To say Prime Minister means that he is the head of the ministers. The ministers he heads are all in the Central Council of Ministers.
In this article, we will discuss the Central Council of Ministers in a simple and easy way, and understand its various important aspects, So to understand this article well, definitely read till the end and also read other articles related to the executive.
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|Cabinet Committee||Click Here|
|Attorney General of India||Click Here|
Central Council of Ministers of India
The federal executive consists of the President, the Vice-President, the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers and the Attorney General. Especially before reading this article, you must read the article of the Prime Minister because both the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers are related to the same type of article. This will make it easier to understand.
️ We had seen in the Prime Minister’s article that due to being in the parliamentary system, the Prime Minister is the real executive here. But the Prime Minister is not alone, there is also a Council of Ministers and the Prime Minister is the head of that Council of Ministers.
So overall, the chief executive officer of our political and administrative system is the Council of Ministers, which is headed by the Prime Minister.
Union Council of Ministers and Constitutional Provisions
Article 74 – Council of ministers to aid and advise the President
There are 2 clauses in this article which are as follows-
(1) There shall be a Council of Ministers to be headed by the Prime Minister to aid and advise the President.
Two things are known from here, first that there will be a Council of Ministers, which will be headed by the Prime Minister, secondly, they will be there to give advice to the President.
Although it is written in the constitution that the President can also ask for reconsideration of the advice given by the Council of Ministers, but the advice given after the reconsideration will have to be accepted by the President.
(2) Clause 2 of this article said that “ the question shall not be inquired into in any court as to whether the Ministers have given any advice to the President, and if so with that.” ,
This means that whether the Council of Ministers advises the President or not does not matter as it is not subject to inquiry.
Article 75 – Other provisions as to ministers
There are 6 clauses in this article, which are as follows-
(1) The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the Ministers of the Council of Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Through the 91st Constitutional Amendment 2003, a provision was added to it that the total number of ministers including the Prime Minister in the Council of Ministers shall not exceed 15 percent of the total number of members of the Lok Sabha. That is, only about 80-81 members can be part of the Council of Ministers.
(2) The ministers shall hold their office during the pleasure of the President , that is, the President may remove the ministers from his office if he so desires. How?
As we know, the President can appoint only those persons who are recommended by the Prime Minister and since the Prime Minister is the head of the Union Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister can, if he so desires, ask the Minister to resign or the President to dismiss him. can give advice. The Council of Ministers is working during the pleasure of the President, so the President can remove that minister from office.
(3) The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. (the meaning of this is explained further)
Collective responsibility means that all the ministers will have joint responsibility towards the Lok Sabha for all their actions and decisions. They will all work as a team, even if someone personally don’t agree with a decision. But as the Council of Ministers it will have to be publicly accepted and they will also be responsible for that decision. (more on this later)
(4) Before a minister enters upon his office, the President shall administer to him an oath of secrecy.
Oath to be taken by Ministers of Union Council of Ministers
Under Article 75(4) , the President administers the oath of office and secrecy to a minister before he takes office.
While taking the oath of office , the minister says –
I ….take such an oath to God that I will have true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of India established by law, I will uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India, I will faithfully and with a pure conscience fulfill the duties of my office as a Minister of the Union. I will do justice to all kinds of people without fear or favour, affection or malice, according to the Constitution and the law.
Minister says as oath of secrecy – I, so and so; I swear by God that the matter which shall be brought to my consideration or shall be known to me, shall be communicated directly or indirectly to any person or persons except as may be required for the due discharge of my duties as such Minister. I will not inform or disclose.
Facts to remember –
(1) In addition to the two oaths mentioned above, the minister also takes two other oaths – one at the time of filing nomination papers for contesting elections and the other as a member of the House (which is taken before the Presiding Officer). Altogether the minister takes four types of oaths, which are mentioned in Schedule 3 of the Constitution .
(2) Nothing has been said about Deputy Prime Minister in our Constitution, that is why when Devi Lal took oath as Deputy Prime Minister in 1990, it was challenged in the court on the ground that it is unconstitutional because There is no provision in the constitution regarding this. But the interesting thing is that the court upheld this oath. That is, now if anyone wants to become the Deputy Prime Minister, then he can become it.
(5) A Minister who is not a member of either House of Parliament for any period of six consecutive months, shall cease to be a Minister on the expiration of that period.
In 1997, the Supreme Court gave a decision that a person who is not a member of either house can be appointed Prime Minister or Minister for a period of six months. However, during this period he will have to become a member of either House of Parliament, otherwise he will not continue to hold the office of Prime Minister or Minister.
This simply means that even if a person is not a member of any house, he can still become a minister for at least 6 months. And if he becomes a member of either house during this time, then he can remain a minister till the government is dissolved.
According to the constitution, a minister can be a member of either of the two houses of the parliament. For example Indira Gandhi (1966), Deve Gowda (1996), Manmohan Singh (was a member of Rajya Sabha in 2004 and 2009), S Jaishankar (currently External Affairs Minister, member of Rajya Sabha) etc.
(6) The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as Parliament may, by law, determine from time to time.
That is to say, how much will be the salary and allowances of the ministers, it is decided by the Parliament from time to time. In fact, under Article 106 of the Constitution, MPs have got the right to decide their salaries by making laws. Till 2018 MPs used to pass laws to revise their salaries from time to time. Since MPs decide their own salaries, the question of conflict of interest arises.
During the discussion on the subject in the Lok Sabha in 2010, several MPs had suggested that a system should be devised to fix the salaries of MPs without the involvement of MPs or parliamentary committees.
Keeping this in mind, in 2018, Parliament amended the law determining the salary of MPs through the Finance Act 2018. The provision in this Act is that the salary, daily allowance and pension of MPs will be increased every five years. This increase will be done on the basis of cost inflation index .
|Cost Inflation Index|
|The Cost Inflation Index is an inflation index released by the Government of India, which shows how much inflation has increased compared to the past. For this, 2001-02 is taken as the base year and its cost inflation is 100. Based on this, the cost inflation index is released every year. For example, the CII for 2020-21 is 301, that is, the goods or services that were available for Rs 100 in 2001-02 are available for Rs 301 in 2020-21. On this basis, the Government of India increases the salary of MPs.|
Salaries and Allowances of MPs and Ministers
|Speciality||(in Rs. per month)|
|Out of it||office allowance||20,000|
|Prime Minister’s Hospitality Allowance||3,000|
|hospitality allowance for cabinet ministers||2,000|
|hospitality allowance for ministers of state||1,000|
|hospitality allowance for deputy ministers||600|
Apart from articles 74 and 75, there are some other articles which are related to this subject; such as
Article 77 – Conduct of business of the Government of India
All executive proceedings of the Government of India shall be done in the name of the President and shall be expressed in the same manner.
Orders and other documents passed in the name of the President shall be authenticated in such manner as may be specified in the rules to be made by the President. Further, the validity of any order or form so authenticated shall not be questioned on the ground that the said order or form is made or executed by the President.
The President shall make rules for the more convenient conduct of the business of the Government of India and for the allocation of the said business among the Ministers.
Article 78 – Duties of the Prime Minister as the Chairman of the Council of Ministers in respect of giving information to the President, etc.
1. It shall be the duty of the Prime Minister to inform the President about the decisions taken by the Council of Ministers and proposals for legislation in respect of matters relating to the administration of the Union.
2. If the President calls for any information regarding matters relating to the administration of the Union, etc. and the proposed legislations, the Prime Minister shall make it available to the President.
3. If the President wishes to refer a matter to the Council of Ministers on which a decision has been taken by a Minister but which has not been considered by the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister shall send it for the consideration of the Council of Ministers.
Article 88 – Rights of Ministers and Attorney General as to the Houses
If a minister wants, he can also participate in the proceedings of the house of which he is not a member, he can also speak there but simply cannot vote. He can vote in his own house only. For example Amit Shah is a member of the Lok Sabha but since he is a minister, he can also participate in the proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. (The same applies to the Attorney General as well)
Structure of the Central Council of Ministers
There are three categories of ministers in the Central Council of Ministers – Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State and Deputy Ministers . The difference between them is on the basis of their rank, salary and political importance. All these ministers are headed by the Prime Minister, who is the highest executive of the government.
Cabinet ministers have important ministries of the central government like home, defence, finance, foreign and other ministries. They are members of the cabinet and participate in its meetings and play an important role in policy making. Therefore, the scope of their responsibility lies on the entire central government. In other words, it is a smaller form of the Council of Ministers, which plays the most prominent role in the system of governance, that is why it is considered a government.
The Ministers of State can be made associates with the Cabinet Minister or can be assigned any special work related to the Ministry. In both the cases they act on the supervision, advice and responsibility of the cabinet minister.
Ministers of State may also be given independent charge of ministries or departments. When this happens, he carries out the work of his ministry with the same power and independence as a cabinet minister. However, he is not a member of the cabinet and does not participate in its meetings. He does not attend the meeting unless he is specially invited for any work related to his ministry.
Deputy ministers are not given independent charge of ministries. They are appointed to assist the cabinet or state ministers in their administrative, political and parliamentary work. They are not members of the cabinet and do not participate in the cabinet meetings. Remember that all these are part of the Council of Ministers.
Apart from this, it is necessary to mention here that there is also another category of ministers, which is called Parliamentary Secretary. They come in the last category of the Council of Ministers. They do not have any department. They are appointed along with senior ministers to assist in their parliamentary affairs although no Parliamentary Secretary has been appointed so far, except in the first extension of Rajiv Gandhi’s government of 1967.
Sometimes the Deputy Prime Minister can also be included in the Council of Ministers. The Deputy Prime Minister is appointed mainly for political reasons, so he may or may not be there.
difference between council of ministers and cabinet
|Council of Ministers||Cabinet|
|The Council of Ministers is a large body consisting of 60 to 70 ministers.||On the other hand, the cabinet is a small body consisting of 15 to 20 ministers.|
|The Council of Ministers consists of all three categories of ministers – cabinet ministers, ministers of state and deputy ministers.||At the same time, only cabinet ministers are included in the cabinet. Hence it is a part of the Council of Ministers.|
|There is no collective work of the Council of Ministers and it does not meet together for official work.||The activities of the cabinet are collective, it usually meets once a week and takes decisions regarding government business.|
|Although the Council of Ministers has got all the powers but in papers. Its functions are determined by the cabinet and it implements the decisions of the cabinet.||The cabinet actually exercises the powers of the Council of Ministers and also acts for it. It directs the Council of Ministers by taking political decisions and these instructions are binding on all the ministers.|
|The Council of Ministers is a constitutional body. Its detailed description has been given in Article 74 and 75 of the Constitution.||The Cabinet is a body which was incorporated by the 44th Constitutional Amendment Act. Therefore, it was not included in the original form of the Constitution.|
Responsibilities of Ministers of the Central Council of Ministers
The fundamental principle of the working of the parliamentary system of government is the principle of its collective responsibility. As we have seen above that Article 75 clearly states that the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. This means that all the ministers will have joint responsibility towards the Lok Sabha for all their actions and decisions.
The principle of collective responsibility states that the decisions of the cabinet are binding on all the Union ministers and other ministers. That is, it is the duty of all ministers to obey the decisions of the cabinet and support them both inside and outside the Parliament. If a minister disagrees with a decision of the cabinet and is not ready for it, he will have to resign.
Several ministers have resigned several times in the past due to their differences with the cabinet. For example, in 1953, Dr. BR Ambedkar resigned due to differences with his colleagues on the Hindu Code Bill. Similarly, Arif Mohammad had resigned in protest against the Muslim Women (Right to Avoid Divorce) Act 1986.
When the Lok Sabha passes a no-confidence motion against the Council of Ministers, all ministers (which may include ministers from the Rajya Sabha) have to resign. In addition, the Council of Ministers can also advise the President to dissolve the Lok Sabha on the ground that the House has now lost its referendum and calls for fresh elections. However, the President is not bound to follow the advice of the Council of Ministers who have lost a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha.
The principle of personal responsibility is also mentioned in Article 75 . It states that the ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, which means that only on the advice of the Prime Minister, the President can remove a minister even when the Council of Ministers has a vote of confidence in the Lok Sabha. The Prime Minister can also ask for the resignation of any minister due to difference of opinion or due to dissatisfaction with the work of a minister or by advice to the President to dismiss him.
Ministers have no legal responsibility
In Britain, there is a king in place of the president and if the king there gives an order for any public work, then the minister concerned has to sign it. If that order violates any law, then the responsibility lies on the minister and not on the king. This is because there is a belief that a king can never be wrong. Whereas for this that particular minister can be produced before the court.
On the other hand in India, there is no provision in the constitution for any kind of legal responsibility for any minister. In India, it is not necessary that any order issued by the President in the public interest should be signed by any minister. Even the inquiry of any advice given by the Minister to the President is outside the purview of the Court.
Overall, this is the Central Council of Ministers, I hope you have understood. A link to other articles is being given below, be sure to read it too.
Central Council of Ministers Practice Quiz