dismiss him.
- No Legal responsibility: There is no provision for legal responsibility of minister in the state. Hence, an order of Governor does not need counter sign of minister. Additionally, the courts are barred from enquiring into nature of advice given by ministers to the Governor.
Category of Ministers:
There are three categories of ministers in the council:
- Cabinet Ministers: 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.
Cabinet is the smaller body of the council of ministers. It consists of most important ministers in State Council of Ministers. It is the most powerful authority in State administration. All the important decisions of the State administration are taken by the Cabinet. The decisions of the Cabinet are binding upon the Council of Ministers.
The cabinet works through various committees called as cabinet committees. They are of two types:
- Standing Cabinet Committees – Permanent
- Ad-Hoc Cabinet Committees – Temporary
Cabinet has the power to review the decisions of these committees.