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Central Council of Ministers

Constitutional Provisions

 Article 74 on Council of Ministers

There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President who shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in accordance with such advice, Provided that the President may require the Council of Ministers to reconsider such advice, either generally or otherwise, and the President shall act in accordance with the advice tendered after such reconsideration.

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

The Prime Minister is known as ‘ the moon among the stars’. Stars are the cabinet ministers or the council of ministers to whom the various working portfolios are allocated by the President of India on the advice of the Prime Minister in all the fields relating to environment, railways, transportation, sanitation, home ministry, ministry of law and justice or any other sphere that is related to the country.

The important principles of the cabinet system of government in India have been provided by the Articles 74 and 75 of the Constitution. Article 74 (1) lays down that there shall be a council of ministers with the Prime Minister at the head to aid and advise the President in the discharge of his functions.

Article 75(1) says that “The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.” The President of India has no choice but to accept the advice of the council of ministers as it remains responsible for all the action, on his behalf, to the Lower House of the Indian Parliament.

As a matter of Parliamentary practice the President appoints, the leader of the majority party or any person enjoying the support of the majority of members in the Lok Sabha as Prime Minister for five years. The President appoints the ministers and distributes portfolios among them on the advice of the Prime Minister.

On his advice the President can appoint an outsider, who is not a member of parliament as a minister. However, such a person has to be elected to either House of Parliament within six months from the date of his appointment. On his recommendation the President can dismiss any minister from the council of ministers. Virtually, the President has no say in these matters as these constitute the prerogatives of the Prime Minister.

Article 75 on other provisions of Ministers

  1. The Prime Minister shall be appointed by the President and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
  2. The Minister shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.
  3. The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the House of the People.
  4. Before a Minister enters upon his office, the President shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Third Schedule.
  5. A Minister who for any period of six consecutive months is not a member of either House of Parliament shall at the expiration of that period, shall cease to be a Minister.
  6. The salaries and allowances of Ministers shall be such as Parliament may from time to time by law determine and, until Parliament so determines, shall be as specified in the Second Schedule of the Attorney General for India.

Article 77 on the conduct of business of the Government of India

  1. All executive action of the Government of India shall be expressed to be taken in the name of the President.
  2. Orders and other instruments made and executed in the name of the President shall be authenticated in such manner as may be specified in rules to be made by the President, and the validity of an order or instrument which is so authenticated shall nor be called in question on the ground that it is not an order or instrument made or executed by the President.
  3. The President shall make rules for the more convenient transaction of the business of the Government of India, and for the allocation among Ministers of the said business

 Article 78 on the duties of Prime Minister

As respects the furnishing of information to the President, etc; it shall be the duty of the Prime Minister:

  1. To communicate to the President all decisions of the council of Ministers relating to the administration of the affairs of the union and proposals for legislation;
  2. To furnish such information relating to the administration of the affairs of the Union and proposals for legislation as the President may call for; and
  3. If the President 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.
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