State Council of Ministers


Constitutional provisions

Article 163—

[1] There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.

[2] If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.

[3] The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court.

Article 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: Provided that in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, 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.

The state of Bihar was excluded from this provision by the 94th Amendment Act of 2006.

[2] The total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed fifteen per cent of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State:

Provided that the number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister in a State shall not be less than twelve:

[3] A member of the Legislative Assembly of a State or either House of the Legislature of a State having Legislative Council belonging to any political party who is disqualified for being a member of that House under the Tenth Schedule shall also be disqualified to be appointed as a Minister.

 

Article 164 to Article 166—

[1] The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State.

[2] 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.

[3] 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.

[4] The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as the Legislature of the State may from time to time by law determine and, until the Legislature of the State so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule.

 

Article 166—

[1] All executive action of the Government of a State shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the Governor.

[2] Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the Governor shall be authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules to be made by the Governor, and the validity of an order or instrument which is so authenticated shall not be called in question on the ground that it is not an order or instrument made or executed by the Governor.

[3] The Governor shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of the State, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business in so far as it is not business with respect to which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion.

 

Article 167—

It shall be the duty of the Chief Minister of each State—

[a] to communicate to the Governor of the State all decisions of the Council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation;

[b] to furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the State and proposals for legislation as the Governor may call for; and

[c] if the Governor so requires, to submit for the 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 Council.

 

Appointment of ministers—

The governor appoints the Chief Minister and other Ministers on the advice of the Chief Minister.

The Council of Ministers constitutes the real executive in the State.

Although the administration is carried on in the name of the Governor, actual decisions are normally made by Ministers.

Usually, the members of the state legislature, either the legislative assembly or the legislative council, are appointed as ministers.

A person who is not a member of either House of the state legislature can also be appointed as a minister. But, within six months, he must become a member (either by election or by nomination) of either House of the state legislature, otherwise, he ceases to be a minister.

A minister who is a member of one House of the state legislature has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of the other House. But, he can vote only in the House of which he is a member.

Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, the Council of Ministers must have a Minister in charge of Tribal Welfare.

In the States there are three categories of Ministers, namely, Cabinet Ministers.

Ministers of the State holding independent charge of departments and Deputy Ministers who are to assist the Ministers in their departmental affairs.

Article 164 clearly states that the council of ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly of the state.

This means that all the ministers own joint responsibility to the legislative assembly for all their acts of omission and commission.

They work as a team and swim or sink together.

The cabinet decisions bind all cabinet ministers (and other ministers) even if they deferred in the cabinet meeting.

It is the duty of every minister to stand by the cabinet decisions and support them both within and outside the state legislature.

If any minister disagrees with a cabinet decision and is not prepared to defend it, he must resign.

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.