Council of Ministers

Who are council of ministers ?

Council of Ministers are the ministers appointed by the President of India on advice of the Prime Minister. Council of Ministers are categorized into three categories.

1- Cabinet Ministers- They act as head of important ministries of the central government. For e.g- Defense Ministry, Home Ministry, Finance Ministry etc. They are the integral part of Cabinet, as a result of which, they play a very important role in framing policies.

2- Ministers of state- They can be given Independent charge of ministries or can be attached to the cabinet ministers. When attached to the cabinet ministers, they work under the guidance of cabinet ministers. The difference from the cabinet ministers lie in the fact that, they do not attend the cabinet meetings as they are not the part of cabinet (unless specially invited when something related to their ministry is being considered by the cabinet)

3- Deputy Ministers- They are never given independent charge of ministry( unlike ministers of state), and always remain attached to the cabinet ministers or ministers of state. They assist to discharge the political, administrative and parliamentary duties effectively. They are neither part of cabinet nor attend the cabinet meetings.

How are they selected ?

The council of ministers are appointed by The President of India, on advise of The Prime Minister of india, i.e a person must be recommended by The Prime Minister of India to become the council of Minister.

The person can be from either House of Parliament (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha). In case a person is neither a member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha, and is recommended by Prime Minister to be appointed as Council of Minister, such person within six months must become a member of either house (by election or nomination), otherwise he ceases to be a minister.

To whom are council of ministers responsible ?

Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to Lok sabha ( Article 75). In simple terms, it means that all council of ministers stand united and are collectively (jointly) responsible for all the act of omission and commission in Lok sabha.

They are also jointly responsible for all the cabinet decisions ( during policy formulation )taken by the cabinet. All the decisions passed by the cabinet, must be supported by the council of ministers both within and outside the parliament.

They are also individually responsible to The President of India (article 75) for their acts of omission and commission i.e minister holds office during the pleasure of The President of India.

What are their powers ?

A council of Minister has the right to speak, take part in parliamentary proceedings( of either house) but can vote only in the House of which he is member of.

They along with Prime Minister, aid and advise the President in exercise of his functions. (article 74). The advise given by council of ministers to The President, can’t be inquired in any court of Law.

How council of ministers can be removed ?

Owing to their joint responsibility( explained above), if a no confidence motion is passed in Lok Sabha by the opposition against the council of ministers, all the ministers then have to resign.

Owing to Individual Responsibility (explained above) , a minister can be removed from his office by the President of India on advise of The Prime Minister of India on account of dis-satisfactory performance of the minister. In other words, a minister can be removed even if he enjoys the confidence of Lok Sabha.

What is the difference between Council of Ministers and Cabinet Ministers ?

Council of Ministers Cabinet Ministers
They are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. They enforce the collective responsibility of the council of ministers to Lok Sabha.
They implement the decisions taken by the cabinet ministers. They formulate policies and supervise the implementation of the policies by the council of ministers.
They comprise of 60- 70 ministers. They comprise of 15- 20 ministers.
It includes all the three types of ministers i.e Cabinet Ministers, Minister of State and Deputy ministers. They include only cabinet ministers.

 

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