What is The Position and Role of Chief Minister in India?

What is The Position and Role of the Chief Minister in India?
In India, the Chief Minister is the real ruler of the State, and his role, status, and position are very high. The Chief Minister is in the state where the Prime Minister is at the center. After every general election, the Governor appoints the leader of the majority party in the State Assembly or as is often the case, the leader of a combination of parties forming a coalition, the Chief Minister of the state.

Though formally, Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor and serves during his pleasure, in reality, in the appointment of the Chief Minister, the Governor has no free hand. The constitution makes the Council of Ministers together with the Chief Minister collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) of the State i.e. the popularly elected chamber of the legislature.

Collective responsibility ensures that the Governor will not find any other person but the leader of the majority group in the Legislative Assembly, able to command majority support and hence fit to be appointed Chief Minister.

The Indian constitution (vide 42nd amendment) makes the advice of the Central Council of Ministers binding on the President. A parallel amendment of the constitution has not been made making the advice of the State Council of Minister's binding on the Governor. This is because; the Governor has been given some powers to be exercised at his discretion. Some subsequent amendments of the constitution also vest the Governor with some special responsibilities. Barring these two fields, the Governor acts in all other matters on the advice of the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister is the head of the Government. The Ministers are appointed on the advice of the Chief Minister. Portfolios among ministers are in reality allocated by the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister has also the power to ease a minister out of office. He may advise the Governor to drop a minister. The Chief Minister presides over the meetings of the State Cabinet.

The Chief Minister also is the leader of the legislature. He is the leader of the majority group. Through his control over the legislative majority, he controls the legislature. The position of the Chief Minister is very important and his role is to carry out the most important functions of the state.

The state legislative assembly is the collective duty of the council of ministers. The council of ministers includes ministers who are the heads of their respective ministries or department e.g. Ministry of Textile, Ministry of External Affairs, etc. The council of ministers is also referred to as Cabinet.

According to Article 164 of the Indian Constitution, ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Governor
  • The council of ministers acts as the reinforcement for the status of the chief minister
  • With the nod of the chief minister, the governor then appoints the ministers
  • Allotment and rearrangement of portfolios among the ministers is as per the will of the chief minister
  • During the assembly, it is the responsibility of the CM to guide and safeguard its council around any negotiations 
  • He plays a pivotal role in keeping a check on whether a decision made by the council is sound and lucid
  • The resignation or death of the CM leads to the automatic termination of the council of ministers
  • Amidst any air of disparity with a minister, he can advise the governor, regarding the removal of the minister
  • The political conditions prevailing in the state also decide the strength of the CM in regard to the Council of Ministers
  • The Chief minister’s position is reinforced if there is a state or regional party in action
  • A regional or state party, as the name suggests works solely in a particular region or state and doesn’t operate outside state boundaries
  • When there is an alliance between different political parties, a coalition is sought to take place, which is referred to as a coalition form of government
  • All the parties agree to come together and collaborate to run the government
  • But, this form of government can cause a downfall in the strength of the chief minister
  • In both cases, the CM has to maintain equilibrium among the coalition or different segments of the party by finding a middle ground among them.

The following are the powers of the CM with respect to the state council of ministers –

1). He advises the Governor to appoint any person as a minister. It is only according to the advice of the CM that the Governor appoints ministers.

2).  Allocation and reshuffling of portfolios among ministers.

3). In case of a difference of opinion; he can ask the minister to resign.  

4). Directs, guides, and controls activities of all the ministers.

5). If the Chief Minister resigns then the full cabinet has to resign.

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