Chief Minister

Chief Minister’s position in state is analogous to the prime ministers position at the centre.

The governor appoints the leader of the largest party of the house or leader chosen by the largest coalition to become the chief minister. The governor may exercise situational discretion if no party has clear majority. He may ask a leader to become chief minister and then prove his majority on floor of the house.

In case the chief minister dies and no successor is present then the governor may appoint one at his discretion but if the ruling party has a nominee then the governor has no choice but to appoint that person.

CM must become member of either house within 6 months or else he ceases to become the CM. CM occupies position at the governors pleasure but the governor can’t dismiss him till he has a majority in the house.


Powers of the CM:

Ø  As head of the council of ministers he recommends people to be appointed as ministers to the governor. He allocates and reshuffles portfolios amongst them. He can ask the minister to resign or tell the governor to dismiss him. He supervises activities of all ministers. His resignation or death leads to dissolution of the council of ministers.

Ø  He communicates to the governor all matters related to administration of the state and proposed legislations. He furnishes information required by the governor relating to administration of the union or proposed legislations. He submits to the consideration of the council of ministers any matter on which decision has been taken by an individual minister but the CoM hasn’t considered it.

Ø  He can advice governor to summon or prorogue the house sessions. He can advice dissolution of legislative assembly to the governor anytime. He announces government policies on the floor of the house.

Ø  He is advisor of governor regarding appointments to various regulators and constitutional bodies of the union.

State Council of Ministers:

The CM + Council of ministers are the real executives of the state. They aid and advice the governor in the exercise of his functions but such advice is not binding on the governor. 42nd amendment didn’t make it binding on the governor as it did to the president.

Governor has been given discretionary powers too. No court shall inquire into the advice given by the CoM to the governor. The council shall always be there to aid and advice the governor hence even if the legislative assembly is dissolved or the council has resigned still they have to continue in office till their successors are assuming charge.

The total strength of the CM + CoM shall not exceed 15% of the strength of the legislative assembly [91st amendment]. But the number of CM + CoM shall not be less than 12. The person who has been disqualified on grounds of defection shall also be disqualified to be appointed as the CM / Minister. [91st amendment].

Council of ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly. A minister who isn’t a member of any house for six consecutive months shall cease to be the minister. A minister can take part in proceeding of both houses as he is member of the government but can vote only in the house of which he’s a member.

A member of any house disqualified on grounds of defection shall be disqualified from becoming a minister too.

Collective responsibility: This means that entire CoM is a team that sinks or swims together. So if the legislative assembly passes a no confidence motion against the CoM then all have to resign. Only the legislative assembly can pass the motion of no confidence; it can’t be against a single minister but the entire CoM only.

This is due to the provision in the constitution saying:

"Council of ministers is collectively responsible to the legislative assembly."

Category of Ministers:

There are three categories of ministers in the council:

Ø  Cabinet: They attend cabinet meetings and play important role in state government.

Ø  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.

Ø  Deputy Minister: They are attached to cabinet ministers or ministers of state and assist them in their work.


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