Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Council of Ministers

Article 74 provides that there would be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister as its head to aid and advise the President.

 Article 75 provides Prime Minister is appointed by the President. President also, appoints other ministers on the advice of the Prime Minister.
On Prime Minister recommendation the President can dismiss any minister from the Council of Minister.

Prime Minister:

1. Appointment-The leader of the majority party in the Lok Sabha is appointed as the Prime Minister by the President.

2. Functions-
          ·   He is the real executive.
          ·   He advices the President to appoint other Ministers.
          ·   He can advice the President to appoint an outsider, not a Member of Parliament, a minister. However such a person has to be elected to either House of Parliament within six months from the date of his appointment.
          ·   He can recommend the President to dismiss any minister from the Council of Minister.
          ·   He advises the President to appoint important officials like the Attorney-General of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India, the Chairman and the members of the UPSC, the Election Commissioner, the Chairman and the Members of the Finance Commission.
         ·    He presides over cabinet meetings.
         ·    He is the link between the President and the Cabinet.
         ·    Prime Minister keeps the President informed about the decisions of the Council of Ministers.
         ·     He guides the ministers and coordinates the policies of various departments and ministries.
         ·     He is the leader of the Lok Sabha in Parliament.
         ·     He is the ex-officio Chairman of the Planning Commission, National Development Council, National Integration Council and Inter-state Council.

3. Term of the office- The term does not exceed five years.

4. Resignation- If the government is defeated in the Lok Sabha, the Cabinet and the Prime Minister both have to resign as they are responsible to the Lok Sabha.

Council of Ministers :
  • Council of Ministers is a constitutional body but, its size and classification is not mentioned in the constitution.
  • The number of the Ministers in the Council has been fixed to 15% of the number of the MPs in the Lower House.
  • No qualification or age limit is laid down for these different categories of ministers.

 The Council of Ministers comprises of :

1.       Cabinet Ministers-
  • Each member of the cabinet handles an independent charge of a department.
  • It  is the highest policy making body.
  • Only the cabinet ministers attend the cabinet meetings
  • The word Cabinet Ministers was inserted into the Constitution through the 44th Amendment Act in Article 352.

2.      Ministers of State-
  • These are also the ministers of the cabinet rank and help in discharging the duties of cabinet ministers.
  •  Sometimes the Ministers of state are given independent charge of the ministries also.
  • Attend the cabinet meetings only on invitation.

3.       Deputy Ministers-
  • They are the ministers of the lower rank.
  • They cannot hold independent charge and always assist the Cabinet or State Minister or both.
  • They never attend the Cabinet meetings.
  • All members of the cabinet are members of the council of minister while all members of the council of ministers are not members of the cabinet.

Principle of Collectively Responsibility - The Prime Minister along with his council of ministers is directly responsible to the Lok Sabha for all acts of commission and omission. A note of no confidence against even one member can bring down the whole government. The Prime Minister and his council of minister thus sink and swim together.

Parliament:  It consists of the President and two houses known as the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the people).

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