(Indian Polity) Government of The State - Council of Ministers, Functions of Chief Minister & State Cabinet
Art. 154. Executive power of State: (1) The executive power of the State shall be vested in the Governor and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution.
Art. 163. Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor: (1) There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the Head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is required to exercise his functions in his discretion
Further Article 163 requires that the said executive functions of the State will be exercised on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as the head, Thus, even through the Governor has appointed as the constitutional head of the State, the real authority at the State level is exercised by the Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister as its head.
Other provisions as to the formation of Council of Ministers are provided by Article 164.
Art. 164.: (1) 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, and the Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor.
The Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor. The person who commands the majority support in the State Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) is appointed as the Chief Minister by the Governor. The other Ministers included in the Council of Minister’s must belong to either House of the State legislature. The portfolios to the members of the Council of Ministers are allocated by the Governor on the advices of the Chief Minister.
We shall see other provision of Art. 164 in simplified manner as below:
1A) Provision for tribal ministers in some states: In the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa (Bihar was omitted by 94th amendment act, 2006), there shall be a Minister in charge of tribal welfare who may in addition be in charge of the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and backward classes or any other work.
1A) Strength of ministers: The total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Minister in a State shall not exceed fifteen 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 twelve.
1B) 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.
2) Collective responsibility: The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State.
3) Oath: 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.
4) Condition of becoming a member of legislature: A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.
5) Salaries: The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as the Legislature of the State may from time to time by law determines and, until the Legislature of the State so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule.
Article 163 (analogous to article 74 in The Union)
Council of Ministers to aid and advise the Governor
Article 164 (analogous to article 75 in The Union)
Other provisions as to ministers
Article 166 (analogous to article 77 in The Union)
Conduct of business of the Government of a State
Article 167 (analogous to article 78 in The Union)
Duties of Chief Minister as respects the furnishing of information to the Governor, etc.
Term of council of Ministers
The Council of Ministers holds its office during the pleasure of the Governor. It has no fixed term of office. The term of the Council of Ministers depends on the support of the majority members of the Legislative Assembly. If it loses majority support in the legislative Assembly, it has to resign. The Governor may also remove a Minister from the council of Ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.
In the State Council of Minister, like that of the Union Council of Ministers, there are three categories of ministers Cabinet Ministers of States and Deputy Ministers. The state cabinet consists of most important ministers as in Union 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.
FUNCTIONS OF THE CHIEF MINISTER
Chief Minister is the head of the Council of Ministers of his State. The constitutional position of the Chief Minister is more or less similar to that of the Prime Minister. The Chief Minister plays an important role in the administration of the State. We can discuss his functions as follows:
1. Chief Minister is the real head of the State Government.
Ministers are appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Governor allocates portfolios to the ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.
2. Chief Minister presides over the Cabinet meetings.
He/she coordinates the functioning of different ministers. He/she guides the functioning of the Cabinet.
3. Chief Minister plays a key role in farming the laws and policies of the
Bills are introduced by the ministers in the State legislature with his/her approval. He/she is the chief spokesman of the policies of his government both inside and outside the State legislature.
4. The Constitution provides that the chief Minister shall communicate to the Governor all decisions of the Council of Minister relating to the administration and the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation.
5. The Chief Minister furnishes such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for.
6. If the Governor so requires, the Chief Minister submits for consideration of the Council of Ministers any matter on which a decision has been taken by a minister but which has not been considered by the Cabinet.
7. The Chief Minister is the sole link of communication between the Cabinet and the Governor. The Governor has the right to be informed by the Chief Minister about the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers.
The above functions show that the real authority is vested with the Council of Ministers headed by the Chief Minister. The Council of Ministers is the real executive in the State. The position of the State Council of Ministers largely depends upon the strength of the ruling party in the State Assembly and the personality of the Chief Minister. The position of the Chief Minister is more powerful when his party is in power in the Centre as well. As long as the Chief Minister and his Council of Ministers enjoy the confidence of majority in the Legislative Assembly, he exercises the real executive power in the State.